APH-1 review by Seymour Duncan

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.5 (4 votes)
Seymour Duncan: APH-1

Price paid: $ 64

Purchased from: Ebay

Sound — 9
This pickup is called the Alnico II Pro Humbucker, or APH-1 for short. There are a few artists using this pickup, but obviously the most famous one is Slash, former lead guitarist of Guns N' Roses and current guitarist of Velvet Revolver. Just by listening to old GNR songs and watching old GNR concert videos you will see the thick, warm tone of the APH-1. It really excels in the neck. Right now it is in the neck position of my Epiphone Les Paul Standard. It has a great clean sound that sounds very creamy and warm with chorus. With some (but not too much) chorus on and a little bit of reverb, it is probably the best clean sound I have ever heard. I run my LP through a Marshall AVT5. I have a DigiTech RP250 (amp modeling OFF) in the effects loop for stomp box style effects like chorus, EQ, delay, etc. The clean sound is fantastic. On the dirty channel, with the right settings it has a very Slashy tone. Turn the tone knob down a bit and you'll get even closer to his sound. However, the APH-1 is a low output pickup, so it needs a bit more gain. However, this does not mean it is muddy. It is bassy but Slash has a very bassy sound and he has great tone. It is very thick, warm and creamy. I would say the EQ for the neck version is like Treble 7, Bass 9 and Mid 8. It's decently balanced and if you want a thick sound, this is the one. I don't have the bridge version, so if you want to see what both positions sound like, listen to Slash! One complaint I have is that it has low output so you need a bit more gain. One thing I forgot to mention is that since its an Alnico II magnet there is more string vibration thus more sustain.

Overall Impression — 10
I love its thick and creamy sound and I love the fact that it has more sustain, especially on a Les Paul. However you have to be careful with the Bass setting on your amp. Usually you would want a bassier sound to get Slash tone, putting too much will make it muddy. This thing is really great for blues, classic/hard rock, and slide guitar. Jazz would be probably an ideal genre too because of its thick sound. Theres not really anything I hate about it, but I wish it had a TAD more output so it could cut through the mix better. I have this in an Epiphone LP standard. I have a JB at the bridge. With this setup I can get powerful and agressive rhythm sounds and singing lead sounds feom the bridge, and from the neck I get a very Slashy lead sound that is oh-so creamy and smooth. I also get great clean sounds. Butter and bite! To wrap it up I have to say that this is an excellent pickup and one of Seymour's best Neck pickups. I heard the bridge is pretty good too but the Neck really sings.

Reliability & Durability — 9
Well if it was lost or stolen, my LP would have gone with it. I think it would be reliable and yes I would depend on it. Seymour Duncans are made pretty well. If it breaks down, I can contact them, but too bad I got it from Ebay, because I can't return it obviously.

4 comments sorted by best / new / date

    hey im the one who reviewed this. I made a slight mistake in my amp. Its a Marshall AVT50.
    Slash's sound isn't bassy, and the APH-1 isn't either. Slash has enough meat but his tone is very mid and treble related. Go see him live and you won't call his tone bassy. I think its a common mis-coneception about his tone, its very easy to get carried away with bass, Try the Vintage Modern Marshall Slash uses and you'll see what I mean, thats not a bassy amp its made to rip through the sound. Its got enough of every frequency but yet has emphisis on mids and highs for clearity.
    This pickup has no problem cutting through the mix, I think you soaked your amp in bass. I use the APH-1s in 2 guitars and in both postions neck and bridge, the corner stone of these is that they cut through the mix. My rhythm guitarist cannot hang with my set up the Vintage Modern and Seymore equiped Guitars, I slice through the sound like a fat chick through pie on a depression binge. While I agree with your rating I do not agree with how you got there and I knew where you went wrong when you said its bassy, with the tone rolled all the way down it can be bassy but up to 10 it cuts through anything. I don't think there is a more balanced pickup than the APH-1, it has every frequency nailed. I think your review is suffering due to the fact you are using a solid state amplifier, I beg you to try a tube amp with these and I challenge you to write a similar review once you do, you will not be able to.
    Hm, I've played a TON more with it since I reviewed this, and I've got to agree witj you. The sound is rich, cutting, singing, and sustaining. No bassiness.