The Stealth Brutality of the Custom Custom

Varying on an already proven theme (the venerable Seymour Duncan Custom), the Custom Custom features the familiar Duncan Custom coil-wind with an Alnico 2 magnet as opposed to the standard ceramic magnet for a sweeter, more subtle yet no-less deadly variant on the Custom tone. If the ceramic Custom were a hacksaw, the Custom Custom, or “CC” as it’s known, is more like a surgeon’s scalpel. It’s far more cutting and precise, but in a smooth, pleasant way that’s never harsh or overbearing.

“Whatever Duncan resideth in me, I shall smite thee!”

For those who love the “PAF on steroids” vibe of the Custom yet want something a little less brash, with a more pleasing high end and punchier mids, the Custom Custom is for you. It’s been my go-to in my 1-piece Koa-bodied Warmoth Super Strat, dubbed “Excalibur” for a number of years (until it became a test bed for newer Duncans), and it never once let me down.

The Alnico 2 magnet softens the characteristic aggressive snarl of the CC‘s ceramic cousin (which I had in another Superstrat); slightly taming the highs, adding more mids, and ever-so-slightly softening the bass. This feature may not make it the best choice for down-tuned palm-mute heavy riffage, but in the right guitar it’s certainly capable of it, as evidenced by this example track:

As you can plainly hear, the Custom Custom is capable of some epic, gut-thumping riffage. Nothing “loose” or “flabby” about that low-end! It handles gain well, and also splits for a more-than-adequate, pleasing single-coil tone.

In addition to its excellent rhythm tones, the Custom Custom has an amazing lead voicing – smooth and articulate with great clarity and note-definition; never harsh or abrasive. You can’t go wrong. It would pair well with a ’59, Jazz or Alnico 2 Pro as a neck humbucker, or equally well with an STK-S6 or STK-S7 in the neck as part of an S/H or S/S/H combo.

So if you’re looking for something that’s slightly hotter than a vintage PAF-style like the ’59 or the Pearly Gates, and want something a little more gutsy than the Alnico II Pro, the Custom Custom may just be the ticket for you! Pristine cleans to ridiculously high-gain metal, the CC can hang with the best of them!

“Let us resume the quest for the grail. Oh wait, I AM the grail!!”

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Jay Hale

About Jay Hale

Jay Hale is a guitarist and guitar-builder located in Los Angeles who has also occasionally moonlighted as a guitar tech for bands like Quiet Riot.
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  • D’Gregory Richmond

    I have one in my super strat Alder body Maple top H-S-H and its great for what it was designed for.

  • Jay Hale

    I love it. “Excalibur” currently houses a JB and it sounds great too, but not completely ruling out the possibility that the CC may return to it someday. ;)