Some time ago, Dave Budzinski left a successful career path in manufacturing to go “off-road” into the uncharted territory of building and repairing fine guitars. This respected Michigan luthier and musician has determinedly pursued the secret of the guitar tones that he found so compelling when he started playing four decades ago.
At home, Bud’s business repairing instruments for various retail shops in southeast Michigan was self-sustaining in about a year. As time went by, he made and repaired increasingly fine guitars, and his own collection expanded to include some vintage pieces. However, the tone that he expected to get from these original instruments and components eluded him. As he put it, “I never found the sound that we’d all die for as a kid, the tones that were magical when we heard them on the radio or the record… it just wasn’t the same, and I asked myself, why isn’t this what I want?”
He reasoned that the ultimate sound he was seeking was shaped by the amp, going through a microphone, into a tape, onto a record, and out via a home stereo. So instead of just recreating another “reissue style” pickup, he determined to nail that “final” sound that he was looking for.
His research revealed that the tolerances of resistance on the early, hand-wound Fender® single-coil pickups were huge, up to 20 percent. Not surprisingly, a large number of the best sounding, “magical” instruments were wound in a particular range of this tolerance. Bud elaborates, “A lot of the great sounding guitars were mistakes to one degree or another. So I found a place to start that was productive. Then I had a chance to hear the information that got tweaked by those other elements to create that great sound.”
Bud figures his job is to give people an accurate, full range pickup that has no bizarre spikes or dropouts. The intent is to provide a pickup that reminds you that your instrument is made of wood and played by your fingers and that you have control of the tone and dynamics from where you are and not wishing that you could get back to your amp for a little adjustment or two.