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History of FlatCat™ Pickups Tags: flatcat history pickups

THE HISTORY OF FLATCAT™ GUITAR PICKUPS

From the owner of Wishbringer Music

       Flat pickups have been produced for decades.  However they can be quite expensive.  I became aware of flat pickups around the end of 2014 when I noticed pickups made by Dan Sleep called Thinkbuckers.   I was fascinated by the concept, but in the otherwise open-and-sharing field of cigar box guitar building, everyone was very secretive about how flat pickups were made.  For some reason the concept of Flat pickups was considered by some in the community as the property of one person-- which seemed a bit silly.  One person cannot possibly fill the world-wide market of CBG builders and players.  There were no patents held.  Anyone could make a flat pickup-- if they could figure out how.

    Research revealed that flat pickups were nothing new; they'd been around for decades-- long before the CBG community came about.  At least two major companies produce the in off-the-shelf models (for a significant price).

    Gaining little or no cooperation in understanding flat pickup design, I went to the Net and did some research.  I started experimenting by the seat of my pants, beginning with only a slight inkling of how these were made, based on non-specific photos.  They were wax potted and wrapped in cellophane packing tape, a process and visual that didn't appeal to me. I wanted something sturdier and more resistant to environmental changes.

    Factory-made flat pickups were pricey, starting at $145 each.  I wanted to build a pickup that was especially sturdy and had a wide-range of sound ability, but at a significantly lower price than factory-line pickups.

   Over a period of several months of extensive research and experimentation building pickups by hand, I started developing an unusual design, significantly different than prior designs I had seen.  Not a quick process.  Hundreds of hours were involved in basic R&D.  Detailed records were kept on all attempts-- gleaning the best features.  Eventually, the FlatCat pickup was born.

 

    By mid-2015 that R&D session had accomplished several things:

    * Considerable improvement over existing design concepts both in construction and resulting sound.  Testers stated it sounded better and was more versatile than other pickups.

    * FlatCats are fully potted and encased in solid PolyResin, which makes them very sturdy and more immune to elements and the environment.

    * Because of their design I was able to create and offer the first low-cost 6-string flat pickup on the market, intended for use on standard electric guitars.  Where factory-produced pickups started at $145 and up, FlatCats are priced at $50 to $55.   FlatCats had extended beyond the realm of cigar box guitars. 

    *  Despite surprising gain in power, FlatCats remained wonderfully rich in tone.  Now the pickup could range from mellow sound on the low end to a terrific natural-distortion grit on the high-end, making it the most versatile flat pickup ever made.  From mellow blues to jazz to country to rock-- a single FlatCat could cover them all.

    *  FlatCat was released in  Cigar Box Guitar and Humbucker footprints.  Both models are aboout 1/4" thick and designed to be mounted to the surface of a guitar.

    * In the electric guitar field a FlatCat could be used to replace an existing pickup (mounted to cover the existing pickup cavity), or if no pickup was present it could be mounted directly to the surface of the guitar without need for carving or routing.  The only mounting requirement was drilling a relatively small hole for the wire, making installation of FlatCats very simple, even for beginners.  (Full mounting structions are included with each FlatCat pickup.)

    FlatCats were released to the market and over the next several months earned solid 5-star reviews.   They were purchased by professional luthiers, cigar box guitar builders and customers  modding their own off-the-shelf guitars.  Repeat purchases by existing customers proved their effectiveness.  

    FlatCats are often specified as the "pickup of choice" by people who order custom guitars from Wishbringer, with those guitars receiving top reviews as well.  

    Today the FlatCat is available in a variety of colors, a primed model for painting your own designs on the surface, and a 24k gold foil laser-etched version.   Their sturdy composition assures their continued function over decades-- the wonderfully unique sound available to you for your special guitar projects.

--o--

 

FlatCat™ Surface-Mounted Guitar Pickups Tags: FlatCat pickup

"I finally finished the guitar for which I bought your pickups and have had several players over to try it. Everyone agrees your pickups sound great. They live up to every claim you make and then some :D"
-- R. Duke

FlatCat™ pickups are available from:  https://Etsy.com/shop/Wishbringer

 

"Battle Axe" 4-string guitar by customer Lucas Melton, based on a FlatCat™

CBG-model pickup. Customer appraisal:  "Excellent pickup. Sounds awesome!!!"

 

 

 

CUSTOMER COMMENTS (from Reviews on Etsy.com):

"I put them in my SG they sound awesome in the highs mids and lows. I'm glad I got them so thanks and hope you keep coming up with great ideas like that.  All the best." - GH

"This is the second one that I have bought. Excellent output & tone for a flat PU. Great installation, easy." - Integrity54321

"Fantastic pickup with impeccable design and craftsmanship. Sounds great and is thin enough to surface mount on all the types of guitars I build." - Bob Marioni

"Excellent product. It was a breeze to install and it sounds great." - Philip Iles

"Looks great, better than photograph. Made to order, I got 4 at one time. You got to have this for a CBG where thin is sometimes an absolute in some cases, but sound quality isn't forfeited." - Tofestus

 

FLATCAT™ PICKUPS--UNIQUE SIZE, UNIQUE SOUND

The FlatCat™ no-hum electric guitar pickup is about 1/4" thick... but provides all the power of a full-size pickup. It is surface-mounted on your guitar. The entire pickup being directly beneath the strings allows the FlatCat to pick up every nuance of sound, transmitting accurate and rich signal to your amplifier. No other type of pickup can achieve that effect.

Each FlatCat is individually hand-made with great care. The unique design eliminates the hum you get from single pickups.  If you're acquainted with pickups, imagine a humbucker and P-90 combined and you'll have some idea of the wonderful tone of a FlatCat pickup.

FlatCat works with standard electric guitars, cigar box guitars (CBGs), folk guitars and other instruments that use steel / nickel strings. It produces especially fine tone on all such instruments.

A professional luthier stated: "This has such a balanced sound. It brings out a full bass end without losing the trebles, and has almost an acoustic sub-tone to it.  It's a great pickup."

The FlatCat is surface-mounted to your instrument. Rather than needing to route or carve a hollow for your pickup, all you need to do is drill a hole for the wire, or mount it directly over the existing pickup hollow.  Easy how-to installation instructions are provided for a variety of mounting methods.

 
TWO SIZES
1. Cigar box guitar (CBG) : 2" square
2. Humbucker-size: 3 1/4" x 1 3/4" (corner mount humbucker size).

 

SOUND AND VOLUME
 

The FlatCat has incredibly rich sound and produces the volume of a standard-design pickup. The special design allows for a wide range of sound: blues, classical, smooth jazz, folk, country and rock.  At standard volumes it produces clean, clear sound. Crank it a bit and the FlatCat is good for situations where greater volume or even natural distortion is desired.

FlatCat™ pickups can be used on any electric guitar that has sufficient clearance between the surface and strings. Please measure and if you're running lower than 3/8" clearance, let me know at the time of the order so I can focus on an extra-thin pickup.  Strat-type guitars will likely need a opening cut in the pick guard to seat the Flatcat with sufficient clearance for the strings. 

 

VIDEO DEMOS of the FlatCat™

This is an archival video of a FlatCat prototype-- with a bit of built in growl!
ElectraGlide CBG

Hazardous Voltage CBG

 

Four Aces CBG

 

(See The History of FlatCat Pickups for additional information.)


 

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