NAMM 2023: Josh Smith and Seymour Duncan release the Flat V pickup set – an unorthodox blend of Tele-style single coils

Seymour Duncan Josh Smith Flat V1 pickup set
(Image credit: Seymour Duncan)

NAMM 2023: Josh Smith, one of his generation’s standout blues guitar players, has partnered with Seymour Duncan to release the Flat V electric guitar pickup set.

The pair of T-style single-coils first made their debut back in 2021 when Smith announced he had partnered with Ibanez for a new signature guitar, the aptly named FLATV1, which came factory loaded with a pickup set that facilitated his dynamic and expressive sound.

Until now, those wanting to give those signature single-coils a spin would have had to get hold of the whole electric guitar, but now Smith’s uniquely voiced pickups can now be snapped up as a standalone set for $300.

Far from being just a standard set of vintage-voiced Telecaster-inspired pickups, the Flat Vs feature an unusual combination of Alnico magnets that – while not completely unique – are highly uncommon in other T-type alternatives.

The pickups owe their conception to Smith and Bill Chapin, the luthier who made the blues heavyweight’s original black T-style six-string that he played for more than two decades. Chapin also handwound the pickups tailored to Smith’s playing, but recruited an unusual magnet blend to do so – a blend that Seymour Duncan has sought to recreate.

Specifically, the bridge example blends Alnico 2 and Alnico 4 magnets, which is said to deliver a versatile, spectrum-spanning sound – with a slightly fatter tone – that responds particularly well to an individual’s unique playing style.

“There’s some interesting things in this bridge pickup that make it unique and make it sound the way it does,” Smith said. “For me, this is a bridge pickup that – if you use your technique, and your hands, and the way you pick, and you change your volume – you can almost live on exclusively, it’s so dynamic.”

Seymour Duncan Josh Smith Flat V1 pickup set

(Image credit: Seymour Duncan)

As for the neck, it makes use of Alnico 3 magnets, and is described by Smith as a “very much traditional Telecaster neck pickup… with slightly more oomph”, promising a bit more clarity and gain compared to vintage Tele neck single-coils.

Smith’s signature pickup set is available now for $300. Individual pickups can also be purchased for $160 each.

Head over to Seymour Duncan for more information.

In other Josh Smith news, the blues maestro recently teased a new-look, freshly spec'd version of his Ibanez signature model, which could be making its first official appearance at NAMM in a few weeks.

Smith is also the second Ibanez artist to team up with Seymour Duncan to release a standalone signature pickup set this month. A few weeks ago, Lari Basilio – who recently teased a new Ibanez LB1 signature model – joined forces with the brand to release quite possibly the most versatile HSS set on the market.

Seymour Duncan has also been busy releasing Cory Wong’s Clean Machine set, Mark Holcomb’s Scarlet and Scourge humbuckers and a Tele-sized Pearly Gates humbucker.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.