Brian Porter, the maestro at Porter Pickups, has amassed a loyal following with his high quality pickup options. Considering all the competition, that’s not an easy task. Pickup builders seem almost as numerous as pedal builders and the number of options can sometimes be overwhelming. Nevertheless, Porter Pickups have found its way into guitars all over the world, both as aftermarket parts and stock pickups for brands like Palir guitars. Nick Greer—the Athens, Georgia-based purveyor of pedals and amps—counts himself among Porter’s fans. Some time ago, he and Mr. Porter were talking tone and came up with the idea for something a little different. Greer was seeking a unique humbucker sound rooted in the past but not tied down to any notion of what a pickup needs to be. Two titans of tone came together to discuss the magic and wonder of electric guitar pickups. The result: Porter’s new Greer Wind Humbuckers.
Off the Beaten PAF
Seeing as Porter Pickups headquarters is located in my hometown of Boise, Idaho, I had the distinct pleasure of visiting the workshop to check out the new product. Porter describes the Greer Winds as rooted in classic PAF tones, but having their own distinct quality. They aren’t particularly high output pickups, and they aren’t low output either. These pickups are incredibly present. While listening to his new creation, Mr. Porter stated that the notes almost jump off the fretboard before you play, and he’s exactly right—they possess amazing touch sensitivity and are very responsive. And while those are buzzwords used in marketing campaigns for literally every pickup, I have to use them, because it’s the truth.
These pickups are unforgiving in the best possible way—they provide excellent articulation and note definition everywhere on the fretboard. The neck pickup is smooth and clear both clean and driven—it doesn’t have the muddiness of my personal Burstbucker-equipped Gibson—while the bridge bites without being piercing. With or without overdrive of either amp or pedal variety, the Greer Winds always deliver a strong, beautiful and clear signal. They are truly something that seasoned players will appreciate. For reference purposes, we tested the humbuckers in a 2005 Gibson 1959 Les Paul Standard reissue through a Dr. Z Maz 38. For dirt, we used a Greer Southland Harmonic Overdrive. And while we did not conduct a massive test with every type of pedal under the sun, the Greer Winds will be at home in any rig; there isn’t a bad sound available in these pickups.
The Greer Wind Humbuckers will be whatever you want them to be. They aren’t a PAF clone, and they also aren’t trying to be so different that they feel out of place. They are beautiful sounding, versatile, unique pickups for the discerning player that wants another option for their tone arsenal. If PAF-style humbuckers represent older brothers that played football and only listened to rock music, Greer Winds are the younger brothers that went to a liberal arts college, studied abroad for a few semesters, and dabbled in world music, yet still compete athletically with their siblings at the annual Thanksgiving Turkey Bowl. They are more refined, but powerful when need be. If you’re a lover of humbuckers and want to try a new flavor, check out this fantastic new collaboration between Greer and Porter. If you’re disappointed, go get your ears checked.
What We Like: Beautiful, articulate humbucking tones. Incredible touch sensitivity. Made with care by a dude that loves his job.
Concerns: If you don’t like it when your instrument sounds alive and full, then you should be very concerned.