Back in the early Eighties, Nashville luthier David Petschulat built a miniature Les Paul that found its way into the hands of Eddie Van Halen. The guitarist would use the guitar to record “Little Guitars,” a track on the 1982 album Diver Down from his group, Van Halen.
Petschulat has continued to build guitars and various components for a range of guitarists over the years, including Steve Morse, Nancy Wilson and Jackson Browne.
But these days, he’s focused on his new venture, Rivet Pickups, and its signature products. Rivet pickups are unique in that they include a standard six-string pickup combined with a mini-coil pickup that spans just half the guitar’s strings and boosts them only when activated, giving those strings some extra juice.
The company currently offers two pickups: the Rivet ’63 neck pickup and the Rivet ’64 bridge pickup. The ’63 places the mini-coil pickup under the low strings, while the ’64 puts it under the high strings, allowing you to boost bass and add presence, respectively, to the pickup’s characteristics. There is no separate volume control for the mini-coils; their level is governed by the volume control for the entire pickup.
The pickups’ distinctive look is due to not only the half-width mini-coils but also the unusual curve of the standard pickup. According to Rivet, “These patent-pending mini-coils are tilted so that their volume always blends beautifully with other coils and even other pickups.”
Petschulat and his son, Sam, build Rivet pickups in their workshop near Nashville. Their customers thus far include Mick Jones of Foreigner, Isaac Brock and Jim Fairchild of Modest Mouse, and Art Alexakis of Everclear, among others.
Rivet is currently running a Kickstarter campaign for its pickups that so far has been remarkably successful. The company reached more than 50 percent of its $5,000 goal in its first day and has just exceeded the goal with 30 days left in the campaign.