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  • Writer's pictureBarış Şahin

Seymour Duncan 59/Custom Hybrid (SH-16 TB-16) Review

Updated: Feb 29

Seymour Duncan 59/Custom Hybrid (SH-16 TB-16) Review

Seymour Duncan SH-16 '59 Custom Hybrid Humbucker Pickup
Seymour Duncan SH-16 '59 Custom Hybrid

Ahoy from the odyssey of the pickups.

If you are familiar with the Seymour Duncan Official forum, then you may probably know how did this humbucker had been born. As a proud member of the forum, i can say, 59/Custom had been born in the forum as an experimentation of a member. The idea was to achieve a final ’59 but its individual slug coil replaced with a Custom (SH-5) slug coil. Duncan adverties it as “hybridization” but actually we are familiar with the idea of mismatched coils (different coil wire gauges, different winding counts, different insulations etc) from other compaines, i’m sure you have heard before.

So what’s the point with mismatched coils? An ideal humbucker should have matched coils to suppress the hum properly, should’nt it? Wasn’t this the first thing we knew about the humbuckers, right? Okay, you got the point. But the long and the short of it the hum is not the only thing you get rid off by matching coils while you lose something else, too, that you regain some with mismatched bobbins. By that, the target is coils to produce a specific “tuning” of the pickup’s voice and harmonic content to enrich.


I put 59/Custom get in my custom super strat with alder body, q-sawn maple neck with indian rosewood board, stainless steel frets, 2 point tremolo all parts made of steel. Paired with a Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates(B) on the neck and ESP/LTD single coil with 6,2K DC resistance and alnico 5 magnets. Its primary (unplugged) tone is between balanced to bright.

Seymour Duncan SH-16 '59 Custom Hybrid Humbucker Pickup


Seymour Duncan ‘59/Custom Hybrid SH-16 TB-16

Magnet – Alnico 5

Advertised DCR: 11,2K Ohm (Series)

Advertised Resonance Peak: 5,95kHz

Output: Moderate

EQ (T/M/B) – 8/8/6 (advertised)

Wire Gauge: 42(screw) & 43(slug) AWG

The very first feeling was a huge disappointment. Because, i must admit that i had pictured that pickup completely wrong (it was very new at that time). My expectation about this humbucker was something like ~10K PAF just as Duncans PATB-3 or Brobucker, Fralins Modern P.A.F. with higher wind, Lollars High Wind Imperial or Marshallhead bridge of Wolfetone Pickups ... Not in the least :) There were lots of mids& highs, much more than i expected, too much for my naturally bright sounding guitar. Because i was looking for the balance (to the force) and 59/Custom made everything brighter that never was my intention/goal. After a while i get used to live with it and understand the nature of that humbucker.

Subsequently i had my “epiphany”, then my final verdict becomes clearer. 59/Custom has, as i’ve just noted, have plenty of mids and highs. Lows are there but are not as rich as the mids&highs. They are tight, thanks to its polished alnico 5 magnet, but not emphasized. Mids are rich but never makes you feel like you are playing a “Light JB”. You don’t have that exaggerated “honky mid-range growl”. And whats more is, as expected and advertised, the harmonic liveliness. Indeed, mismatched coil mumbo jumbo works, if it is more than just a marketing gimmick.

When you follow a brighter tone from a mid output humbucker, 59/Custom may be your cake. You know what i mean, you have a short scale guitar with mahogany neck and full thickness mahogany body and more or less dark(er) sound. But if your guitar (and your set up) is fairly bright and you are not searching for more, be careful!

Thanks to the slug coil of a Custom, split in-between tones (middle+slug coil of Hybrid wired in parallel) can quack sufficiently. Hit this switch position and lower the tone knob, find a sweet spot and there you go!

Next thing you know, i find this 59/Custom feels akin to Dimarzio FRED somehow. Don’t take this too seriously, because i’ve never tested side by side or else. And i never claim they are but the same pickups. Furthermore there are years since the last time i’d played a guitar with FRED on. But i feel very familiar with it; harmonics, bright-tight bridge tone, fine rock machines. In addition to that their tech specs look alike somehow; both have mismatched coils, roughly similar DC values (11,2K for 59/Custom and 10,38K for FRED) and alnico 5 magnets.

Seymour Duncan SH-16 '59 Custom Hybrid Humbucker Pickup
Seymour Duncan TB-16 '59 Custom Hybrid

I really should have tried it in the neck position pairing a moderate/high output bridge pickup. Because of its dynamic character, tightness, brilliance ‘59/Custom could make good alternative.


I’ve tried to present what to expect; when you need something not too dominant (like a JB), bright but not kindo ear bleeder, clear, have enough balls to cut to pierce through, have sweet harmonic reactions, 59/Custom Hybrid may make you happy. Down Tuners, you will love Hybrid, too.

I haven't experienced it myself but i believe 59/Custom Hybrid could be used in the neck, for pairing a hi-output humbucker thanks to its clarity and power. Worth experimenting.

59/Custom Hybrid is going to be good for hard rock, heavy metal, heavy rock, progressive rock and also shreddy stuff. And lovers of the Djent may find a something for themselves ;)

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Seymour Duncan 59/Custom Hybrid (SH-16 TB-16) Review

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