Harmonic Design Soap Bars

Sonic Blue 55

New Member
Feb 16, 2018
My Gold Top McCarty Double Cut is getting what I hope will be better pickups. I ordered a set of Harmonic Design VP 90 soapbars. Takes a month, but since they are made here in Bakersfield, I can get them installed by the builder.
Curious to hear a tone report after this - I've thought about changing the pups in my McSoapy a couple time.
Congrats. Truly one of the best and most unique pickup winders in the world. Scott does things no one else can, and I don't understand it, but his stuff just has MORE. More of all the good stuff you want.

His VP 90s are my favorite P 90's of all time. And they have a bit less hum as well. Good choice.
I would love to hear a tone report, as well. Always great to have options for the soapbar-sized holes out there. Be sure to update us.
Thanks. I am looking for the kind of tone I had on my ‘59 Les Paul TV Special. A bit more grind with earlier break up.

I have TTop PAFs in my ‘65 Melody Maker. They sound more like what I want than the Throbak PAFs in my SG.

The search continues.
Today I get the McCarty with HDs and head to band practice. Scott Peterson, owner/designer/builder at HD was slammed with Christmas orders so I told him to get caught up before he got to mine. Yesterday he was installing the pickups and pots.

I will give my thoughts tomorrow.
Harmonic Design pickups are like adding nitrous under the hood of a 4 cylinder Honda. All of a sudden, you have a hot rod hard to control.

Scott installed the pickups along with new pots, a capacitor or two, and special Voodoo wiring. Compared to the original Duncans, they are hotter and louder. The taper on the volume pot allows you to get the Duncan sound at about 5, meaning it’s softer and sweeter. Roll it all the way and you are Thor fighting a fire breathing dragon.

I put a new set of DAddario NYXL .010s on and drove to practice. My brother Mike always says what he likes. First, it was my Melody Maker with TTop PAFs from the mid 60s. Then it was the Tele. I pulled out the PRS and it was his new fave. I played the Tele at first with the HD Vintage + set. Scott’s version of a P90 for a Tele, I love it through my Victoria Tweed Deluxe, which I used for the gig Friday with the pedal steel player. Then I switched to the McCarty. Brother Mike once again proclaimed it his favorite. I find a new set of strings too crisp. I dialed in my tone, got the spank and harmonic overtones I love, and when the band started playing, the sound disappeared in the mix. Extremely frustrating. I will play it for a week to quiet the strings and decipher the Rosetta Stone of adjustments to get what I consider to be the best tone.

More to come in a week.
I have figured the new pups out.
Scott’s new pots and wiring really do the trick. Halfway up is clean and clear with plenty of volume for rhythm and chords. Turning the volume pot up gives more power and grind. I spent a few days with the Tech21 Classic 60. It’s clean tone is obviously solid state. Switching channels gives the SansAmp drive that my keyboard brother likes. Today I plugged into the Victoria Tweed Deluxe with volume and tone at 5.
This is the sound I have been looking for: Clean and dirty just by using the volume pot.
Make sure you download the Tech 21 manual on their website. I have a 4/10 and a 1/12 Trademark 60. There’s an incredibly steep learning curve to using it... For the last 16 years, it’s been my #1 gig amp when there is more than one flight of stairs to get to the venue.