ANAHEIM, Calif., Jan. 13, 2011 — Seymour Duncan today opened its largest-ever presence at NAMM by announcing 16 new market-expanding products, led by the very limited-production Seymour Duncan 35 guitar. Beginning its 35th year helping stringed-instrument players find their personal voice, the company and its legendary co-founder, Seymour W. Duncan, are fielding an array of products intended to showcase engineering prowess in pickups and complete understanding of electric guitar, while making tone upgrades through pickup changes easy and available to everyone.
“Guitar requires respect for the past plus unfettered innovation to propel its continuing evolution,” says Phil Ressler, CEO of Seymour Duncan. “In our 35th year, we are pushing in new directions with vision-driven products, breaking down real and perceived barriers to adoption of aftermarket pickups, and broadening the heritage products that made Seymour Duncan the premier provider of tools for personal voicing and tone for guitar and bass players worldwide.”
The Seymour Duncan 35 Guitar
The Seymour Duncan 35 guitar is a new hand-built custom instrument in a vintage-modified form pioneered by Seymour W. Duncan over 35 years ago, and which remains today his default guitar for performance and recording. In celebration of Seymour Duncan’s 35th anniversary as the premier builder of pickups for guitar and bass, just 35 of these remarkable numbered and signed, custom-crafted instruments will be offered for connoisseurs of tone.
Inspired by Seymour’s personal guitar, which is an evolution of the well-known “TeleGib” he built for Jeff Beck when Seymour lived in London in the early 1970s, the Seymour Duncan 35 updates, upgrades, and modernizes (where appropriate) the slab-bodied, bolt-on neck and double-humbucker sound that Seymour made part of the guitar lexicon of tones. A collaborative project between Seymour W. Duncan, Seymour Duncan’s resident luthier and Vice President of Products Frank Falbo, and the revered guitar builders at Larrivee, the Seymour Duncan 35 combines the simplicity of its forbearer with the high precision, premier materials, and finish of contemporary hand-crafted luthery. Woods are hand-selected from Jean Larrivee‘s choicest inventory. Fretting, nut work and final set-up are performed by Frank Falbo.
“Known commonly as a ‘TeleGib’, the guitar I built for Jeff Beck and further evolved for myself is my go-to instrument for performance and recording,” remarks Seymour W. Duncan, co-founder of Seymour Duncan. “I play many different guitars, but no one instrument combines my ideal mix of feel, expression, flexibility, and voice that I found when I modified and built those first hybrid bolt-on-neck-with-humbuckers guitars.”
The one-piece swamp ash body’s shape is a direct trace from a 1953 Blackguard from the collection of Nacho Banos (Author of the book The Blackguard). This body shape differs dramatically from the shape of the modern Tele®. The humbucker cavities are routed on top of the traditional Telecaster® cavities, in precisely the same position and fashion as Seymour‘s guitar. The neck pocket is deeper than the current spec and matches the original spec from 1950–55. The grain on the body has been carefully stained to match the darkening that naturally occurred from age on Seymour‘s instrument. Amber varnish on the body has been color-matched to perfectly replicate the original. A few instruments will be finished in an alternate varnish dyed wine red. The pickguard on the instrument is true fiber Bakelite, varnished to an ultra-high gloss and crafted from a direct trace of a 1950 Broadcaster. Additional unnecessary (but important) modification-correct details were included on the body, including the addition of string ferrules and bridge screw holes. The instrument‘s side profile and tummy cut are careful recreations from Seymour’s guitar.
The neck on the Seymour Duncan 35 features a 1 3/4“ nut width, as well as neck-width measurements matching Seymour’s instrument. The neck is crafted from quarter sawn rock maple, and utilizes a traditional anchored-trussrod design but with a CNC-machined walnut skunk stripe for a stronger, closer fit to the truss than normally found in necks of this style. We chose to use Tahitian black mother-of-pearl for the fretboard dot markers. The nut is handmade from 35,000-year-old fossilized mastodon ivory. Hardware on the Seymour Duncan 35 is not only vintage-accurate, but is the best available. The bridge is machined from a medium-carbon stainless steel billet by Callaham Guitars and features enlarged studs. The tailpiece is the standard Tonepros model. The knobs, extra-thick-neckplate, and screws are manufactured by Glendale. The pots are not vintage-correct, but are Seymour‘s favorite ”blue-box“ pots by Bourns. The tone capacitor is handmade by Luxe Capacitors and is a vintage paper-in-oil replica from a 1956 Tele®. Tuners are hand-engraved custom ”single-line" Kluson. All screws on the instrument are traditional flat-head screws.
The Seymour Duncan 35 is supplied with both vintage-inspired and modern exotic pickups. Seymour Duncan’s new JB & Jazz™ “Concept” humbuckers are installed in the guitar. The “Concept” pickups are reproductions of the prototype pickups Seymour wound for Jeff Beck‘s guitar, well before there was a Seymour Duncan Company. These pickups later became the basis for further development of the Seymour Duncan JB & Jazz™ production models, after formation of the company. Additionally, a set of Seymour Duncan Zephyr ™ Silver premium pickups will be supplied in the case. The guitar is equipped with Seymour Duncan‘s Liberator™ Quick Pickup Change System for easy swapping of both sets of pickups. Vintage-style or new tone-drenched silver, players will find the sound of the Seymour Duncan 35 to be extraordinary. The Zephyr™ Silver pickups combine silver wire, bi-metallic pole pieces, nylon glass fiberfill bobbins, and cryogenic treatment for a wide-open, tone-dense, explosively dynamic sound and super-responsive feel. The installed Liberator™ volume potentiometer is 250kOhms. A spare control plate with a 500kOhms Liberator™ volume potentiometer is included in the supplied tweed case.
“Fortunate buyers of the Seymour Duncan 35 can expect a precision handcrafted guitar built to the highest standards of solid-body lutherie,” says Frank Falbo, VP of Products at Seymour Duncan. “As a luthier myself, I take painstaking pride in the guitars we can produce from our collaboration with Larrivee, and I will personally fret, inspect, and set up each Seymour Duncan 35 as though it is my own.”
The Seymour Duncan 35 is an unusually responsive, toneful guitar rooted in the history of Seymour W. Duncan’s friendship with Jeff Beck. It will be a prized voice in any owner‘s guitar collection, and is designed to be put to work onstage or in the studio with enviable results. MSRP $6,250.
About Seymour Duncan Pickups & Pedals
Seymour Duncan is the world’s leading designer and manufacturer of musical instrument pickups, offering musicians a wide range of pickups and a full line of effect pedals, along with renowned customer service. The company also operates the Seymour Duncan Custom Shop, a boutique workshop that has created custom guitar pickups for scores of top guitarists, including Slash, Mark Knopfler, Billy Gibbons, Los Lobos, and Steve Miller.