Ralf Schönberger, in his own words and about GOOD TONE:
I discovered the electric guitar in the middle of the 80ties. At that time colourful guitars with Floyd Rose and ultra-distortion humbuckers were the cutting edges.
With fervour, I browsed the Rockinger "The Manual" (a famous German guitar parts bible of that time), which was handed over to me by Mr. Atze Göldsdorf, in the hope of coming to the secret of the ultimate metal tone. I began to understand electric guitars and how to modify them.
Ultimately, it was the black Jackson J-80C humbucker with a ceramic magnet that made my Washburn guitar to a brutal metal monster. If I listen to the guitar today, I get the impression of an ear blockage. I wonder what was going on with our ears at the time, that we built such things into the guitars! Fortunately the time not only heals wounds but also the taste of hearing, which was also very essential for my other activities.
20 years later, I have heard hundreds of pickups across all brands and came to the certainty that there must be a better way to create pickups. My budget, was by the search for the ultimate, however quite burned, after I reached the high league of the boutique pickup manufacturers. At that time, it was very costly and time-consuming, so I decided one day to take matters into my own hands and to develop pickups myself. I wanted my unmistakable signature tone without compromise.
The Strat was my first victim. She was always sounded shrill to me in the heights and much too thin, and not to be used for overdrive action. Let's see, if it can sound a little bit milder with more substance. The Les Paul issue was similar, but the other way around, with too much dullness, too less attack and lively heights. My Paula needed vivacity and agility! Once again I brought my account on hold and began the self-discovery phase in developing pickups. If it would tank, I would´t say anything and bury the project in the garden ...
Everything came differently and my strat mutated from the useless duckling finally to my universal favourite. The first PU set was born, the "Classic Blues Strat Set". Then I went straight to my Les Paul to the all-rounder for all musical directions, with which then the Overwound PAF and Underground PAF was born.
Somehow a good friend ask me to offer my creations to the guitarist. It was the beginning of the whole Good Tone idea, which started in 2010 official, after 2 decades of studying the guitar. Today, the name Good Tone stands simply for a good Tone everyone would like to have. "Mojo" magic stories and esoteric interest me just as little as that everything is old is automatically equally good.
After all, today we have enough resources and knowledge to produce things as good as they were in the golden eras of guitar making. If someone wants an old pickup, then he can spend the money on eBay. The fact is that our pickups will be old once and will certainly sound appealing. The motto is, that each pickup has to be wrapped by hand and should correspond to the desired sound criteria.
I will never build something I am not convinced to 100%. I am very proud that our pickup sets "Classic Blues Strat" and "Vintage 59 PAF" have found such a great positive response in the guitarist world. There are people who call Good Tone pickups as best in the world, but I do not want to advertise it. Finally, we see it all a bit more pragmatic in the Swiss Confederation!
Have fun while playing and listening!
Ralf Schönberger, GOOD TONE pickups