The Versatility Of The Black Winter Bridge Model


In January 2013 Seymour Duncan announced the Black Winter pickup set. Initially only available in Scandinavia, the Black Winters were designed specifically for extreme metal players, providing players with the ability to go from crushing aggressive riffs to super articulate lead work. The Black Winter set created such a swell of interest from players all over the world that Seymour Duncan recently announced a world-wide general release. Continue reading

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The SD Custom Shop: Bass Edition

Ever since I got the SPB-4 Steve Harris Signature Pickup in my Lakland 44/64 bass, I’ve been pretty happy. Out of all the Seymour Duncan Precision Bass pickups, this one is easily my favorite and sounded the best out of all the other SD pups that were in my bass. But, restless spirits being what they are, I wondered if I could change the sound again which, after looking at the pickups again, wandered over to the Seymour Duncan Custom Shop to see what they could whip up. Continue reading

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Direct-Mounting Pickups Part II: The JB meets the PMS (Pickup Mounting System)

Excalibur "before".

My Koa Warmoth Strat Excalibur “before”.

As those who’ve read my blogs know, I’m a HUGE fan of and have written about the benefits of direct-mounting pickups in your guitar. There’s a noticeable increase in resonance once the pickup is embedded in the guitar sensing more vibration from the body as well as the strings. It makes a good pickup sound great, so no reason it wouldn’t make an already great pickup like the Seymour Duncan JB sound absolutely amazing. Especially in a one-piece Koa body of my Warmoth Strat build AKA “Excalibur”! Continue reading

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My Favorite Hybrid Humbucker Set

The cool Custom Shop sticker on the back

The cool Custom Shop sticker on the back

What do you do when you love to work on your guitars and you’re kinda done with all parts except the pickups? You start testing pickups by the dozen (in my case, literally)! You can read about the results of some of my tests here and here, where I put a set of Parallel Axis Humbuckers to the test, or here where I test the Screaming Demon and the Blues Saraceno PATB-3, and of course here, where I give you a peak in the kitchen where I cook my favorite humbuckers with hybrids… Continue reading

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The Pickup Booster

01_pickup_booster_front_viewThe Pickup Booster is everything a Booster should be but also contains some innovative features that interact directly with your pickups to allow you to explore new sounds. It provides you a way to boost your signal, adding headroom and sustain to your pickups or a clean buffered boost for more muscle and clarity. When used with a guitar that has single-coils the Resonance Switch transforms your pickups into either a vintage humbucker (blues, classic rock) or a high-output humbucker (’80s or modern rock/metal). Continue reading

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You’re Never Too Old To Learn


Throughout my performing and teaching life, I’ve had lots of older people coming up to me and telling me that they’ve always wanted to play guitar. This is followed by the usual excuse of wishing they’d started when they were young, or even the very morbid “I don’t have much time left, and it takes years to become a pro.” Well, yeah it does, but learning something like guitar does not always have to be something you start very young. In fact, there is nothing about guitar that specifically states you have to be young to do it. It is true, then, that you are never too old to learn… Continue reading

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Cage Match: Playing It Just Like the CD or…Not


Simply, do you like bands that play everything exactly like the CD or do you like when bands (and their guitarists) take chances and deviate from the recorded version? With songs you might right and record, is there a conscious effort to replicate everything note-for-note live? Or is the recorded (or written) version simply a springboard for flexing your creative muscle ‘in the moment’ on a live stage? This is an interesting Cage Match for me, as I can easily find an argument for both sides. While I touched on some of these ideas in this article, will explore this interesting dilemma further here.

Live! In Concert!

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How Loud Is Too Loud?

If you’ve ever been to a Motörhead concert you know what it means to be assaulted with so much sound you feel like you may very well die. And chances are you’ve played a show before where you were asked to turn down so low that it felt like you might as well be playing a retirement home. Finding that sweet spot where everyone is getting really into it without requiring ear plugs or running for the door is the goal of every musician. So how loud is too loud?

HearingMost rock concerts fall in the 130db range, which is the point where you will get permanent hearing damage after 30 minutes. This can vary from concert to concert and your location to the sound system but nowadays even country concerts can get up to 130db near the stage. In that range you reach the maximum volume that is really enjoyable and get near the threshold of what is considered painful. Continue reading

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Shredding It Full Shred Bridge Style


Sometimes there’s a need for a hammer, other times there’s a need for a scalpel. A scalpel can cut cleanly with precision. Sure it’s doesn’t smash through things like a hammer does, but when used correctly a scalpel can be just as devastating. The Full Shred would be Seymour Duncan’s scalpel in its tonal bag of tools. It doesn’t have the highest output, but its precision lets it hit a lot higher and harder than its weight category. Continue reading

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Reader’s Choice: Cover Tunes That Are Better Than The Originals

Jimi-Hendrix-All-Along-WatchtowerThe true test of covering someone elses’ song is making it your own. That’s no easy feat, and while there’s a tonne of cover versions of classic and contemporary tunes, only a few stand the test of time. Even more rare are the ones that eclipse the original. Recently we asked Seymour Duncan readers what their favorite “better than the original” cover songs were. A couple of mega-bands ended up on the list twice. The top choice, however pretty much epitomizes what “making a cover your own” should sound like: Continue reading

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