Did you ever see the bridge pickup on a '53 butterscotch blonde? It's
not clean or shiny or new-looking. In fact, some folks would say it's
downright ugly. That's because it's probably spent night after night on
a wooden stage in a smoke-filled club under a sweaty wrist pounding out
the sweetest guitar tone around. It's got grime, sweat and smoke
impregnated deep into the bobbin. The lacquer has thinned and the
magnets have discolored. The coil wire and insulation have been
tempered by the surge of thousands of hours of electricity, and it may
have even blocked a flying bottle or two. To some, it's not a pretty
sight. To me, however, it's as beautiful as a work of art. My name is
Seymour W. Duncan and I build guitar pickups. I've been doing it for a
long time and I'm really proud of the products I've created. One
project that I'm really excited to be involved with is my Antiquity™
series of aged electric guitar and bass pickups.
Finding an Arrowhead
One of my most memorable experiences as a kid was discovering an
arrowhead on a farm near my parents' house. I often think about that
arrowhead and remember all the edges honed by a skilled craftsman using
nothing more than hardened stone and muscle. There was a raw, untamed
beauty in that arrowhead.
I found that same beauty in the old American electric guitars and
basses of the '50s and '60s. And now, with Antiquity and Antiquity II
pickups, you can capture that beauty without having to pay seven
figures for a vintage instrument.
Antiquity™: The '50s Series
The '50s marked the birth of rock 'n' roll and Antiquity pickups
capture the tone of the era. Each Antiquity pickup is hand-crafted in
Santa Barbara from the same materials and the same production
techniques as the originals. I hand wind each single coil pickup using
a "scatter wind" process that captures the original winding patterns in
a way no machine can duplicate. The bobbins are carefully aged and
impregnated with fine dust particles, the Alnico II magnets are
ever-so-slightly demagnetized, and the wire and insulation are treated
to duplicate the tempering of years of use. Of course, all of this is
done in order to accurately replicate that
unmistakable vintage tone of the early pickups in a way that could
never be done with a mass production process.
Antiquity II™: The '60s Series
The '60s were ushered in with the sound of the surf and hot rods.
They hit screaming adolescence with the British invasion. And they came
of age with a three-day music festival, the likes of which will never
be duplicated. When I think about the '60s, I think about the music of
the era. I think of daring surf guitar. Of jangly rhythms. And of one
guy in particular who used to light his guitar on fire.
With my Antiquity II series, I set out to recreate the sounds of the
basses that were around when I first started playing in the mid-'60s.
Like the Antiquity series, I hand-build Antiquity II pickups in my
Santa Barbara custom shop from the same materials and using the same
production techniques as the originals. However, there are certain
appointments unique to the Antiquity II series that make them authentic
'60s repros. For example, you'll find custom calibrated, Dun-Aged™,
sand cast, Alnico V rod magnets with vintage-correct surface features,
as well as the characteristic bone gray flatwork. Also the cosmetic and
sonic aging isn't quite as intense with pickups in the II series.
Born of a Craftsman Heritage
To some, this is craziness -- imagine, intentionally creating an
aged electrical component. But if you're like me, and you appreciate
the personal commitment and hand craftsmanship found in early electric
guitars and Native American arrowheads, then you'll want to capture
that timeless beauty with an Antiquity pickup.
- Seymour Duncan -