Seymour W. Duncan
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|Seymour W. Duncan|
Seymour W. Duncan November 2011 in front of factory in Santa Barbara CA holding Gary Silverman's #0773 1950 Fender Broadcaster guitar
New Jersey, United States
Seymour W. Duncan is a guitarist and guitar repairman, but is best known as the man behind Seymour Duncan Company, the manufacturer of guitar pickups, bass pickups, and effects pedals located in Santa Barbara, California. Born in New Jersey, Seymour grew up in the fifties and sixties, during a time when electric guitar music grew into greater acceptance. In a 1984 interview  Duncan talks about when he started to play guitar:
- I guess when I was about 13. I used to watch the Ted Mack Show and the Ricky Nelson Show and watch James Burton play who was, and still is, one of my favourite guitar players. He was one of the big influences on Tele sounds - you know I basically play Telecasters and Fender Strats.
Seymour began playing clubs and during one show, his Telecaster's lead pickup broke, forcing him to play the rest of the night on the rhythm pickup. Necessity being the mother of invention, Seymour rewound that lead pickup on a record player spinning at 331⁄3 rpm.
While he developed his playing skills, Seymour's knowledge of how guitars work developed at an equally prodigious pace. Seymour took every chance he had to talk with players about guitars, tone and electronics. After spending time with musicians such as Les Paul and Roy Buchanan, Seymour realized that it was his guitar, and not his playing, that prevented him from producing those wonderful tones that defined great players. Suddenly, and forever, Seymour was hooked on the dynamics and character differences of pickups.
As Seymour tinkered devotedly with materials and techniques, his bag of tricks grew and grew. At Les Paul's suggestion, he bolted for England in the late '60s where his intention to play soon mixed with the opportunity to further his pickup research working in the Repair and R&D Departments at the Fender Soundhouse in London. It was here that he did repairs and rewinds for such artists as Jimmy Page, George Harrison, Eric Clapton, David Gilmour, Pete Townshend, Jimi Hendrix, Peter Frampton and his guitar hero Jeff Beck. It was through his work with Beck in particular, that Seymour honed his pickup winding skills—some of Seymour's first signature pickup tones appear on Jeff's early solo albums. Seymour's sabbatical in England resulted in a flock of new fans and friends. Seymour came back to the United States and eventually settled in California. He established contact with industry luminaries such as Leo Fender, Les Paul and Seth Lover (inventor of the humbucking pickup) and continued learning about and making pickups. Demand for his custom pickups grew and in late 1978 together with Cathy Carter Duncan, he started his own company, Seymour Duncan Pickups. Today the company has over 120 employees whose dedication results in the continual refinement of pickup and effects pedal technology.
Fender Custom Shop makes a Seymour Duncan Signature Esquire. Seymour is still very involved in designing and fabricating pickups at the factory as well as playing guitar and making appearances at clinics and conventions.
|1975||Home of the Brave||Chris Rainbow||Bass|
|1978||Looking Over My Shoulder||Chris Rainbow||Bass|
|1992||East Side Story||Kid Frost||Guitar, Engineer, Mixing|
|1993||American Music||Bugs Henderson and the Shuffle Kings||Guest Appearance|
|1996||1996||Merle Haggard||Guitar (Electric)|
|1997||Guitar Zeus, Vol. 2: Channel Mind Radio||Carmine Appice's Guitar Zeus||Performer|
|1998||Lost Years||Dave Mendenhall||Guitar|
|2000||Best of Chris Rainbow, 1972–1980||Chris Rainbow||Guitar|
|2006||Ultimate Guitar Zeus||Carmine Appice Project||Guitar|
- Music U.K. magazine p74 (May 1984 issue)