I have been meaning to write something about this pickup for a long time now – it has been in my US Std partscaster since January.
I have a Tonerider Hot Classic in my Esquire #1 and I am very happy with it. I decided to sell the Keystones in my US Std partscaster and make it my open-G Stones/Black Crowes guitar. Initial plan was to use another Tonerider but single bridge units seemingly always being out of stock forced a re-think. I then came across some pickup builders here in the UK, and decided I would give one or two a try.
After reading a couple of reviews and checking out some youtube vids I decided on an Oil City Diesel Tap bridge pickup. Hot wound to 9k with a tap at 6k and only £42+ postage for a handmade in the UK pickup? Job done.
I ordered over Christmas/New Year but it arrived very quickly. Nicely packaged including a wiring diagram (which I of course totally ignored!).
Cloth wound, vintage cloth covered wires and proper fibreboard it certainly has a traditional look. A nice touch is the supplied slot head screws.
I originally wired it up with a Tonerider humbucker in the neck and a push/push pot for the tap. A resistor to tame the highs on the bridge pickup was added. Quite fiddly to solder!
I played it for a few days but I couldn’t get a true impression of the Diesel Tap because the humbucker was just annoying me! I could not get it to sound good, no matter how I tried. There didn’t seem to be any position that I would use the humbucker. So out it came.
The Diesel Tap was rewired for vol+tone full, vol+tone tap and vol+tone cocked wah. (I may adjust that in the future so the tone is bypassed in the the cocked wah setting) As usual, one of our Esquire pickguards married up to the Fender holes perfectly.
As I have a “standard” cocked wah in my Esquire #1 I used two .0033uF capacitors instead of one, as on the La Cabronita. With the correct pot values for a single coil the pickup has come alive. It is very ballsy and can growl with the best of them, but responds very nicely to pick attack and rolling back the volume. The tap is noticeably thinner than the full pickup, but not overly so. To be honest I only ordered it to check it out – I doubt I’ll use the position much. It has more traditional Tele twang, but the full output can also twang. But for an extra £2 over the Hard Man it was worth having the option.
Comparing it to the Tonerider Hot Classic they are quite similar – the Oil City has more bite and I think a bit better definition. I am suitably impressed. Sure it’s 50% more than a Tonerider, but that’s only £15 and it is hand made here in the UK with great customer service from Ash, the builder.
Oil City will definitely be considered for future builds, especially as the range is expanding into P90s.