Tone Seekers


Seymour met with Jimi Hendrix on March 28, 1968, at Xavier University. The two spent hours together trading tips on getting tone and Seymour supplied several pickups for Jimi to use on his Strat.





This was taken in 1975 when I first knew Seymour and lived in Tuna Canyon (right near Topanga Canyon). He was relaxing in front of the trailer, which at the time had neither electricity nor indoor water.








Seymour and I sit in our landlord’s office space in our first real factory at 721 Yanonali St. in Santa Barbara, California. In order to help pay the rent, I would cut loofahs for the landlord.






Seymour with his TeleGib based on the one he built for Jeff Beck.

As business started to grow we decided to run our first advertisement, titled “The Science of Sound.” Here Seymour can be seen practicing for the photo holding his TeleGib and wearing his white lab coat.









This was our second factory, located on Bond Avenue in Santa Barbara, California. It was about 2,000 square feet, and this is where we started doing more than just rewinds. We lived in the upstairs loft and it had nice big roll-up doors. Kevin continues to work for us to this day as our Vice President of Engineering and New Products. Martha was our long-time production supervisor until 2001. Many artists came by this building searching for tone.


This was one of our early NAMM Shows, back in 1982. In the background you can see an early version of our pickup selector chart. Pictured are tone seekers David Lindley, Seymour, and Eddie Van Halen.





And here is Seymour with Eddie Van Halen and Allan Holdsworth.









This photo shows Seymour with the late Jim Marshall. We had friends throughout the music industry who shared our desire to create great tone for musicians.







Albert Lee, Seymour Duncan, and Eric Clapton. This was during Eric Clapton’s wedding.






Seymour, Billy Gibbons and Tony Dukes in 1979. This was in front of our second building, on Bond Avenue. Billy was about to go on tour, and he wanted identical guitars with the sound of his Pearly Gates. He brought us the guitars, and we built pickups with the precise tonality he wanted. He has continued to be a good friend of the Duncan family.






Kramer was the first guitar company we let use our pickups in their guitars. This was a hang tag that was put on Kramer guitars in ’81/’82.

It’s always been an honor to be a place musicians can go when they are looking for a particular sound. Over the countless artists have turned to us, and it’s always exciting when we hear back from musicians who have used our products to achieve a tone of their own.






Want to check out one of our original newsletters? Click the picture below to download our June/July edition from 1982.

Click to download the June 1982 Newsletter

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  • Steven

    ddays dem wer thnx slf julian ca,

  • Blacklab119

    Ditto on the lack of roger dean album art

  • Sam Geese

    Diamond Dogs…Alladin Sane

  • Harvey

    Hi Cathy,

    Great photo of you and Seymour. I hope to see you at Summer NAMM.


  • Deancbradley

    Best pickup maker in the world, should be inducted into the Rock n Roll hall of Fame.

  • Abbacus

    Crazy! All those years ago! Seems like everyone got old but me.

  • Jon Troutman

    I remember watching Seymour play a demo in the early 80′s in Long Beach at a place called Guitars Afire. He has changed the tone of guitars for a long time now, thanks Seymour!

  • Tom Pernal

    First time I heard Seymour’s name was out of Steve Khan’s mouth. The original Brecker Brother’s Band… Bijou Cafe in Philly. He had a Tele with a HB at the neck and a Single at the Bridge and sounded awesome… I asked him about his guitar. He said “Two Words. Seymour Duncan”

  • disqus_zekibBoWzq

    Im a nobody , I’m a retired plunker that enjoys playing guitars . I was an aviation tech and a carpenter before that for many many years . But through it all , even disabled I still enjoy my guitars and playing . Off and on since 1976. Thank you for making good products , I’ve enjoyed them .