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  • Writer's pictureBarış Şahin

Interview with Hathor Pickups

Speciale Conversation with Dariusz Pietrzykowski of Hathor Pickups

In this exclusive interview, we had a chat with Dariusz Pietrzykowski, the passionate mind behind Hathor Pickups, a renowned pickup manufacturer based in Poland. With an enthusiasm for crafting exceptional guitar pickups, Dariusz has made a significant mark in the boutique pickups scene. Join us as we explore the origins of Hathor Pickups, examine Dariusz's creative process, and discover what sets his products apart in a competitive industry; his dedication on his pickups. Whether you're a musician, a gear enthusiast, or simply curious about the art of pickup making, this conversation promises to offer valuable insights and inspiration.

Hello Dariusz. Can you tell us about the founding story of Hathor Pickups and the inspiration behind starting the company?

Hi Baris ! At the beginning I would like to say thank you for the idea of this interview :-) I will make a long story short. It all started at around year 2010, and it was not a business idea at that time. I bought my first guitar this year. It was a accoustic guitar, but very soon I bought electric one. It was Fender Tele, Mexico series. I know absolutely nothing about guitar hardware, but hear that sound of this guitar was not perfect for me. I made some research soon and found, that this little things under the strings with few magnets are responsible for the tone. Because I like to make things and experiments, I made first neck single coil pickup for Tele, out of some scrap plastic and magnets and wire ordered from web store. Bobbins are made by hand, with drilled holes. After few attemps I successfully drilled them in perfect line and in right spacing :) Then made a simple winder from power drill and winding counter from a hacked calculator. In my research, I found that single coil should have about 8000 copper windings. Did that, and I was amazed with tone of this pickup. It sounded so clear with a lot more treble, comparing to stock pickups. I loved it and at this time I thought it will be just one unique pickup. I got next idea soon, to make my own Strat guitar, because of its very comfortable shape. I need to make next pickups, so I do more research about materials, wire, magnets. While searching a wood for Strat body, I found a luthiers from my city – I live in Kraków, city of Poland, Central Europe. That’s the way I met a Hathor workshop. They made guitars since years and we liked each other a lot. Learned a lot about guitars, audio electronics and it was beginning of my way with pickups, under Hathor brand. It’s 12 years now (2024) :)

Is Hathor Pickups one man business or something bigger?

This is a full time work for me since years. Company is one man business actually, I’m responsible for all projects, but also delegate some work. I said “now”, because got some crash in business in 2022 and got to make one step back, but working to make two steps ahead :)

What sets Hathor Pickups apart from other pickup manufacturers in the industry?

Here are my thoughts:

Firstly - It’s really hard to invent something new in this business. There are lot of coil, magnet, core combinations in pickups. Magnetic, optical, piezo, all of that was in industry before.

Second – my idea is to have a specific offer. Not like a dozens of humbucker models that are nearly the same. My idea is to have specialized models that really differs in sound style to make decision for customers easier.

Thirdly - I’m open minded, still seraching for something new and there is no “impossible”. I got skills in product development, 2D/3D software, cnc devices operation. I like to create products, that are not made of standard market parts, but focus and develop something better. Of course I’ve got in my offer trully classics, like single coils. They are working fine, and sound very good. Personally I love single coils tone :)

You have many models as i can see on your webpage. Can you please introduce your most memorable own pickup models to my readers from all around the globe?

Most memorable pickup was the first one :) Just 6 rod magnets and some copper wire, and it works :) But yes, there are few experiments that make impression on me and set a new direction. This will not be a specific models, but few discoveries. Maybe I will cause some controversy, but at the beginning of production I found that hand scatter wound is not always a advantage. Other time I was excited after switching from ceramic to neodymium magnets in some models, and found that they are also very interesting magnets for pickups. Memorable pickup was first split coil pickup – single coil like, but noiseless. One more pickup I got in memory was made to double bass. It’s first pickup that requires development of all parts from scratch and it started my way of making completely new products. Actually I’m working on next generation of double bass pickup and an exotic pickup for a handpan instrument.

