Best Guitar Pickups

Article Contents

If you’ve ever admired a guitar player’s tone and overall sound, there’s a good chance a significant part is thanks to their guitar pickups. Small as they may be, these tiny transducers capture and process the vibration of a guitar’s strings and have helped shape the signature sounds of some of the most legendary guitarists of all-time. To put it bluntly, a great guitar player is nothing without good pickups. There are several different factors to consider when selecting pickups but we’ve outlined everything you need to know in our buyer’s guide provided below.

Best Humbucker Guitar Pickups:

The single coil is the oldest type of guitar pickup, having been in existence since the 1920s and while the tone it produces is bright and well-received, it sometimes also comes with an unwanted hum or buzz. Enter the humbucker pickup, a device created to solve the aforementioned issue. By combining two single coil pickups that are positioned side by side with one another with opposing coils and polarity, this pickup minimizes the hum while doubling the guitar signal. The end result is a sound that's thicker and often favored by players who explore more hard rock and metal territory (although there are humbuckers that are well-suited for virtually all styles of music). Here are the best humbucking guitar pickups, with each one we've chosen equipped with wiring that maintains the no-feedback/hum nature of humbucker pickups, offers an increased output to really produce a thick and driving tone, and is capable of producing rich, resonant highs as well as tight low frequencies, making them ideal for heavier, thicker styles of music.

Gibson '57 Classic Plus Guitar Pickup

Designed to be a fine companion to Gibson’s ’57 Classic pickup, the Classic Plus epitomizes all that a humbucker pickup can do. Rich and oozing a vintage-sounding tone, this humbucker provides a smooth output no matter how it’s being played. Read Full Review

See it at:
    Gibson '57 Classic Plus Guitar Pickup

    Seymour Duncan JB SH-4 Guitar Pickup

    Seymour Duncan’s JB SH-4 humbucking pickup is suited for a variety of styles, including blues and heavy metal. If you’re looking for a guitar pickup that has a welcoming amount of bite yet still can hit those sweet-sounding tones, this is definitely worth checking out. Read Full Review

    See it at:
      Seymour Duncan JB SH-4 Guitar Pickup

      DiMarzio DP100 Super Distortion Humbucker Pickup - Black

      Sometimes you don’t need to look any further than a pickup’s name in order to get a feel for what it is designed to achieve. In the case of DiMarzio’s DP100 Super Distortion humbucker pickup, prepare to latch onto a device that can send your signal past the breaking point of overdrive, with awesome results. Read Full Review

      See it at:
        DiMarzio DP100 Super Distortion Humbucker Pickup - Black

        EMG 81 Humbucking Active Guitar Pickup

        EMG’s 81 humbucking guitar pickup stands as one of the company’s most popular items, and it’s not hard to tell why. Guitarists seeking a blistering, high-end-boosting sustain will be happy with the sounds that result from this pickup. Read Full Review

        See it at:
          EMG 81 Humbucking Active Guitar Pickup

          EMG EMG-ZW Zakk Wylde 81/85 Humbucker Set

          Zakk Wylde is an icon amongst metal guitarists, and his customized EMG ZW 81/85 humbucker set does well to harness that classic tone for other players. The pair of pickups work together to create powerfully sharp lead work and razor sharp rhythms that ensure the spirit which has driven his past work into the performances of players who will follow for years to come. Read Full Review

          See it at:
            EMG EMG-ZW Zakk Wylde 81/85 Humbucker Set

            Best P-90 Pickups:

            P-90 pickups are a special breed. Having been introduced by Gibson in the 1930s, the P-90 stands somewhere in the middle ground between the sound of a single coil and a humbucker pickup. It is bright and crispy like the former, yet boasts large amounts of midrange like the latter. Since its Gibson introduction, many companies have rolled out their own versions of this pickup type, which has found popularity by players who favor its unique sound. Here are the best P-90 pickups, with each one we've chosen wired to provide a hot output that really makes these pickups growl, they intensify midrange frequencies to provide the classic grit associated with the P90 brand, and they're also single coils still capable of cranking out thick, warm, vintage-sounding tone.

