Thanks for the great pickups! Watching various threads a
couple of years ago, I watched with great interest as you
reported on your continuing development of the Roy Buchanan
pickups. I own a 51 T-style and a 57' S-style but don't take them
out much anymore. I've tried a bunch of pickups in my custom
shop and while most sound good, none capture what
really makes the good 50s pickups so unique.
Your stuff that I've tried using friends' guitars plus clips
of your products far outdistances the rest of the
pickups out there now.
I think you have shown that old wood is not as important
as the pickup in getting all the subtle nuances of 50s guitars.
I can't believe I just said that, but I really believe it's true when
using Don Mare pickups.I have been a Roy B. nut pre the
original airing of the PBS special.The way you have captured
ALL the Roy B.sound nuances should make anyone a believer!
Thanks for all your hard work-hope you can make some $
Tom Wright (65 yrs old) 12-18-08
I called earlier from London but the international phone
line was really bad. I just wanted to thank you so much for
the 4709 you sent over to me. I have installed it in my Mexican
T style and it genuinely makes the thing sound 40 years older
than it is, I simply cannot believe the quality that you achieve;
I did not think something as simple as a pickup upgrade
could give a fairly run of the mill instrument such a gigantic
I worked as a salesman with one of the biggest hitting mail
order guitar stores in the UK, they shift 10,000 to 12,000 guitars
per year worldwide and I have played a hell of a lot of Fenders®.
Nothing I have ever come accross has made such a dramatic
difference to the tone of an instrument as the 4709 pickup,
it honestly sounds like I paid £1000 more for my guitar than
I actually did.
Do you have any plans in distributing and marketing your
product in the UK? If so I would be genuinely interested in
getting involved because frankly your product is far
superior to anything comparable I have heard.
Well, we got the pickup in today....
and YOU'RE A FREAKIN' GENIUS!
I noticed the difference right away when I started
playing it with your pickup. Everything I played just
sounded freakin' killer.
Bakersfield twang, bluesy bends, the damn thing is
I am not a pickup guy, but you used the word "sweet"
sounding. I would totally agree. It's sweeter sounding
now, more even across the 6 strings.
So--thanks again man. I'm a happy customer!"
"I need to tell y'all something about DonM (Don Mare).
I'm a vintage nut and I have owned and played a
fair number of blackpick-guard,
early '50s . They were all nice, a couple were
One of the "magical" one was a '52 owned by a
good friend of mine by the name of Joel Foy. I knew the
guitar well, having refretted it and played it quite a bit.
It had that otherworldly bridge pickup that only compared
to the one in a '51 I once owned and foolishly
sold, and a '54 I currently own.
One day Joel called and told me his bridge pickup died
and asked if I knew anybody who could make it whole
again. I told him that every single great old pickup I've
ever had rewound lost some magic in the process.
I gave him some names of people who could fix it and
told him it would never be the same.
A few weeks later Joel called again and told me that
he found this (then) unknown guy by the name of Don
Mare who rewound the pickup for him. He also said that
it sounded just like it did before it broke.
Now, knowing how rare it is even among vintage
black-pick-guard type T-guitars to find a pickup that had this much
otherworldly magic as this '52 once had, I really
found that hard to believe. But I also never
knew Joel to be a bullshitter, and he has great ears.
So I called up Don and sent him a busted '52 pickup
and asked him to fix it up like he did Joel's.
To make a long story short, that pickup is now one
of the best vintage pickups I've ever heard.
I couldn't believe it. It was just "right" in every way.
My current favorite is an unreal sounding blackguard '54
Esquire® that I will never part with.
It's in that top 1% of vintage that are
so elusive,and these days pretty much unobtainable
except for sheer luck.
I can drop Don's rewind into that guitar and it loses
nothing. There is no other new/rewound pickup I've ever
heard that I could say that about.
So there, the man knows what he's doing. I don't think
I've ever posted about this, and I'm not in the habit of
raving about the latest and greatest.
Anyway, Don, I don't know if you even remember me,
but I don't think I ever even thanked you for that pickup.
It now resides in a '60s that was great to begin
with and your pickup improved upon near perfection.
Click above to read a review on Harmony-central!
More reviews & e-mails sent to Don Mare's
OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! Oh MY GOD!
I can't put my guitar down. What planet are you from?
The neck pickup is the smoothest, glassiest, warmest,
richest, most vintage sounding hunk of tone
I have ever heard. My T-style sounds like a s-style at the
flip of a switch.
The one I could never find Seriously!
Oh, but the bridge, THE BRIDGE! The bridge is just nasty.
Dirtier than a 4 dollar Tijuana hooker.
No pick. No shrill. Harmonic as all hell.
