Front and Center: Seymour Duncan Custom Shop Manager, Maricela “MJ” Juarez

The WiMN’s Front and Center is a weekly column that showcases accomplished women who work in the music and audio industries. We spotlight successful female performers, manufacturers, retailers, educators, managers, publicists, and everyone else in between. Want to be featured? Learn how here

Front and Center: Seymour Duncan Custom Shop Manager, Maricela “MJ” Juarez

By Pauline France

Originally from Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, Maricela Juarez (better known as “MJ”) is the Seymour Duncan Custom Shop Manager and a pickup winder extraordinaire.

She has been with the company for 30 years, is Seymour Duncan’s right hand, and has personally wound pickups for rock stars like Jimmy Page, Peter Frampton, Billy Gibbons, Eddie Van Halen, Slash, Carlos Santana, Brad Paisley, and more. In other words, if you’re serious about your tone, she’s your go-to girl.

To learn more about MJ, check out her Facebook page here, and visit SeymourDuncan.com.

WiMN: What was your initial position at Seymour Duncan?

MJ: I started assembling humbucker guitar pickups. My very first one was the Jimmy Page pickup. 30 years later I’m the Custom Shop Manager and am always working closely with Seymour Duncan.

WiMN: What does a typical day at Seymour Duncan look like?

MJ: It’s exciting because you never know who’s going to call you, what kind of pickups you’re going to be designing, or what type of tools you’ll have to use. Every day at Seymour Duncan I experiment with new, exciting and different tones.

WiMN: What recommendations do you have for women seeking a job in the music industry?

MJ: First of all, use your heart and soul. If you put your heart and soul into anything in general, you’re going to achieve what you want.

It’s important to use your heart and soul in the music industry, moreso when working with musicians. Sometimes people don’t think they’re regular human beings. The reality is, they just want to have a regular life, so to have a good relationship with them and to talk with them at another level, the key is to treat them like human beings, all with genuine heart and soul.

WiMN:  Have you faced any challenges for being a woman in the industry? If so, how did you overcome them?

MJ: Not really. I’ve learned that the same respect you give is the same respect you receive.

WiMN: What’s the one piece of advice that has served you the most in your career?

MJ: Note-taking! I’m a great believer in taking good notes. I’ve been at Seymour Duncan for 30 years, and there is not one day where I don’t go back to see my notes from several years ago.
When an artist comes to me to ask for a special winding from the 1970s, for example, I go back to my notes to recreate it. It sounds so simple, but many people don’t take notes. It’s very efficient and it helps me keep track of everything every time.

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