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RED Herring ‘TONE BONES’…  replacement electric guitar pick-ups – shoaling in a pond near you soon!

We use vintage-correct materials in the hand-built manufacture of the RED Herring -‘tone bone’ (these are copyright protected trade marks)  pick ups, simply because they out perform anything else and sound the best. This isn’t an ‘extra’ or ‘custom option’, it’s our build standard, irrespective of the voice of the pickup

All pickups made individually to customer order- with a fast turn around time.

RED Herring offers a musical heritage spawned in the warm primordial waters of  a musical age now past; but today after a relentless quest, the best guitar sounds are re-captured, live. No stone is left un-turned, no waters go un -fished …in the pursuit of a hand wound guitar pick up offering guitarists ,  pleasure, taste, harmonic color & amp spanking sonics…

All ‘tone bone’ pick up specimens are ‘guddled ‘ and scatter wound lovingly by a masters hand, away over the briney in a  shingled shotgun -shack on the shores of the Gulf  (Guddling is an old poachers hand-fishing  technique -ie tickling the red herring then grabbing it behind the gills)  then the RED Herrings  are fished out, one by one and delivered to you as a hand-wound beautiful boutique guitar pick up, that will deliver to your performance ..exceptional  sonics & musicality & an articulate tonal palette


My name is Earl Rivers and here at RED Herring  we aim to offer you a range of very interestingly voiced handwound ‘ tone bones’ and even some UNIQUE vintage spec specialist  replacement guitar  pups – to deliver ,to the discerning  UK and European guitar player , an  enhanced guitar tone & a better sonic performance   ..all ‘tone bones’ represent  good value and are offered at a competitive price; these classics RED Herring ‘tone bone’ pick-ups  offered here can also be ” customised or bespoke wound” to your own described or preferred tonal range & sonic voicings- for  circa an additional 20% of the stated web-shop prices

Tone Bones by RED Herring.. offer balanced output , harmonic voicing…with just the right amount of BITE…!

Replacement guitar pick up companies Im told by nay sayers …are starting  to become “2- a- penny”,  but… we have lured a very famous restorer & genius guitar pick up winder out of his “fishing-retirement” up on the Gulf in the USA- and shortly thereafter RED Herring was spawned, such we now intend to offer guitarists the  usual classic ‘tone-bones’  ie vintage hand-wound  pups – variously voiced variants of a musical & guitar age, once past but now re created; so you can listen to and purchase in our RED Herring web shop classic ‘tone bone’ pups ranging from the iconoclastic  Tele, the symbolic Strat, sets of  gut wrenching Humbucker PAFs, shimmering  Jaguar; muscled P90s,  Jazzmaster, Jazz & P Bass pups etc….  but we will also offer to the well heeled discerning collectors market a limited release… of specialty guitar replacement pickups.. starting with the RED Herring Teisco SS Ry Cooders, then also bringing out a RED Herring version of the Dynasonics and  Filtertrons moving on thereafter to our favourites the Rowe DeArmondes- where our tech team are telling me they are world authorities!



Many agree that the one component of a guitar that has the biggest impact on your tone is the pickups. While neck and body wood, electronics and even strings can affect the sound, no other aspect of the guitar will so drastically affect your tone as the pickups. If you are looking to upgrade your guitar pickups, cast your net no further than …RED Herring- Tone Bones



RED Herring-” Humbucker” PAF   tone-bone pick up sets

Hand Wound means “scatter wound”..Red Herring PAFs are handwound with 42 gauge Plain Enamel Min-Nom wiring  or can be wired with leads for a *coil tap function

  • Alnico 4 Magnet
  • Nickel Silver Baseplate
  • Field Charged Magnetics

The RH humbucker is designed to emulate the PAF’s of old with a bit of added girth to the mid-range. This allows for a bigger bloom without hindering high end definition. Your low end won’t suffer the muffled tones and the highs will be clear with a rounded tone. Excellent for single note work and rhythm..your guitar will come alive. Naturally hum cancelling

*Split coil tap version of RED Herring Tone Bone Humbucker PAF is available

Plse specify which PAF covers nickel or chrome -£10 extra cost   Also available with no covers-to show off the distinctive red bobbins-a visual feast!

