Seymour Duncan and Mark Holcomb unveil Scarlet and Scourge humbuckers, wound for crushing tone through amp modelers

Seymour Duncan Mark Holcomb Scarlet and Scourge humbucker set
(Image credit: Seymour Duncan)

Seymour Duncan has unveiled its latest signature electric guitar pickup set for Periphery’s Mark Holcomb. The Scourge and Scarlet humbucker set features the one-two punch of a ceramic and Alnico 8 design, for an electric guitar tone that sounds suitably punishing through a digital modeling amp.

We are, after all, living in the future right now, and what an exciting time to be a live playing metal guitar, chasing new extremes on ever-more technologically advanced platforms. Anyone who has some digital in the rig, be it in plugin or hardware, and who has designs on hench riff chug, these should be worth investigating.

Holcomb’s new pickups are available individually or as a set, and for six, seven and eight-string guitars, with cover options comprising Black, White, or, like the Northrop B-2 Spirit stealth bomber, Matte Black. 

We’d bet good money that the latter option is what sells the most amongst the prog-metal djent demographic who right now are spitting Huel over their keyboards in excitement at this launch.

Seymour Duncan Mark Holcomb Scarlet and Scourge humbucker set

(Image credit: Seymour Duncan)

There is a lot to get excited about, especially if high-output passive humbuckers are your thing. Like Holcomb’s Seymour Duncan Alpha humbucker, the Scarlet is designed around a ceramic magnet and is voiced for enhanced note definition when playing clean or at the edge of breakup – just what a metal player needs from a neck pickup.

The Scourge, meanwhile, that’s a face-ripper constructed around an Alnico 8 magnet. If you read much into DCR values, this is rated at 11.06k while the Scarlet is rated at 7.56k. As for the EQ profiles, the Scourge is moderate on the bass, a little more on the mids, with a pronounced high-end.

Seymour Duncan Mark Holcomb Scarlet and Scourge humbucker set

(Image credit: Seymour Duncan)

The neck is similarly pronounced on the treble, but with more oomph in the low-end it might be ever so slightly scooped. Either way, you’ve got clarity; that seems to be the goal here. After all, Periphery might be operating “in the metal space” but they’re not Full Metal Jacket about it. There are dynamics. There is string definition.

It’s all gourmet sounds with these guys. And a bit of fun, too, with their new album, Djent Is Not a Genre, not only a good title for a 21st-century prog-metal album but a great dinner party conversation starter, too. It’s out March 10 on CD through 3DOT, with a vinyl release following a couple of weeks later. You can pre-order Djent Is Not a Genre now.

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Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to publications including Guitar World, MusicRadar and Total Guitar. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.