NAMM 2023: There has rarely been a better time to be a Guns N’ Roses fan with an Epiphone Les Paul looking for an aftermarket mod to soup it up, because Slash and Seymour Duncan have just put their heads together on a new version of his signature electric guitar pickups, and they’ve just gotten hotter.
The Seymour Duncan Slash 2.0 signature set comprises two humbuckers based off the top-hatted rock icon’s original signature APH-2 pickups.
Those Alnico II ‘buckers were configured to the exact same specs as the original pickups in Slash’s legendary Derrig Les Paul, the electric guitar behind Appetite For Destruction’s gnarly and wiry sound, and, ironically given the Derrig is a copycat build, the tone that rekindled a generation of guitar players’ love for the Gibson Les Paul.
A decade or so later, it was time to update the APH-2. You will find the same tone profile with the 2.0 version. These neck ‘bucker is slightly scooped but skewed towards treble. Its counterpart at the bridge is similarly slightly scooped but with more equilibrium between bass and treble.
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The clarity is still there, so all that note definition and old-school dynamics are preserved – one of the reasons Slash found himself using Seymour Duncan pickups, after a long period of trial and error, was because “they weren’t trying to do more than they needed to do”.
But this time out Seymour Duncan has given them a hotter wind, so that when you dig into a powerchord you’ll give your guitar amp a bit more to think about. Given how hard Slash hits those strings, that could make all the difference.
“They’re just a little bit louder,” says Slash. “They are higher output but they don’t add any distortion. There’s no gain. There’s just a little bit of a higher level. For some reason, certain guitars that I have are quieter than other guitars, and I started finding that I needed a little bit louder pickup in those guitars.
Enter, Seymour Duncan. The Slash 2.0 pickups are hand-wound in California. Once more they are based around a rough cast Alnico II magnet, and have a DCR reading of 8.8k at the neck, and 9.38k at the bridge.
They are available in a variety of finish options. You can have them open-coiled with black bobbins, zebra, reverse zebra, or with black-nickel, nickel, raw nickel or gold coverings. The latter might be just the thing in a Les Paul Custom. But who doesn’t like the look of a zebra-coil set on an Iced Tea Les Paul Standard?
For the player who has got one of the superlative Epiphone Slash Les Pauls, however, this might just be the tone upgrade they’ve been waiting for.
The Slash 2.0 humbuckers are priced from $119 per pickup, $238 a set (there’s a premium for the metal coverings), and they are available now. See Seymour Duncan for more details.