Guitar Gear Review: The Seymour Duncan Black Winter is not a One Trick Pony

Binge-watching Metalocalypse has put me in a different mindset for this pickup review. I am guessing if you have stumbled upon this review of Seymour Duncan’s Black Winter, you are looking for the most “brutal” pickup on earth. Yes, the Black Winter is a brutal pickup but that is only one dimension of this sonic wonder.

The Seymour Duncan Black Winter remains crisp and articulate in the most extreme high-gain drop tuned situations. We gave the Seymour Duncan’s Black Winter its maiden run with a mahogany Dean SplitTail drop-tuned to C# then switched it up with a variety of amps, tunings and players.

Using a high gain setting on a Fender M-80 Pro half-stack, the Black Winter took to metal tones like a fish to water. The rhythms were thick and tight with an amazing amount of wall shaking bass. Never did the low end of the guitar get muddy, clear clean articulate runs were captured from C# to the highest registers of the guitar.

We next gave the Black Winter a run for its money through an English style full tube stack. Dialing in a more traditional rock tone, our results were just as phenomenal. This pickup is not a one trick pony. The Black Winter lent itself well to everything from VanHalen like brown tones to classic crunch tones. Yes, the Black Winter is a “most brutal” pickup but the applications of this pickup go well beyond the realm of Scandinavian death metal and dropped tunings.

Surprisingly the Black Winter cleans up nicely. I am not suggesting its use for Jazz, but it simmers with beautiful sustain. The pickup’s amazing articulation lends itself to effects well, you prog rock and fusion players might want to take notice. I am not suggesting trying to capture classic Yes with the Black Winter. However, disciples of John Petrucci, Dragonforce, and Guthrie Govan would find the Black Winter to be a workhorse.

The Black Winter is a ceramic bar pickup allowing highs to sing without squealing or screeching. With a resonant peak of 6.68 KHz, the dc resistance comes in at a face-melting 16.60 K. Making the Black Winter even more versatile is the four conductor wiring lends itself to multiple install scenarios.

Don’t be afraid of the dark. The Black Winter will not paint your tone into a corner. The Black Winter will take you into the realms of the most brutal metal, a great array of more subdued guitar tones will still be within your reach.