            Gibson P-90 Single Coil with Soap Bar Cover

            Gibson’s P-90 single coil guitar pickup with soap bar cover provides a raw tone that is powerful enough to readily handle blues and rock guitarists. It sports a vintage 50s tone and the type of high output that made the world fall in love with the P-90 sound. Read Full Review

            Gibson P-90 Single Coil with Soap Bar Cover

            Seymour Duncan SP90-1B Vintage P-90 Bridge Pickup

            Seymour Duncan throws its hat into the P90 ring with their recreation of Gibson’s 1964 single-coil pickup. The Vintage P90 has a higher output and packs more mid-range than what you would normally get from a single coil. Read Full Review

            Seymour Duncan SP90-1B Vintage P-90 Bridge Pickup

            Seymour Duncan Antiquity P-90 Bridge Black

            Players yearning for the vintage tone of the 50s and 60s will be pleased to discover Seymour Duncan’s Antiquity P90 pickup. This pickup offers a warm, gritty tone that emulates the styles of some of the greatest guitarists in rock/blues history. Read Full Review

            See it at:
              Seymour Duncan Antiquity P-90 Bridge Black

              Wolftone P90 Meaner Guitar Pickup

              The growl of a wolf is enough to send shivers up your spine. Wolftone’s P90 Mean pickup can have a similarly chilling effect, only you won’t have to worry about fearing for your life when you hear the sound that it produces. Read Full Review

              Wolftone P90 Meaner Guitar Pickup

              Harmonic Design Z-90

              Harmonic Design’s Z-90 pickup set provides players with humbucker-equipped guitars the easiest way to transition to a single coil setup, with pickups that fit the size of the former but possess the tone of the latter. Their open sound and easy installation makes them ideal for guitarists seeking that classic P90 character. Read Full Review

              Harmonic Design Z-90

              Best Guitar Pickups for Rock:

              Any guitarist will tell you that achieving face-melting, head-banging, throw-your-fists-to-the-sky rock tone can't be accomplished without having the right pickups in place. Because the world of electric guitar is predominantly occupied by rock guitarists and players who primarily play rock music, there’s a misconception any old set of pickups will do when trying to play that style of music. But that’s simply not the case as not all pickups are created equally rocking. Here are the best guitar pickups for rock, with each once we've chosen featuring a humbucker design that provides a thick and all-encompassing sound, they offer a high output to really push the signal into an in-your-face experience, as well as endorsed and utilized by some of rock music’s premier, world-touring guitarists.

              Seymour Duncan SH-PG1 Pearly Gates Pickup

              Rock music has a reputation for being off-the-cuff and out-of-control, but aesthetics like clarity and clean articulation are definitely necessary, too. Seymour Duncan’s SH-PG Pearly Gates humbucker pickup seamlessly nails those aforementioned traits, making it ideal for rock music. Read Full Review

              See it at:
                Seymour Duncan SH-PG1 Pearly Gates Pickup

                EMG EMG-ZW Zakk Wylde 81/85 Humbucker Set

                EMG’s ZW Zakk Wylde 81/85 pickup set gives players the opportunity to use the same tools that the iconic guitarists uses to achieve his thick, heavy tone. Ideal for both rhythm and lead, these pickups are also incredibly easy to install. Read Full Review

                See it at:
                  EMG EMG-ZW Zakk Wylde 81/85 Humbucker Set

                  DiMarzio PAF Master Humbucker Pickup

                  DiMarzio offers up their take on the classic, sought-after PAF humbucker sound with their Master Bridge pickup. This thing oozes rock and roll attitude, offering up a variety of tonal possibilities that all share the same vintage aesthetic. Read Full Review

                  See it at:
                    DiMarzio PAF Master Humbucker Pickup

                    Lundgren M6 Guitar Pickup

                    Lundgren designed the M6 guitar pickup for metal band Meshuggah’s Fredrik Thordendahl and if you have any passing knowledge about that band, you already know that this device is capable of exerting some serious power. Prepare to harness some seriously heavy rock tones. Read Full Review

                    Lundgren M6 Guitar Pickup

                    DiMarzio DP228 Crunch Lab Bridge Humbucker Pickup

                    DiMarzio’s Crunch Lab guitar pickup delivers on what its name promises as this thing can get loud and punchy like the best of them. Its high output makes it an ideal choice for rock guitarists, but it maintains enough control to not be an unwanted, unruly addition to your rig. Read Full Review

