For the last few days I’ve been reading about Dean Zelinsky’s new Sidekick pickup. Zelinsky says “The SideKick Pickup is the World’s first pickup that is a true Humbucker and switches to an authentic Single-Coil – all in a single pickup. With SideKick technology, switching from humbucker to single-coil, the pickups actually match volume. There is virtually no volume drop-off as in conventional Humbucker coil-tapping or splitting.”
That sounds like a killer idea, and I’m looking forward to hearing some clips of it in action. My only issue is that this isn’t a new idea, so the claim that it’s the world’s first true humbucker that switches to an authentic single coil sound isn’t quite accurate. I really don’t want to create the impression that I’m talking down the idea – it could be a totally kickass pickup and I’m all for people improving their tone – but this isn’t the first to make this claim, and I’m kind of a nerd for this type of trivia. Any four-conductor pickup can be split into single coil mode and that’s common knowledge so that’s not my issue, but there have been plenty that have been designed with specific technology for the single coil mode to sound authentic (and usually to have a consistent volume level too). For instance…
Seymour Duncan Stag Mag
Traditional humbuckers are designed with a bar magnet underneath two coils; the pole pieces themselves aren’t the magnet that specifically creates the magnetic field (although they do focus it). Single coils have six magnetic slugs instead, going up through the coils. The Stag Mag is built like two traditional single coils side-by-side, so when you turn one coil off you have a truly traditional single coil sound. Sure, there’s a volume drop compared to humbucker mode when you switch to single coil, but that’s true of picking up a single coil guitar after plugging in a humbucker too.
Seymour Duncan Custom Shop
The Seymour Duncan Custom Shop has been making pickups on request for years that can be wired so that when you switch to single coil mode, the remaining coil has extra turns of wire added to it (sort of the reverse of ‘tapping’ a single coil pickup), thereby bringing the volume and power of that coil up to a consistent level with the humbucking mode’s output. And because they’re Custom Shop you can order ‘em however you like.
Introduced in 2011, Paul Reed Smith’s 408 pickups also maintain an even volume when switching from humbucker to single coil mode. I reviewed this system back in May 2013 in a Paul Reed Smith Signature Limited guitar.
Listen to the 408 pickups in action here:
Ibanez’s True-Duo pickup uses one coil that has six Alnico V magnets in a hum-cancelling stack design, and one coil that has a Ferrite magnet underneath in a similar manner to a humbucker. When you combine the two, the bottom hum-cancelling coil of the Alnico V side is turned off and you get a regular humbucker sound. Split the pickup and you’re left with just the Alnico V slug pickup with the hum-cancelling coil engaged too for noiseless single coil tones.
Those are just the ones off the top of my head. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more out there. Bottom line: really happy for Zelinsky to be excited about his new pickup (and his Z Glide neck seem like a really cool idea) but my inner guitar geek can’t just let this claim that this is the only pickup like this go out there unaddressed.
PRESS RELEASE: The Studio Bass Compressor is a studio-grade soft-knee compressor designed for bassists who want to take control of the dynamics of their sound, from a subtle smoothing-out of peaks and valleys to the most squished and pinched extremes and everywhere in between. It’s extremely low noise and has an easy-to-use control format: The Blend knob allows you to adjust the amount of wet signal so you can bring natural snap back into your individual notes. The Volume knob lets you control the output (or you can push it up and lower the Compression for a great clean boost). The Attack knob regulates how quickly the compressor reacts to your initial pick attack – cranking it up will give a late attack that allows your pick or finger dynamics to come through before the compression kicks in. The Compressor knob is the heart of the pedal and allows you to easily control the dynamic range. Continue reading
PRESS RELEASE: Charvel is proud to announce the release of new San Dimas, So-Cal and Warren DeMartini guitars. Return to Charvel’s ancestral Southern California home with the high performance Pro-Mod San Dimas Style 1 HH. It features a one-piece quartersawn maple neck with classic San Dimas profile, compound-radius fingerboard (12″-16″) with 22 jumbo frets, Seymour Duncan ’59 SH-1N (neck) and TB-4 (bridge) humbucking pickups with three-way toggle switch, single knurled black master volume control, recessed Floyd Rose Original double-locking tremolo and R3 locking nut, Charvel tuners and black hardware. The hum/single Pro-Mod San Dimas Style 1 HS HT features a Seymour Duncan JB TB-4 humbucking (bridge) pickup and direct-mount Seymour Duncan STK-S6 (neck) pickup. Continue reading
While at NAMM I had a chat with Mr. Dave Mustaine for Seymour Duncan. I’ve interviewed Dave several times before but always over the phone, so it was really great to finally do a face-to-face chat. Enjoy!
