Guitar Pickup Review

Seymour Duncan Custom Shop Crazy 8 Humbucker Pickup

The Crazy 8 came out of the Seymour Duncan company’s Custom Shop back around 2007.    It started as a fanboy suggestion, based on the growing popularity of Alnico 8 magnets and the affinity for the Parallel Axis design.  Coming out a year before the Alternative 8, the Crazy 8 has been advertised as the first Duncan pickup with an Alnico 8 magnet.

Now, the Alnico 8 had a phase of being the go-to solution for many of the tone sniffers that dive deep in to modding pickups.  They cram an Alnico 8 into an existing product, generally the Duncan Custom, and  make their way up to Pride Rock for all to behold.


In most of the instances that I see the description given of an Alnico 8 in a Duncan Custom, it’s more applicable to the Crazy 8.  And no, the two are not the same.  Balanced EQ.  More clarity, which can also be heard as brightness and/or transparency.  Much more articulate.  That’s all about the Crazy 8.

Seymour Duncan Custom Shop Crazy 8
Seymour Duncan Custom Shop Crazy 8

The “dual-pole design” of the Parallel Axis bobbins is behind all of that.  You can read my article on the Parallel Axis Original Set for more of the technical side.  The nuts-and-bolts version is that each string is cradled on each side by poles that gently push and pull.  And that promotes sustain, more so than the standard of a much stronger single magnetic pole pulling down and retarding the vibration.  The broader distribution of that field also allows for a more detailed character to come through.

If you like the Parallel Axis Orignial, but want a bit more dynamics.  Or if you like the Parallel Axis Distortion, but would prefer a little less brutality.  Check out the Crazy 8.

The tone from the Crazy 8 is big and full.  Articulate lows and a saturated mid-range.  Plenty of cut in the highs, but with enough presence to be full and not shrill.  It’s ideal for high-output, high-energy rock styles as well as metal, prog, and I’d even go as far as to suggest punk and maybe blues rock.

Clean amp settings work pretty well with the Crazy 8.  Alnico 8 magnets can be pretty heavy in some pickups, but the Crazy 8 takes account for that.  Plus, the DCR is a little more moderate.  Using some of the wiring options for split or parallel, you can get really open or chimey or glassy voicings from this humbucker.

Read for some specs?

Series – 13.786 K
Inductance – 7.294 H
North – 6.778 K
South – 7.03 K
Parallel – 3.449 k
Magnet – Alnico 8


I know what you might be thinking.  That sort of puts the Crazy 8 in the same arena as the Custom series.  Yeah, I already said it, but… this is not a Custom with an Alncio 8 magnet.  I think this is better.  And not simply because you don’t have to violate your warranty to get it.  LOL!

The Crazy 8 comes in any color you want, as long as you want black.  The 4-conductor lead wire lets you have all the wiring options you can manage.  And it is advertised to come in both standard and trem spacing.  The Crazy 8 is a little hard to find on eBay and Reverb.  You can wait it out, or you can pay the premium through the Custom Shop.

For reference, this Seymour Duncan Custom Shop Crazy 8 humbucker pickup evaluation was conducted with a Fractal Axe-Fx II XL+ featuring Celestion Impluse Responses and Fractal MFC-101 MIDI Foot Controller.  Real cabs used were Marshall 1960B cabs loaded with Celestion Vintage 30s and G12M Greenbacks.

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