                    DiMarzio DP228 Crunch Lab Bridge Humbucker Pickup

                    Best Guitar Pickups for Blues:

                    The blues is a genre of music that relies heavily on self-expression. Having the right pickups in your guitar is essential for capturing that tone and voice necessary to sing, wail, scream, and cry your way through a solo. After all, the best blues guitarists take the inner turmoil they drawnl from life’s struggles and let the six strings do the talking. In general, blues guitarists would do well to find pickups that can capture a wide dynamic range, as mimicking something as versatile as the human voice requires an approach that can go from subtle nuance to full-on hysteria. Here are the best guitar pickups for blues we've chosen, each one featuring Alnico magnets for a warmer sound, can work by themselves or in tandem with other types of pickups to produce varying sorts of sound, and are designed to offer a necessary amount of bite in tone that translates well to both clean and overdrive channels.

                    Fender Fat '50s Stratocaster Custom Shop Pickups

                    If the genre of blues music were ever to receive its own coat-of-arms, the Fender Stratocaster has definitely earned its place on that icon. The company’s Custom Shop Fat 50s Stratocaster pickups offer the proper amount of push and grit necessary to really wail away on what is arguably the best instrument suited for this style of music. Read Full Review

                    See it at:
                      Fender Fat '50s Stratocaster Custom Shop Pickups

                      Seymour Duncan Vintage Blues Humbucker Pickup Set

                      Seymour Duncan pairs together a set of ’59 bridge and neck humbucker pickups to give players a configuration that works great for blues, jazz, country, classic rock, and more. Their combined tone is classic, sounding clear and pristine while being able to give the necessary amount of bite when overdriven. Read Full Review

                      See it at:
                        Seymour Duncan Vintage Blues Humbucker Pickup Set

                        Seymour Duncan Hot Rodded Humbucker Set Black

                        Seymour Duncan’s Hot Rodded Humbucker set combines the SH-4 JB and SH-2n Jazz Model pickups to provide a punchy, thick-sounding tone that is perfect for nailing the grit of the blues. Whether you’re aiming for clean or overdrive, this pickup pair pushes the attitude and altitude of your tone to really sing and resonate. Read Full Review

                        See it at:
                          Seymour Duncan Hot Rodded Humbucker Set Black

                          Seymour Duncan SH-PG1 Pearly Gates Pickup

                          Seymour Duncan designed their SH-PG Pearl Gates humbucker pickup after the same electronics built into the 1959 Les Paul Standard, an instrument that practically wrote the book on electric guitar blues tone. That design has allowed the SH-PG to offer a bright top-end with impressive sustain and harmonics. Read Full Review

                          See it at:
                            Seymour Duncan SH-PG1 Pearly Gates Pickup

                            DiMarzio DP409 Virtual Vintage Heavy Blues 2 Strat Pickup

                            Fear not, purists; although the DiMarzio Virtual Vintage Blues pickup may allude to some sort of processing or approximation of the real thing, it actually is just modeled after one of the better pickups for blues guitar, the original pre-’63 Fender Stratocaster pickup. Contrary to what one might assume from its appearance, this is a single coil that can crank out more depth and warmth than the rest of its peers. Read Full Review

                            See it at:
                              DiMarzio DP409 Virtual Vintage Heavy Blues 2 Strat Pickup

                              Best Guitar Pickups for Jazz:

                              There’s a specificity to the sound of jazz guitar that can’t be faked as this particular music's tone requires pickups that can capture a subtle and balanced character, one which plays through the changes in a more subdued fashion but also cut through for understated, tasteful leads. Of course, many jazz pickups are capable of providing great tone for other styles such as rock, country, and blues; however, not all pickups primarily suited for those styles will provide the accurate and malleable sound needed for this genre. Here are the best guitar pickups for jazz, with each one we've chosen equipped to prevent feedback and unwanted hum/buzzing sounds, they deliver a boosted signal output to provide a clear and articulate guitar tone, and they're designed to be placed in a specific position on the guitar’s body to accurately capture the desired tone.

