Seymour Duncan has always
innovated, but the Silver Series Zephyr
humbucker set ($1,195 retail/$995 street)
is easily their most ambitious pickup design
yet, featuring bimetallic polepieces and—
most obvious—cryogenically treated silver
wire coils. According to Duncan, silver
wire offers lower resistance than the usual
copper wire used in pickups, yielding more
frequency detail, and less loss throughout
the frequency spectrum. Silver wire also
winds more easily and has lower microphonics.
On the flip side, the use of silver
is why the Zephyrs are so bloody expensive.
I popped the Zephyrs into a Gibson
SG and played through a variety of amps,
including a Fender Deluxe Reverb and
Twin Reverb, a mid-’70s Marshall 50-watt
head through a Marshall 4x12, and a Victoria
Regal combo. The Zephyrs have an
expansive range with more than your average
amount of punchy highs, lows, and
mids, yet the pickup remains extremely
balanced sounding. More so than many
humbuckers, the Zephyr’s ability to translate
sparkling highs and chewy-yet-chimey
upper mids is exceptional. And although
the Zephyrs manage to impart a clean,
even sound (silver is often found in highend
audio applications such as moving-coil
phono cartridges, tube amp output transformers,
and speaker cables) they don’t
sound clinical or sterile. Quite the opposite,
in fact, as they’re dense sounding
when you lay into the strings, or slightly
airier when you pick lightly.
With distorted tones, the Zephyrs excel
at delivering tight, exacting textures that
work well with simmering medium overdrives
and searing, modern gain-heavy
settings. As with the clean tones, the
Zephyr keeps control over distorted proceedings
with a high-focus detail that
oozes clarity and density, while providing
a fast, tactile feel under your fingers.
Zephyrs have more output than a vintage
humbucker (though they’re certainly not
in the “hot” realm), and their extended
tonal response does yield a fatter frequency
sandwich than a standard pickup. Kudos
to Seymour Duncan for making a pickup
that is unlike anything else available, both
in construct and sonics.
Kudos A big sounding humbucker with
extended everything. Very musical and
Contact Seymour Duncan,
(805) 964-9610; seymourduncan.com
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