Guitar Gear Review: Seymour Duncan Custom Shop Warren DeMartini RTM

The RTM is the first Custom Shop model that I tried. The first time seeing Custom Shop Manager Maricela Juarez (“MJ”) at a guitar show, you quickly learn that you will be taking home at least one new pickup. LOL! There is just no other way about it. In fact, I can’t think of someone that has gotten away from MJ’s table of wares without buying something. HaHa! Quick! Someone put MJ in charge of Sales!

Anyway, if memory serves, the discussion that day vacillates between the RTM and the 78 Model. More on the 78 Model another time. I don’t know about you, but coming of age in the 80s, RATT’s Warren DeMartini has an influence on my playing.

So, you ask, isn’t the JB what DeMartini was using? Yep, you are right. And speaking of the JB, a nagging suggestion persists that the RTM is a JB with an Alnico 2 magnet. MJ flat out denies that when I’ve asked. With DeMartini using the JB for so long, you can bet that DNA runs deep within the windings of the RTM.

Warren has said the he took his original “crossed swords” Charvel to Seymour and MJ one afternoon and they simply ran through some options. Who else would like to do something like that?!? LOL!

The RTM can be found with the typical selection of adornments and options. Mine are trem-spaced and I prefer 4-con lead wire. The baseplate is signed by Seymour and Warren DeMartini on all the RTMs shipped. How cool is that?!

There was a strong encouragement to install the RTM in a bright guitar, which is a good idea. With that in mind, I put the RTM in a few different conditions, as far as guitars. Most notably, a fairly high end ESP with a maple body, maple neck and ebony board. To the other extreme, a lower end import guitar from a different brand with a poplar body, maple neck and rosewood board. I’ve also tried one in an American Standard Strat with an alder body, maple neck and maple board. All have Floyd Rose trems, 500k Bourns pots and Switchcraft jacks.

That ESP is the first one I used for that first RTM. It was a direct swap for a JB, so the similarities and differences were more prevalent. To start with, the RTM is richer sounding, and I’m not talking about the price tag *rim shot*. From the first big open chord, you can hear definition within the smooth roar. If you are using a JB, you might be a little more familiar with the precise lows and focused highs of the Alnico 5 magnet. What you get with the RTM is a low end that’s firm with a little bit of sag and a high end that has a touch of sweetness to it’s bite.

Check out the RTM in action in this video:

Riffing is fun, thanks to an authoritative presence. Lead work and solos become a breeze, courtesy of a well-tuned voicing. The RTM is loud, so you might find you still need to roll back on a clean amp setting. And yes, my experience does confirm that it does like a brighter guitar a little better.

How about some specs:

Series: 17.6 k
Inductance: 8.83 H
Resonant Peak: 4.40 kHZ (advertised)

In all fairness, sure, the JB is the sound of RATT that we know from the songs that we know RATT from. However, based on some of the issues that some people have with the current production model JB (discussed here), the RTM is an excellent solution for consideration.

For reference, this RTM evaluation was conducted with my old trusty amp, as well a Fractal Axe-Fx II XL+. Cabs are a Peavey 6505 cab with 12″ Sheffields, and a Marshall 1960B cab with 12″ Celestion G12-65s.

Seymour Duncan Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Instagram

Warren DeMartini Facebook

RATT Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Instagram

Darth Phineas is a long time music industry insider who provides his readers with unbiased reviews on musical instrument and guitar gear. You can read more of his reviews and check out industry news on his Facebook community Darth Phineas, Twitter or his website is