The Bug-Sey Bucker is another (yes, another!) hidden menu item from the Seymour Duncan Custom Shop. Don’t ask me, I lost count of how many pickups they make that are not on the website. LOL! But be happy, gentle readers. At least they will still make them, as well as most anything else you want.
At one point, the Bug-Sey was on the website. The pesky (and generally uninformed) internet rumor mill likes to suggest it went away when the RTM model came to be. We will get to all that here in a minute. For now, how about we look at the origins?
This pickup carries the name of the late Texas Blues legend Bug Henderson (Stratoblasters, Shuffle Kings). Seymour is trying to help Bugs get a little more out of his PRS. I hear that can be common. (Oh, SNAP!). Bugs is also known to use the Classic Stack for Strat, the Alnico II Pro humbucker, and the Hot Rails for Strat.
For giggles, I am putting the Bug-Sey in a few guitars. I find that it is working best for my own needs in a brighter super-strat with a maple neck and rosewood board. It does have a Switchcraft 1/4″ jack and a Bourns 500k pots. It has a E-standard tuning with 09-42 strings connecting a Floyd Rose locking tremolo system.
The Bug-Sey is a higher output tone monster with singing harmonics and effortless sustain. The Alnico 2 magnet works with Seymour’s wind to fill up the room while retaining considerable focus. There are bold lows that will thump you in the chest with pin-point accuracy. The high end has a substantial musical presence that’s a little sweet and a bit naughty. Sort of like your prom date! LOL!
The versatile mid-range is where it’s all at here. It can come across with throaty and growling low-mids. And then it totally hits you with an upper-mid snarl. It might be easier to overthink and assume it has a broader resonant peak. But I think it is more about the adaptability of Seymour’s engineering.
Higher gain amp settings really shine with the Bug-Sey. Dirty, gritty, edgy, and full-tilt-boogie amp settings are also the order of the day. As one can expect, you may need to consider some tweaking on cleaner amp channels to achieve your preference. That should really come as no shock. Finger-style picking does seem to respond quite well to this pickup, be it in series or split modes.
It is far enough removed to not know for certain which recordings or shows that Bugs had the Bug-Sey in play. But what I do have here is a recording of Seymour himself giving the Bug-Sey a healthy workout. This track is so worth 5 minutes of your day.
Here’s the deal with the Bug-Sey and some of the wrongly-placed assumptions. You are about to see some specs. People think of a 16k range Duncan humbucker and think of the JB model. That’s why people incorrectly consider the Alternative 8 to be a JB with an Alnico 8 (it’s not). Or the RTM to be a JB with an Alnico 2 (also… it’s not).
The Bug-Sey and the RTM spent years being on the official website at the same time. When the Duncan company website went off the rails around 2013, the Bug-Sey was removed from the menu. That feeds the notion that Bug-Sey is a redundancy that is excised, as (gasp!) it is what the RTM has become! HaHa! And… um, not true.
In fact, the JB and the RTM and the Bug-Sey are not interchangeable. Similarities in DC Resistance and magnets put aside, it’s all in the wire. Why, yes, it is 44 AWG. But they all have different insulation on the wire. In fact, the Bug-Sey has the same wire as the Custom Shop Tony Iommi model that we will talk about soon.
Series – 16.364 K
Inductance – 8.1 H
Split – 8.3 K
Split – 8.103 K
Parallel – 4.093 K
Magnet – Alnico 2
I do have to say that it’s sorta cool that you can still get so many unlisted items from the Custom Shop. Consider the S-Deco, the Tony Iommi, or the 2 different Nokie Edwards sets. Just for starters. I mean, there are other companies that either irrevocably alter the recipe of an item or simply stop offering it altogether.
The Bug-Sey humbucker is going to be great for blues, classic rock, hard rock, garage, punk, progressive rock, fusion, shred, blues rock, grunge, alt rock, pop, country, funk, alternative, and even metal. Since is it from the Custom Shop, you can ask for it in a variety of colors, covers, pole appearance, leg height, and type of lead wire.
For reference, this Seymour Duncan Custom Shop Bug-Sey Bucker evaluation was conducted with a Fractal Axe-Fx II XL+ featuring Celestion Impluse Responses and Fractal MFC-101 MIDI Foot Controller. Real cabs in use are Marshall 1960B, Mojotone British, and Peavey 6505 cabs loaded with Celestion Classic Series Vintage 30s and Classic Series G12M Greenbacks.
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