She growls and bites and snarls more than any
humbucker I've ever played and it just keeps getting
better. The more I play the more I love you. Two little
pickups. 3 little positions. Yet, sooooooooo many
I took it down to my local luthier genius (he said it
sounded better than most real vintage,
he's had come through his doors) and all the guys in
the shop gathered round and refused to believe the
specs. These things can go from a whisper to a
scream effortlessly. I might have to order another set
for the next life in case we don't end up in the same
realm. OK, enough of that. Thank you very very much.
I will sing praises of your name to every player
I ever encounter throughout all my days. I couldn't be
happier. Keep on keepin' on. It is comforting to know
there are guys like you out there. Great product,
great customer service.
Thank you! "
-John Sturgill Simpson
(S-Telly Neck" & 7 .5k Alnico 5 bridge)
Got my pickups today. Now I've had botique pickups
in my 52Ri
(Made In Japan ) from all over the place never
been blown away by any of them. Yes they sound
different some better than others.
You know the story. Thats till I got this "Green Onion" set.
Wow these things sound "Great." Hollow tone,
complexity, vintage clank nice cut without being overly
bright. Clean straight into my Plexi or through my Blue
Both neck and bridge sound fantastic.
I don't mind at all if you want to make use of my comments
about the rewind job you did on the pickups. I feel its only
fair to tell you that mine is not a name, that anybody but
a small circle of my friends is going to recognize, though.
Some further observations, based on my experiences with
aftermarket pickup makers -- Chances are pretty fair that
most players will find an acceptable degree of satisfaction
with pickups from most of the popular aftermarket purveyors.
Each of these brands have established a reputation for
making a quality product that will produce a good sound
that, in most cases will be perceived by the end user as
a definite improvement over the stock set.
But what is out there for the player who has a more highly
evolved ear than the average hobbyist? A good number of
us have been playing for many years have gone through
several arsenals worth of gear over that time, and have
developed a very discerning ear when it comes to
assessing the components that make up professional-
grade tone. But we don't possess a name that allows us
entree to the inner sanctum of the Custom Shops of the
So we've had to settle for better, knowing that best will
most likely be reserved for those with the clout to have
that level of artifice made available to them.
Well there is now an alternative. Don Mare is a man who
has put countless hours of time and energy towards
unlocking the secrets of what makes pickups sound the
way they do, and then recreating the best of the best and
making them available to those who want the best.
His pickups are made one at a time by Don himself,
and they are professional grade thoroughbreds
of the highest pedigree."
The pickups (Fralin rewinds) arrived in the mail
on Friday. On Saturday afternoon I put 'em in, along
with the cap you sent, along with them, slapped on a
new set of pure nickel strings, and commenced to
dialing them in. Had to take a break to run some errands,
and came back to it later that evening when I could spend
some quality time to get the height adjustments
just right. Don -- I could not be happier with them!
There are several particular features that I look for in
a set of pickups, all of which are very much present
in this set. First off, do they produce a good sound, devoid
of shrill or dissonant frequencies. Does each pickup have
a good tone for the position it occupies, or does it achieve
it's tonal character by simple virtue of where it happens to be mounted?
And this next characteristic is, for me, the acid test --
every pickup has a tonal sweet spot in terms of heighth
adjustment -- the spot where the pickup simply sounds
it's best. I find that this can often come down to as little
as an eighth of a turn on the adjustment screw.
Where most sets fall short, after making this
adjustment on each of the three pickups, is that you
are left with too much variance in volume when toggling
through pickup settings. So you end up having to
compromise, sacrificing a little on the tonal sweet spot
side to achieve balance on the volume side.
Not the case with this set. When I finished adjusting
each pickup for it's most pleasing tone, I was very
pleasantly surprised to discover that the balance
volume-wise between the five position settings was
automatically ideal. In my experience, this is truly an
astounding achievement. I have to say --
the difference in tone between each of the five positions
is so dramatic, that I feel like I've never really played a
until now. I've most certainly never had the
experience of playing one that produces such a dramatic
variety of high quality tones, and we all know that what
we hear most definitely effects what and how we play.
Oh -- another impressive feature! I've never played
a that had a middle pickup sound that I had
any use for, all by itself. Not so with this one --
it has a sound that I will find a lot of use for!
String definition is there in spades.
The balance within each pickup between the treble
and bass frequencies is there,
with an ample helping of both sides of the spectrum.
They sound clear and clean, and are the real deal,
Very well done, and I thank you."
"Thanks Don! I went between my 52 and your
(Joel Foy pickups) and they really sounded great!"
Got the pickups and installed them. I have to say they are
wonderful! The best pickups I’ve heard.
take the cake.
The Nancy mod is cool too. Very interesting what it does
to the middle and bass positions. It’s as close to Roy as
I have heard. I’ll give you a more balanced,
review when I’ve had time to break them in.
Thanks so much for everything and take care,
P.S. I’ll send some soundfiles when I have a few minutes
if you want to hear them."