Our Story

Ron grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area during the music explosion of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Ron was raised in a large musical family, his father played professionally as a young man in Oklahoma, performing with Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, Jimmy Wakely, and the Bell Boys. His older brothers were top-notch musicians and songwriters who performed in popular Bay Area bands. The Ellis home was alive with music and remained a revolving door for musicians, rehearsals, and recording. Growing up in these surroundings, Ron was able to experience the incredible music from that era and the sounds of those early instruments. Over the years, Ron’s interest has become a passion.

 As a guitar player and collector, Ron was always curious and interested in why the guitars made back in the ‘50s and ‘60s era sounded so incredibly good compared to newer and current production guitars. His curiosity and interest grew deeper in 2004 while visiting a vintage guitar store in Hollywood. Ron picked up a 1950 Fender Broadcaster and plugged it into an old 5B3 Tweed Deluxe amp. The sound and response of that Tele had such an impact that it led him to a long and extensive journey into figuring out exactly what makes these guitars sound and feel the way they do.

With over 35 years of experience working on a National Fusion Energy program, Ron has an extensive engineering background working with materials and mechanical design. With this knowledge Ron has been able to use high-tech machinery and techniques to reverse engineer the electronics, and particularly the pickups, of the classic vintage 50’s and 60’s guitars.

Ron Ellis Pickups started as a one-man operation in Ron’s home shop back in 2005. With help from his son Alan they have slowly and carefully grown the company into today’s current five person team. The pickups are carefully handmade and assembled in Carlsbad, California by this small team of music aficionados who care deeply about the products which they produce. They are made to the same exacting standards as Ron first developed back in his small shop. There are no shortcuts or compromises; each pickup is carefully checked before it moves on to the next build step. The various parts are custom-made and manufactured to Ron’s vintage correct specifications. This process involves extra component expense, manual labor and production cost, but it is the only way to achieve authentic vintage sound. Ron Ellis Pickups are made exactly as they were made in the ‘50s and ‘60s. 

We at Ron Ellis Pickups thank you for your interest in our products. We are always here to help you achieve the best possible tone to suit your individual needs as a player.