*split Coil, Cpoil Tap Wiring:

Four conductor wire, with shielding …Black is hot,  Green is ground…unless phase reversing or parallelling. Red and White together for tap. Shield also goes to ground.


RED Herring- “Stratocaster” tone bones pick up sets

Custom Handwound Replacement Vintage & Modern Stratocaster Pickups

RED Herring Strat ‘tone bones’ are wound the only way…by hand. Our winder has twenty years experience in re-winding and repairing some of the oldest and rarest Strats in the world. He has gleaned a special hand wound formula made only for RED Herring  that represents the best of late 50’s and early 60’s Fenders. These also have the added touch of a beefier midrange in the bridge to compensate for sharpness typically found there. The neck has all of the bell like charm you could want and rich high end. If fidelity and output are what you need..look no further.

With custom designs based on both the pre-CBS handwound staggered pole Stratocaster pickups up to the early 1960s, and later flat pole, hotter & modern variants, Red Herring  currently make a number of handwound Replacement Stratocaster single coil pickups.

The RED Herring early ’60s Strat Sound: 

Staggered for Left or Right handed players

A vintage staggered RED Herring Stratocaster tone-bone pickup with the classic 1964 Strat tone. Snappy highs with a woody mid-range and bright bass. Scatter wound with wax potted coils and staggered Alnico 5 magnets. Medium output. Vintage style cloth covered lead wire. A great Stratocaster pickup.

The Middle Pickup can be RW/RP for hum cancelling in positions 2 & 4.

The RED Herring late ’60s Strat Sound:  

Staggered for Left or Right handed players

A vintage staggered or flat pole Stratocaster pickup with the classic bright Strat tone of the late ’60s – 1969 ie its tight, snappy with clean highs, a solid bass response with a hollow, woody mid-range.  A great pickup to play clean or funk – (the tone can be rounded out a little by selecting flat stagger magnets.)

Standard RH spec is light scatter wound with wax potted coils and staggered Alnico 5 magnets. Medium output. Vintage style cloth covered lead wire.

  •  Alnico 5 staggered magnets
  •  Handwound
  • 42 Heavy Formvar
  •  Calibrated from neck to bridge

****NEW***The GYPIE MAYO ’62 Signature STRAT tone-bones:

Gypie Mayo 60's Strat Pickups

Lighter hand wound with less output in his original ’62 vintage pick ups.

A vintage staggered Stratocaster pickup with the classic 1962 Strat tone. Balanced  highs with a smooth mid-range and bright bass.

Scatter wound with lightly wax potted coils and staggered Alnico 5 magnets.

Wound as a low-medium output transducer

RIP -Gypie Mayo (1951-2013)

Gypie Mayo was described as a lead guitarist who was…INSPIRATIONAL…FAST & …EDGY… we knew him as kind, a real gent & very generous with his knowledge & experience

These ‘60s Strat ‘tone-bones’ pay tribute to Gypies memory & his favourite early ‘62 Strat guitar & tone

From 1977 Gypie helped Dr Feelgood into the Top 10 (Milk & Alcohol) and from 1996 played with the re-formed Yardbirds.

Set with red and or red/black bobbins, with or without white plastic covers.. & incl screws

10% of your purchase is donated to the Dorothy House Hospice in Bath – a charity hospice that cared for Gypie during his illness & needsour support.

Trade or wholesale enquiries for terms etc. please use
Sales enquiries:

RED Herring -1950’s “Telecaster” tone bone pick up sets

  • Alnico 3 Magnets
  • Bridge 43 Plain Enamel
  • Neck 43 Plain Enamel
  • Handwound

  • Nickel Silver Cover

Our 1950’s Tele set specification takes the ‘best of the old and combines it with the new’. The old 50’s  Broadcaster Tele’s utilized a slightly different combination of materials. The main difference being the use a weaker Alnico magnet and 43 gauge wire on the bridge pickup. There is a lot of debate as to what a “Broadcaster” pup was made of. This is what we think makes the best combination. The bridge has full fat tone and the neck is clear – making for a unique and useful set of articulate tones.


