The Alpha Omega humbucker set is something that Seymour Duncan put together for Mark Holcomb, of the band Periphery. To offer some background on where Mark’s wheelhouse has been on his approach to pickups, he had been using the DiMarzio D-Activator, the DiMarzio Dominion neck, and a custom DiMarzio set.
But first, a disclaimer: the Alpha Omega humbuckers that I have are from the original Custom Shop run, prior to being regular production models. Should be close enough for you if you’re looking at the production floor models.
For this assessment, I am installing the Alpha Omega using a double-hum guitar. The wiring harness on this guitar has Bourns 500k pots, a Switchcraft 12120X 3-way toggle, and Switchcraft 1/4″ jack. Each pickup was wired to an independent 3-way mini-toggle so that each humbucker could go from series to split to parallel. During installation, I hit the friction points with some Lizard Spit Slick Nutz.
Something that’s groovy about the appearance is the dark logo. I see and hear from artists and a fair share of regular players that prefer their pickups with no logo or a logo that is at least very unobtrusive. As you can see in the photos (go ahead and click for the bigger versions), Seymour’s logo is subtle and tasteful. While customers can always order them with no logo, I think this is a nice alternative for the crowd wanting the “low key” option.
Out of the gate, the set falls into the same modern-style character of the aforementioned pickups. As well as Seymour’s Black Winter set and other similar focused aggressive-sounding humbuckers. The Alpha Omega set has characteristics that look a bit more like vintage-hot pickup on paper. And that that is the case with all the pickups associated with the Periphery guitarists. Driven by ceramic magnets and a bit of secret sauce, the Alpha Omega set blasts beyond the notion of being a moderate output set of pickups.
The overall tone is pretty even. The low end stays punchy while the mids maintain balance. The high end is edgy, with plenty of cut. There is a clarity to the vibe of the Alpha Omega set that makes it a good candidate for today’s rock guitarist needing to jump out of a dense mix. Not being clear on what tunings that Periphery uses, I am keeping things at standard E. Seems to me that is a good tuning for these pickups. Although I can see them handling lower tunings just fine.
The Omega bridge is a strong offering, with a nice balance of character and grind. Plenty tight for the chugging rhythms, but not brittle. I can dig that it’s not too heavy sounding and it has enough clarity so that you will need to play better at the risk of the crowd hearing that you skipped band practice for time on the beach with that swimsuit model. Wait… is that a bad thing?!? This sort of edge and transparency also comes in handy when pushing through some of today’s layered amp modeling processors.
It’s the Alpha neck pickup that is a little interesting to me. In so much as it has a touch of Seymour’s neck pickup character going on. Alright… no duh, right? Ha! Yeah, I know. But… there was that midrange vibe that I seem to hear more in Seymour’s neck-position humbucker when playing lead work. Meanwhile, the low end remains clear and harmonic squeals are a breeze.
Remember the part about being aggressive? It takes a little more to ease off the reins on these pickups for sparkly clean chimey glassy clean tones. I understand that “clean” covers a lot of ground. Of course, I am talking about the same clean amp setting used for all my pickup reviews. If you are used to a grittier distortion class of pickup, you got it covered. Otherwise, a slight tweak of the amp or rolling off the guitar’s volume will get you there.
Here’s a video of Mark playing and talking about the Alpha Omega pickup set:
Alpha Neck Humbucker
Series – 7.727 K
Inductance – 4.344 H
Split – 3.862 K
Split – 3.86 K
Parallel – 1.9306 K
Magnet – Ceramic
Omega Bridge Humbucker
Series – 13.835 K
Inductance – 7.844 H
Split – 6.932 K
Split – 6.934 K
Parallel – 3.465 K
Magnet – Ceramic
The Alpha Omega set is going to be good for hard rock, progressive metal, djent, thrash, nu-metal, punk, hardcore, metalcore, groove metal. If there is a style of metal you can think of, these pickups will work. LOL!
If you’re chasing that Periphery vibe, also check out my articles on other pickups associated with the band. That will include the DiMarzio Titan and Titan 7 sets for Jake Bowen. And the Bare Knuckle Ragnarok set for Misha Mansoor.
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