Seymour Duncan isn’t just about the hundreds of pickups you see in the shops and read about in the comparison charts. If after all that research, you can’t find what you seek, it’s time for a call to the Custom Shop. The Custom Shop, now headed by Seymour’s son, Derek Duncan, is where you find your tone you can’t find anywhere else. It’s the first stop a Duncan Artist will go for developing a signature pickup, but it isn’t just for famous rock stars. The Custom Shop is available to all.
If you’re not quite sure what you’re looking for, your best bet is to call the Customer Service at (805) 964-9610 ext 501 to find out if your needs can be met with a production pickup. For instance, you might want to know if you can get a humbucker like the Custom with more mids and less highs. They can direct you to the Custom Custom, thereby saving you the money on a custom pickup.
However, if you have a better idea what you want, that’s where the Custom Shop comes in. A call to them at (805) 964-9610 ext 1009 will allow you to build the pickup of your dreams. It might be as simple as a blue Full Shred that has a reversed polarity, has long mounting legs, isn’t wax potted and has a small SD logo. As we can see, regular production pickups can be made with some heavy customization in the Custom Shop. You can choose magnets, bobbin color, logo/no logo, covers, and when available, single conductor and four conductor to suit your wiring needs. And this is just when you’re modifying the specs of a regular production pickup.
However, there are those out there who can’t be satisfied with custom options to production pickups. Maybe you want a special type of wire (silver?) on a completely enclosed humbucker with custom etching on the cover? How about a Charlie Christian pickup with two rails, or a custom 8-string stacked single coil? Want a 36-string pickup for your autoharp based on an Invader? And you want it in pink? I think they can do that too.
In the Custom Shop they can fabricate almost anything. What is limited is usually the customer’s budget for some of the more out-there ideas. Look at the pictures in this blog. These are ideas from actual clients, and the Custom Shop has built them. Here is some info from Derek Duncan himself:
No request is too far fetched. I had someone today looking for a 20-string humbucker that was 9 ½” long. We can make just about anything someone asks for. We only turn down a couple requests a year, due to the astronomical costs being the main factor (gold wound coils, and a one-off active pickup designed to run on a switchable circuit of six different voltage levels are the only two I can remember recently). Pretty much the worst-case scenario a customer will hear is that the pickup they wanted is a little out of their budget. Many custom pickups are actually easier to obtain than most would think.
As we can see, the Custom Shop can do some pretty amazing things, and they don’t always have to be really outrageous, or only for the very rich. You don’t even have to be a rock star (most Custom Shop customers aren’t).
You can own your own tone by contacting the Custom Shop at (805) 964-9610 ext 1009. You may also send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the queen of pickup winding herself, Maricela Juarez at MJ@seymourduncan.com. I’ve recently ordered a Custom Shop pickup myself, and will write about the ordering process, receiving it, installing and recording with it in an upcoming blog.
So, if you were going to order a truly Custom Shop pickup, what would it be? If money was no object, and you couldn’t find what you wanted in the production line, what kind of tone and look would be uniquely yours?