Our Antiquity line of pickups goes back to a particularly unique time in guitar history, the 1990s. A few different things were happening at the same time: the vintage guitar market was huge just as ‘shred’ guitars were on a bit of a decline, and guitarists were beginning to relic their own instruments when they couldn’t get their hands on the actual vintage guitars they were coveting. Glitz was out and grit was in. So Antiquity pickups were created to give guitarists the look, tone and response of old pickups. And because Seymour is very detail-oriented, Antiquities had to be exactly like the originals, down to the finest details.
One of the reasons this level of detail is so important is that not all vintage guitars are in original condition. In the late 70s and early 80s it was common for vintage guitars – or just ‘used guitars’ as they were then! – to be modded with hotter-sounding pickups. So when these guitars hit the vintage market as more affordable modded axes, Antiquity pickups were just the thing to bring them back to original spec.
Seymour says that one of his most memorable experiences as a kid was discovering an arrowhead on a farm near his parents’ house and being struck by the realization that all the edges were honed by a skilled craftsman using nothing more than hardened stone and muscle. “There was a raw, untamed beauty in that arrowhead,” he says. “I found that same beauty in the old American electric guitars and basses of the ’50s and ’60s.” So that was the inspiration behind the Antiquity and Antiquity II pickups; capturing the beauty and craft of those guitars without having to take out a second mortgage. The original Antiquity series is based on the pickups of the ’50s, while the Antiquity II line replicates ‘60s classics. Each pickup is made using the same production techniques as the originals, and the magnets are subtly aged to capture the same changes that you’ll find today in original pickups from the era. The range includes humbuckers, bass, single coils for Strat and Telecaster, and even pickups for more specialized needs like Jazzmaster, Mustang, Duo-Sonic, Jaguar, P90, mini humbucker, lap steel, mandolin and Stringmaster.
The Antiquity humbuckers are wound on a vintage Leesona winder which was originally used by Gibson in the 50s to wind their Patent Applied For (PAF) pickups. We use a German silver baseplate and a maple spacer for vintage accuracy. The winding of the single coils is a completely hand-guided process to ensure vintage authenticity.
A fact that not a lot of people know is that the very first Seymour Duncan product ever was not a pickup but brass bridge saddles for Telecasters, designed to be exactly like the originals. In effect they were Antiquity before we used the term, and we still make them today to put some traditional Twang into your Tele.