Seymour Duncan

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Seymour Duncan
Industry Pickups and effects pedals
Founded 1976; 42 years ago (1976)
Founder Seymour W. Duncan and Cathy Carter Duncan
Headquarters Goleta, California, United States
Products pickups
effects pedals
Number of employees

Seymour Duncan is an American company best known for manufacturing guitar and bass pickups. They also manufacture effects pedals which are designed and assembled in America. Guitarist and luthier Seymour W. Duncan and Cathy Carter Duncan founded the company in 1976, in Santa Barbara, California. Starting around 1983–84, Seymour Duncan pickups appeared in Kramer Guitars as standard equipment along with Floyd Rose locking vibratos, and can now be found on instruments from Fender guitars, Gibson guitars, Yamaha, Charvel, ESP Guitars, Ibanez guitars, Mayones, Jackson guitars, Schecter, DBZ Diamond, Framus, Washburn, and others.


Seymour Duncan and Cathy Carter Duncan

Seymour W. Duncan became interested in guitars at a young age, and after lending his guitar to a friend who accidentally broke the pickup, Duncan decided to re-wind it, using a record player turntable to hold the pickup in place and rotate it while spooling wire around the pickup bobbin. He was then inspired by how the tone of the guitar had changed for the better, and started learning more about pickups from guitarist/inventor Les Paul, and later mentor and humbucker inventor Seth Lover. After having developed considerable skill working on guitars, Duncan gained employment at the Fender Soundhouse in London, where he started working on the instruments and pickups of artists including Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page. After having moved to California he met and married Cathy Carter and decided to start a pickup rewinding service. With demand for his services growing, Duncan and Carter eventually expanded into offering their own Stratocaster, Telecaster and humbucking pickups, and within two decades had a full assortment of pickups for electric, bass and acoustic guitar as well as electric guitar accessories. In 2012 Seymour Duncan was inducted into the Vintage Guitar Hall of Fame for contributions to the music industry, and he continues to create pickups in the Seymour Duncan factory in Santa Barbara, California.


The company produces a large range of pickups for guitars in several formats including Humbucker, Stratocaster, Telecaster, and Acoustic; as well as, effects pedals and bass pickups. Some of their most popular guitar pickups include the '59 Model, the JB Model, and the Pearly Gates Model. As of 2013, the company has moved into the 7 and 8 string guitar pickup market. They also produce a line of active pickups.

In addition to their standard American-made product line, Seymour Duncan also produces a line of Korean-made "Duncan Designed" pickups intended for OEM use on mid-level guitars and basses.[1]

The Dirty Deed distortion pedal, released in late 2013.

Seymour Duncan produced a small line of guitar amplifiers during the 1980s and 1990s.[2] Although the effort was short-lived due to the company's lack of reputation as an amp builder, Seymour Duncan amplifiers are well respected and sought after today.[3]

Over the years the Seymour Duncan company has invented numerous new products and holds a number of patents. Several of these relate to designs which cancel (or "buck") hum (thus, "humbucking") in single-coil pickups. These designs include Seymour Duncan's P-Rails series of P-90 pick-ups which provide both single-coil and humbucker tone in a single hum cancelling pickup.

Seymour Duncan also has artist signature products for Slash, Dimebag Darrell, Gus G, Joe Bonamassa, Synyster Gates, Jerry Donahue, Yngwie Malmsteen, Mick Thomson, Warren DeMartini and Steve Harris.

Famous users include Slash,[4] Eddie Van Halen, Arlen Roth, Jeff Beck, John Norum, Andy Summers, David Gilmour, Billie Joe Armstrong, Billy Gibbons, Scott Ian, Dave Murray, Synyster Gates, Dave Mustaine, Ritchie Blackmore, Michael Schenker, Blues Saraceno, George Lynch, Kurt Cobain, Willie Adler, Tommy Kessler,[5] Wayne Static, Zacky Vengeance, Mick Thomson, Johnny Ramone, Mark Morton, Yngwie Malmsteen, Warren DeMartini, Dimebag Darrell, Dino Cazares, Michael Wilton, Marty Friedman, Gus G, Nuno Bettencourt, Monte Pittman, Corey Beaulieu, John Frusciante, Gary Moore, Eric Johnson, Steve Morse,[6] Jimmy Page, Joe Bonamassa and Bradley Nowell.

Custom Shop[edit]

Seymour Duncan pickup types

Seymour Duncan maintains a Custom Shop that has been active since 1976.[citation needed] The Custom Shop is currently[when?] managed by Maricela Juarez "MJ" who has been winding pickups for over 30 years for countless[quantify] famous[according to whom?] musicians. It also features Derek Duncan who has spent years learning from his father Seymour W. Duncan. The Custom Shop is known[according to whom?] for building pickups for musicians who need something special,[vague] these include: humbuckers, single-coils, single-coil sized humbuckers, stacked pickups, Telecaster pickups, Gretsch pickups, Ripper and Mustang bass pickups, P-90 pickups and Charlie Christian reproductions as well as a full repair/rewind service.[jargon] During the 80s and 90s certain[vague] employees did special[vague] winding. The Pickup code reflects this with an additional letter following the pickup code.[clarification needed][7]


  1. ^ "Duncan Designed". Seymour Duncan. Archived from the original on 2014-03-07. Retrieved 2014-03-16. 
  2. ^ [1] Archived January 9, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Paul Marossy. "The Seymour Duncan Convertible 100 1x12 Tube Amp". Retrieved 2014-03-16. 
  4. ^ [2][dead link]
  5. ^ "The Official Web Site of Tommy Kessler". Retrieved 2014-03-16. 
  6. ^ "Seymour Duncan with Jimi Hendrix – Dominant Music". 2012-04-15. Retrieved 2014-03-16. 
  7. ^ "126-150". Retrieved 2014-03-16. 

External links[edit]