Review of Seymour Duncan Alnico II Pro Slash APH-2
Celebrating Rock guitar icon Slash with our exclusive interview,
iGuitar also decided to take a look at one of the key components in
the great man's sound - his signature Seymour Duncan pickup set.
Will they work for you? Jamie Humphries checks them out.
When Appetite for Destruction came out in 1987, Slash's tone
inspired generations, and still continues to do so. To many, this
fabulous tone was the magical combination of a classic Gibson Les
Paul and a Marshall. But there was also another vital ingredient to
that sound, the Seymour Duncan Alnico II pickups that were in the
guitar that Slash used to record that genre defining album. As
Slash states in an interview, the pickups chose him. After hearing
them, he set about replacing all of the pickups in his Les Pauls
with the Duncan Alnico II's!
There are a couple of different ways to produce a distorted
tone. The first is to use high output pickups that drive the amp
harder and the second is to use lower output pickups and push the
amp itself harder to produce more distortion and saturation. The
second is the more classic and, to many, the more organic way
producing a natural and controllable tone, giving the ability to be
able to back off the guitar's volume to clean up the sound. Slash
falls into the second category, with his pickup choice being more
classic and controllable.
The idea behind the signature Slash pickup was to faithfully
replicate the tone of Slash's favourite studio and touring guitar.
The tone description of the pickups is a 'warm moderate output
pickup, which is ideal for blues, rock and hard rock'. The pickups
use an Alnico 2 magnet, Alnico being comprised of aluminium, (Al),
nickel, (Ni), and Cobalt, (Co). These pickups include a little
extra winding just to boost the output of the guitar slightly and
send it into the sweet overdriven lead tone, characteristic of
Slash's sound. These pickups also feature a single conductor cable,
long-legged bottom plate, wooden spacer, and even a custom Slash
graphic on the underside of the pickup! They are a vital part of
creating the Slash tone, and are also included as standard with the
latest signature Gibson Slash Les Paul.
For our review and test we had to decide how to go about fitting
a set of these pickups and in consultation with Seymour Duncan's UK
distributors, Rosetti, came up with A Cunning Plan, hatched by our
editor and Rosetti's MD. We have borrowed a single cutaway
Hagstrom, which has been fitted with Seymour Duncan's brilliant
Liberator system, which, when installed, allows you to change the
pickups in your guitar with ease.
It worked so well that we are going to be using this system
again the future as a testbed for various Seymour Duncans that we
are also itching to get our sweaty paws on!
All set-up, I began clean and I could tell straight away that
these were a quality set of pickups. The tone of the bridge pickup
was clean and bright, but at the same time well balanced, not too
bright or harsh. The neck pickup was warm and round, and was
perfect for producing a rich, warm, clean Jazz feel.
The Duncans really came to life when I kicked in the crunch
channel on our Marshall, with the bridge pickup starting to sound
slightly more aggressive, with some boosted upper mids. I blasted
through a few Slash-inspired riffs and could instantly start to
hear 'that tone' starting to take shape. Switch to the neck pick
and that "woody" Slash sound was at my fingertips. I backed-off the
tone control and was instantly inspired to play a little bit of the
Sweet Child O' Mine riff.
These pickups are obviously perfectly matched, and exquisitely
crafted, with every detail taken into account. The tone is classic,
with a little more output and bite but not so much power that they
produce a compressed metal effect. Check out the video! This is a
more controllable classic/hard rock tone and if you are a Slash fan
than these pickups are a vital piece of that sound puzzle. But if
you're not? Don't be put off by the signature. This is a fabulous
set of replacement pickups, built to the highest specifications and
producing a really musical, inspiring tone. It must be said, they
don't come cheap and you can't help feeling that they'd be wasted
on a low quality Les Paul clone. But on a fine guitar, they will
only ever enhance the sound!
Check out the full review inc. video of the Seymour Duncan
Alnico II Pro Slash APH-2 pickups by Tom Quayle in Issue
Guitar Interactive Magazine (