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Complementary Conductors: D’Angelico x Seymour Duncan

As the D’Angelico brand has evolved into its current form, one particular partnership has been essential in re-imagining what the sound of a D’Angelico guitar could be. Working closely with world renowned pickup manufacturer Seymour Duncan has provided a medium for sonic exploration far beyond what D’Angelico once offered. Seymour Duncan pickups push D’Angelico guitars to greater heights by transparently enhancing the sound of each guitar so that their unique qualities are on full display.  Let’s talk about which Seymour Duncan pickups are featured consistently in our lineup and what makes them such a great pairing. 

Seth Lover A4 Humbuckers:

Seymour Duncan’s Seth Lover A4 humbucker pickups are the perfect choice for players looking for a well-rounded humbucking pickup with an edge of uniqueness. They are well-suited for any genre, delivering all the output needed to play louder styles of music while being articulate and dynamic enough for more nuanced playing. You’ll find them comfortably nested in many of our Deluxe Series guitars.  


The Seth Lover A4 neck model provides a smooth and round tone by striking the perfect balance of warm, full low-end and a sweet yet tame treble range. The alnico 4 bar magnet helps to smooth the high-end response, while the vintage-output coils bring out the pickup’s rich harmonic content. Single notes will have that robust singing quality, and the unpotted nickel silver cover creates an almost piano-like tone and percussive feel.


Meanwhile, the bridge model provides a full-bodied, open tone with clear, biting mids, tight low-end response, and articulate high-end. They allow chords to breathe, and give single notes a soft and precise feel. Seth Lover vintage output humbuckers are carefully hand-built to Seth Lover’s original exacting specs. Their bobbin molds are created by the same factory that built the original PAF mold for Gibson. Other key features include specially manufactured 42AWG plain enamel mag wire, nickel silver covers, 2.5-inch alnico 4 bar magnets, custom machined metal and maple spacers, and nickel silver bottom plates. Maple spacers are an integral part of the pickup design because they compress slightly when the pickup is assembled, keeping everything under the cover snug, and helping to prevent feedback in an unpotted pickup.


Both D’Angelico solid bodies and semi-hollows have their own bold and unique character emerging from quality craftsmanship and carefully selected materials. Seymour Duncan Seth Lover A4 pickups work wonders to enhance the tonal characteristics of each model to yield bold and inspiring tone.  


‘59 Humbucker:


Designed to deliver classic P.A.F. tone with modern construction, the ’59 vintage output humbucker’s open yet detailed sound and sweet top end make it the perfect choice for the nostalgic player looking for a pickup that can do it all.


The ’59 bridge model’s vintage-inspired coils give it an airy quality that is firmly reminiscent of the original P.A.F. style pickup, and the alnico 5 bar magnet and vacuum wax potting boosts its compatibility with modern amplifiers, though it responds excellently to vintage amps as well. Ultimately, this is a pickup with tons of old-school tonal character, but with a brighter top end and a slightly more compressed sound.


The ’59 neck model is one of the most popular pickups in the Seymour Duncan lineup due to its versatility. Like its bridge-position counterpart, the ’59 neck pickup is designed in the spirit of the original P.A.F. humbuckers of the 1950s, with sweet sustain, and a warm, full sound that still offers clear attack. Since its inception, there have been a few refinements to slightly modernize the design and make it more adaptable to different styles. The high end is slightly boosted for improved pick-attack clarity and the mids are a little scooped for an open, smooth sound that’s great for preserving the clarity of the individual notes in a chord.


‘59 humbuckers can be found in the D’Angelico Excel Series on guitars such as the SS, DC, and Mini DC. For years, they have been the obvious pairing for these instruments as they tastefully accentuate the exquisite acoustic characteristics Excel Series semi-hollow guitars already provide. 

P90 Stack:

With the inclusion of a “dummy coil” underneath the primary coil of the pickup, the P90 Stack delivers a noiseless P90 soapbar tone. Despite this modern twist on a tried and true classic, the P90 stack still allows players to hone the growl and sparkle they would expect from a standard P90 but without the pesky hum they are known to emit. The neck model sounds round and full, with just the right amount of low-end purr, while the bridge model boasts a bold mid-range, with all the classic crystalline grit that one would expect out of a great bridge position P90.

At D’Angelico, we place a lot of value in the ability of a pickup to provide excellent tone without compromise. As a brand with a lot of history in Jazz music and other “low-volume” styles of music, we strive to pair our instruments with pickups that put clarity first and offer rich tones regardless of where you dial in your volume.

Despite not always being featured in the core lineup, the P90 stack is the D’Angelico soapbar P90 of choice. Find them featured the Deluxe Bob Weir Signature Bedford as well as the latest Limited Collection on the Atlantic and Brighton in Sage or Sapphire. 

Great Dane Dog Ear P90:

The Great Dane Dog Ear P90 is a hearty, reliable pickup with a classic design. A staple of the beloved Excel Series 59, these pickups provide some of the most unique tonal offerings of the entire D’Angelico lineup. At lower volumes, Great Danes allow the fully-hollow design of the 59 to have an exceptionally woody and round tone, but also provide gushing, touch-sensitive tone when the gain is increased. The Great Dane Dog Ear P90 is a powerful, one of a kind pickup that turns the 59 into a truly inspired and elegant instrument.

Johnny Smith Floating Mini-Humbucker:

Seymour Duncan’s Johnny Smith Floating Mini-Humbucker is the centerpiece of our flagship model, the Excel EXL-1. It provides anything and everything a Jazz player should want from a pickup. It is beautifully transparent, allowing the woody timbre of the guitar’s 17-inch-wide body design to shine. This pickup tastefully takes a back seat, affording archtop players honest amplification of the guitar’s natural tone, as well as uninterrupted hand tone.

Seymour Duncan pickups have been an essential pairing for D’Angelico guitars as the brand has evolved over time. They provide modern execution of vintage-inspired technology, outstanding build quality, and unmatched tone, while preserving the integrity of every instrument they are set within. 

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