                              Seymour Duncan SH2 Jazz Humbucker Guitar Pickup

                              Seymour Duncan isn’t strictly in the business of producing guitar pickups for jazz, but with their SH-2N Jazz Neck humbucker, they have created something that will find a welcome spot in any jazz guitarist’s rig. This pickup produces a clean, glassy tone that's at once bright and warm. Read Full Review

                              See it at:
                                Seymour Duncan SH2 Jazz Humbucker Guitar Pickup

                                BARTOLINI 5J-NB Johnny Smith Jazz Dual Coil

                                Bartolini has been manufacturing carefully-crafted, great-sounding guitar gear since the 1970s. Their 5J Jazz Guitar pickup offers smooth and accurate sound that pays respect to the past while pushing forward to the future. Read Full Review

                                See it at:
                                  BARTOLINI 5J-NB Johnny Smith Jazz Dual Coil

                                  Fishman Archtop Transducer Guitar Pickup

                                  Fishman is best known for providing amplification for acoustic instruments, and the acoustic guitar is used with great purpose in the realm of jazz music. The company’s archtop transducer provides a definitive ambience for your archtop instrument. Read Full Review

                                  See it at:
                                    Fishman Archtop Transducer Guitar Pickup

                                    Kent Armstrong Jazzy Joe - Side Mount Jazz Pickup

                                    When it comes to making jazz guitar pickups, there are few companies that have the market on lock as much as Kent Armstrong does. If you’re looking for a round, unmistakably jazz-centric tone, the Jazzy Joe Jazz Pickup will meet your needs and then some. Read Full Review

                                    See it at:
                                      Kent Armstrong Jazzy Joe - Side Mount Jazz Pickup

                                      Gibson '57 Classic Plus Guitar Pickup

                                      Gibson’s ’57 Classic Plus guitar pickup offers the vintage-sound and precise articulation that is so necessary to capture the distinct sounds of jazz. This humbucker provides a remarkably smooth output that has been described as velvety. Read Full Review

                                      See it at:
                                        Gibson '57 Classic Plus Guitar Pickup

                                        Best Guitar Pickups for Metal:

                                        Achieving the perfect metal guitar tone is something that will drive players through numerous amounts of axes, amps, and gear, but one of the most fundamental foundations of the sound comes from the guitar’s pickups. Because metal requires such a strong, unwavering, confident tone, it can be a difficult style to approximate unless you’re using pickups that cater to all of the characteristics of the genre such as the lightning fast molten-lava leads and percussive chugging rhythm. Above all, they have to be able to handle and deliver high amounts of gain (ask yourself when you last heard an aggressive metal part played totally clean). Here are the best guitar pickups for metal we've chosen, with each one here featuring a humbucker design ideal for the thick and fat sound of the genre, they deliver a tight, low end well-suited for chugging riffs, and they also offer razor sharp high-ends for piercing leads.

                                        EMG EMG-ZW Zakk Wylde 81/85 Humbucker Set

                                        Zakk Wylde is as metal as they come, so one can safely assume that his customized EMG ZW 81/85 set of humbucker pickups seamlessly nails the metal tone that has made other guitarists worship at his throne. They’re easy to install and able to capture a wide range of rhythm and lead tones for the genre. Read Full Review

                                        See it at:
                                          EMG EMG-ZW Zakk Wylde 81/85 Humbucker Set

                                          EMG JH James Hetfield Humbucker Set

                                          Is there anything that more perfectly sums up the spirit of metal guitar playing than Metallica? You’d be hard pressed to find anything that comes closer, and so frontman James Hetfield’s custom EMG JH Humbucker set totally nails the fat sound and clarity needed to play like the greats. Read Full Review

                                          EMG JH James Hetfield Humbucker Set

                                          Seymour Duncan Hot Rodded Humbucker Set Black

                                          Although Seymour Duncan’s Hot Rodded Humbucker set aren’t necessarily marketed for the metal crowd, their hot wiring nonetheless makes them ideal tools for guitarists looking to push their playing into overdrive. The set’s SH-4 JB and SH-2n Jazz Model work in conjunction with one another to provide a tone that can be both aggressive and smooth. Read Full Review

