In early 2012, Seymour Duncan introduced the '59/Custom Hybrid humbucker (SH/TB-16) and the concept was kind of a big deal. What the Santa Barbara manufacturer did was essentially take a coil from its vintage '59 (8.2K DC resistance) and a coil from its hotter Custom series (Custom [Ceramic magnet], Custom Custom [Alnico 2], Custom 5 [Alnico 5] - each 14.1K DCR), and place them on an Alnico 5 magnet to form a hybrid, mismatched-coil humbucker (11.2K DCR). According to the Seymour Duncan site, the idea came from users on its discussion board and after reading about how to actually do this, I (like others) wanted to try my hand at making some hybrids.

The key to doing this, at least for me, was to understand the internal color codes of the production SD 4-conductor wiring. Each coil has a start and stop that are connected (soldered) to the main 4-conductor wiring, and then taped off and stuffed out of sight into the cavity between the coils. I inadvertently discovered some of this on my own once when swapping a stock SD baseplate for a long-legged plate on a JB and accidentally ripping apart the two coils during re-assembly. Luckily, I found the internal "color code" online, soldered/taped everything back, and was pleasantly surprised it still worked! That's when the light came on for me, "Hmmmmmm. So that's how you put a humbucker back together..." Players are constantly tinkering with these types of pickup customizations in search of an amazing tone. And after successfully re-assembling a humbucker, it gave me the confidence to take apart some more!

--GREEN to screw coil black
--RED to screw coil white
--WHITE to slug coil white
--BLACK to slug coil black

My first attempt was combining a vintage-output Pearly Gates SH-PG1 (8.1K DCR) with the hotter Jason Becker Perpetual Burn HB (12.1K DCR). The cool thing about this combo was that I'd start with two humbuckers and end up with two variant hybrids with different magnets - one with a Pearly Gates Alnico 2 and one Alnico 5 (Perpetual Burn). And I would also be able to weigh in on the differences the coil placement has on the tone, since one of these hybrids would have the hotter "screw coil" winding (Perpetual Burn) closer to the bridge, with the other hybrid having the vintage (Pearly Gates) coil in that spot.

First off, I want to go on record that there was nothing wrong with either of these stock Seymour Duncan humbuckers. They both were designed by professionals and sound amazing in their own right. I wasn't trying to "fix" these pickups - I was just trying to experiment.

The first thing I did was age each humbucker and remove the Seymour Duncan logos. Then it was a matter of taking a deep breath as I was about to take apart two perfectly good & working pickups that retail together for about $200. So here are the steps I followed with some pictures:
  1. Remove the black fabric coil tape from both the Pearly Gates and Perpetual Burn humbuckers
  2. Remove the slug coil screws from the bottom of each baseplate and carefully pry off each slug coil
  3. Each humbucker (Pearly Gates and Perpetual Burn) with the slug coil removed, but still connected via black & white (ground & hot) wires
  4. Unsolder the black & white wires connecting each humbucker's slug coil to the original screw coil
  5. Swap the slug coils (Pearly Gates black slug coil to Perpetual Burn cream screw coil, Perpetual Burn black slug coil to the Pearly Gates black screw coil); add wax as needed to seat the coils in their new locations; solder each wire (white to white, black to black) from the slug to the new screw coil
  6. Tape off the new solder point for each connection (white to white & black to black on each, four total)
  7. Using a MultiMeter, check the ohms Direct Current Resistance (DCR) for each humbucker - Pearly Gates and Perpetual Burn
  8. Almost Done! Secure each coil by re-attaching the baseplate screws; use a hairdryer, as needed, to melt any internal wax to aid in firmly seating the coils; wrap each humbucker's coil set with new black fabric tape
  9. All Done! Introducing two new Seymour Duncan humbuckers - the Perpetual Grange 2 Hybrid and the Perpetual Grange 5 Hybrid


Seymour Duncan Jason Becker Perpetual Burn HB + Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates SH-PG1 =
--SD Perpetual Grange 2 Hybrid - Charvel EVH Frankenstrat HT -Monochrome-
--SD Perpetual Grange 5 Hybrid - Charvel EVH WACF Frankenstrat


Seymour Duncan Whole Lotta Humbucker Bridge SH-18b + Seymour Duncan JB SH-4 =
--SD Whole Lotta JB 2 Hybrid - TBD
--SD Whole Lotta JB 8 Hybrid - TBD

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