There are so many variables that go into your electric guitar tone – amp, guitar, wood, strings, pedals, leads, length of leads, speakers and the list goes on. Pickups are very much part of this equation too, yet they are often overlooked.
Perhaps the perceived improvement in tone isn’t considered enough versus the cost of new pickups? Whatever the reason, Tonerider are definitely bridging the gap, offering you pristine tone without having to fork out loads of cash. Originally founded in 2003, Tonerider set out to deliver quality gear at ‘prices the working musician can afford’. With a range of single coils and humbuckers from vintage through to hotter windings, their latest release is the ‘Octane’ humbucker.
RIDERS ON THE STORM
Playing through a range of guitars (thanks to Melbourne guitarist/engineer/producer/ studio man Mark Kelso), it was great to hear the broad array of tones and sounds in the Tonerider lineup. Rocksong, Generator, Pure Vintage and of course the newly released Octane humbucker (plus many more). Covering your classic Strat, Tele, Humbucker and P90, Tonerider offer a great starting point for vintage sounds that add both some sparkle and chime, or more hotrodded grunt for those that like a bit more oomph. At not a great expense (compared to your average pickup brand) they’d be a great upgrade from stock pickups in a heap of guitars and a nice option for those that wanna check out different sounds on a budget.
Aimed as a hotter, more aggressive humbucker, the Octane uses a custom Alnico 8 magnet with two different gauges of magnet wire on each bobbin. Specifically made for the bridge position, the Octane is thick with plenty of guts and output. I enjoyed the fact that it wasn’t too bright and with heavier gain sounds you could still get great clarity from power chords and lead lines. Rock, Metal and modern heavy type players will like the thick tone, but I could also see the Octane being a nice foil for those in any style wanting some extra juice with good mid and bass response.
A NICE LITTLE PICK ME UP
The Tonerider premise is cool, and they definitely don’t look or sound like el cheapo pickups. Like any brand they offer a range, so there’ll be some models that grab you more than others. At their price range, it makes experimenting with tones much easier on the bank balance and I’m sure they will open the door for many more budding home modders to get more into pickup swaps/changes/choices. The new Octane is cool – thick and responsive, great for heavier styles but also usable with cleans (and the option of a coil tap). A great selection of pickups.
For more information, visit toneproshop.com
Hits and Misses
Octane has great clarity and plenty of grunt
High quality pickups