                                          See it at:
                                            Seymour Duncan Hot Rodded Humbucker Set Black

                                            Seymour Duncan SH-PG1 Pearly Gates Pickup

                                            Seymour Duncan’s SH PG Pearly Gates humbucker is another pickup that doesn’t necessarily wear its metal leanings on its sleeve, but that shouldn’t be held against it. Its precise, clear approach to tone keeps things articulate, an invaluable trait for a style that can get as busy and all over the place as metal. Read Full Review

                                            See it at:
                                              Seymour Duncan SH-PG1 Pearly Gates Pickup

                                              Bare Knuckle Warpig Guitar Pickup

                                              With a rugged look and a sound that cranks up the low end of your tone, Bare Knuckle’s Warpig pickup is built to handle dark and saturated tones. It looks like it has been through hell and back, and its sound tells a similar story with a grit and all-encompassing frequency range that makes for killer tone. Read Full Review

                                              Bare Knuckle Warpig Guitar Pickup

                                              Best Acoustic Guitar Pickups:

                                              Transmitting the sound of an instrument as finely tuned as an acoustic guitar can sometimes be a feat in and of itself. The tone and character of an instrument like this requires electronics that can be both accurate and powerful in the way that they capture the signal, while also reliable enough to block out any unwanted frequencies or signs of feedback. The acoustic guitar pickup then has quite a task to fulfill, but luckily there are some units that when installed into the instrument gvie players the ability to route that signal out to an amplifier, console, mixing board, or DI box. Here are the best acoustic guitar pickups, with each unit we've chosen designed for quick and easy installation into most guitar body shapes and types, can be powered by easy-to-find, store-bought batteries, and offer volume controls that can boost the signal of the pickup without descending into unwanted feedback.

                                              LR Baggs M1A Active Soundhole Magnetic Pickup

                                              L.R. Baggs clearly had audio fidelity high on their list when they were designing their M1 Active acoustic guitar pickup. Adjustable pole pieces and a strong pre-amp ensure that the sound you’re getting is not just powerful but also accurate. Read Full Review

                                              See it at:
                                                LR Baggs M1A Active Soundhole Magnetic Pickup

                                                EMG ACS Acoustic Active Soundhole Pickup System

                                                Truly a performer’s acoustic guitar pickup, the EMG ACS offers seamless frequency response and a preamp that truly delivers when it comes to accurate and great-sounding tone. The features in this system make it ideal for live settings as well as studio recordings. Read Full Review

                                                See it at:
                                                  EMG ACS Acoustic Active Soundhole Pickup System

                                                  L.R. Baggs Anthem-SL Acoustic Guitar Pickup

                                                  The L.R. Baggs Anthem SL acoustic guitar pickup provides a clear and accurate sound that can instill new life into any instrument. It’s easy to install and designed to fit a wide range of instruments. Read Full Review

                                                  See it at:
                                                    L.R. Baggs Anthem-SL Acoustic Guitar Pickup

                                                    Fishman Matrix Infinity Acoustic Guitar Pickup

                                                    Fishman has spent years providing excellent pickups and sound accessories used by guitarists all over, and their Matrix Infinity continues the tradition by implementing excellent design and sound quality to their acoustic guitar pickup. It fits most acoustic guitars and offers controls for volume, tone, and more. Read Full Review

                                                    See it at:
                                                      Fishman Matrix Infinity Acoustic Guitar Pickup

                                                      Seymour Duncan Woody SC SA-3SC Single Coil Acoustic Soundhole Pickup

                                                      Seymour Duncan’s Woody SC Soundhole pickup instantly stands out from the rest because of its polished wood design. But this is more than just a good-looking accessory as the pickup produces a bright and clear tone that is perfect for acoustic guitarists. Read Full Review

                                                      See it at:
                                                        Seymour Duncan Woody SC SA-3SC Single Coil Acoustic Soundhole Pickup

                                                        Best Stratocaster Pickups:

                                                        The Fender Stratocaster is a pillar of electric guitar culture. Strats have a distinct tone, but they’re also able to be customized in ways that can transform their sound. Regardless of how they’ve been set up, Stratocasters are a go-to instrument for a variety of musical genres, including rock, blues, pop, R&B, and more. Because of their aforementioned malleability, the pickups that one adorns their Strat with can make a world of a difference in the instrument’s character. These are the best Stratocaster pickups, with each we've chosen being a single coil to produce the classic Strat tone, they're wired to deliver a bright high-end perfect for shimmering chords and pronounced lead parts, and they'll also work in conjunction with two other pickups of the same brand/line to produce an all-encompassing, dynamic sound.