You have unique designs among the ones are to be considered traditional. I want to mention some of them that made me wonder. Can you please tell me more about them?

They are really unique pickups. Yes, I like classic pickup models, but also like to implement something new into them. For a guitarists that love single coil sound, I created BGV and Unicorn pickups. BGV prototype was made in 2016 and it’s one of my most favorite neck humbuckers. It sound is specific because I didn’t use standard humbucker magnetic circuit like big bar magnet and steel cores, but it’s rather like two combined single coils with Alnico rods. I was inspired by a Wide Range humbucker, and I wanted to make a pickup that is a still humbucer, but is more airy, and it worked very well !

Unicorn is unique squared. It’s for Strat tone lovers. It’s just a active single coil with a dummy coil in humbucker format. Noiseless operation, converting any HB compatible guitar into Strat.

What can you tell me about Myenho? >9K overwound PAF-ish pickups are my speciality so that i wonder it so very much :)

One of last models from this year. Most of customers describe my pickups as a airy sounding. That mean they have very wide frequency. “Myenho” name sounds little bit funny in polish language, it’s like “meat”. Name describes this pickup perfectly. It’s like fat PAF humbucker with boosted midrange, but still in medium output range. This pickup open new series of pickups with a more mid-focused frequency response, little bit less airy, but it’s very good for a overdrive tones. Second model with this specification is ShredRunner, but it is less rock, more metal dedicated pickup.

Hathor Pickups

What considerations should guitarists keep in mind when selecting Hathor pickups for their instruments?

Selecting pickup to instrument is not an easy thing. Even having lot of sample sounds and videos, real tone they get may be little different because of different electronics, wires, amps and at least diferences in instruments. I always give time to check out my products and guitarists always have 14 days of trial to check out if they are satisfied. If not, there is no problem to send them and have money back. This is less than 1% of produced pickups, but I always mention that :)

Can you describe the design process of your own? Can you share any interesting anecdotes or stories from the development process of a specific pickup models of your own?

This is best part of production for me, the very early part of process and the brainstorm behind this. I think this is the process I like the most. Production of series models are a routine in some way, but it’s very good because there is no place for mistakes. Creating something new gives a limitless possibilities. I’m talking now not only about pickups. I love to do 2D/3D projects and then push them into reality. In last months I was experimenting with a different products. For example I started a concrete project. Preparation of 3D model, then casting mold and final object made of concrete. Who knows, maybe having some more time I can run second production line :) Actually in time of writing this, I’m preparing to move my workshop to new place so it’s not a time for this now, need to focus 100% on pickups.

Can you share more about the core values that drive your company and how these are reflected in

your products?

There is one most important core value from the beginning. Make products, that sounds good, are durable and in fair price. I mention the price, because guitar pickups are completely not a rocket science. There is a lot of audio-voodoo on this market. I don’t want to belong to this. It’s just some magnets and copper wire and some testing of parameters behind this :)

How do you ensure the quality of your pickups, and what makes them unique in terms of sound and performance?

I put lot of effort to ensure that quality is the best. It’s not a mass production, so it’s much easier to take care about every produced pickup. I use two winder machines to make coils. This machines are also made by me and last one by my Dad. Magnets are magnetized before shipping to ensure they’re 100% charged.

Hathor Pickups

Can you mention a bit about your “raw materials”? Can you source good materials with quality for bobbins, coil wire, magnets etc.?

As long as I can, I use domestic suppliers, so I have copper wire from Poland. But, there are problems with more specialized parts, like bobbins, magnets. On the beginning, I order most of parts from USA. It makes me fell very good to have parts from beautiful country, which is USA :) But in some time, I found that some of that parts are really from asian countries, just imported to USA and then sold to customers. Then I just started to take some basic parts like bobbins from producers. Wire, vulcanised fibre, magnets are from Europe. There are also some very good suppliers in UK I’m cooperating with.

What do you think about wax potting? I think you apply it on all of your pickups and i didn’t see any option on your website.

