The Jason Becker Perpetual Burn Humbucker

Posted on by Kat King

JASONAfter more than 20 years since he first worked with the Seymour Duncan Custom Shop, Jason Becker reached out to Duncan to once again talk pickups, and the result is the Jason Becker Perpetual Burn  Humbucker.

But to explain how Jason and Duncan got to this point requires a little bit of history, and that history goes something like this:  You’ve got your guitar heroes and then you’ve got your real-life heroes. Occasionally you meet someone who is both. Meet Mr. Jason Becker.

Jason was a child prodigy, strumming Bob Dylan tunes before graduating to Clapton, Van Halen, and Yngwie licks. He developed truly jaw-dropping technique at a very young age, but it wasn’t just that he could play fast scales. Jason had the feel, the touch, the vibrato, and the soul that separates good guitarists from great ones. What’s more, he possessed the sense of humor—in both his guitar playing and his life—that inspired everyone around him. Some players just have it, and Jason Becker is one of them.

Watch Jason put on an amazing arpeggio clinic.

JASON-Becker-Marty-FriedmanAfter blowing every available mind with his work with fellow shredder Marty Friedman in Cacophony, Jason would release his first solo record, Perpetual Burn, an album that would set a new standard for instrumental shred. The tunes displayed his deep knowledge of classical harmony, rock bombast, and unreal technical skills.

His amazing playing would attract the attention of Gregg Bissonette, who had a little gig with a singer named David Lee Roth. They needed a guitarist who could not only replicate the parts played by Eddie Van Halen and Steve Vai, but also bring his own trip to the proceedings. Impossible, right? Apparently not. With no notice at all, Jason recorded an audition tape of Van Halen’s “Hot for Teacher,” on which he double-tracked EVH’s famous tapped intro. But Jason didn’t just double-track it. He tapped one track and picked all the notes on the other. That bears repeating: He picked all the notes to the intro of “Hot for Teacher.” It made for an astounding, unheard-of display of technique that still managed to possess the all groove and swagger of the original.

Hear Jason’s demo here.

Watch Jason’s mind boggling “Hot for Teacher” intro.

The demo was so impressive that even the eternally humble Becker would tell Guitar Player magazine, “Even before I went to the audition I was pretty sure I had the gig.”

And get the gig he did. The most coveted job in rock guitar was Jason’s, and he set about writing tunes with Dave and getting ready to unleash his amazing brand of guitar playing on the world. It was around that time that Jason contacted the Seymour Duncan Custom Shop to create the multicolored pickups that went into one of his main guitars.

Check out Jason’s work with David Lee Roth.

It was also around that time that, according to his mom Pat, “all the troubles began.”

A nagging pain in Jason’s leg was soon diagnosed as ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Right when everything was falling into place, everything fell apart and Jason was given three to five years to live. Although he completed the DLR album A Little Ain’t Enough, he would soon lose the ability to play his beloved instrument. Shortly thereafter, Jason would be unable to walk, talk, or even breathe on his own.

Along the way, though, a funny thing happened. Jason didn’t die. With help from his support network, he got on a diet that could not just sustain him but help him regain weight and get healthier. His dad, Gary, developed a communication system whereby Jason could spell words via eye movements and continue to communicate, despite the fact that he could no longer speak in the conventional sense.

Jason and Gary Becker demonstrate the “eye geometry” that allows Jason to communicate words and musical notes.

Most importantly, Jason never stopped composing music. ALS is a strange disease, in that the muscles fail but the brain keeps on going. And Jason’s brain was chock-full of music like it always was. With the help of his team—and the guitar work of players like Michael Lee Firkins and Joe Satriani—Jason continued to write, record, and release songs.

Michael Lee Firkins realizes Jason Becker’s guitar parts on “End of the Beginning.”

Jason’s fans never forgot about him, and one of them, an aspiring film maker named Jesse Vile, set about documenting Jason’s life up until this point. The result, Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet, is a fascinating look into the world of guitar heroes, ALS survivors, family love, and great music.

Watch the trailer for Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet

Then more and more things started to fall into place for Jason. He was featured on the cover of Guitar Player magazine, a lifelong dream of his, where he was called “the greatest shredder ever.”

Jason_BeckerRead Jason’s Guitar Player cover story here.

Then Carvin came out with a Jason Becker Signature model, the Carvin JB200C, a beautifully constructed replica of the guitar Jason kissed in the iconic Ross Pelton photo.

Which brings us to the present day, when Jason wanted to follow up on the original pickup designs he conceived with the Duncan Custom Shop so many years ago. With Jason providing the ears and his team of Michael Lee Firkins and Mike Bemesderfer providing the hands, Jason settled upon a pickup that is hotter than a ’59 but not as hot as a JB: the Perpetual Burn Humbucker.

“I always loved Eddie Van Halen’s tone,” says Jason, “with that crunch to make it aggressive and the singing, smooth, violin-type sound for soloing. On my CD, ‘Perpetual Burn,’ I got a tone that was raunchy and ballsy, and I could do a soaring solo without changing pickups. It all came out clear and crisp, too. That’s what we achieved with my new Duncan pickup. I would say the final tone sounds like me, only way better!”

With an Alnico 5 bar magnet and a 12.11k DC resistance, this is a pickup that is as versatile as the guy it was named after. It’s a perfect choice for shred but would also work great for rock, metal, or fusion. Singing leads, ringing clean tones, funky rock rhythms—the Perpetual Burn can not only handle all that, it can handle it with authority, sensitivity, and guts. What more do you want?