                                                        Seymour Duncan ZSL-1m Zephyr Silver Strat Middle Pickup Black

                                                        Seymour Duncan’s Zephyr Strat pickup boasts silver wire coils, a feature that boosts frequency detail and offers less frequency loss than the usual copper wire that is used in most pickups. It’s a bit pricier than other pickups, but the sound is dramatically different in a way that is worth every penny. Read Full Review

                                                        See it at:
                                                          Seymour Duncan ZSL-1m Zephyr Silver Strat Middle Pickup Black

                                                          Fender Fat '50s Stratocaster Custom Shop Pickups

                                                          Fender’s own Custom Shop Fat 50s Stratocaster pickups are quite literally designed to make a Strat really sing. They provide the perfect amount of push and grit to have guitarists wailing away with a tone that is classic and has character. Read Full Review

                                                          See it at:
                                                            Fender Fat '50s Stratocaster Custom Shop Pickups

                                                            Seymour Duncan California 50's Strat Pickup Set

                                                            The Seymour Duncan California 50’s pickup set provides a Golden Age tone that will make your Stratocaster sing. Following the standards set by pickups from this era to a tee, these pickups produce a bright, warm tone that is perfect for getting the most out of your Fender axe. Read Full Review

                                                            See it at:
                                                              Seymour Duncan California 50's Strat Pickup Set

                                                              Fender Texas Special Strat Pickups

                                                              Emulating the sound of the one and only Stevie Ray Vaughan, Fender’s Texas Special Strat pickups offer a high-output signal that’s perfect for nailing that searing Texas-blues tone. Perfect for players seeking a highly dynamic range and sound that has grit and sparkle all at once. Read Full Review

                                                              See it at:
                                                                Fender Texas Special Strat Pickups

                                                                Lace Sensor Gold V-Series Electric Guitar Pickup

                                                                Lace Sensor Gold pickups provide Fender Stratocasters with more harmonics and sustain while decreasing the amount of noise that can often plague single coil pickups. These pickups emulate the classic Fender tone while making enhancements to keep the classic tone of the instrument current for today’s players. Read Full Review

                                                                See it at:
                                                                  Lace Sensor Gold V-Series Electric Guitar Pickup

                                                                  Best Telecaster Pickups:

                                                                  Fender’s Telecaster is not just one of the company’s most iconic electric guitars, but also one of the most popular in the world across the board. Utilized in a variety of genres and by players both famous and obscure, the tone of the Tele can largely be attributed to its dual-pickup configuration (as opposed to the triplet set in its popular companion, the Fender Stratocaster). When an instrument has been employed by so many artists and musicians in the world of music, there are bound to be numerous stamps that can be put on the way a guitar can sound, and the Telecaster is no exception. These are the best Telecaster pickups, with each one on our list boasting a single-coil pickup style to provide that punchy, treble-friendly tone, they're wound to meet certain specifications to provide a dynamic response to the manner in which you play, and lastly they're designed to provide a distinctively shimmering high end as well as a tight and focused low end sound.

                                                                  Seymour Duncan ZTL-1 Zephyr Silver Tele Pickup Set

                                                                  Forget the Gold Standard Seymour Duncan has introduced silver into the game with their Zephyr Tele Set. These pickups feature silver wire coils that boost the detail and frequency of the pickups in comparison to more typically-used copper wire pickups. Read Full Review

                                                                  See it at:
                                                                    Seymour Duncan ZTL-1 Zephyr Silver Tele Pickup Set

                                                                    EMG-T Single-Coil Telecaster Active Pickup Set

                                                                    EMG’s Telecaster pickup set takes the bluesy grit and bright-twang that Telecasters already possess, and boosts it, resulting in a warm and beefy tone that has to be heard to be believed. Your Telecaster will achieve new depths that might not have seemed possible with the stock pickups. Read Full Review

