SH-5 Custom review by Seymour Duncan

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.3 (6 votes)
Seymour Duncan: SH-5 Custom

Price paid: $ 50

Purchased from: Used

Sound — 8
Output level was slightly higher than a duncan jb. I used it with various setup, Line 6 pods for recording, Peavey 5150, Marshall jcm 800, jcm 900, jcm 2000.. Tone, quite similar to the JB model, but with much tighter bottom end.. Overall tone is bright as a jb, but with a whomp in low mid frequency, and tight bass response.. 2 words : Thick Distortion. The sh5 shares the quality that makes the duncan jb so popular in the 80s: Soft mids.. Yes, it is a bright pickup, but I find the mid response is very "comfortable", unlike some other high output pickups, the mids doesn't sound harsh or pushed on lower gain setting.. The response is very familiar like the stereotypical PAF sound.. For those quality, the sh 5 suit many styles.. Blues, classic rock, hard rock, down to modern metal.. This is a really versatile pickup... Now the drawbacks: Clean tone is nothing special, but I don't play clean with the bridge pups anyway.. Split sound is very very twangy.. This could be a good thing if you play country, but I don't... I much prefer the JB split sound.. Overall, I will give this pickup a 8.. A very good pickup.. Close, but not there yet..

Overall Impression — 9
Love the tight bass, smooth mids, great output.. Hate the split sound... If this pickup has more harmonic overtone, then this is the holy grail for me.. really close.. Guitar is an Ibanez ar 300.. Mahogany body with maple top, mahogany set in neck rosewood board, 25.5 scale.. Acustic quality (unplugged) is Tad brighter and snappier than a good les paul, but with great resonance, ans typical compressed low mids of mahogany guitar.. Bridge position, paired with a duncan sh1 neck...

Reliability & Durability — 10
Every Seymour Duncan I owned is built sturdy and solid.. Very dependable, and give you a feel of quality when you hold it in your hand before you install it.. It really feels like youre holding a rock..! Unlike the other big name "di****io", which also make some great sounding pickup, but they use plastic baseplate.. Construction is not as rigid as a seymour.. kinda feels like toy.. I will give this pickup, and seymour in general, a big 10..!!

5 comments sorted by best / new / date

    The sh-5 duncan custom loves a les paul style guitar. If you have an alder basswood type bright guitar the custom custom is the trick.
    I have a jackson soloist and the CC rocks in it. Sound dead in a LP. SH5 is awful in the jackson but magic in my LP. Go figure.
    I bought this for my 86 Jackson Soloist Sam Dimas and it sounded weak and flat. Swapped it into a 58 Epi Goth Explorer and it sounds brutal. Go figure.
    I have a Charvel San Dimas Custom with a TB-5 in the bridge and it just doesn't do it for me... sounds very weak compared to my other San Dimas with a TB-4 :/