My Custom Shop Creation: The Magnetar

Posted on by Peter

A few months ago I was jamming in my music room when it hit me: my perfect guitar tone. I could hear it in my head, but it wasn’t coming out of my amp. I know my amp’s capabilities very well, and I could tell that whatever it was I wanted to hear was available in there somewhere. It dawned on me that if the amp was doing what I wanted, and my guitar was hanging in there, then maybe I needed to change pickups. But there wasn’t anything out there that did exactly what I wanted: if there was then it’d be in my guitar already!

Of course, the Seymour Duncan Custom Shop can build anything you want, whether you’re a famous pro or simply a player who cares about their tone. They can build you a pickup based on an existing design or they can make you something completely from scratch (and you can order it online right here). Now, I tend to think of music in some pretty abstract terms, so here’s the description I sent to MJ at the Custom Shop:

“…A custom shop 7-string bridge pickup for a basswood Ibanez RG  (maple neck, rosewood fretboard): tight bass and slightly scooped mids but a bit of a kick in the upper mids and treble – a sort of ’dry’ sound that gets percussive when palm-muting. I tend to favor bridge humbuckers between 11k and 14k. To put it another more  abstract way: a pickup whose tone feels like sanded maple, tastes like creme brûlée and looks like sunlight through a glass of beer.”

And here it is: the Magnetar. A Magnetar is a neutron star with an extreme magnetic field… seems like the perfect name for this pickup, which has an Alnico 8 magnet and a DC resistance of 13.90k. It’s great for hard rock, metal and djent, with plenty of prominent harmonic overtones. It doesn’t get all smooshy between palm-muted chugs, and it sounds great when double-tracked. It also does something that I admire in the differently-voiced-but-also-awesome Full Shred: it has plenty of bite for chords but the more snappy elements of the high end seem to roll down progressively as you move to the higher frets, which helps solos to sound vocal rather than shrill, while still giving you plenty of aggressiveness for heavy rhythms.

The Magnetar is happily residing in an Ibanez UV777BK seven-string. I’ve recently bought an Ibanez Iron Label 8-string and I’m planning to order an 8-string Magnetar in active housing for that (maybe paired up with a Sentient neck pickup). I like having a pickup that’s designed to my exact requirements – it’s almost having my own signature pickup without going through all the hassle of being a famous guitarist with fans and record company advances and fast cars.

So what does this beast sound like? Have a listen!

If you’d like the Seymour Duncan Custom Shop to build your dream pickup, drop them an email at or check out the online Custom Shop Store at

Written on July 15, 2013, by Peter

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  • Or Pick A Name

    Sounds like any other humbucker. What makes it different is the playing, not the pickup. It’s just the power of suggestion tickling your brain.

    • Brandon Curtin

      Listen to a Bareknuckles humbucker, a Seymour Duncan JB, an EMG 81, an EMG 707 or 808 (same pickup), and a Loller humbucker. They don’t sound the same at all. If you think they do, you need to play through a better amp.

  • Bloodrose

    If the power of suggestion creates a spark in him and brings something else out in his playing, then thats worth the price of admission. I have certain guitars and pickups (The Custom 8 really trips my trigger) that make me feel more creative, even tho Ive noticed that nearly everything I record has a similar tone. But the way it feels when I play thru it makes me reach alil further. Thats a bonus to me.
    Peter, Im glad you found what fills in that missing link for you! Cant wait to hear the clip! And I look forward to ordering a custom Duncan of my own!

    • Carly

      The way a guitar’s electronics and effects/amp make an electric guitar feel free (or not) is something that really has been overlooked by most commentators although pickup manufacturers worth their salt know the score. Is the Magnetar a one-off? If not will there be a six string version?

  • Chris Brooks Guitar

    Great Peter! Does it come in non-alcoholic as well? Like the sun through a glass of ginger ale?

  • Charles Salvacion

    Nice Pickup! Do you have any link doing some heavy palm muting stuff? Congrats!

  • DeathMetalRob

    Sounds like something Heri Joensen has been using for a while now… (See and

    I dig it. How much was it..?

  • SomeGuy

    Whaaa..? I don’t think that sounds like just any hum buckler. It sounds like an angelic Vai & clear Satriani mix. That really works nice for that guitar.

  • bartarin
  • doorha

    Good post, thanks.

  • achilan

    Good product. درب

  • bazaryabi

    Sounds like any other humbucker. بازاریابی

  • mirna

    Writing is an art that everyone does it. Congratulate you for having this art. راهبند اتوماتیک

  • morad

    i really enjoyed to visit this is a very nice site and i book mark ur site.کرکره برقی

  • vafa