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Seymour Duncan Kicks Off 35th Year: Introducing Zephyr™, The Next Great Sound of Guitar

United States
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Seymour Duncan 35 limited production guitar, Zephyr™ Silver pickups, and Liberator™ Solderless Pickup Change System open new frontiers for the company and guitar players alike

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.”

Introducing Seymour Duncan Zephyr ™ : The Next Great Sound of Guitar

In pickups and guitar, reverence for the past is the prevailing theme of many popular and enduring products. It’s no different for Seymour Duncan, where the JB™ is by far our most popular single pickup model, and our Custom Shop and Antiquity lines are living testaments to the appeal of what came before us. We love the best of the past at Seymour Duncan, but we’re not only looking back.

Zephyr™ is “the west wind,” and for Americans, the west represents what’s next. Over the western horizon lie the next trends that will make life better, more enjoyable, more interesting. It’s also from where we expect innovations that give us what’s new and best. Introducing Seymour Duncan Zephyr™ -- a continuing series of products focused on defining what’s next for guitar, unbound from what was. Zephyr products are the newest way we will channel our restless compulsion to create the next great sounds for guitar, relentlessly working to make expressive tone affordable, but willing to accept that sometimes “the next” costs more.

Seymour Duncan Zephyr ™ Silver Pickups

Seymour Duncan Zephyr™ Silver pickups give guitar players everything they love about electric guitar, but more: richer tone, more explosive dynamics, more responsive touch, a deliciously dense but wide-open sound. Zephyr will represent Seymour Duncan’s view of what’s next for guitar. They are premium offerings built to the company’s point-of-view, without influence of focus groups. Seymour Duncan began with the then-new idea that stock pickups could be improved, and that the beautiful sound of old pickups could be cloned in newly wound wire. Zephyr™-series products, including Zephyr™ Silver pickups, signal renewed commitment to lead with further innovation while continuing to offer the fullest range of known and loved guitar tones of any pickup maker.

Zephyr™ Silver pickups combine four distinct innovations unbound from pickup tradition:

Silver Wire Coils -- Known as “The Great Conductor” for having the lowest resistivity among metals (5.36% lower than copper), silver wire’s sonic excellence is well established in high-fidelity audio applications, including moving-coil phono cartridges, vacuum tube amplifier output transformers, and cabling. Softer and more supple than same-gauge copper wire, silver allows more controlled and repeatable winding, with layers of wire stacked more neatly and evenly. Just as silver in audio makes music reproduction more convincing and alive, in pickup coils it lends electric guitar a punchier, more bursty feel, with remarkably rich harmonics and uniquely high tone density, without the perceived rising top end often experienced from silver in signal cables.

Nickel and Stainless Steel Bi-Metallic Pole Pieces -- Combining the sensitivity of pure nickel with high dynamic range of stainless steel further contributes to the vivid, energetic sound of Zephyr™ Silver.

Glass Fiberfill Nylon Bobbin -- Nylon is a low-Q material less prone to microphonics and ringing. Glass fill renders Zephyr™ Silver bobbins exceptionally tough and dimensionally stable for more precise winding.

Cryogenic Treatment -- Supercooling permanently aligns the crystal lattice of all materials and removes stresses introduced during the manufacturing of raw materials and the winding and final assembly of pickups. The crystal structure of magnets is also improved for more consistent gauss strength across all strings and from unit to unit. In high-end audio, cable, vacuum tubes, and even entire electronic components are sometimes cryogenically treated for improvements in clarity and realism; we achieved similar results for guitar tone by cryogenically treating completed pickups, copper, and silver alike. Cryogenics enhance string definition and boost the “way huge” potential of your guitar.

“‘Best’ is a controversial term in guitar circles, where individual preferences prevail. Zephyr™ Silver pickups are engineered to be uniquely vivid and toneful, dynamic, and expressive,” observes Kevin Beller, VP Engineering at Seymour Duncan. “We set out to create more sensitive, expressive pickups using non-traditional materials and techniques, and our listening tests confirm we succeeded. We like the combination of dense tone and explosive touch Zephyr™ Silver pickups lend to every guitar we’ve installed them in. If those characteristics are attractive to any given guitarist, we think they will love Zephyr™ Silver sound, and ’best' will be how like-minded players will come to think of them, too.”

While these options are now available for any order to our Custom Shop, in combination they lend our new premium Zephyr™ Silver pickups uniquely fast transients, wider but smooth frequency response, deeply rich harmonics, and unprecedented midrange tone density, with audible gains in string detail, articulation, and overall definition. A slighter touch produces expressive sound, yet peak dynamics are more explosive, making your guitar feel more energetic and alive. We consider Zephyr™ Silver the most expressive pickups so far. They are not inexpensive -- but from squeaky clean to buzzsaw grind, you‘ll hear and feel more power, projection, and expression from any electric guitar.

Zephyr™ Silver models will be available in Humbucker, Stratocaster®, and Telecaster® sets. MSRP $1,195 per set.

Photograph: Seymour Duncan launched the innovation-oriented Zephyr Series with Zephyr Silver Pickups, which feature silver wire, bi-metallic pole pieces, glass fiberfill nylon bobbins and cryogenic treatment. Combining these four innovations yields richer tone, more explosive dynamics, more responsive touch, and a deliciously dense yet wide-open sound. (photograph by Seymour Duncan, Lori Lee Miller)


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.
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