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This article was originally published in issue #64
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Guitar Interactive Magazine is proud to welcome the legendary "toneologist," Seymour Duncan to our pages for next instalment in a series of exclusive videos from inside 'Seymour’s Studio.' In this edition, we take a look back at the entire first season of Seymour's Studio, bringing us many incredible tales of historic guitar moments, outstanding innovation, and invaluable advice that is definitely not to be missed.
For over 40 years, Seymour Duncan has been developing products to help musicians find their voice and get the most out of their instrument. However, before he became the pickup guru he is today, in the 1960s, Seymour was a young guitar player who was trying to find that specific and elusive tone for himself, and despite playing many different guitars and different amplifiers, he was unable to achieve it. That is until one fateful day when he loaned his guitar to a friend who got a string caught underneath the pickup and subsequently tore the connecting wire. Duncan decided to attempt to try and repair the damaged pickup, using an old record player and an extreme amount of patience to rewind the pickup back to life.
With this repair he had a revelation: the tone that he had been searching for was in the pickups! The materials, winding pattern, magnets, wire and number of turns all worked together to produce something that could substantially change the tone of a guitar.
After spending years working in London and winding pickups for the likes of guitar icons, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix and others, Seymour came to Santa Barbara, California and met Cathy Carter Duncan who fuelled the vision to create a place any tone-seeking musician could come to. Seymour Duncan was founded in 1976 in Santa Barbara, California with a shoe-string budget but a deep love for tone.
Now over 40 years in business, Seymour Duncan's commitment to musicians has not changed in the slightest. At the Seymour Duncan Custom Shop, everything is made by hand with machine shop custom-fabricated parts. Each pickup is made just the way it was back in the old days. Thus, when you order a Custom Shop pickup, you are getting something truly one of a kind built for your instrument. Over the years Seymour Duncan has built everything from old PAF replicas to the world's largest 158-pound pickup.