Seymour Duncan’s Whole Lotta Humbucker
59/Custom Hybrid Pickups
In lean times, who can afford to introduce anything but a winner? Wisely, Seymour Duncan has learned how to stack the deck in their favor, using its Custom Shop to test-market designs before moving to factory production. The result is boutique sound at pocket-friendly factory prices. Their latest roll-outs are the Whole Lotta Humbucker and the 59/Custom Hybrid humbucker.
Originally a U.K. Custom Shop exclusive, the Whole Lotta Humbucker (8.78k) is based on a pickup Duncan re-wound years ago for a certain famous player from England with the initials J and P. Apparently, Duncan re-wound the ailing pickup using enamel-insulated wire and replaced its weak magnet with a stronger rough-cast Alnico V version. The 59/Custom Hybrid (11.5k), meanwhile, is a mélange of vintage and modern, pairing one coil that has vintage attributes with one that has higher output and is much thicker-sounding.
Thanks to easy instructions and included hardware, installation was a snap with both of these bridge-position humbuckers. The Lotta immediately pleased with its vintage-styled tone, pleasant compression, and focused sound. It offers slightly more midrange and low-end than vintage units, yet was clear and defined, with a bit more forcefulness and an almost in-your-face feel.
The 59/Custom is a different beast. Tone-wise, it has much more low-end response than most ’buckers, yet still had crisp highs thanks to mismatched coils that temper what could be a very dark/undefined overwound tone. Given its high output, backing off on the guitar’s Volume produces a clean signal. The 59/Hybrid produced the thick tones and high output associated with an overwound pickup, but with the greater fidelity of a lower-output design.
The Whole Lotta Humbucker is a great choice for those who want to live on the border between vintage PAF-style tones and high output. The pickup’s slight compression and pushed midrange tone make it an excellent classic rock pickup that will pair well with any amp. The 59/Custom Hybrid, though partially vintage in its implementation, is a modern bruiser that offers clarity. Its low-end punch is formidable and will push just about any amp’s front end into very pleasant overdriven bliss.
This article originally appeared in VG November 2013 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.