repairman, designer of guitar pickup
s, and founder of Seymour Duncan Pickups in Santa Barbara, CA
, manufacturer of fine guitar pickups for demanding musician
Duncan was introduced to the electric guitar at an early age, through the works of such great artists as Charlie Christian, Chet Atkins, and Les Paul. He became an avid guitar player, and frequently jammed at local clubs. His experience with guitar pickups began when, one night, the lead pickup of his Telecaster broke, and he was forced to finish the session with his rhythm pickup alone, and, later, to rewind the failed pickup himself, using a turntable.
Duncan continued to improve his playing skills, as well as his knowledge of guitar construction, tone, and electronics. In the late '60's, he traveled to England, both to play and to work in the repair and R&D shops at the Fender Soundhouse in London. While there, he repaired guitars and rewound pickups for such notables as Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Pete Townshend, George Harrison, Peter Frampton, Jimi Hendrix, and Jeff Beck. Some of Beck's early solo albums feature Duncan's then-evolving signature pickup tones.
Returning to the United States, Duncan settled in California, continuing his work on pickups and keeping in contact with industry greats like Leo Fender, Les Paul, and Seth Lover (the inventor of the humbucker pickup). In late 1978, Duncan founded Seymour Duncan Pickups, which, as of 2000, has over 60 employees. Among his employees, he is known as a casual, laid-back manager, and is highly regarded by all. Today, Seymour Duncan pickups are used by a wide variety of well-known rock, country, jazz, and other guitarists and bass players.
Source: Seymour Duncan bio page at http://www.seymourduncan.com; personal conversation with Silverwrist, former employee of Seymour Duncan Pickups (assembly, QA, packaging, shipping and receiving)