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  • Writer's pictureBarış Şahin

Seymour Duncan Jazz Review SH-2n

Updated: Feb 21

Seymour Duncan Jazz Review SH-2N

There are some pickups that do’t need a spesific introduction. They are widely known and so-called common pickups. You can meet them on many guitars over average. Brands like t opalce them their guitars for their familiarship and prestige. Just like JB, just like Tone Zone, PAF Pro, ’59 or whatever. Keep a look at the latest NAMM fair for the guitars from around the world. Could you count how many guitars have those kindo pickps? On the other hand those pickups undergo a serious type of prejudices. Everybody has an experiences and opinions in a great diversity. A pickup can be identified as bright or warm. Powerful or weak. Clear or muddy. You can be suggested pickup A for its mellow tones while others warn you to stay away. That’s why i like to review those so-called classic pickups while they might be tricky.

Seymour Duncans Jazz is clearly one those that i’ve mentioned above. Seymour Duncan's Jazz pickup is widely known and commonly encountered in many guitars from mid-end to high-end models. It's one of Duncan's initial pickup models, and I believe the product code also reflects that humorously.


Over the years, I've used the Jazz in many of my guitars. I still have two and the last Jazz installed is in the neck position of my Charvel Model A guitar. The guitar features a mahogany body, quarter-sawn maple neck, ebony fretboard, 25.5" scale length, Floyd Rose tremolo with steel block (JT580LP), nickel silver frets, CTS&Alpha 500K pots, Elixir Optiweb Strings in E-std tuning, a JB bridge pickup, a 5-way Ibanez (2502N) switch. For two hb guitars that switch has totally useable inner positions that you don’t need anything else. Its primary (unplugged) tone is warm.


Let’s read the desciption first;

“The Jazz Model is an incredibly versatile humbucker that will work for almost any style of music. An Alnico 5 bar magnet and a special coil wind give the Jazz Model neck a glassy treble response and full, tight bass, while scooped mids help each note to sing clearly even under extreme high gain – or even more extreme speed. The Jazz Model bridge features its own unique coil wind to deliver a bridge tone with extra treble emphasis, a nice tight bottom, and a hushed midrange. The result is a clear, bright humbucker that will really make big chords shimmer, and make single notes sound crisp and sharp.”

To be fair this is very accurate product description. I have nothing to claim otherwise. You’ll read the  details.

Anyway, here comes the technical mambo jambo

Seymour Duncan Jazz Neck (SH-2)

Magnet – Alnico 5

Advertised DCR: 7,72 K Ohm (Series-Older Catalogs)

Advertised DCR: 7,5 K Ohm (Series- Offical Website Data 01.2024)

Measured DCR: 7,16 K Ohm (Series)

Measured DCR: 3,78 K Ohm (Slug Coil)

Inductance @100Hz: 3,985H (Series)

Inductance @100Hz: 1,670H (Slug Coil)

Unloaded Resonance Peak: 8 KHz (advertised)

Measured C: -37,7 nF (Series)/ -69,8nF (Slug Coil)

Output: 501 Milivolts (unofficial data/do NOT confuse with Dimarzio values/click here)

EQ (B/M/T) – 5/3/9 (advertised)

Gauss: 370G slug, 350G screw (measured at top center of pole pieces)

Wire Gauge: 42 AWG


Jazz has roots to mid 70s. We are not talking about a pickup with no backround here. It was first designed for the Jeff Beck for the “Tele-Gib” guitar. Let’s read it from Guitar World Magazine;

The story continues that Jeff’s favourite Les Paul was sent to be repaired “with a volume control problem”, Seymour told us. “[But] when he got the guitar back the pickups had covers on them, and when they were removed the original ‘Patent Applied For’ pickups had been replaced with new Gibson humbuckers. I felt real bad and wanted to get Jeff a guitar with the tone of a Les Paul.  I couldn’t afford a Les Paul so I came up with the ‘Tele-Gib’, a Tele with two humbuckers, the bridge plate cut to take the humbucker but retain the three-piece early ’50s saddles. The pickups were ’59 Patent Applied For humbuckers that came out of a broken Gibson Flying V that once belonged to Lonnie Mack. Someone had messed with the coils so I rewound them as prototypes for Jeff. He liked [the ‘Tele-Gib’], too, and started recording with it in ’74 for the Blow By Blow album.”. Along with calling the guitar the ‘Tele-Gib’, Seymour nicknamed the bridge pickup ‘JB’. Evan explained: “The neck pickup was originally called ‘JM’ after the hot-rod racer character John Milner in the classic film American Graffiti – one of Jeff’s then-favourites. A few years later, ‘JM’ would morph into ‘Jazz Model,’ which is what it’s still called today.

According to both Seymour and Evan, it’s the ‘Tele-Gib’ you hear on Stevie Wonder’s Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers, a key track on Blow By Blow. “Jeff dedicated it to the man responsible for Seymour coming to England: none-other-than Roy Buchanan,” said Evan. Seymour then built another ‘Tele-Gib’ for himself and wound the second set of JB and JM pickups. Interestingly, Evan told us at the time that both of those ‘Tele-Gibs’ used 250kohm pots, “which tend to bleed off the pickups’ treble response and provide a smoother taper”, he explained. Not the usual 500k values used by most of us with humbuckers. Many of England’s top guitarists sought out Seymour’s JB model for their humbucker-equipped guitars [as a result of the success of Blow By Blow],” said Evan. “They found that the JB gave increased output (16.4kohms) without sounding harsh or dark like other high-output pickups of the mid-70s. When Seymour returned to the USA the next year, his reputation as a pickup designer – and the JB’s reputation as a remarkable pickup – preceded him.

