The pickups we choose are the heart, soul, and personality of our guitars. And, while their impact on tone is undeniable, their power is often as visual as it is aural. From the white, black, and zebra colors of vintage humbuckers to the wide variety of cover materials, each injects its personality into the instrument and even your playing.
While the standard humbucking and single-coil looks are still going strong, guitarists are also embracing the kitschy beauty of pickups found on ‘60s-era guitars, like Harmonys and Teiscos. At the same time, players looking for an all-business look love the all-black attitude of active pickups like our Blackout series. But until now, achieving those sought-after looks meant accepting the tone of the pickups they came on.
That all changes with the release of our new line of Seymour Duncan Black Powerdercoat-, Raw Nickel Radiator Cover Gold Foil-, and Raw Nickel Boarder Tortoiseshell-covered humbuckers. Available on the ‘59, JB, Duncan Custom, Alnico II Pro, Saturday Night Special, Jazz, Duncan Distortion, and Pearly Gates humbuckers, it’s never been easier to give the tone you love the look it deserves.
Let’s take a look at these new pickup offerings to find your perfect match.
A recent trend with high-output, active pickup players, is a desire to balance the pickups’ often menacing looks with a more traditional appearance. Our Seymour Duncan Jeff Loomis Blackouts are a perfect example. Now you can get that marriage of aggression and tradition in a wide variety of our passive humbucker models. But don’t think these black metal covers are only for metalheads. Everyone from jazz cats to black-tie-event cover bands will appreciate the elegant simplicity they bring to your guitar.
Raw Nickel Radiator Cover with Gold Foil
Vintage gold foil pickups are the undoubted heroes of the Black Keys-inspired roots-rock crowd. And thanks to Ry Cooder’s early adoption of them for some of the most legendary slide tones in history, their appeal is embraced far and wide. But if you’re someone who digs the gold foil vibe more than their tone, these Raw Nickel Radiator Cover and Gold Foil-covered options are for you.
Raw Nickel Border with Tortoise Shell
Following in the pawnshop prize tradition is our Raw Nickel Border with Tortoise Shell-covered humbuckers. While not based on a particular pickup of yesteryear, you’ll find they add an instant old-school chic to any guitar you drop them in. And don’t worry, the sonically transparent faux tortoiseshell cover doesn’t impact your pure tone. So go ahead and blast the front of your amp with a Duncan Distortion or envelop yourself in the golden-era tones of our ‘59 pickups. You’ll always have a stage-ready look all your own.
While there are more pickup options available today than ever before, these three looks have remained elusive to those loyal to their favorite humbuckers. But with all three available on eight of our popular dual-coil designs, you can finally pair the exact look you want with the exact tone you crave.
Have you picked your look, but are still on the fence about the perfect pickup pairing? Here’s a quick rundown of the humbuckers currently available with these covers.
The ’59 Model neck pickup is one of our most popular and versatile pickups. Designed in the spirit of the original P.A.F. humbuckers of the 1950s, they deliver sweet sustain, full-sounding chords, and clear attack. And thanks to a few refinements, they offer it all in a package that’s perfect for modern players.
Though named the Jazz, we initially designed this humbucking pickup as the matching neck pickup for the high-output JB Model bridge humbucker. Its glassy treble response, full, tight bass, and scooped mids help each note to sing clearly under any shade of gain. Clean or filthy dirty, there’s nothing this neck humbucker can’t do.
The JB Model humbucker is our most popular pickup of all time and one of the most popular high-gain pickups in the world. Its low end is full and robust, while the highs are crisp and detailed. But it’s the JB’s upper-midrange bump that gives it its distinctive crunch and singing, vocal-like quality.
Think of the Duncan Custom as a ‘P.A.F.-on-steroids. It has tight lows, a bump in the upper midrange which gives you more character and crunch, and an airy high end that cuts through. It’s also great for achieving crystal-clear clean tones. Drop it in a warmer-sounding guitar like Les Pauls and Paul Reed Smiths, and you’ll see why the Custom has so many loyal fans.
The Duncan Distortion is our original high-output humbucker. For over three decades, its massive ceramic magnet and hot coil windings have delivered full-bodied rock and metal tones to players around the world.
The Pearly Gates humbuckers are based on the original pickups from Billy Gibbons’ 1959 Les Paul. Like the originals, these pickups have slightly more output than most P.A.F.s, which helps to give it extra drive. Unsurprisingly, pinch harmonics sing with these pickups. They have a growl all their own and will help to bring any guitar to life.
The Alnico 2 Pro humbucker uses the soft treble attack and low string pull of an alnico 2 bar magnet, combined with a unique coil wind to create a warm, sweet tone. The thick highs sing to match its warm lows. If you want a touch-sensitive pickup that translates your every nuance, the Alnico 2 Pro is the way to go.
Saturday Night Special humbuckers bridge the gap between vintage ‘50s and modern humbuckers. A little hotter and fatter in the bridge position and a little clearer and less “wooly” in the neck, they may be the perfect set for classic rockers looking to replicate those legendary late-70s arena tones.
Have questions about finding the right combination for your guitar? Head to our player-friendly, online Guitar Pickup Selector, and audio examples. Or give us a call and let us help you turn your guitar into the musical machine of your dreams.