The Seymour Duncan Pickup Booster (SFX-01) is one of those effects that is often overlooked. If you are looking for a pedal that is going to completely change your tone then the Pickup Booster is not for you. However, if you have a guitar with comparatively low output pickups and you need a bit of extra thrutch then the Pickup Booster may be just what you need.
I own a 1981 Gibson Les Paul Custom and there are times when the output from the stock pickups just doesn’t cut it. I had considered replacing the pickups with after-market models but that would mean losing the standard sound which I also wanted to keep. The answer was the Pickup Booster.
Seymour Duncan advertise the Pickup Booster as being useful in a variety of applications where extra gain is required. Additional gain can be dialled in using the central control knob from 6dB up to 25dB. The unit also has 3 modes of operation, selectable via a small 3-way switch:
- Setting 1: Resonance drops 2-3kHz.
Effect Result: A single coil sounds like a vintage humbucker.
- Setting 2: Resonance not affected.
Effect Result: The pickup’s true resonance is unaltered.
- Setting 3: Resonance drops 3-5kHz.
Effect Result: A single coil sounds like a high-output humbucker.
Following are 2 examples of the Gibson Les Paul Custom played through a POD XT Pro using the Satch Boogie preset. The first is the basic sound without the Pickup Booster. The second has the Pickup Booster engaged using moderately high boost (about 20dB) and using Setting 2 so the pickup tone is unaltered.
My experience of this pedal is that it does exactly what I want. Generally, I do not to want to change the tone of my pickups (e.g. make a single coil sound like a humbucker); I swap guitars for that. But if I need some extra gain to get a particular overdriven tone it comes in really handy.
I’ve had the unit for several years without fault and its rugged metal casing has stood the test of time.
Oh, and before you think you could use it with high output pickups to get a really high output sound, although you can do this the result is poor. Eventually the overdriven sound gets saturated and additional gain has little effect other than losing clarity.
For more specs and details checkout Seymour Duncan’s product page: