If you talk about serious guitar, there are a few names in Germany that have to be mentioned. Gregor Hilden is one of them.
The German Gitarre & Bass magazine is spot on by calling his playing an „effortless, fluid and elegant“ mixture of Soul, Blues & Jazz. Gregor´s favourite guitar players from early on reflect his economic and sensitive style very well: Peter Green, Larry Carlton and B.B. King. Gregor asked me if I could make him some pickups which were able to reproduce Green´s legendary out-of-phase sound that Gregor was getting out of his own No.1 ´68 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop „The Golden Voice“. And I did it. That´s the story behind the new HB GH Golden Voice Set.
Here Gregor plays his Les Paul "Golden Voice". The sound served as a model for the Kloppmann HB GH Golden Voice Pickup Set.
Photos by Manfred Pollert
Gregor Hilden´s signature pickups are the weapon of choice for all the Peter Green aficionados who love the nasal, honky out-of-phase sound from albums like Fleetwood Mac „Live in Boston“. With a semi-hollow ES-style guitar you could even get the typical ´60s B.B. King sound. These pickups react very sensitive to the player´s input. As Gregor reports: „The Golden Voice Set sounds so clear and open and responds so sensitive on my picking dynamics, it´s unbevlievable! I never had new pickups that sounded so musical, no matter what style you play! Andreas Kloppmann is very pleased about this high praise: Oh, well!
In the late 80s Thomas Blug was having a number of his vintage Marshalls serviced by the amp guru, Manfred Reckmeyer. But he was also looking for someone with an inroad to pickups. Master Reckmeyer had the answer: “Talk to Andreas Kloppmann, he knows what´s best!”. Shortly after that Thomas and I met.
Over the years Thomas and I have learned to appreciate each others knowledge and experience over endless discussions and analyses of old Strat pickups and how they compare to the curves my creations produce. The highpoint of our relationship was reached in the early 90s when I mounted a bespoke mid pickup on his beloved ´61 Strat. Since then this pickup has not once left its designated harbour. Thomas and I have continued our exchanges on guitars, pickups, capacitors and amps over the past 25 years, thereby cementing our respect and friendship for one another. Thomas´s experience and advice but also his tireless campaign supporting my pickups are major contributors to the international acclaim Kloppmann Electrics now enjoys.
During the testing of the Blug Signature Guitar, Thomas tried out my new Real 65 Set in one of the prototypes. He was blown-away by the typical mid´60s tone and promptly combined the neck and bridge pickup from the set with his rewired 1966 middle pickup. In doing so, the ST Blug II Set was created for his new project. The set was further fine-tuned and Thomas described it as follows: “My typical Strat neck pickup sound harmonizes perfectly with the beautifully mild bridge pickup and fantastic pearly sound can be produced in the positions 2 and 4”.
ST Blug I:
Thomas Blug was instrumental in my decision to develop my own Dummy Coil (DC). So what is a Dummy Coil? Well, I´ll have to get a little technical now: The Coil picks up the same interference as a normal Strat pickup. This is then serially mixed with pickup signal but with alternative phase. The disturbance is then materially reduced. The tone is more stable and smoother, which is hugely beneficial in high-gain sounds. Thomas uses the DC as much as a filter as a hum-reducer to create his sounds. Put in a less than technical manner: it sounds great and doesn´t hum!
At the end of the 80s Thomas Blug was on the lookout for the optimum middle pickup for his ´61 Strat. The studio projects of that time were driven by the intermediate 2 and 4 positions but the ´61 Strat´s middle pickup did not offer enough incisiveness to the tone. Thomas soon found an original 1966 Strat pickup which covered his needs and had me reproduce one as a RWRP version in 1993. In the meantime, Thomas has been named Best Strat Player in Europe with his individual tone being his trademark. The ST Blug Set consist of a replica 1960 neck pickup, the 1966 middle pickup and a 1962 bridge pickup.
Award winning guitarist Marcus Deml has a worldwide following of fans and music lovers based on his work with “Errorhead“ and now with „The Blue Poets“ A big part of the attraction is his larger than life Stratocaster tone to which I have been honored to contribute.
We have been working together since the „Modern Hippie“ album in 2008. This cooperation resulted in the Errorhead set which is in Marcus´s opinion probably the best balanced HSS set on the market.
The new „Blue Poet“ ST-Set provides all the sounds and nuances of a vintage Stratocaster pickup set with the advantage of a special voiced bridge pick-up capable of both screaming and whispering. It performs beautifully with the entire tones range from crystal clean through crunch to high gain. Once again special attention was given to the balance of each of the 5 positions. An extra blend pot for hum cancelling – a must-have for Marcus – is also an attractive option for the Blue Poet Set.
Blue Poet Set clean:
Blue Poet Set crunch:
Blue Poet Set driven:
For Marcus‘ black Strat with HSS configuration (bridge humbucker and single coils) the two sound doctors, Deml and Kloppmann developed a special set: with the singlecoils from the Real 62 Strat set and a special new humbucker, the HB-DML.The Real 62 Strat pickups sound fatter and earthier than the ST60 set.The HB-DML has a coilsplit and offers the best of both worlds. While displaying all the biting legendary Kloppmann humbucker drive, the singlecoil has the true, authoritative Strat tone.
