There are those who can raise guitars up from the dead.

14 04 2014

We’ve talked to you about some guys we know, who call themselves “The Secret Strat Project” (TSSP).

It’s a small group of US Military Veterans who “heroed up” to start building and then giving Fender and Gibson guitars to US Military Soldiers serving overseas out of their own pockets.

We’ve been contributors to this wonderful operation ourselves.

The guys at TSSP are actually sending axes (for FREE) to “strange and exotic places”… places like a land they call “The Sandbox” – that’s  Afghanistan to you and me.

They’ve turned out some incredible gear… gear that most guitarists would literally kill for. Some of us might even give up (gasp!) BEER to play these awesome guitars. WE just showed you this Custom Telecaster, but we’re going to show it to you again. It’s just THAT cool.

Green Dragon - web
We were talking to them recently about HOW they do what they  do and they reminded us that fine guitars  often get built by “teams” and not by a single luthier slaving over a bench into the wee hours of the night.

They started telling me about a cat in Texas that is becoming one of their “go-to guys” when they need something sweet… like pickups (pups) that no longer exist.

When they started telling us about how this cat can raise pups from the dead, we asked if his name was “Lazarus”… 😉

Instead, they explained that this cat can BUILD BY HAND pickups that we’ve only heard about in legends and whispers.

He sounded so cool, we thought that we’d introduce you to him;

Mike Daugherty runs an operation called CMDaughtery Handwound Pickups, located in  Leonard, Texas. Leonard is located about 60 miles from Dallas, TX.

A US Military Veteran himself, Mike builds pickups by hand that rival anything you’ve seen in the “boutique pickup” industry.

He uses the best materials and he insures  that  these custom pups are affordable. That means that “up and coming” players can afford to build axes to carry them to the next threshold. That says something about Mike’s dedication to guitars and music in general.

Rather than talk smack about Mike, let’s just take a look at what he does;

CMD Handwound CS 59 Neck pup for SRV Stratocaster
This is Mike’s custom built ’59 Stratocaster neck pickup. Built from the ground up in Texas – with parts made only in the USA, Mike uses years of experience and vintage techniques to build scatter wound pups around Alnico 5 magnets, cloth pushback wire and the best bobbin material available. Then, he pots those pups in bees wax.

CMD Handwound CS 59 Neck pup for SRV Stratocaster2
A tremendous amount of technical and historical research goes into crafting these highly sought after pickups. Mike’s pups sound even BETTER than they look.

This ’59 pup is based on the exact same pickup specs that the legendary Stevie Ray Vaughan used. Those in the know will tell you that Texas Specials are not even close to SRVs tone. Mike builds a ’59 set that just crushes SRV tone.

(Editor’s note: I’m probably going to get a set of these for my own SRV Strat. They’re that good. I just have to see if I can crowbar an order into his stack of “pups waiting to be built”…)

DCR +/- 5%

Neck: 5.9

Magnetic poles North up,
Heavy Formvar Wire,
Vulcanized Fiber Bobbins,
A5 Magnets,
Potted in Beeswax

And, Mike stands by his work. If you’re not happy with your new custom pickup the first time you hear them… that path is clear. He says to send them back and he will refund your money!

If you’re looking for a set of pickups that will give your axe that tone,  that “character” that everyone searches for… you can find it by putting your axe into Mike’s capable hands.

And… Mike guarantees it!

If you’re looking for a custom-built set email him and he will build a set to your specs or to one of his own, based on his experience and deep knowledge base. Your search may lead you to an opened door that you never imagined even existed.

And, he’s not a “one trick pony”.  Mike  doesn’t just speak “single coil”. Need Buckers, Tele sets, P90’s or Bass pups? He can hook you up.

But wait there’s more…

Great pickups are just the beginning of the chain. The WRONG wiring harness can kill your tone. The RIGHT wiring harness can really bring  your axe to life (or even resurrect it from the dead). We called him “Lazarus”, remember?

Mike can build you a harness built to support and compliment those custom pups he builds  you. In fact, it’s kind of ridiculous to drop custom pups into a stock pickguard. That stock harness just isn’t going to take advantage of all the capabilities of your new pickups. It’s like owning a Ferrari without a motor. Just shoot him an email and let him know what you’re looking for.

There’ a rumor circulating that he’s going to start building The Secret Strat Project’s highly coveted “Captain America” Stratocaster pickguard sets, based on the ’82 Fender “Red Bottom 57/62” sets and custom harnesses. The guys at TSSP have promised us a “First Look” as soon as they receive the prototype and you can bet you’re going to read about it and put it through it’s paces here.

Now, for the “fine print”;

Mike includes the covers and hardware in the price of his pups. Send him a message with your order specifying color and he’ll hook you right up. Unlike some other boutique builder, it’s all included.

He ships for FREE. Free. If you live in the “Lower 48” he’s gonna get those pups to you without a shipping cost. If you live “way out there beyond the “48”… shipping is calculated and affordable.

You can reach him using the information below, but be patient. As you can probably imagine, a cat in high demand is hip deep in back-orders as his pups fly out the door:

CMDaugherty Hand Wound Pickups
411 Northwest HWY. 69 #25
Leonard, TX. 75452 USA
Phone: (903)449-3826(903)449-3826