ABOUT DUNELAND labs
Our team has been responsible for a long series of systems and components that have enabled luminary musicians and recording engineers to achieve stellar levels of performance from their gear. For more than 3 decades, our approach has encompassed the following procedures:
•If the appropriate solution involved currently available devices, we understood the subtle but significant properties inherent in commercial audio equipment, and could specify, calibrate, and interface such devices in an optimum form.
•If commercial gear exhibited enough of the necessary characteristics, we modified the devices for improved performance.
•If nothing on the market did the job, we designed and built custom devices.
For the next decade, we intend take the next logical step: to create a series of products that draw on the most widely applicable designs in our portfolio. Their qualities range from improvements on established types of gear to some devices that necessitate the establishment of new categories appropriate to their functions.
During the early days of Duneland Labs we pointed our minds & tools to some quite radical projects. This led some forces in the organization to ask if we couldn’t perhaps also generate some more familiar devices in the area of electric guitar pickups. Our answer was The Blackpole Project, in which we decided to pack some ambitious magnetic and electro-acoustic concepts into conventional humbuckers boxes. Then, we drew on the knowledge and skills of artisans from other disciplines (bench jewelry, saxophone repair and knife making to name a few) to bring some fresh character to the boxes themselves.
By the time we were finished we had managed to spend well over $1000 per unit on these items, which inevitably put a stop to this line. A dozen or so do exist in the wild, some in the guitars of highly prominent players who decided that the premium price was justified by their truly unique place in the electric guitar universe. What remains is this edition of 42.
They’ll soon be made available to all who seek the most unique and responsive devices that fit this form. ’Til then, here are their portraits:
Demand for an excellent magnetic pickup specifically designed for bronzewound acoustic guitar strings that doesn’t require a preamp or battery power was initially driven by premier contemporary archtop guitar builder Ken Parker. His use of such strings is essential for maximizing the acoustic character of his instruments. You can read more about these instruments (and the pickup system) here:
A flattop version is now being finalized in conjunction with some of our truly favorite players, builders and major acoustic guitar manufacturers.
duneland product demonstrations
Our founder and chief designer Bob Palmieri demonstrates five of Duneland's unique pickup designs.
Bob demonstrates Duneland's surface mount humbucker on his 1962 SG/Les Paul. Says Bob: "I've always loved P90 pickups and SG/Les Pauls. The surface mount neck pickup allows me to use the Junior model, in which the neck joint is much stronger than the Standard due to the lack of a deep well for the neck pickup.The P90 was used on the loop and the surface mount neck 'bucker on the solo. I plugged straight into my Quilter Tone Block 201 and set up a quick loop which I played it into my TC Electronic Alter Ego delay, inserted in the effects loop. No other effects were used, either in the recording or performing setups."
Bob demonstrates the dynamic response of the Duneland Blackpole pickups. Says Bob: "Using the bridge pickup I loaded a loop into my TC Electronic Alter Ego delay, which is in the effects loop of my Quilter Tone Block 201. The graceful way this pickup follows playing dynamics makes it really satisfying to play with a relatively clean treatment on the neck pickup for the solo. Recorded in my living room with a stereo mike; no other effects were used in either performing or recording rigs."
Bob Palmieri demonstrates the dynamic response of the Duneland Blackpole bridge pickup. Axe plugged straight into Quilter Tone Block 201 w/single 12" cabinet and TC Electronic Alter Ego Delay in effects loop. Recorded live with a stereo mike in living room, no EQ, compression or other effects were used.
Bob demonstrates the prototype for the Archtop Bronzeville pickup system currently used on Ken Parker's spectacular modern archtops. Says Bob: "Here we have a solo guitar performance of a tune that's been going through my head for a year. I've played it for numerous people and no one has yet identified its title or creator. I'm thinkin' Horace Silver or maybe Benny Golson. This was the first prototype for the current Archtop Bronzeville pickup, heard here on a $300 imported guitar I got from Chicago Music Exchange, played through my home stereo and recorded in my living room with a stereo mike and no effects."
Bob plays Dave Onderdonk's beautiful tune "Perry" on a Waterloo guitar from Collings Guitars. This features the prototype of a new pickup Bob is designing for an artist signature model the company is developing. Played live through a home stereo with no EQ, compression or other effects.
more videos of our devices in action
A recent pickup design for maverick Austin guitar builder Tony Nobles.
Bob discusses our new series of pickups for Wilco guitarist Nels Cline with the man himself.
Bob deploys the Duneland Devices in a live performance with Rolling Stones’ keyboard player Chuck Leavell to deliver the ideal jazz and blues tones for Chuck’s reimagining of Honky Tonk Woman.
Four years later… Same tune, same club, now with the Blackpole neck pickup.
Master LA guitarist Dean Parks explores new sonic scapes with a Les Paul Recording guitar equipped with custom Duneland pickups and control system.