The Shift: The how and why of winding pickups at Porter

A note from Brian Porter

I’ve been winding pickups since 2008. I started with corded drill clamped to a table and foam buffing pad chucked up into the drill. I ripped off the foam and double side taped a bobbin to the surface and used a small C-clamp on the button to control the speed. I remember spending countless hours trying to reach 8,000 turns and just complete one strat pickup. I don’t remember how many attempts it took just to complete one coil. I could say at that point I was hooked on winding, but that couldn’t be further from the truth! I think I just wanted to throw the drill through the window….

After I got a smaller winding machine with a counter, I started trying to put some of the first Porter Pickups in some hobby guitars I was building. I thought controlling the sound would be a good idea, and I was able to try different combinations of winds with certain wood types. I started to see real value in the way pickups were wound and the way I approached it. I focused mostly on technique, winding patterns and different magnet types to find the right match for the guitars I built. I have always been a “learn by doing” person, so the more times I got to wind, the more I found things I liked-and a lot I didn’t about some of the early pickups I made.

As we progressed and began offering more winds, models and grew as a business, I began to think through solutions for the  for winding. How would I keep up with the increasing demands? What about the other parts of the buisness that needed my attention?

The Shift

In 2014, we moved into a new shop and started to add more help for the business. We moved to all in-house flatwork cutting and our next move was to address the winding needs of the business. Things were progressing very fast. We began researching and brainstorming solutions. With the steadily increasing demand, most of my free time had being taken up winding coils. Afrer much research and deliberation, we settled on a new winder that would change the whole way our business operates. My desire has always been to wind pickups that fit a need, serve a purpose and do what we say they do. Our new winding method is a big part of the business shift we’ve made.

Our new winding machine can do 2 coils at once. We can program our patterns into the machine and have them perfectly repeatable or adjust them on the fly. We can make a complex scatter wound pickup with up to 99 patterns inside the coil, or replicate the pitch of older pickups like PAF’s or vintage strat pickups. We’ve been able to take the skills we’ve honed as hand winders, and increase our offerings exponentially. We’ve spent the last year working on winds, replicating my hand patterns and designing new coils. We are better winders now than we ever have been. I have a part in every coil thats designed in the Porter shop, and it’s been amazing to see some of the things we are capable of now. I can do things with coils I NEVER would have been able to by hand. I can make them as consistent, or as random as the customer or tone demands. It’s been fun to explore these offering and continue to innovate with this winder. We now have been able to shorten lead times for custom orders and offer same day shipping on many of our popular model configurations. We’ve moved into offering custom and exclusive winds to guitar builders to get them the tone they are after for their specific builds.

This is one of the many investments we put into the business last year to continue to offer a great product and make our business stand out. The shift for me was transitioning from hand winding to this new winder. It was one that took much thought and a plunge into this new method that has made Porter Pickups a stronger and better company. We’re looking forward and we’re excited for the next innovaton to continue to offer great sounding pickups with a purpose.





Posted in Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s