                                                                    See it at:
                                                                      EMG-T Single-Coil Telecaster Active Pickup Set

                                                                      DiMarzio Vintage Twang King Pre-Wired Pickup Set for Telecaster

                                                                      Bring on the twang with DiMarzio’s Twang Kings pickup set. These pickups provide a heightened sensitivity that works throughout the dynamic range of the instrument playing soft produces nuanced subtleties, while a harder attack offers a more snappy and in-your-face tone. Read Full Review

                                                                      See it at:
                                                                        DiMarzio Vintage Twang King Pre-Wired Pickup Set for Telecaster

                                                                        Fender 099-2234-000 Pure Vintage 64 Telecaster Pickup Set

                                                                        If it’s not broke, then why try to fix it? Fender takes a look back at their storied history for their Pure Vintage ’64 Telecaster pickup set, capturing the classic sound of the past to give modern guitarists the ability to harness a strong, crystal clear twang. Read Full Review

                                                                        See it at:
                                                                          Fender 099-2234-000 Pure Vintage 64 Telecaster Pickup Set

                                                                          Fender Accessories 099-2119-000 Vintage Reissue Telecaster Pickups

                                                                          Guitarists seeking the traditional Telecaster sound in the style of the 1950's and early 1960's would do well to check out Fender’s Original Vintage Tele pickups. This set delivers on its promise to provide accurate, vintage sounding Tele twang. Read Full Review

                                                                          See it at:
                                                                            Fender Accessories 099-2119-000 Vintage Reissue Telecaster Pickups

                                                                            Best 7-String Guitar Pickups:

                                                                            The 7-string electric guitar has been around for almost 100 years, but it gained a huge surge in popularity in the late 1990's thanks to nu-metal bands like Korn and Limp Bizkit. They may not be as ubiquitous as they were during that time, but the 7-string is still prominently used by players who either want to add a new layer of performance and technique to their style, or for those who favor down-tuned performances and need that extra depth. Because of the added element that these instruments provide, certain pickups are better suited for capturing their performance and enhancing their tone. Here are the best 7-string guitar pickups, with each one we've chosen featuring a humbucker design to provide a thick and heavy sound to complement the added low string, comes equipped with features built to specifically bring out the lower frequency range that comes with having a low B string added to the standard 6-string setup, and lastly they all offer a dynamic range of EQ possibilities that bring out the good kind of brightness and depth while avoiding unwanted thinness and muddiness.

                                                                            Seymour Duncan Invader 7-String Guitar Pickup

                                                                            Extreme heaviness is the name of the game when it comes to the Seymour Duncan Invader 7-String Passive guitar pickup. This humbucker design provides powerful sustain and a rugged look to match its powerful attitude. Read Full Review

                                                                            See it at:
                                                                              Seymour Duncan Invader 7-String Guitar Pickup

                                                                              EMG 707TW 7 String Active Guitar Pickup

                                                                              EMG’s 707TW Active guitar pickup caters to the low B string on your 7-string electric guitar. This pickup is great for pulling out a bass sound that is full and powerful but never muddy and unruly. Read Full Review

                                                                              See it at:
                                                                                EMG 707TW 7 String Active Guitar Pickup

                                                                                EMG 707 7 String Active Guitar Pickup

                                                                                7-string guitars offer an extra string to give guitarists more range and potential with their instrument, but that does no good if there isn’t a pickup in place to capture that range. EMG’s 707X does just that, providing clear articulation and super-tight responsiveness. Read Full Review

                                                                                See it at:
                                                                                  EMG 707 7 String Active Guitar Pickup

                                                                                  Seymour Duncan JB Model 7-String Pickup

                                                                                  Seymour Duncan’s JB humbucker pickup has been around since the 1970s, earning it a spot as one of the company’s most popular products because of its thick, warm tone. The good folks at Seymour Duncan have now provided that same sought-after tone and approach to 7-string guitars with this new model of the JB classic. Read Full Review

                                                                                  See it at:
                                                                                    Seymour Duncan JB Model 7-String Pickup