YES! Carvin are releasing this beauty, Jason Becker’s newest signature model, based on a custom axe he played back in the day. it has Jason’s Seymour Duncan Perpetual Burn humbucker in the bridge and a Jazz in the neck position. These will be available from February 1.
Check this out! The new Seymour Duncan Vise Grip Compressor. It’s a soft-knee compressor with a few secret weapons: a Blend knob that lets you balance the clean and effected signals, and a Mid/Full/High switch which lets you choose the character of the blended signal.
You can hear it in action in the video above. And here’s the press release. Continue reading
Check out this killer Batman guitar belonging to Steve Haymaker Jr from Hydra Effect. Steve says he started with a Schecter Avenger, scoured around to find some comic books and finally got enough cool Batman comic pieces to make a nifty guitar. It has a pair of Duncan Designed HB-108 pickups, which are based on the mighty SH-8 Invader. Here is the result of his labor: Continue reading
Oh man, I can’t wait to check this guitar out in person. PRS Guitars has just announced the Mark Holcomb Limited Edition for one third of Periphery’s guitar Hydra. It’s a 25.5″ scale Custom 24 with a 20″ fretboard radius, a newly-designed PRS bridge and the Seymour Duncan Alpha and Omega humbucking pickups Mark developed recently with SD’s Kevin Beller and Keith Merrow. It has a carved, figured maple “10” Top, mahogany back, 24 fret Pattern Thin neck, PRS Phase III locking tuners, and volume, tone, 5–way blade switch control layout with black Hipshot O-ring controls. Available colours are Black Cherry, Black Gold Burst, Charcoal Burst, Faded Whale Blue, Holcomb Burst and Jade. Continue reading
Aah yes. These were first hinted at during Winter NAMM in January 2014 and finally they’re here: Seymour Duncan’s Custom Shop Lemmy Kilminster signature set. They’re available for Rickenbacker bass in direct mount or pickguard mount, in neck, middle and bridge models. If you’re a Rick player you need these. Here’s the press release. Continue reading
PRESS RELEASE: The Retribution pickups were designed with Dino Cazares of Fear Factory and Divine Heresy to provide the essential attack, clarity and increased headroom that 7 and 8-string players like Dino have been asking for. They feature a specially tuned preamp with just the right amount of gain, enhanced attack definition and maximum string clarity. Like the standard Blackouts series and Mick Thomson EMTY Blackouts, they maintain an organic open sound that isn’t sterile but instead is huge and powerful with a lower noise level and an increased dynamic response compared to other active pickups. Continue reading
Overdrive pedals are a funny thing: some of us like to use them to get crunchy, amp-like warmth. Some of us like to use them to boost an already overdriven amp channel into the next level. And almost everyone defaults to a certain green box when they think of analog overdrive pedals. The Seymour Duncan 805 Overdrive was designed with those classic tones in mind as a starting point but this pedal has significant differences from the Tube Screamer, beginning with the chip that powers its sound. While early development focused on the same chip, SD engineers eventually ended up with the MC33178 due to what they felt were superior sonic characteristics (along with a lower noise level and longer battery life).