Seymour Duncan 59 (SH-1) Review

Seymour Duncan 59 (SH-1) Review

Hello to all!

For this time, i like to present you one of my personal favourite mass production humbuckers. It is very common and you can easily see this humbucker from Seymour Duncan on many guitars by any brand. Ibanez, Schecter, Gibson, Heritage, Yamaha, FGN, Fender for a small list of '59 user brands. It is very common but this does not mean the worth of ’59 is well known, unfortunately. The reason is somewhere down here...

First of all, the techical specs;

Wire Gauge: 42 AWG
Wire Insulation: Plain Enamel
Leg Type: Long Legged
D.C. Resistance: 7,43k (neck model) / 8,13k (bridge model)
Resonance Peak: 6,80KHz (neck model) / 6,00KHz (bridge model)
EQ: B/M/T = 6/3/8
Magnet Type: Alnico V Bar

First of all Seymour Duncan'59 is a PAF clone. Thus all typical specs are reminiscent of pickups on 59 model Gibson Les Paul. Not as microscobicly same as the Seth Lover set or the Antiquity series but just as close as possible in this price and production range. Thats a good advantage for '59. Anyway, typical '59 humbuckers come with single braided wire but four conductor 59 models are available, too. Furthermore, 7 string, trembucker spacing, nickel or gold covered versions are on the market today.

I believe the easiest way to describe this humbucker is this; "well (mass) produced Alnico 5 PAF clone for great versatility". Actually, i have no experience with bridge model but the neck model is very cool humbucker. It has lots of basses and trebles with clarity. Low mids and upper mids are there but not much and it is easy to hear if you can compare ’59 with a overwound humbucker like JB. The general sound will be cool if your guitars is not too bright. Besides, if your guitar sounds more than "warm", because of fully charged powerful Alnico V magnet, muddiness can be your problem, especially on your low strings. To overcome the muddiness modifying the magnet can be suggested in two ways; replace the Alnico V magnet with a Alnico IV bar.  But before replacing the magnet, there is alternative way to try first hand; set lower your humbucker from the strings till the output begins silly and then slowly  rise the screws of your humbucker bobbin. Seymour W. Duncan suggests this tip on Q&A section of Duncan website;

“This is a trick I’ve seen Jeff Beck do on a guitar I built for him during the 70’s. It was nicknamed The Tele-Gib and he used in on songs like “Cause we’ve ended as lovers” and he was seen playing it on the “Secrets Policeman’s Ball” video. He would lower the bridge pickup about 1/4” from the strings and raise the adjustable pole pieces to about 1/16” from the strings. This would give him extra bite without the sound being to fat or full and still be humbucking. By raising the poles keeps the stud side further away from the strings and not as dirty when the volume in up all the way on the guitar. He could make the guitar cry more when manipulating the volume and tone controls during the intro to the song “Cause we’ve ended as lovers”.”

Well, '59 neck model sounds really well on certaion short scale Les Paul type guitars, also good on longer scale strats or superstrats as well. Versatility is the key factor for this pickup. Whether you play hard and heavy music or warm blues, you will hear nice tones from your guitar on neck position. The amount of this "nice tones" i've just mentioned is up to your guitar and its quality. Because '59 is not too wound will not  suppress the overtones, harmonics etc. which will come out from the wood of your guitar. Next thing you know, you will like it in pair with a powerfull humbucker on bridge position as Dimebag Darrel had done before he passed away. Or you may like to pair ’59 with Seymour Duncan classic JB on bridge.

I like the tight responce of ’59 on 25,5” scale guitars, strats and superstrats with alder or ash body. You may fall in love the sound you will hear on your tube amp which set up in a region  about-to-breaking or lightly broken range. I think you can guess the sweet area of your amp; if you hit harder amp will break, if you pluck the strings softer, then it sounds clean. And ’59 will do its job well in those amp settings.

’59 is one of the oldest humbuckers of Duncan production line. It has very reasonable price and can be seen on olmost every brand as i told before. Thats the reason i see some people who cant evaluate the real worth of ’59. Okay, ’59 is cool as a PAF clone and, for me, Seth Lover sor Antiquity lines are better. But ’59 has very fair price for a pickup in that quality. So the price/performance(or quality) ratio is very low, relatively. Thats why if you have limited budget to go for a successful and versatile PAF clone, ’59 makes itself as a great choice. If you have much money to spend and havent tried ’59 before, why dont you give it a chance?

For more information, click to link go for Seymour Duncan website;

Baris Sahin 2011


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