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  • Writer's pictureBarış Şahin

Seymour Duncan Custom Custom (SH-11) Review

Updated: May 9


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Seymour Duncan Custom Custom (SH-11) Review


Do you know the track named “Unchained” from Van Halen? There you go. End of the review. 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 technical data;


Seymour Duncan Custom Custom SH11/TB-11 (wound by MJ)

Magnet – Alnico 2

Advertised DCR: 14,1K Ohm (Series)

Measured DCR: 14,17 K Ohm (Series)

Measured DCR: 6,98 K Ohm (Screw Coil)

Measured DCR: 7,10 K Ohm (Slug Coil)

Inductance @100Hz: 8,37 H (Series)

Inductance @100Hz: 3,57 H (Screw Coil)

Inductance @100Hz: 3,60 H (Slug Coil)

Measured C: -20,6 nF (Series)/ -39,2nF (Screw Coil) / -39,3nF (Slug Coil)

Gauss: 280G Screw (arithmetic mean of the values measured from the D and G strings)

Resonance Peak: 5,20KHz (advertised)

Output: Moderate

EQ (T/M/B) – 7/7/3 (advertised)


As far as i've been told 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. Under the vision and the ears of Eddie, Duncan presented their know Custom design with an alnico 2 magnet which was named Custom Custom afterall. And it can be heard on the “Fair Warning” album of Van Halen.


Seymour Duncan Custom Custom (SH-11 TB-11)

Tonally speaking, it is relatively warmer sounding, medium output humbucker, first of all. That’s why Duncan specifically suggests Custom Custom (CC, shortly) for the bright guitars and it makes sense. Generally, CC has quite spongy low end, lots and lots of smooth mids that never goes harsh and rounder, warm hi end response which is marvelous.


Because of several reasons like alnico II magnet and windings, the CC is not as aggressive as typical pickups like a JB. So if what you like to hear is modern djent sound, CC is not your pickup. Because CC has lots of low mids with character but lack of tight bass frequencies. Think of “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 you will never worry about with CC. Plus, it's reaction to legato and tapping techniques is also impressive.



Another advantage of CC is for the guitars with floyd rose tremolo with harsh metallic sound. CC helps you to compansate it.


CC reminds me the Tone Zone of DiMarzio. Generally speaking they are both awesome pickups. Which one is better? Depending on the guitar and the player, one or another gets ahead. If you like lows tighter, it is Tone Zone, want highs smoother it is CC. Furthermore i find TZ slightly more compressed and have more aggressive (especially on the hi-mids) character comparing to CC.


Back to CC, it works pretty well with Duncan SSL-1 in split mode, thanks to ~7K bobbin of Custom, it's 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 piercing, you will keep Custom Custom on. And, yes, CC shreds.


CC pairs quite well with humbucker with alnico 2 magnets on the neck; try it with Pearly Gates or Alnico 2 Pro. Moreover it teams up good with Dimarzio Air Norton.


Seymour Duncan Custom Custom (SH-11)
Seymour Duncan Custom Custom

For the “modern mid scooped ltra uhi-gain” lovers, sorry for you, CC is not the best option. If your guitar is lack of bass response or 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.


PS: I 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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