                                                                                    DiMarzio DP720 D Activator 7-String Bridge Humbucker Pickup

                                                                                    The power of a 7-string guitar sounds like a full-force attack, and that’s exactly what the DiMarzio D Activator 7-String pickup does provide a punchy attack great for making a rig sound louder than it actually is. This pickup offers a smooth and even tone, but isn’t afraid to show its teeth when pushed into overdrive. Read Full Review

                                                                                    See it at:
                                                                                      DiMarzio DP720 D Activator 7-String Bridge Humbucker Pickup
                                                                                       

                                                                                      Guitar Pickup Buyer's Guide

                                                                                      It’s important to keep in mind pickups alone won’t determine your guitar’s sound. Everything from the amplifier, to effect pedals, to the actual make/model of the guitar itself can have an impact on your tone, but it all starts with the pickup. If possible, you’ll probably want to test out a brand or type of pickup first, but here are some important elements to keep in mind before making your purchase.

                                                                                      Define Your Tone

                                                                                      Pickups primarily determine the tone of a guitar’s signal, equalizing the amount of highs, lows, and mids which are sent out. There are pickups designed to pump out the highs and filter out less bass; these are typically referred to as being “bright.” Pickups that favor more mid or bass-heavy tones are typically referred to as “punchier” or “warmer”.

                                                                                      There is no textbook definition of a desirable tone since different styles and genres call for varying sounds. For instance, if you’re looking to play heavy metal or rock favoring low-note riffs, a pickup pushing a more bass-driven tone is preferable. However, playing higher leads or country fingerpicking can be enhanced by a brighter pickup.

                                                                                      Guitar Pickup Types

                                                                                      Single Coil
                                                                                      The single coil pickup dates back to the 1920s, making it the oldest type of guitar pickup. Most Fender Stratocasters have single coil pickups which produce a clear and brighter tone. While popular in all kinds of music, they are mostly employed in rock and blues  but again, it’s important to remember there are no rules when it comes to creating music. As a result, single coil guitars can be found in almost every musical genre.

                                                                                      These pickups are often found on guitars utilizing three different single coils. This allows guitarists to combine the sounds of these three devices using a switch so their tone can incorporate the neck, bridge, and middle pickups to shape their sound. Though single coil pickups at one point could pick up an undesired buzzing sound when run at a high volume, technological advances have largely corrected this issue.

                                                                                      Humbucker
                                                                                      One solution created early on to solve the humming issue with single coil pickups was the humbucker. The humbucker pickup cancels out the undesired noise by combining two single coil pickups positioned side-by-side with one another, with opposing coils and polarity. When run together, the hum is minimized while the actual sound output of the guitar’s signal is doubled.

                                                                                      The humbucker sound can definitely produce a fuller sound with more body which makes it a desirable tool for heavier music or a wall-of-sound thickness that’s perfect for metal and heavy rock. It’s also worth noting many companies are able to accommodate their products to produce a variety of sounds; in other words, there are humbuckers which behave like single coil pickups, and vice versa.

                                                                                      Passive Pickups

                                                                                      Another factor to consider is whether you want a passive or active pickup. Passive pickups directly capture the signal from the guitar’s string through the wood. This provides what’s generally agreed to be a more organic and dynamic sound.

                                                                                      Many guitarists prefer passive pickups because the ability to tweak their tone is right at their fingertips, so even tiny adjustments to the volume or tone knob can make a world of a difference in sound. However, because of the hypersensitivity of this method, passive pickups are also more susceptible to feedback and (paradoxically) a sometimes-diminished amount of sustain.

                                                                                      Active Pickups

                                                                                      Active pickups rely on a separate battery stored on the body of the guitar. This allows for a higher output and a more even frequency. In most cases, it doesn’t matter what type of guitar you use with an active pickup as the sound will generally remain uncompromised. The higher output and reliability makes it an ideal choice for metal players who are looking for over-driven, accurate stability in their tone.

                                                                                      Still, many critics of the active pickup claim that same reliability is also the cause of a sterile and homogenous tone. The active pickup also requires players to replace the battery when power gets low which isn’t ideal for live performances.

                                                                                      Leave a Question or Comment