True, I don’t have an option to choose wax or not. I wax pot 100% of pickups, until customer ask for non-wax pickups. From my history, I have few customers asked for non-wax and after some time, pickups returned for a wax because of feedback. But it’s also true that I have few orders for non-wax and customers are happy :)

I see you mostly use untraditional baseplates (seem like a circuit board) instead of well known nickel silver mostly (not everytime or every model, i can see). Do you think your baseplates have any tonal advantages or not?

I switched to PCB baseplates for some reasons. Before them, I used to order a laser cut baseplates from nickel-silver material. I customized their shape, hole pattern and added a golden “H” in the middle. All of them are flat from the factory, and then I had to bend all edges, mounting legs. I did it all in vice with a tools and hammer. It was great exercise, especially to bend short 3mm side wall of baseplate :)

I switched few years ago to PCB in humbuckers, P90s, Rail humbuckers. I like this clean look. It minimalizes wire length and there is less mess with wires inside pickup. It also allows to put active electronics parts into pickup or wire connector. It’s 3th revision of PCB now with some improvements like indesctructible brass mounting screw threads, that are also slightly bigger (metric M3 thread) than classic #3-48 thread. This allow also to use more types of wood screws to fix pickup to guitar body, without damage to thread in pickup base.

I may say it’s also easier to assembly to PCB than to metal base, but it’s nearly the same if we think about time. In both cases you have to prepare wire, fix magnet, bobbins, use securing tape.

Hathor Pickups baseplates

Are there any particular artists or music genres that inspire your pickup designs? It seems you really have a wide product pallette :)

Actually I just like colours :) My passion is photography so I’m sensitive to colours, composition. It’s not related to music genres :) By the way, I used to listen much more to electronic music since few years, less guitar. Maybe it’s just too much guitars in my work :)

What has been the most challenging/hardest project or product development phase for Hathor Pickups, and how did you overcome it?

Probably the most challenging phase of development was to learn to make good 3D prints. Pickups in case of tone, are pretty easy. You got few magnet types, wire diameters, few magnet circuit patterns. After some pickups done, you hear the relations between this parameters, no magic :) After I started with 3D printers, it takes me one month of printing everyday for hours, to have it working really fine. I do bobbins for some pickups and covers also.

How do you stay innovative in a market that is both traditional and competitive?

My solution is simple :) I really don’t scan much what’s going on the market. Just have some ideas and developing them. After years I believe that pickup market is so deep, that any producer can find their customers and fans. Actually I’m working on some new interesting projects and introduce them soon :)

Hathor Pickups

From your perspective, how is the guitar pickup industry evolving, and where do you see it heading in the next few years?

This is great question. We have electric guitars made the same way like 70 years ago, and they are still in producion and we don’t see any revolution in this range. Of course, electronics, amp simulations are better and better, but pickups are still working in the same principle. Maybe we don’t need a revolution in this case because this is the tone of guitar we love :) We can try to make pickups noiseless, but good guitar tone is not a Hi-Fi sound, so probably it have to stay like it is with no revolution needed.

Are there any emerging technologies or trends that you believe will significantly impact the pickup market?

New technologies that allows to produce parts in your home will impact this market surely. There are dozens of talented people who have ideas and now can realize them, maybe inventing something interesting :)

What does the future hold for Hathor Pickups? Are there any upcoming projects or collaborations you're excited to share? Except the pickups for handpan instruments :)

We are experimenting with active electronics since some time. This year something new will be added to offer surely but I don’t want to talk too much, it’s too early :)

It all from me. If you have parting words to all readers, now it is the time Buddy :) My best wishes goes to Poland and Hathor Pickups team :)

At the end I can say that development of the company is possible only by customers choosing Hathor Pickups and I’m glad it’s possible to do my job since 12 years :) At the begining of this year I revised my webpage and made it from scratch in refreshed look. I did also webstore with easy to choose options like colours, spacing, pole piece type. New version is actually in polish language only, but I will work on english version and add international shipping and payment options to webstore. Despite this, for international order and shipping, or if you have any questions about cooperation or specific models, just write an email at

Thank you for and have a great day ! :)

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