Virgil Arlo pickups

rburkard

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
3,075
So, I was interested in the Virgil Arlo pickups and ordered three sets. One Tele, one Strat and one humbucker set. All I can say is:"Whoah!" Easily the best vintage style pickups I have ever used, and I fooled around with many. The Strat set in a Custom Shop 57 replica compares favorably to my original 65 Strat. Dynamic response, very even balance, clear and no icepick. The Tele set performs the same way in this typical vintage Broadcaster style. The humbuckers are what I crave the most, probably because I am a Les Paul kind of guy. Put them in a 59 Gibson True Historic. The original Custom Buckers are really nice pickups already, the Arlos however open up a whole new layer of additional vintage flavor. Compared to a set of Tom Holmes, they have a lot in common. Both have this outstanding complexity and sound truly like a great set of original vintage P.A.Fs. Both pickups represent a slightly different flavor however, like you will find in almost all originals. While the Tom Holmes strike me as a tad more elegant, like dressed up in a Tuxedo, while the Arlos sound a little bit more raw in a good way. Both sets showcase exceptional clarity with outstanding picking dynamics and singing harmonics and prevail in this very rare oxymoron of being warm and clear at the same time. Difficult to describe, but you feel it right away on your fingertips. Both sets are really organic, meaty and musical. Real gems. I am leaning a tad more towards the Arlos for their more raw sounding character. The only other brand which could hang with them in proximity is one set of Scatterbranes I own, but they have less clarity and balls, but are very sweet too.
 

amphead777

Member
Messages
3,683
I wonder how they compare to Throbaks, and other "SUPER PAF's" like Doyle Coils, Ron Ellis, and OTPG?
 
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rburkard

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
3,075
Had two sets of Throbaks the I sold shortly after I got them. They didn't strike me as being very special and were not that close to some old PAFs that I owned. Not in the same league as Tom Holmes or Virgil Arlo.
 
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slowerhand

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,188
Thanks for the review. I've got a strat set on order myself. After experiencing the difference a real 1956 set made in an already nice Strat, and what Allen Hinds said in his video, I want to try these. Good thing I'm covered for humbuckers and I'm not a tele guy. :)
 
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sockeye

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
225
Lol, Virgil Arlo belongs with Sasquatch and the Yeti. Or maybe more like Freekish Blues and Vertex/Mason Marengella. We know Virgil doesn’t really exist, the question is do they (and “Tone Specific”) really wind their own, or are they buying and reboxing someone else’s pickups. My guess is it’s the latter.
 
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Mpcoluv

Member
Messages
3,341
Lol, Virgil Arlo belongs with Sasquatch and the Yeti. Or maybe more like Freekish Blues and Vertex/Mason Marengella. We know Virgil doesn’t really exist, the question is do they (and “Tone Specific” really wind their own, or are they buying and reboxing someone else’s pickups. My guess is it’s the latter.
wow if it’s the latter, this will trump
vertex.....
The interesting thing is that no one has ever confessed to buying them and not liking the pickups.
 

PeterUK

Member
Messages
239
It seems like this mythical brand of pick ups is being heavily hyped on the TDPRI where most of the long-term members have never heard of him/it/them.

The latest hype is how he has stopped making pick ups and the prices have shot up to $1500 a set!

That’s more than a set of mythical Ron Ellis pick ups.

So much pick up hype!

Jeez! :rolleyes:
 

slowerhand

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,188
It seems like this mythical brand of pick ups is being heavily hyped on the TDPRI where most of the long-term members have never heard of him/it/them.

The latest hype is how he has stopped making pick ups and the prices have shot up to $1500 a set!

That’s more than a set of mythical Ron Ellis pick ups.

So much pick up hype!

Jeez! :rolleyes:
And the breathless OP of that thread has been a member since... 2020. "Virgil" is taking the piss, but figures on balance it's better to be talked about.
 
M

Member 214873

All I can say is I auditioned many vintage/ paf style pickups before putting VA in my new Ken McKay 335. Say what you will there great, harmonically rich , not high gain pickups, just clear and warm. Haters gonna hate, till you’ve tried them , you don’t know what your missing. And yes I’ve owned/own original Paf guitars . If they were crappy I’d say so. Would like to put them in my strat as well. Don’t like the hype etc? Don’t buy um.
 

guitarjb44

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
812
I own the Virgil Arlo Telecaster pickups. They are great, though I haven’t compared them to any other high-end Telecaster pickups, except for the Joe Barden JBE pickups they replaced. I still like the Bardens too, if that matters- just preferring the VA pickups since I got them last Spring.
 

Vic Wilder

Red Circle Guitars - Vic Wilder
Double Platinum Member
Messages
43
All I can say is I auditioned many vintage/ paf style pickups before putting VA in my new Ken McKay 335. Say what you will there great, harmonically rich , not high gain pickups, just clear and warm. Haters gonna hate, till you’ve tried them , you don’t know what your missing. And yes I’ve owned/own original Paf guitars . If they were crappy I’d say so. Would like to put them in my strat as well. Don’t like the hype etc? Don’t buy um.
You are correct. in fact, Ken is now using Arlo's 59 PAFs in his DOT 335 builds. I can attest to that because I just recently sold a new build of his and have two more on the way. Arlo isn't a Shakespear...if you know what the historians think if Shake Spear...

Furthermore, @PeterUK , as a dealer of both Arlo and Tone Specific, I can tell you they are hand-wound by real people here in the USA in California. It's only a myth if you don't know the facts. I speak to them regularly and they don't grunt like the Squatch I assure you that. If you've ever had a set you'd know that your guess that they are cheap knockoffs would be immediately disproven. You're generating fake news here my man!

Cheers,

Vic
 




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