Seymour Duncan Custom Custom (SH-11) Review

Seymour Duncan Custom Custom (SH-11) Review

Do you know the track named “Unchained” from Van Halen? There you go. End of the story. No, just kidding, not ending here since that particular humbucker deserves more to tell. But “Unchained” is the cleverest summary of mine to Custom Custom. :)

Anyway let’s see the catalog information, as always;

Wire Gauge: 43 AWG (i believe)
Leg Type: Short Legged
D.C. Resistance: 14.4 KOhms (mine is 13.63KOhms)
Resonance Peak: 5.2 KHz
EQ: B/M/T = 3/7/7
Magnet Type: Alnico II Bar

Test Equipment : Hantug Titania made of African mahogany body and neck. Amps are Blackstar HT-1 (with 4 x 12 Marshall 1960A cabinet), POD 2.0,  Marshall Plexi PA made in 1968 (with 4 x 12 Marshall 1960A cabinet)

As far as i know, the story of Custom Custom (SH-11) begins with the meeting of Mr.Seymour Duncan and Eddie Van Halen in the first half of the 80s. Eddie Van Halen needs some tonal help pickup-wise, hence he goes to Seymour Duncan to make something new for his new tonal concepts to brand new Van Halen record. The vision and the ears are Eddie and the expertise and the wisdom are Seymour. At the end, the result is somehow a PAF on steroids type of humbucker (but not as full of steroids as Seymour Duncan Custom) what we call Custom Custom now. And it can be heard on the “Fair Warning” album of Van Halen.

Tonally speaking, it is dark or darker sounding, medium to high output humbucker, first of all. That’s why Duncan specifically suggests Custom Custom (CC, shortly) to the bright guitars and it makes sense. Generally, CC has quite spongy low end, lots and lots of very nice mids that never goes harsh and rounder, smoother hi end response which is marvelous to me.

Because of several reasons like alnico II magnet and windings, the CC is not as aggressive as typical high output “todays metal (with mid scooped)” pickups. So what you like to hear is modern djent sound, CC is not your pickup. Because CC has lots of mids with character but lack of bass frequencies. Think of all “Fair Warning” of VH, as i’ve said before, especially the “Unchained”. Moreover, because of mid character and beautiful smooth highs, CC is one of the greatest melodic shred humbucker for bridge position. If you are into Joe Satriani like melodic lines you will love CC, believe me. With some regular (bridge) humbuckers, when i play melodic lines on the first registers of guitar neck, the sound may be okay but when you go further than twelfth fret, the sound may become too thin and too harsh/trebly. This is something that you will never worry about with CC. Plus, its reaction to legato and tapping techniques is also impressive. Another advantage of CC is for the guitars with floyd rose tremolo with metallic treblish sound. CC reminds me the “Tone Zone” of DiMarzio, but for i prefer CC over Tone Zone (TZ) since i find TZ is more compressed and lack of clearness comparing with CC. Plus, it works pretty well with Duncan SSL-1 in split mode, pretty Strat-ish and i really like how it sounds under hi gain situations. CC rocks!

What sounds can be achieved or what to play with CC? Well, if you like to play oldschool Hard Rock/Heavy Metal, Classic Rock or even 80s Rock like Van Halen, Aerosmith, AC-DC, that’s your humbucker. Look no further. It is great for standard tuning and also wonderful for drop D tuning. Put CC on your superstrat, set all the settings to 11 on your amp and play your favourite Savatage riff. Impressive...

Like i’ve said, if you play melodic parts (you know, think of the music of Joe Satriani, Neil Zaza, Andy Timmons, Steve Stevens, Patrick Rondat etc.) with your bridge humbucker and want something never goes ear-hurting, you will adore Custom Custom. And, yes, CC shreds.

For the “modern mid scooped hi-gain” lovers, sorry for you, CC is not the best option. If your guitar is lack of bass response or way too muddy, you, too, might have some problems with CC. But the rest of the world can be very happy. Worths buying, you oldschool rockers.

PSI want to thank Mr.Mehmet Barlo who has introduced CC to me and Scott Olson and Alex Semple from Seymour Duncan for achieving the set. You rock guys!!!!


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