Written on March 27, 2014, by Kat King

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  • dingo

    I’m sorry about Jasons illness, but I can’t imagine why any of this is relevent! He was just another shred clone. Too many of them!

    • SecondCityGuitars

      I criticize by building something better. Can you please post some links to the videos showcasing your guitar playing skills?

    • dingobad

      dingo you are an idiot!

    • FUDingo

      Hey Dingo, F*** U Like a Hurricane. Talk when you are half as good as Jason.

  • Bill Sky

    I thought he was dead.

  • Afghan Dave

    Dingo.. you are a true f**kwit. Jason will be appreciated and remembered for longer and with more fondness than your sorry ass will ever be.

  • Todd

    How does this work? Jasons ears, Michael Lee Firkins hands! Talk about two guys with different touch and technique. I guess you better have Michaels touch if you want to sound like Jason. I would trust Seymour listening to the music and taking a stab at it more than this methodology.

    • SeymourDuncanBlog

      Hey Todd, so the pickup was actually pretty close to completion decades ago when Jason was at the pinnacle of his career. Unfortunately, ALS started to takes its toll. You can read above in the story how Jason came about it again and it was tweaked just about before being released.

  • Love that it is an old RG550 in the demo… Not as hot as a JB but hotter than a 59…hmm…What humbucker to put in the neck? Pearly Gates maybe? Certainly would skew towards the harmonics.

    • SeymourDuncanBlog

      Pearly would be a great match as would the Jazz.

      • Have a JB/Jazz combo in a bulletproof MIJ Jackson Dinky. Sounds like a PB/PG combo would be a little brighter with more articulation, but still hefty. Damn you Seymour — now I have something to wonder about every time I come across a beat up RG series — which is quite often!

    • Jay Hale

      You pretty much can’t go wrong with a PG. Or a Jazz.

    • Tuan

      Full shred neck is also awsome

    • Zado

      Screamin demon.Slightly lower output,clear,very defined and dynamic.

  • givemeshelter

    shredding means nothing to just isn’t my thing. I can’t do it, I really don’t like to listen to it, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t respect the heck out of anyone who can do it…and Jason becker was a great player. I have watched the show about his life a couple of times sad.

  • dingo

    Why don’t you post some links to your shitty guitars! My opinion is as valid as yours. FU haters!

  • dingo

    Shreder clone, shreder clone, shreder clone!

    • J-Bird

      Hardly a clone. Jason and Paul Gilbert are regarded as probably the two best shredders to ever pick up a guitar. If you didn’t hear the basic demo clip above that he did to a simple drum machine, he’s basically doubling what EVH did in two styles, on separate tracks in single takes, harmonizing them together, and then taking it up another whole level. And he did that on the fly. His demo takes to a drum machine have sold more copies than most guitar enthusiasts’ recordings will ever be able to. And though the genre fell out of style in ’89 when music dumbed down to solo-less Grunge, it takes thousands of hours of hard work to perfect and even do moderately well. Jason wrote the book, and some of the best guitarists in history can’t begin to touch his abilities. Jason lived in a day when you had know all your modes, scales and arpeggios, and something about the actual workings of music before you could even get into a band. And then he reigned over all of them on an extremely short list of the best. Something none of the posters on this this thread will every accomplish.

      Not to mention, he has a Duncan Custom Shop pickup named after him, and you don’t. And that’s for a reason. 🙂 Cheers.

      • dingo

        Once again I have to say my opinion is as valid as yours. You may not like it but it doesn’t make you right. His playing is history now and no longer relevant. The people that care about shred are guitar players, halfass guitar players and wannabe guitar players. The rest of music listening world has moved on. Maybe you should too. That’s why there is nothing named after you. Cheers:)

      • Bubu

        Dude, dont waste your time answering to assholes.

  • chad

    I’m 24 and never heard of this guy til today. It’s old school and I guess pretty typical of the genre back then. Not my cup of tea, but to each their own.

    • Viper

      I hear that Dude! All you need are some of these pickups, a Floyd and a dinosaur to deliver them to your house

  • Tommy

    This pickup is tasty. Aggressive but responsive, loud and eager but subtle and refined…
    is there a name/composer of that tapping section in the middle? Those are some really cool shapes and awesome uses of both hands in there, i’d love to get a tab or just a list of chord/arp. inversions hes using there. who is the guitarist? great vid.

  • Cymbaline

    Does a portion of the proceeds from each pickup go to Jason himself? If so, I might buy a set just to show my support.

    • Either to Jason or to help find a cure for this terrible disease. I had an uncle who fought ALS for seven years when it finally took him over six years ago. It’s terrible to watch someone suffer from this disease and I’d like to hear from Seymour if, or how, he could contribute to finding a cure via such a pickup.

  • David Kline Jr

    Great Pickup! Hands down.

  • IrfanAziz

    Hi. I am planning to get this pickup and combine it with SD Jazz ON the neck. Do you think they will become a good combination for 80s rock? I am going to put them in my Schecter Omen Extreme FR.

  • nimac

    Lol)) great humb))
    دوربین مدار بسته

  • saman

    i’ll probably still like it better as an instrumental.درب اتوماتیک

  • تور چین

    There are double cream Gibson PAFs. I have seen them.
    کرکره برقینمای ساختمان