The Seymour Duncan Custom is one of the first Seymour Duncan models released, but its tone is one that is still very functional today.

Initially released in 1979, the small ceramic magnet and PAF-based EQ curve was designed to deliver classic tone but with more punch, clarity, and harmonic saturation. This was at a time in which aggressive tone was becoming more mainstream, and the pickup saw a lot of popularity throughout the ‘80s while rack units were becoming more widespread and guitarist wanted a sound with a lot of attack to maintain their cut in the mix.

Since then, the Custom Custom, and Custom Custom Custom (thankfully renamed the Custom 5) have been released to similar fanfare, and have definitely filled their own niches within the Custom family.

Is the Seymour Duncan Custom the pickup for you? Let’s find out!


  • Small Ceramic Magnet
  • Available Covered or Uncovered
  • 1 DC Resistance
  • 4 Conductor Shielded Cabling
  • Vacuum Wax Potted
  • Available in F-Spacing or Standard Spacing

Seymour Duncan pickups are produced in the USA, and the Custom is no different. Seymour Duncan has a long legacy of tone at the forefront of pickup design, and are very dedicated to their craft, which you can read more about in our article about the Seymour Duncan Custom Shop.


This is a pretty hot pickup, but its design leaves it very clean and clear sounding. The small ceramic magnet lends it great touch sensitivity, as well as clarity in large chords.

The original idea behind the pickup was a “supercharged PAF” and that really comes across. It doesn’t sacrifice a classic pickup’s organic nature, even when under high gain. Bass response is very quick, and the tone can by and large be described as “soaring.”

The EQ curve is slightly scooped, with pronounced highs. This leaves the pickup almost a bit twangy when the volume knob is rolled off, especially split, and it pairs well with single coils.

Obviously there are many ways to approach your tone (more mids can be dialed in ampside if your pickup is scooped, using more preamp gain if your pickup is only medium output, etc.), but if you like a very thick tone, I would recommend another pickup. The archetypal clear punchy  tone is what most people are after, but if you’re looking for something with a kick-you-in-the-gut low end, there are better pickups out there.

Final Verdict:

The Custom has a very tight and focused sound. This is highly desirable right now across many genres.

While it is relatively hot and very punchy, it is a bit more restrained than many all-out metal pickups out there. If you’re looking for something that sounds a little more unruly or is totally over the top I’d definitely look at pickups with oversized ceramic or alnico 8 magnets.

It’s still well suited towards vintage styles, but if you’re really after supreme warmth and sweetness in the highs, obviously a lower output alnico magnet (Maybe the Custom Custom?) would treat you right.

Overall, this is a nice, rich, evenly saturated pickup well suited to most applications, and if you like precision and relatively high output, this will treat you well.

Tone – 4.5/5

Build Quality – 4.5/5

Features – 4.5/5

If you liked this article, check out our other reviews here!

This article was written by Kyle Karich, our editor located in Florida.


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