 RED Herring -1960’s “Telecaster” tone bone pick-up sets

  • Alnico 5 magnets
  • Bridge 42 Plain Enamel
  • Neck 43 Plain Enamel
  • Handwound
  • Nickel Silver Cover

Our 60’s Tele set takes the best of the old and combines it with the new. Tele bridge pickups are notoriously thin. Ours adds some output but maintains that Tele twang. Your plain strings can sing but the wound will still snap and twang. The neck pickup is clear and strong. No dark or muddy tones here.


RED Herring- “Jaguar ” tone bone pick up sets

  • Alnico 5 magnets
  • Original Style Steel “claw”
  • Handwound
  • 42 Formvar

The Jaguar has long needed a suitable vintage style replacement and RED Herring  is proud to offer it’s vintage style Jaguars. The “big” secret to this cats Jag’s tone is the metal claw. Without this you simply have a strat pickup. The claw redirects the magnetic field and focuses it back to the string.  This makes for more efficient pickup and bigger fuller tone without over-winding and sacrificing detail or fidelity. (NOTE-a hotter output Jag pup can be specified)


RED Herring – “Jazzmaster ” tone bone pick-up sets

  • Period correct Alnico 5 magnets
  • Proper winding gap
  • 42 Plain Enamel Wire
  • Handwound- as a light scatter wind

The RED Herring  Jazzmasters are a faithful reproduction of one the ’60’s most unique & iconic guitars. The thin bobbin combined with the shorter magnet spreads the coil out into a magnetic field much further away from the magnets  than any other pickup. This makes for the Jazzmasters unique tone. Red Herring JM’s are handwound to vintage specs.. with a few extra turns to boost mid-range and make for a full rich fat tone, but one that can also really ‘chop its way’ through a mix .


RED Herring-“P-90 ” tone bone pickup sets

  • Alnico 4 magnets
  • 42 Plain Enamel Wire
  • VIntage style leads
  • Handwound

RH P-90’s utilize an Alnico 4 magnet and a special coil formula to garner the best “grind” around without losing your note definition. These will hit the front of your amp hard but still allow the rich harmonics of your guitar to be heard. A tribute to the best of an era with a nod to the tonal needs of todays players. Comes standard with black plastic covers- sonic beasts!


RED Herring “TEISCO/SS Ry Cooder “ tone bone pickups

 Built to original spec ** with DeArmonde style cover-we are really proud of these beauties..they look and sound fabulous

 The much sought after Teisco that was made famous on the  “Cooder-caster” is now available from RED Herring as a true to original **spec re-issue.

This particular replacement ‘tone bone ‘is wound with a 44 gauge wire to have a healthy warm mid-range and a buttery high end. The tone is full and round with rich harmonics due to the unique rubberised ceramic magnets.

It is also only .330 tall like a DeArmonde cover so makes a great retro fit for flat top solid bodies or low clearance guitars.

High quality chrome plating will last for years to come.

Note:  7.85k output -original spec was lower output at 6k **

Phase reversible two-conductor lead



RED HERRING…Tone Bones-enhancing your performance  

                                        tonal articulation, better fidelity and sonic qualities …the pickup with the distinctive tone & red bobbins


All our Red Herring replacement Tone Bones-guitar pickups are:

  • Wired -vintage correct
  • All ‘tone-bone’ pole spacings are vintage correct
  • All have un-lacquered bobbins-lacquering can be requested
  • Wax potted -unless- no potting is your requirement –please specify when placing your order; slight wax potting is available as a custom feature
  • We use plain paraffin wax for potting as Bees Wax has an acidic element (Propolis)  in it that is not good for copper.


Please note:

When mixing different manufacturers picks as replacements, electrical & magnetic polarity /phase  can be a problem resulting in hum

Find out the magnetic orientation of your pickup & we will build the single tone –bone requested with the opposite magnetic polarity ie hum cancelling

Electrical polarity can be physically adjusted on many pickups BUT not magnetic polarity


For hum-cancellation  the coils and magnetism must be opposites.

Strats would have a RWRP middle pick up.

Two pickup sets don’t really need a designated one….we simply state / call them a RWRP pair.

Humbuckers are naturally RWRP.

Humbuckers are naturally RWRP.

Registered office: 71-75 Shelton Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2H 9JQ
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