SH-11 Custom Custom review by Seymour Duncan

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 10 (1 vote)
Seymour Duncan: SH-11 Custom Custom

Price paid: $ 100

Purchased from: eBay

Sound — 10
It is a high output pickup and despite it is meant for bright guitars I use it in my warm-toned guitar. It is quite hot-voiced and should have a bit Vintage PAF tone but it is extremely versatile and I think it will find its place in almost any genre. I have it in bridge position in my LTD F-100 which has a basswood body with the flamed maple top and rosewood fretboard. I needed to swap my original pickup for something because it sounded too thin and plastic. Seymour Duncan was the right choice as they offer huge variety of pups. I wanted some pickup which can handle all the situations and tones, and I don't like active pickups because of their "clean" sound. I wanted somehow warm sounding pickup with strong midrange, boomy lows and clean and cutting but not too harsh highs. I was deciding between these pickups: SD Distortion, Custom, JB, Invader and Screaming Deamon. I was looking for a well balanced tone and ability to deliver pristine cleans without the tiny bit of overdrive and at the same time cutting distortion tone that wont get muddy. How it stands compare to these named above? Well:

  • SD Distortion - perfect metal tone but too crispy cleans. So out.
  • Custom - muddy, no highs, no punch, only good lows - the worst pickup from SD according to my opinion - definitely out.
  • JB - in the end it was between this one and CC. Although my favourite guitar player use this one I didn't chose it. Perfect cleans but lacked the warmth I was looking for and sometimes you can hear a bit of clean tone coming thru when the gain is not that high when playing on distortion. I don't like that - out.
  • Invader - really nice sounding pickup but has its specific color of sound on its own and I wanted a "neutral" tone. Perhaps on some other guitar in future - out.
  • Screaming Deamon - not bad but lacked the pure distortion sound and redundant growl/saturation in distortion - out.

    Overall Impression — 10
    So how would I sum up character of CC - warm pristine-clean clean sound, but still there is a big difference between warmth of bridge and neck pickup. It reacts to tone control knob very sensitively = lot of possibilities to set it up from muddy, warm, neutral, chunky to piercing sound. I tend to have it at 6-7/10 towards more sharp sound. If you play metal I would definitely say go for it or at least try it, you will be superised. Lot of mid range which I love and punchy cutting when I use distortion, which I do because I play mostly modern melodeath. Usually people would say it is good only for rock and heavy metal but I think it goes beyond. It wont have problems dealing with black metal, melodeath, technical death, doom or metalcore. It can do it all accept extremely saturated distortion tones like in djent and so. I play E standard, my main tuning is D standard (whole one step down), sometimes C drop but it did also A drop (In Flames) which is pretty low and still sounded killer. It really brings out every single note on the higher strings during solos, has beefy sound when playing powercords and palm muting and perfect tone when playing melodies on distortion or clean. Overall it retains nice subtly warm tone in general, perfect tone balance, sustain and off course sensitivity. It improved my guitar as much as a pickup change can. I haven't used it split coil ability yet but perhaps in future. Since I bought it 5 years ago I didn't have any moment when I thought to myself I should change the pickup. It is as good as it gets. It may not be perfect for all the guitars and tones but it is certainly perfect for me and it is exactly as I imagined and wanted to be. I played it through Mesa Boogies (Mark 5 and Express), Peavey 6505+, some Vox Valvetronix, Crate FW120 solid state and it never sounded any close to bad. I am sorry but I can't name any disadvantages. If you only play metal and nothing else go for SH-6, but otherwise try this one before choosing your perfect pickup. If you like a tiny bit of warmth in your tone this will be a good choice. It is pitty Keith Merrow in his vid didn't compare this one, it would stand well in that kind of tone comaprison and in that type of guitar and music, I am sure. (In that vid I liked most 59/hybrid, JB and Invader in this order just for info about my taste and tone I am looking for). I hope I inspired you to try this one out!

    Reliability & Durability — 10
    This one has been my only swapped pickup so I cannot comment on it a lot I guess. So far - so good. As all the Duncans, this one is also very solid and it looks like it will last many times more than the guitar in which it sits. It is nice piece of metal, heavy as a rock, so it surely can withstand some damage. Even the lettering stayed untouched after several years of playing compared to some other cheap pickups which tend to lose it after few months. That is why I will give it the only rating it deserves.

  • 2 comments sorted by best / new / date

      I also have this in my PRS se 245. This sh11 sounds just like my stock pickups but a little hotter. I honestly bought this pickup because my fav guitarist uses it and I thought it had kind of a half cocked wah sound to it that I really like, kind of like Santana's guitar. Great pickup. I coil tapped mine just to get some more sounds out of the same guitar. Love it.
      I also have this I'm my Prs custome 24/floyd And I love it. I have two floyd PRS guitars, so i wanted something different that would stand out. I love it, especially for lead. Great pickup and at a great price.