Idahoan: Brian Porter

Behind every great guitarist there’s a great guitar. Likewise, behind every great guitar, there’s a great guitar-maker. And Idaho’s Brian Porter is one of them.

“I’ve always wanted to do something guitar-related for my job. I never really felt like I wanted to do anything else for my career,” Porter said.

 Brian Porter is the owner of Porter Pickups, an all things guitar company based in Garden City, Idaho.

“I initially wanted to be musician and that was kind of a dead dream after a while. So I decided, ‘Hey, maybe I can do something like this.’” Porter said.

So, he did. 

Porter Pickups has been in business for the past 8 years. The business specializes in building a device that’s installed in guitars called a pickup. For those of us who don’t know what that is, let’s let Brian Porter explain:

The pickup is a small device with magnets and copper wire. Basically, when your strings vibrate, it interrupts the magnetic field of the coil and that sends a small signal through that you have to amplify. So thats why you have to plug in an electric guitar to an amplifier because there’s a weak signal that gets magnified. I like to think of it simply as a microphone for the guitar. So it translates whatever the strings and your hands are doing into a signal.

Brian Porter

Through hard work and lots of trial and error, Porter Pickups has designed high quality pickups and in the process picked up customers from around the world.

“I’m very much not a book learner so I just make a lot of mistakes and that’s how I get better. I just jumped in and did it. I make it sound like it was fast but it was over the course of several years,” Porter said.

In 2017 Brian Porter and his team started building custom-made electric guitars.

“It’s cool to see it from the start all the way through because you’re creating something for a specific customer,” Porter said.

And it truly is from start to finish. Brian and his team track down the correct wood for the project, cut the neck and body out in their shop, build and install the electronics, and do everything in between.

“Everything is handmade. It’s not running off a giant assembly line,” Porter said.

This kind of custom-made process means every single instrument is a personal work of art, but that doesn’t mean Porter has a hard time selling his art. In fact, he’s happy to see the guitars go.

“It’s a very strange dynamic because I love it and I enjoy it but I don’t want to see one sit on the wall very long,” Porter said.

Plus, when the guitars sell, that means there’s room to make more. 

“It’s something that I love to do and I’m never bored. I enjoy every single day that I come in here and get to work,” Porter said

As for the future of Porter Pickups: “We want to be an open and inviting place for people to come. We want people to come in and talk about needs for their guitars and maybe dream up a custom guitar,” he said.

You can learn more about Porter Pickups and their guitars at: 


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