- Design Process
***Limited to 75 Sets for 2022***
Virgil Arlo 1954 Strat Replacement Pickups are the secret weapon of many professional guitarists. They swear by them & most would agree that the Virgil Arlo 1954's are the best Stratocaster Replacement pickups ever made. Any time one of these pros adds a new or vintage guitar to their stable of working instruments, this is the first upgrade they perform. Its pretty well known among session players, touring guitarists & recording engineers that these amazing pickups are instruments themselves & take any guitar to the next level.
If you consider yourself to be a serious guitarist or a serious connoisseur of tone, then these pickups are an absolute must. Any decent guitarist knows the circuitry of your amplifier actually starts in your guitar, precisely at the location of your pickups. Anything less than the best only subtracts from the overall dynamics, response and quality of your tone.
The winder known as "Virgil Arlo" has been responsible for crafting pickups that are considered by many to be superior to vintage pickups. They are an irreplaceable part of so many elite musicians signal chain. We are proud to carry on this tradition of excellence.
When Mr. Arlo retired from winding pickups, it left a huge void in the industry. Prices for used sets of these Strat pickups skyrocketed to around $2,000. Shortly after he retired we released a limited run of "Tan Label Reissues" using his machinery and old part supply. Those sets quickly sold out. The Tan Label Virgil Arlo Reissues we made almost never show up for sale on the used market but when they do, you typically see them selling for as much as the "White Label" originals made by the man himself. There is no greater compliment than to see pickups we built being valued at the same level as pickups built by the master himself.
Mr. Arlo was extremely particular about the materials used, he was also very meticulous in the processes he employed to create what many serious pro guitarists regard as the best pickups ever made. We've spared no expense in the building process of these 1954 Virgil Arlo Black Label Clones. We've mastered the various Virgil Arlo techniques, each of which are time consuming but necessary to achieve top-flight tone & response.
We were able to source identical clones of the material he used in his builds. We also employ the same techniques and tools he used in his builds. It's a costly and time consuming process but it's worth every penny and every moment waiting if you are serious about achieving optimal tone.
If you've ever had the pleasure of hearing these amazing pickups, then you know they are worth the wait & every penny. The Virgil Arlo Black Label Clones from Tone Specific are physically and sonically identical to the original Virgil Arlo Pickups made by the man himself.
There will certainly be folks who only want to use the original "White Label Arlo's" in their guitars. That's great if you can find them & even better if you can afford them. For everyone else, we are proud to present the Virgil Arlo Black Label Pickups by Tone Specific. Everyone that has played them has loved them. We know you will too.
How to Buy/Pricing
Starting in 2022, we have secured the rights to make these pickups for up to 2 years. This commitment will be pushing our limited manpower resources. We are very proud to make these pickups but our long-term goals are more focused on our proprietary Tone Specific designs.If you are serious about acquiring the Virgil Arlo tone, then you won't want to procrastinate any longer.
The price for the set is $1000 - Made by hand right here in the USA using identical materials and techniques as the original Virgil Arlo Strat Pickups. Due to the meticulous build schedule of these pickups, the current wait is about 2-3 months. To order click the "Add to Cart" at the top of the page.
More Information about Virgil Arlo
There has been a lot of interest in the man behind the Virgil Arlo persona. Virgil picked up the nickname, "Arlo" in his younger years, due to his resemblance to a famous musician. When it came time to write his name on the back of pickups, his full name wouldn't fit so he just wrote "Virgil Arlo". He never wanted to be famous, so working under a pseudonym made a lot of sense to him.
Much of the success of Virgil Arlo, is due to word of mouth in the session player communities of Nashville and Los Angeles. No serious musician wants to lose a gig due to inferior gear. As a result, the Arlo's became a staple of the session player scene.
When the legendary pickup winder known as "Virgil Arlo" retired from winding pickups, it left a huge void in the industry. Prices for used sets of those amazing pickups quickly skyrocketed to $2,000 - $3,000 per set.
Virgil Arlo Pickups are at the core of many pro guitarists signature tone. They are used by household names, as well as behind the scenes session players. Anytime one of these guys would add a new or vintage guitar to the stable, the first thing they'd do is drop in a set of the Arlo's.
In early 2021, an agreement was reached for Tone Specific to build Virgil Arlo reissues using the remaining supply of parts from the shop of Mr. Arlo. Those sets were called the "Tan Label Reissues" and they sold out very quickly. We were proud to make those pickups and humbled by the incredible feedback we received from our customers.
The demand for the Virgil Arlo designs continues. The limited supply of used sets, along with the demand created by pros needing a set for each guitar, has launched the prices to levels beyond the reach of most casual guitarists. We are proud to offer these exact clones and a more affordable price.