17% price drop

The Seymour Duncan SD35 guitar is a hand-built custom instrument in a vintage-modified form pioneered by Seymour W. Duncan well over 40 years ago. In 2011, In celebration of the Seymour Duncan company’s 35th anniversary, just 35 of these remarkable numbered and signed, custom-crafted instruments were offered for sale at $6,250 USA MSRP.

However, employees of the company were allowed to purchase “Builder’s Proofs” of the guitar. These guitars would not be signed and numbered, but were otherwise identical to the guitars in the run of 35. I was a vice president at Seymour Duncan at the time as well rhythm guitarist in Seymour’s band. This guitar is my Builder’s Proof.

Inspired by Seymour's personal guitar which is an evolution of the well-known "Tele-Gib" he built for Jeff Beck and which is heard on “Blow by Blow,” the SD 35 updates, upgrades, and modernizes where appropriate the slab-bodied, bolt-on neck plus double-humbucker sound that Seymour made famous. I’ve heard Seymour’s original “Tele-Gib” many times on stage and in rehearsals. This guitar captures the tone and feel of the original.

The SD 35 guitars were built by Larrivee in their Oxnard, California workshop using hand-selected woods. Because of my inside connection, I was able to pick my body from a stack of one-piece swamp ash body blanks. I chose mine, under the guidance of Matthew Larrivee, based on the figure of the wood and the light weight. As for the neck, I received photos of three quarter-sawn neck blanks and I chose the one with perfectly perpendicular grain. (Check out the photo of the top of the headstock).

The body shape of the SD 35 differs dramatically from the shape of a modern Telecaster. The humbucker cavities are routed on top of the traditional Telecaster cavities, in precisely the same position and fashion as Seymour's guitar. The neck pocket is deeper than the current spec and matches the original spec from 1950 to 1955. The grain on the body has been carefully stained to match the darkening that naturally occurred from age on Seymour's instrument. Amber varnish on the body has been color matched to perfectly replicate the original. The pickguard on the instrument is true fiber core phenolic, varnished to an ultra-high gloss and crafted from a direct trace of a 1950 Broadcaster. Additional unnecessary but important modification-correct details include the addition of string ferrules and bridge screw holes. The tummy cut and side profile of the instrument are careful recreations from Seymour's instrument.

The neck on the SD 35 features a 1 ¾" nut width, as well as neck width measurements matching Seymour's guitar. The rock maple neck utilizes a traditional anchored truss rod design but with a CNC-machined walnut skunk stripe for a stronger, closer fit to the truss than normally found in necks of this style. The fretboard dot markers are Tahitian black Mother of Pearl. The nut is handmade from fossilized mastodon ivory.

The hardware on the SD 35 is the best available. The bridge is machined from a medium-carbon stainless steel billet by Callaham Guitars and features enlarged studs. The tailpiece is TonePros. The knobs, extra-thick-neckplate and screws are manufactured by Glendale. The pots are Seymour's favorite "blue-box" by Bourns. The tone capacitor is hand-made by Luxe Capacitors and is a vintage paper-in-oil replica from a 1956 Tele. Tuners are hand engraved custom "single-line" Kluson.

The guitar is equipped with Seymour Duncan's Liberator system for quick and solderless pickup swaps. The pickups installed are Seymour Duncan Custom Shop JB and Jazz "Concept" zebra humbuckers. The "Concept" pickups are reproductions of the prototype pickups Seymour wound for Jeff Beck's guitar, well before there was a Seymour Duncan company. They capture the “Cause We’ve Ended as Lovers” tone perfectly. The run of 35 guitars included a second set of SD’s Zephyr, silver-wire pickup and a second Liberator. When I ordered this guitar, I specifically did not order those pickups or the extra Liberator. I like the sound of the copper-wire pickups better and I didn’t want to pay for a set of pickups that I knew I wouldn’t use. Also included with the guitar is a set of Lollar El Rayo humbuckers that give the guitar a completely different tonality and swap in and out without soldering.

  • Inspired by the guitar Seymour built for himself as a refinement of the modified guitar he built for Jeff Beck in the early 1970s
  • 1-piece swamp ash body that I personally selected
  • 1-piece rock maple neck, dead quarter-sawn, with walnut skunk stripe CNC profiled for maximum glue surface and close fit to truss rod
  • 1 ¾" nut width
  • Precision neck angle, cut after finish to ensure maximum wood-to-wood contact
  • Warmoth 6105 nickel-silver "medium-tall" frets
  • Truss rod access from the headstock
  • Tahitian Black Pearl dot neck inlay
  • 35th logo inlay at 12th fret in New Zealand White Mother-of-Pearl
  • TonePros Locking Stop Tailpiece
  • Callaham medium-carbon milled stainless steel ABR-1 Tune-O-Matic style bridge
  • Authentic "abandoned" Telecaster string-through holes with ferrules, consistent with the original guitar modification
  • Body routed for dual humbuckers
  • Nut crafted from fossilized mastodon ivory
  • Seymour Duncan Custom Shop JB and Jazz "Concept" copper-wound pickups installed
  • Seymour Duncan Liberator Solderless Pickup Change System installed
  • Additional set of Lollar El Rayo humbuckers included
  • Forearm contour to Seymour's preference
  • Belly cut on back to Seymour's preference
  • Custom neck profile to Seymour's preference (combines best characteristics of vintage Telecaster necks)
  • Kluson nickel-plated enclosed tuners
  • String tree on 1st & 2nd strings, uniquely placed to allow behind-the-nut bends
  • Ultra-thin, fine instrument-grade high-gloss varnish finish, amber-tint, for maximum resonance and tone
  • Varnished phenolic black pickguard, identical to 1950s era black pickguards
  • LP-style jack-plate
  • USA-Made G&G Tweed case

This guitar was only gigged once with the Seymour Duncan Band in Santa Barbara in 2011. Otherwise, it's been rarely played and, other than some minor oxidation on the nickel hardware, there are no dents, dings, scratches, pick wear, belt buckle rash or any noticeable imperfections. Also included is a Made in USA G&G Tweed Case, that has a few very minor scratches in the outer fabric.

Less than 15 Builders Proofs were produced for employees and "friends of the family." A run of 35 is rare enough. A run this size is almost unheard of. This is truly a rare instrument!

This item is sold As-Described

This item is sold As-Described and cannot be returned unless it arrives in a condition different from how it was described or photographed. Items must be returned in original, as-shipped condition with all original packaging.

Product Specs

Excellent (Used)
Excellent items are almost entirely free from blemishes and other visual defects and have been played or used with the utmost care.learn more
Brand Seymour Duncan
Model SD 35
Finish Amber
Categories Solid Body
Year 2011
Made In United States

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Mark W. - December 13, 2019

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Omer A. - October 06, 2019

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Rich H. - September 01, 2019

Shipped fast, packed well, excellent communication and the bonus set of strings put this transaction over the top. I'm a very pleased customer.

Thomas K. - June 22, 2019

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This item is sold As-Described and cannot be returned unless it arrives in a condition different from how it was described or photographed. Items must be returned in original, as-shipped condition with all original packaging.
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Seymour Duncan SD 35 “Tele-Gib” – Builder’s Proof
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