It Started with a Sewing Machine
And a six pack of beer that I traded for some time on a buddy's laser cutter. I'd built guitars before, but not pickups. Making the actual voice of the guitar was the next step in getting that perfect tone.
So I scavenged magnets out of some busted pickups, cut some flatwork out of scrap fiberboard, and taped the bobbins to the flywheel of an old sewing machine. It wasn't a production setup, but it worked. It took some practice and a whole lot of wire, but in time the coils got straighter, the bobbins cleaner, and the tone where I wanted it.
I put the first set in the first guitar I ever built, and I made a few more for some of my other projects too. Then my friends started trying them out and really liked the tone. Word spread, and before too long the orders started rollin' in.
We've grown since then and had some upgrades too - the sewing machine's been retired - but we still operate the way we started: A by-the-bootstraps labor of love looking to put quality American pickups in the hands of hard-working musicians and builders.
You Can't Outsource Passion
It would have been easy to draw up our designs, spec out our recipes and send them off to a factory overseas. We even got quotes and commissioned prototypes. But we learned that no one will ever be more passionate about your product than yourself, and that lack of passion showed.
So we wind our pickups in our small Ohio garage. It's really a great place to do that sorta thing - plenty of space and light and fresh air. It's nice to see the neighbors or take a break and go for a walk.
The electric guitar is a uniquely American instrument, and we're thrilled to be a part of the American guitar-building community. We happily consult, offer advice to, and receive advice from other builders, musicians, modders, technicians, tinkerers and weekend warriors within the community. What unites us all is a love for the guitar and an endless pursuit of tone.
Made to be Played
We want everyone to be able to put a great set of pickups in their guitar. Our pickups can stand up to any boutique brand out there, but those big prices just aren't what Bootstrap is all about. We're not all about that ultra-rare new-old-stock unobtanium materials either, we just want to build awesome pickups for everyone to enjoy.
-Ryan, Colby, Lou and the rest of the Bootstrap Team