When Seymour launched his pickup company in 1976, the JB became the SH-4 JB, and nearly 50 years later it remains one of Seymour Duncan’s best-selling pickups. Although we’ve all called it the ‘Jeff Beck’, officially Seymour Duncan will tell you those letters stand for ‘Jazz-Blues’. Despite their friendship, Seymour and Jeff never had any official product endorsement agreement, though Seymour was famously gifted the ’54 Esquire that he had obsessed over as a young guitarist.

So after the S.Duncan History 101 lesson, what’s the purpose of Jazz again? Neck position of electric guitars are tricky. They have wonderful and spesific tone especially when your guitar has 22 frets (or 21) because of its physical location. BUT! Sometimes neck tone may have TOO boomy or better said MUDDY for some technical reasons. Extreme lows &low-mid growls turn your sound like a crap! If your guitars has that illness, there are some cures. I’ve mentioned some of them on my ’59 Review before. Click here and read them.  Nevertheless you may not get rid off the muddiness hence pickup swap may be the only alternative. So some neck pickups are ready to solve or make it sound better at least. Seymour Duncans Jazz is clearly one of them. That is the most significant and ultimate purpose of Jazz. Making the unmuddy neck tones.

Gold Seymour Duncan Jazz Review SH-2n

The lows and mids are not prominent on the Jazz. Can be considered as mid-scooped without rich basses. Magic happens in the high frequencies. Jazz is a treble pronounced pickup. It could be summarized as some kind of humbucker version of strat single coil pickups. That brightness can be followed from its resonant frequency. Its unloaded resonant frequency is 8KHz which is very high for a humbucker (for your consideration some measured (by Antigua) values: PAF Pro has 7.81KHz, ’59n has 6.42KHz, Air Norton has 6.43KHz, Humbucker from Hell has 11.5KHz and some singles Lace Sensor Gold has 7.46KHz, Fender Texas Special Neck has 8.88KHz, Fat 50s Neck has 7.9KHz, 57/62 neck has 8.22KHz). Of course there are some other models from different manufacturers that offer more clarity like Dimarzio Humbucker From Hell and EJ Custom or Lollar Low Wind Imperial. I believe Jazz is the most common and well-known one. What does that high resonant frequency means? Better treble response and CLARITY, in general. That’s the greatest trick Jazz ever has: Clarity.

Jazz, in some respects, shares some similar characteristics with DiMarzio's PAF Pro and Air Classic. Both provide liveliness and clarity to the neck tone. Both are bright pickups. They both act as a remedy for muddy neck tones. However, there are some minor points of differentiation between them. These points aren't incredibly significant. Roughly summarizing, while the PAF Pro is a clear “humbucker”, the Jazz comes across more like a strat single coil-ish humbucker to me. I hope I've been able to convey what I mean. Jazz, in my opinion, shares more common characteristics with a Stratocaster neck pickup.

The other topic I wanted to mention is that sometimes I see people preferring this pickup simply because of its name. It's not common, but I've seen several jazz guitarists gravitate towards Seymour Duncan Jazz  because of its name. In my opinion, Jazz isn't necessarily a great jazz guitar pickup. It's not bad, of course, but there are much better alternatives like the Seth Lover neck, which I wanted to mention for context.

Jazz is very articulate humbucker. You won’t have over-compression problems with it. But the lack of mids may get your tones less-meaty on the leads and does not help to cutting the mix as well.

Seymour Duncan Jazz Review SH-2n

In my opinion, neck pickups are not the best option for playing rock riffs. I find their rounder tones, compared to the sharper/snappier tones of bridge pickups, less appealing. Jazz, on the other hand, seem more advantageous to me compared to many other neck pickup options for rock and even metal riff/rhythm playing.

If you have a guitar overly bright and have Jazz with you already, you can try it with a 250K pot which will help you a bit. Just like a single coil, you know.


Seymour designed Jazz for a purpose. He wanted a brother for his JB to match its power and mid growl along with brilliant neck tones. That’s what Jazz is. It is very dynamic and bright. Say farewell to the boominess and mud.

Let’s come to the “Ifs” part…

If your guitar has warm tone and mud issues with the neck position, yes, Jazz is absolutely for you.

On the contrary, if you are looking for warmth on the neck; if you have a bright neck tone and don’t need something to make it brighter, think twice.

For many years, despite being in production for a long time, Jazz remains at the top of the best-selling pickups list. This is neither a coincidence nor merely luck. Jazz is truly a pickup that has survived countless studio recordings and live performances thanks to its spesific qualities.

Seymour Duncan Jazz Review SH-2n

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Igor Romanovsky
Igor Romanovsky
Feb 04

Great review! Totally agree on the points. Jazz + JB was the first set of replacement pickups i bought, and one of the biggest lessons. I installed Jazz to neck of PRS SE Cu24, that was already shrill and nasal, and mede it even worse. Since then i learned my preferences in a hard way. For Cu24 neck, my fav appeared to be P90 mode of p-rails. For LP, Jazz was too bright, SD 59 was too scooped and hi-fi, 36th anni too mid forward and warm, and Air Classic feels just right. Looking forward to try new Dimarzio PAF 57 though.

Barış Şahin
Barış Şahin
Feb 05
Replying to

I really do wonder about PAF 57. How i wish Dimarzio send me a set :)


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