The Mulecaster is a unique guitar and we wanted a pickup that captured that in both look and sound. So the hunt began to find a neck pickup that was useable, which is something we didn't really believe in, or at least had never found. Neck pickups were always too muddy, too blanketed and too bland. We loved the gold foil pickup tones and qualities used by Blake Mills and Ry Cooder, though when we tried the gold foil replicas in the Mulecasters they seemed to be a one trick pony and left us wanting. So, we decided to make our own gold foils and see if we could tweak them to get closer to the sound we were after. Some of our prototypes had qualities that we thoroughly loved, but always happened to be paired with a negative quality. Next was to test the recommendations we had about mini-humbuckers. An amazing pickup in its own right, but it was lacking the spectacular low end quality and characteristics of our gold foils. When we tried combining aspects of both pickups we wandered in to an amazing sound and so much more.
The pickup sits in a wonderful output level, which means at lower volumes it contains the wonderful character-laden clarity of a gold foil with the subtle singing type qualities of a mini-humbucker as well as a slightly airy, full natural tone. When pushed the pickup really starts to gain characteristics that we've never heard in a pickup: Low end boom that has amazing depth and sustain while managing to stay clear; Midrange that sings with a multitude of characteristics swirling around its edges; High end that has clarity without being piercing, yet responds very well to attack: when picked with a slightly aggressive edge even with your fingers the highs tend to bite slightly in a wonderfully full fashion. The pickups are intentionally left unpotted so they stay microphonic, giving them all the subtle acoustic characteristics around the edges that we feel most mainstream pickups tend to lose making them sound slightly stale. Surprisingly the pickup functions and sounds largely the same in solid body guitars while changing tone slightly based on the unpotted pickup up capturing different acoustics.
When strumming chords on the pickup the tones are a bit vintage, apparently taking more of the gold foil edge of things here and are reminiscent of the vintage DeArmond sounds with a little more bite. When played in an open tuning with a slide the low end excels and is reminiscent of the large tones of the Supro bridge pickup in a Coodercaster.
This pickup is constructed in a modified mini-humbucker housing and is a hum-canceling pickup. We recommend trying many different volumes and styles when testing these pickups to experience the wide range of characteristics that the pickup offers. For us, this pickup seems to be full of inspiration and has changed our style of playing because of the sounds it can create. Simply put, this pickup contains sounds and tones which we have rarely heard and which we had never been able to replicate. We are very happy to put these pickups in our guitars because that's where they were designed to go. When you need something that doesn't exist, you try to make it.
Wound at Mule Resophonic from the heart and hands of Mr. Betty.