Peter Weihe is a living legend in the world of guitar players. Anyone who listens to the radio will have heard his genius which ranges from the so beguiling intro in the Rainbirds hit Blueprint to his contributions on albums by Jack Bruce, Rio Reiser and Meat Loaf. The list just goes on an on.
When I first met Peter Weihe back in 1979 it was a fateful moment in the pickup doctor´s life. Peter´s 58´Gibson Les Paul Standard was the first original Burst he had ever seen, and more to the point, heard. Gibson have in fact honored this remarkable instrument with its limited model Gibson CC #28 „STP“ Burst. I have never forgotten this wonderful vintage guitar which has so characterised my perception of the perfect, mesmerizing Les Paul tone. Following years of intensive testing with Peter, I have finally created a signature set, the HB-PW which covers all the demands made of it. As Peter Weihe himself summed up „I am totally surprised but also enthralled at how the new Kloppmann Humbuckers completely capture the tone and the power of articulation so familiar from my original PAFs“.
The HB PW Deluxe Set is identical to the HB PW Set, but there are two Bumble Bee Paper In Oil Tone Capacitors enclosed.
The Kloppmann HB-PW Set is used in the video.
The Grand Master Peter Weihe wanted highly sensitive pickups offering a vast array of sounds and emotions at differing settings of the volume control. To this end, we created the HB-PW set. It covers all the bases and enchants with its bewitching tonal intensity. Whether creamy high gain or airy and clean, the HB-PW achieves an engaging balancing act. The emotion of searing lead sounds in the highest ranges in combination with clarity and definition on the lower strings, always adeptly avoiding any muddying of tones, is well beyond the reach of lesser pickups.
Andy Powell is guitarist and original member of the british rockband Wishbone Ash.
The Andy Powell Custom Beef ist the result of my cooperation with Rock Legend, Andy Powell of Wishbone Ash fame. For many years Andy used my HB 59 but wanted more “beef ” and more juice. The result is this wonderful pickup! The HB AP Custom Beef does not, just to make things clear, have any more power than a regular HB 59, it just delivers a thicker more meaty tone. This makes the pickup a natural choice for SGs and Flying Vs that have thinner bodies than a Les Paul. The AP Custom Beef compensates the lack of the mass in these thinner guitars. Andy was thrilled, as was I, and since then this powerful Humbucker has been available for all those looking for more “beef ” to feed to their rock tones.
This pickup was a custom made homework for my friend Till Hoheneder, a German musician, comedian & author. He wanted to have a typical Strat bridge pickup with the gain and midrange of a good Telecaster bridge pickup in order to compensate the loss of gain when changing from his Esquire to his Strat during a set. Mission impossible? So I came up with the ST60 Tillcaster bridge pickup: Although slightly overwound it´s sonically a typical Kloppmann! Gainy with a chimey top end, punchy and dirty – but always with clarity, definition and superb string seperation! And the best: the ST Tillcaster has not lost his Strat identity. A perfect choice for fans of Billy Gibbons or Keith Richards and a best kept secret for Hardtail Strats.
ST Real 62 Tillcaster clean:
ST Real 62 Tillcaster crunch:
ST Real 62 Tillcaster driven:
Till Hoheneder - Author (u. a. für Comedians, Fernsehen & Film, Stern Online), Musician (Till & Die Altobellis / Hausband für Atzes Sommer / Ex Till & Obel) and Comedian (Qutasch Comedy Club / Schillerstraße / Genial daneben / Nightwash / Samstag Nacht / Lachen verboten u.v.m.)
Oh yes, it´s Stratty alright! I has all the bite and honk in the mid positions, but something is different. Till Hoheneders Tillcaster Set cries out loud and clear: “Lean, mean and DIRTY!“. Lean, mean and dirty! The young Gary Moore springs to mind… John Frusciante and all those who like a shot of dirt in their Strat sound. These guys all like to go straight into their amps and control the dynamics with the pickups, the stroke of their picks and the volume control. But one more thing is still on here: the Tillcaster Set can also play clean! Other pickups might sound finer and more elegant but if you have fallen in love with this radiant and completely filthy little rowdy you won´t look any further than the Real 62 Tillcaster!
Das war ja klar. Kaum hatte Till Hoheneder seinen Stratocaster ST 60 Tillcaster Bridgepickup, da bearbeitete er mich solange, bis ich ihm auch einen speziellen Tillcaster-Bridgepickup für seine Toploader Esquire kreierte! Wenn der normale TL 60 Bridge ein Dobermann ist, dann knurrt der TL 60 Tillcaster wie ein Rottweiler!
Guitarist of the band Ela und Ratpack.
This pickup is for the Hard Boys but maintains its touch for delicate finesse. Dethy Borchardt wanted a dynamic Humbucker which could still assert itself without losing its tonal elegance in high gain drives and even at high volumes. The sound needed to be fast and thick but had to maintain its sheen despite the high output. I had the right solution for him. In contrast to classical PAF Humbuckers, this one has pole screws on both coil bodies. These adjustments allow the Borchardt to produce a host of nuances in its presenation.