The Jazzmaster guitar is originally manufactured with single coil pickups that have a size and shape unique unto themselves. Their flat and wide coil design differs from the more common high and tight single coil pickups on the market today. This distinct size and shape of the original design limits guitar players from experimenting with new tones, preventing them the opportunity to modify or replace their pickups without negatively affecting the instruments value. Now, with the Sheptone Jazzbucker, musicians are able to install humbucker pickups to achieve new tones without changing the looks, the pickguard or body of the original guitar.
The Sheptone Jazzbucker uses butyrate bobbins, rough finished Alnico magnets, 42 plain enamel wire, and standard Jazzmaster pole spacing. The Jazzbucker is available in all standard Sheptone humbucker models; Tribute, AB Custom, Brian Kahanek Signature, Blue Sky, and Heartbreaker. Each set includes mounting hardware and choice of custom-drilled cream or black plastic Jazzmaster covers.
To give insight as to what drives Shep’s pursuit, he states “My philosophy is simple...pickups should be transparent and allow the primary tones of the wood to come through. It is a wooden instrument after all. If you really listen to those classic riffs and tones that we all know, you can hear the wood and that is the key. While some secondary tone is inherent to each pickup’s design, the job of the pickup is to respond to the players' touch (dynamics), enhance the natural harmonics and overtones that accompany each note, and transfer this "voice" to the rest of the signal chain.”
A little over seven years ago, Jeff Shepherd found himself in a local band and this is where the quest for tone began. An on-and-off recreational guitar player since the age of 12, the guitars he was playing live just didn’t sound the way he wanted. He purchased a set of 1958 Gibson PAF’s for a ridiculous $4000 to put in his EC-1000 and the difference was incredible. Being the type that likes to tinker and take things apart to see how they work (much to his parents dismay as a child), he began to experiment with winding his own pickups and comparing them to my 1958 originals, back and forth, adjust and re-adjust for over a year until he finally was able to duplicate THAT tone. Since then he has been fortunate enough to extensively analyze over 100 of those old humbuckers, developing a consistent modern recipe as a reasonably priced substitute for over-priced vintage pickups. With a lot of work and some luck along the way, his original curiosity exploded into a full time business, now shipping to every guitar playing country in the world based on word-of-mouth alone. Sheptone has since developed several lines of pickups including Strat, Tele, P90, Bass, and others based on the same principles and procedures.