Seymour Duncan Alpha/Omega Review WiredGuitarist March 4, 2017 Articles, Reviews, Uncategorized Guitarists the world over, rejoice! Seymour Duncan has finally announced that Periphery guitarist, Mark Holcomb’s signature Alpha and Omega pickups are now available to the masses – in 6, 7, and 8 string formats! In 2015, Seymour Duncan designed a limited edition Custom Shop exclusive set of pickups for guitarist Mark Holcomb, and until recently they were only available for a pretty penny – and limited to 200 sets – from the Custom Shop or by purchasing one of Mark’s awesome signature Paul Reed Smith guitars (which we have a full review of here.) While his signature guitar was ground-breaking (and even made it into our Top 5 Guitars of 2016) many guitarists still dreamed of placing these pickups in their own instruments, and had hoped for the addition of the 7 and 8 string variants, which only Mark had access to. Finally, that dream came true, and we’re taking this opportunity to spill the beans on just how much the Wired Guitarist team has been loving these magical, magnetic miracles! Features: – Ceramic Magnet – Passive Design – Available in Black – 4 Conductor Shielded Cabling – 12.96 (Bridge) / 8.02 (Neck) DCR – Available in Standard or F-Spaced (Trembucker) – Available in 6, 7, and 8-String Models Tone: Most of us are well aware of the ubiquitous “djent tone” that was so prevalent back what seems like many eons ago, but while Periphery might have been at the forefront of the so-called “djent” movement you’d be sorely underestimating these pickups if that is the tonal box you imagine these pickups would be put in. The bridge pickup is on the hotter side, with loads of aggression, growl, and – as Holcomb describes it – “snarl” with a hefty amount of punch. The neck pickup isn’t as hot, but on the higher side of a vintage output humbucker. Both pickups have a tight EQ curve with a slight mid scoop and treble boost. The scoop is nowhere near 80’s thrash metal levels, just a subtle cut to reduce honky mids and add clarity. While plenty of midrange might seem like a better choice for this style of music, in practice it actually allows you to shape your mids to taste in a much more detailed manner, especially if you use a flexible digital modeler. The treble boost is clear and bright, but not remotely harsh. While the higher output of a bridge pickup can sometimes result in a lack of clarity and dynamics, that’s not at all the case with the Omega. Holcomb’s signature style is based heavily on large, complex chord voicings – which can be heard in full force on his Haunted Shores material – and he has explained how essential it was not to sacrifice any note definition. While that’s all fine and dandy to say, the key point here is that the Omega actually lives up to that statement. The Alpha delivers gorgeous, glassy cleans, without enough tightness to keep things from getting tubby sounding. It holds up extremely well under immense amounts of gain, providing plenty of sustain for leads and utilizing the high-end boost to maintain clarity and articulation regardless of how high you turn up the distortion. While Mark humbly claims the Alpha and Omega to be percussive… we feel that he’s underselling them. What is incredible about these pickups is that they are not simply “percussive,” but they almost seem to have a deep, artificially-intelligent understanding of the player’s intent with their picking hand. Playing hard gives you consistent, articulate, percussive barrages of tremolo picking, while backing off delivers beautifully soft clean tones that are reminiscent of a plucked harp. The last feature worth noting is that the 7 and 8 string versions of the Alpha/Omega set are not just a copy/paste job like some companies do. They specifically tailored the design of the 7 and 8 string variants to optimize the response for extended range, allowing them to deliver the same incredible performance no matter how many strings you use to craft your music. Final Verdict: I’ll call it right now – these are some of the best pickups to come out in recent memory. I have never seen a set of pickups that can do it all, until now. Plenty of pickups can deliver versatility but there is always a trade-off, which in most cases is either clarity or clean tones. Somehow, these pickups not only meet those requirements, but they excel at them. I’d be lying if I said that I could find a flaw in these pickups. If I had to be as critical as possible, I would simply say that the cleans aren’t the best in the world, purely because that is the nature of higher output vs. lower output, and there’s no changing science. That being said, I never thought pickups with this output could achieve cleans this mind-blowing, and they easily compete with pickups well below their output bracket. Periphery’s music covers such vast musical territory that their recent material is a fantastic resume for these pickups. If you have any doubts about their tone and versatility, the answers are simply a play away. Don’t forget we are Seymour Duncan authorized dealers. If you need our guidance in finding the right pickup for you, check out our custom order option, and we can get you the tone you’re after! If you liked this article, check out our other reviews here! This article was written by Connor Gilkinson, our editor located in Canada.