If there's one thing that we guitarists today have that we didn't in the early years of rock, it's that we are spoiled for choice when it comes to aftermarket pickups! With that in mind, we want to shine a light at one of our favorite brands around here that we feel deserves a bit more attention: Van Zandt Pickups. Created by W.L. Van Zandt's in the late '80s after years of growing demand for his custom rewinds, Van Zandt pickups are known for their quality craftsmanship and awesome tones. While W.L. Van Zandt has long since retired, his nephew J.D. continues the tradition will all of the quality and attention to detail that his uncle's pickups are known for. Today, we want to take a look at a few of their outstanding designs. And as an authorized dealer, we guarantee our Van Zandt pickups are brand new and straight from J.D.'s hand in Texas!
If you're in need of a middle position single-coil that was built to deliver the iconic blues sound, only with a bit more kick, look no further than Van Zandt's Blues Model pickup! With a bright yet mellow sound and plenty of midrange that doesn't sacrifice the top end, the Blues Model is blues tone done right. The attack response is sensitive enough to react to even the lightest picks, although you can easily give it all you've got to for a high energy growl with plenty of snap. This particular blues model is reverse wound, meaning when paired with standard wound neck and bridge position pickups, it will help cut down the hum that is sometimes seen in single-coils. Other benefits include the ability to coil split in the 2nd and 4th position of a five-position pickup switch. For true fans of American blues guitar, the tone of you've been looking for is right here. Neck and Bridge Blues models are also available, either individually or as a full set.
If hard rock is more of your cup of tea, we highly recommend the Rock Model Bridge/Neck Strat pickup. Made for heavy metal, rock, and alternative rock, this model pickup is known for its top end emphasis and the ability to give a pleasantly smooth growl when in overdrive. It also works especially well with Tube Screamer-style overdrive pedals. Personally, I love the sound and tones available when matched with Blues Model pickups, specifically, the setup found in the Rock/Blues set; it gives my Strat the ability to go between two iconic sounds depending on what tone I need at the time or mix a bit of both for some pleasantly awesome sounds![gallery columns="4" ids="8780,8779,8778,8777"]
For Telecaster player's that yearn for the glorious tones of the '50s and '60s, the True Vintage Telecaster neck pickup was made to deliver exactly that. In fact, the True Vintage is a well-known favorite of company founder W.L. Van Zandt. And from our own tests here at the office, we can't say we disagree with the man! Tone-wise, it has a very mellow flavor with a bit of brightness, perfect for capturing that signature Tele chime. When mixed with the center position, the True Vintage offers both top and bottom end. If you're a Tele man that want's those classic '50s and '60s tones but with a little more oomph, the True Vintage is where it's at. Perfect for Country, Blues, and Rock-a-Billy.
Van Zandt offers more than just guitar pickups. Introducing the Jazz Bass Style Neck, a '50s and '60s style Jazz Bass style neck single-coil that is built to capture the classic sound of Leo Fender's iconic bass, just with a little more output! Not only do we recommend these to vintage Jazz Bass fans, our in-house bass expert swears by this very model! Featuring a bright yet mellow midrange and a rich treble response, the Jazz Bass Style Neck offers a focused tone that is perfect for bass players who seek a more noticeable sound instead of just hanging in the background. We highly suggest this pickup for funk, disco, reggae, blues, progressive rock, heavy metal or jazz fusion bass players. If you're more of a Precision bass type of guy, we recommend checking out Van Zandt's P-Bass Models, made to deliver high-quality vintage P-Bass tones with a bit more output for good measure.