Billy F Gibbons Guitar Tech Elwood Francis on Cream T Pickups
Our good friend Elwood Francis has shared some comments on Cream T Pickups and the story behind how Thomas started working with Billy F Gibbons.
“I’ve been working with Billy F. Gibbons since 1995, looking after his guitar and various electronics. My previous experience includes Joe Perry, Steve Vai, Izzy Stradlin and Gilby Clarke of Guns & Roses…The Black Crowes….and so on….. I’ve quietly been around the block.
Mr. Gibbons and his famous 1959 Gibson Les Paul, Pearly Gates, have become a benchmark of quality in the industry. As you’d expect, he’s very meticulous about reproducing that particular tone in a live setting. He also wants the freedom to use absolutely any kind of guitar from an off the rack Fender Telecaster to a custom guitar made by a mysterious man in a dimly lit barn. This can be a challenge.
I was very fortunate to be the first person to experience the pickups Thomas Nilsen had been winding in his shop. He reached out to me through the promoters of a ZZ Top performance in Oslo, Norway in the year 2003. He was invited down to the arena and brought along a couple guitars loaded with his pickups. During tours I often audition guitars, amps and pickups made by various local luthiers, woodworkers and freaks. Very seldom is it a complete disappointment but even less seldom is it life changing. Thomas was one of those few life changing experiences. We started using his pickups immediately. At the time he was experimenting with wire gauges that no other company was attempting. Billy has since then worked with Thomas to offer several signature PAF style pickups.
Thomas has recently started using a scope he designed which has the ability to read all the characteristics of a pickup and reproduce them exactly. Billy named the device “The Super Scanner” and offered Pearly Gates to be the first guitar scanned. The results are the WhiskerBuckers and they are exactly as billed, 100% tonal reproduction. A guitar with the Super Scanner WhiskerBuckers installed played through a real time analyzer will give the same reading as Pearly Gates. It’s remarkable.
I realize that there are literally 100’s of pickup makers in the world and very many of them are high quality, but Thomas Nilsen and Cream T Pickups are doing something very special. I feel safe recommending his products to anyone wanting to compliment their builds with equally top quality pickups.
Thank you for your time,