The Seymour Duncan Van Halen Special - Duncan Special

The Seymour Duncan Van Halen Special

That Duncan guy introduced this pickup into his line 1979 and placed the ad ( see the photos below ) in guitar magazines. The funny or not so funny thing is that Seymour was said to have called Eddie Van Halen before he made the pickup for sale and ask if he could market the Van Halen pickup and Eddie said NO. Heres the quote ( some drama here ) >>

EVH: “Yeah. And also, him selling it and advertising, makes it seem to the fans like I'm selling myself. They don't know that I'm against it. They think that I'm out for the bucks. That's not it at all. So it's kind of a drag. There's another guy too...See, I've rewound my own pickups before, and a guy named Seymour Duncan, I got pissed at him too. He called me up and said, "Can we use your name for a special pickup?" And I said no. Next time I pick up Guitar Player magazine, there's a special Van Halen model customized Duncan pickup. I called him up and said, "What the hell's goin' on?" So he stopped finally. It's just kind of weird you know.”

The Duncan Custom is a ceramic humbucker. The Duncan Custom was Seymour’s first official offering with a ceramic magnet. Some remember the ad in Guitar player magazine 1979 Seymour Duncan calling the humbucker a "Special Van halen pickup". The one in our photo is it.

Apparently Seymour Duncan rewound a Gibson PAF for Van Halen around early 1978. The two dudes Van Halen and Duncan worked together in that time and came up with the Duncan Custom. We have had three of these Van Halen Special Seymour Duncan Custom pickups over the years in our shop. Last month April 2019 we just sold the one in the photos for many hundreds of dollars to a crazed EVH guy. It spect out at 14.4ohms.

The pickup rocks. That said around here we prefer Alnico pickups and Marshall amps cause we are rockers. But with a few tweaks to the Marshall settings this Van Halen Special 1979 humbucker pretty much nails the VH1 album guitar tone out of the box… ceramic magnets or not.

Heres a secret, theres a fine line between rock and more mellow-er music. For the best and most authentic rock-n-roll tone use a different guitar for each type of music in a live setting. Instead of the typical “ i want to make my guitar more versatile with a variety of tones ” make your guitars “music specific”.

Just pick a humbucker with an output of 13-15ohms with an Alinico magnets and just frickin be a hard rocker.. thats what we grew up on .. right? hard rock!!. If you want to play The Cure thats cool too. Use a strat with single coils. If you want to play Metallica use a one Humbucker guitar through a Marshall Plexi. Thats what the pros do.