Gawp! A week ahead of Winter NAMM 2010, a page has gone live on the Seymour Duncan website presenting Yngwie Malmsteen’s new pickup — his first with the company, after 25 years with its only major rival, DiMarzio.
Rumors began spreading in late 2009 that Yngwie had split with Staten Island-based DiMarzio, and indeed he fell off the endorser list at the company’s site. But it wasn’t until his new album, High Impact, landed in December that his ship jumping was confirmed: in the liner notes, the Maestro thanks the usual suspects like Fender and Marshall, but, for the first time ever, Seymour Duncan. No word on his stacked humbucker supplier (and funky animal print cliplock strap supplier) of a quarter century, DiMarzio.
The new pickup, titled the STK-S10 YJM Fury, certainly looks similar to his signature DiMarzio model, with an off-white cover, vintage-staggered pole pieces, and Seymour Duncan’s ice cube icon, which denotes low output. We can assume an overdrive pedal will still be required.
No one knows how it sounds yet, because no one has one. The product doesn’t yet feature on SD’s Tone Chart page, so we don’t know its DC Resistance numbers, or basic bass-middle-treble coloring. But Seymour Duncan wastes no time in its blurb dishing out a face slap to its rival, having secured the biggest name in shred. “When Yngwie J. Malmsteen set out on a quest to bring his tone to a higher level,” they say, “he turned to Seymour Duncan.” You can actually see them sneer, if you read that while squinting your eyes.
Lastly, it’s mentioned that the STK-S10 YJM Fury, which is available in bridge and neck versions, is “the same pickup that Fender installs in their YJM Strat guitars,” so that deal is already signed up too, it seems, leaving no embarrassing loopholes. DiMarzio is truly out.
We die-hard fans, who have heard Yngwie’s tone worsen, and seen his complacency strengthen, for ten years, should be happy that something, anything, is changing in his perennial setup. DiMarzio pickups were never the problem, of course — lift any classic album brimming with give-your-right-nut, holy grail Yngwie tone, and you’ll be listening to their stacked humbuckers, most likely the HS-3, which, after all, are the pickups in The Duck, for God’s sake. (They sure sound grand on my Yngwie Strats.) But all the same, there’s a slim chance this move is not just about money, royalties, disputes, support; that the big guy has realized his sound has gotten stale, and is taking steps to shake things up, reconfigure the chain.
If such a pause for thought means that next he questions whether the G12T-75 might not be the best speaker available, or that simply maxxing out both dials on his DOD overdrive might be murdering rather than strengthening his guitar tone, then I’m all for it.
What I’m not all for are those stenciled silver initials on the new pickup. Chee-zee!