Like many engineers and machinists, Derek Duncan grew up with an intense curiosity for the mechanics of how things work… except Derek didn’t come from your average parents, but from the founders and owners of Seymour Duncan; Cathy Carter Duncan – the woman who has provided the vision to guide the business through 37 years – and Seymour Duncan, the man who has spent his life experimenting and developing new tools to help artists get the tone they dream of. Derek was a fixture at the Seymour Duncan factory when he was growing up, and he could wind pickups before he could even drive. He started his career working on the production floor and Quality Control, then in the Engineering Department, before moving into his previous role as Builder and Machinist for the Custom Shop. “I’ve learned the art of the pickup from the masters—my dad Seymour and MJ (Maricela Juarez). I’ve been learning, and perfecting, and mastering this work since I was old enough to, well, work. I’m proud of what I do, and how I do it.” — Derek Duncan
Comfortable around both major artists and on the shop floor since he was a teenager, he’s now taking over the heart of the company—the Custom Shop—where Seymour Duncan’s signature custom pickups are manufactured. Derek is the skilled artisan behind many of the newer 7 and 8 string models, as well as historical recreations such as the Alnico Staple P-90 and the Charlie Christian pickup. “I can do whatever the customer needs. I know how to make things work, I know what needs done. Sketch it out. Grind it down. Wind it up—whatever it takes, we can do it.” —Derek Duncan
As to what motivates Derek he said “I enjoy building things but I greatly appreciate helping players get things that they couldn’t get otherwise. Most companies as they grow will only focus on the big stuff – kinda like walking into a Ford dealership and asking them to build your car out of a bunch of different vintage parts. I love that we are still focused on letting customers choose.”
If you have any questions or want to inquire on getting your own unique pickup made, you can email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Derek’s new role is a continuation of his growth as a master artisan. With him at the helm of the Custom Shop, great tone will be guaranteed, championed, and shared—as it always has been at Seymour Duncan.