Exclusive Interview with Seymour W. Duncan
by Lenny Kalcic
Seymour W. Duncan is a guitarist and guitar repairman, but is perhaps best known as the man behind Seymour Duncan Pickups, the world's leading manufacturer of guitar and bass pickups located in Santa Barbara, California. A good portion of Seymour's life has been devoted to studying, and helping to create some of the world's most identifiable guitar tones.
Born in New Jersey, Seymour grew up in the fifties and sixties, during a time when electric guitar music grew into greater acceptance. Seymour's teenage passion was focused upon guitars by a great uncle who introduced him to the music and legend of Charlie Christian, Chet Atkins and Les Paul.
As Seymour tinkered devotedly with materials and techniques, his bag of tricks grew and grew. At Les Paul's suggestion, he bolted for England in the late '60s where his intention to play soon mixed with the opportunity to further his pickup research working in the Repair and R&D Departments at the Fender Soundhouse in London. It was here that he did repairs and rewinds for such artists as Jimmy Page, George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend, Jimi Hendrix, Peter Frampton, and Seymour's guitar hero, Jeff Beck. It was through his work with Beck in particular, that Seymour honed his pickup winding skills - some of Seymour's first signature pickup tones appear on Jeff's early solo albums.
Seymour has made pickups for most of today's most discerning and diverse players from Aerosmith to ZZ Top and all points in between.