Top 10 Pickups for Metal

Ever wondered how the blazing sound of heavy metal music is produced? The tones, the rhythms everything seems otherworldly. If it weren't for pickups, metal music would’ve been bland. Pickups create a new dimension in the overall guitar sound. Though it looks like a simple device, it brings tons of possibilities to guitar playing.


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Top 10 Pickups for Metal

EMG

More punchy sound

Long-lasting

Perfect for bands with a single guitarist

$$

Seymour

The pickup is vacuum wax potted

Equipped with a lead wire of 4 conductor

Highly versatile

$$

Bare Knuckle Warpig Pickups

Bare Knuckle

Customizable

Lots of basses and mid-range  response

Great compatibility

$$$

Fishman

Comes in attractive colors

A cool multi-voice system

Rechargeable batteries

$$

EVH

Equipped with high-quality magnets

2 conductor wirings

Vintage sound

$$

EMG

Extremely versatile

Powerful Alnico V magnets

Ceramic pots which are open for giving a new dimension

$$$

DiMarzio

4 Conductor Coils

Impressive coil-splitting technology

Maximum output in every use

$$$

Seymour Alpha and Omega

Extremely high output

4 distinct drivers

Amazing noise cancellation system

$$

PRS

Sustainable nickel cover

Compatible with most PRS guitars

4 wire conductors

$$$

Seymour Duncan JB

Unique 2 alnico pole caps

Pole pieces are tagged for versatility

Included in the hot-rodded humbucker set

$$$

Buying Guide

Pickups have an intricate design that has a wide range of functions. If you don’t know what you are looking for then you will surely get lost. Here are some crucial factors that you must check before buying a pickup.

Choosing Between a Humbucker and a Single Coil

As we’ve mentioned before, guitar pickups have a bunch of coils swaddled around a magnet. Pickup coils are usually of two types. The humbucker has a much stronger output and great for a heavy sound. On the other hand, single coils create a crispier sound with more definition. According to your music, you can choose between the two.

Active vs Passive Pickups

Most pickups used to be passive until in 1970 companies started developing active pickups. There is a clear distinction between them. Active pickups are strong-sounding pickups that are not just made with magnets but also have a preamp backup.

Passive pickups are straightforward magnet pickups. Passive pickups have a traditional feel to them. On the contrary, active pickups produce more consistent sound.

Voltage Amount

Higher voltage output pickups are amazing for metal music as they have great distortion. Their only lacking is dynamics. The audio sounds more stiff and bland. Lower output pickups have a much cleaner sound but lack distortion. As this is a list of the top 10 pickups for metal, we would recommend you to get a pickup with a higher voltage output.

Pickup Positioning

Positioning the pickup is the key to getting a rich sound. If you place the pickup closer to the bridge, it will sound crisper but with a short sustain. On the other hand, placing the pickup close to the neck will give you more sustain with a much warmer sound. It truly depends on your preference. 

Magnets

Some pickup magnets drain way too much voltage while others don’t. The pickups with stronger magnets are good for high distortion and heavy music. Weaker magnets are more sustainable in case of saving voltage but sound dull. It's up to you in choosing the perfect one for your music style.

Guitar Compatibility

Imagine after getting your dream pickup but sadly it doesn’t match with your guitar. How sad and awful you must feel then. That’s why it's essential to check the specific size of your guitar before looking for a pickup. 

Price Range

Not much to say about the price of the pickups as it's talked about in every article we can lay our eyes on. Good quality pickups will cost a bit more than average ones. But, that doesn’t mean that good pickups aren’t available within an affordable price range.

Just keep in mind to look for a guitar within your budget. You don’t want to spend a fortune in purchasing a pickup that wouldn’t provide best value for money.

How does a guitar pickup work?

Guitar pickups are made by wrapping a coil around a magnetic piece. It is mainly placed in the bridge or neck section of the guitar. When the guitarist strums or plays a chord, a vibration is created.

This vibration is converted to an electrical signal through pickups. Ultimately, this signal goes into the amp which increases its audibility and we hear the final sound.

Pickups sure look like a small piece of equipment. But it does wonders when it comes to creating a versatile range of music.

Best Pickups for Metal in 2021

Here’s a quick overview of the most interesting features of the pickups.

1. EMG 81

Top 10 Pickups for Metal

To start our list, we got the EMG 81, packed with exquisite features and tones. Its ceramic magnet and close aperture coils give it a sharp, punchy sound. You can dial as many gains as possible on this pickup.

It's best to equip it with the EMG 85 but it shines as a lead pickup as well. All in all, it’s a great pickup for heavy and jazz music.

PROS

  • Low end is a monster
  • The clean sounds are perfect
  • Great harmonics
  • Installation is clean and easy

CONS

  • Produces much more sterile sound

2. Seymour Duncan Black Winter Pickup

Top 10 Pickups for Metal

Just seeing the name you get the picture of what kind of sound this pickup can make. This pickup on our list is every extreme metal guitar player's dream. The tone sounds dark and heavy.

But it also ensures tonal clarity. The pickup has great sustain and you can try out different styles of metal music. Its 4-way conductor wire allows the player to set it to their preference.

PROS

  • Right balance of everything
  • Much higher range
  • Squeal free operation
  • Magnificent tone and effects

CONS

  • Needs some modification

3. Bare Knuckle Warpig Pickups

Top 10 Pickups for Metal

This one on our list of top 10 pickups for metal is a straight classic. It's immensely versatile as musicians of all styles prefer to use this pickup.

The pickup itself has a very high output that makes face-melting sound but in a good way. With a plethora of bass and tones, this pickup is a definite choice for you.

PROS

  • Keeps the clarity of the tones
  • Great mid-range response
  • Complements the overdrive perfectly

CONS

  • A bit more expensive than other pickups

4. Fishman Fluence Modern Ceramic Pickups

Top 10 Pickups for Metal

Fishman has produced some great pickups over the years and this one on our list of top 10 pickups for metal is no exception. The big open chords and intervals sound amazing on this pickup.

The pickup has a significant feature that makes it stand out. You can interchange between the two different voices while playing at the same time. It makes the overall guitar playing much more convenient.

PROS

  • Crisp and clear sound
  • Aesthetic design
  • Room for multitasking
  • No noise or hum

CONS

  • Not so easy to setup

5.  EVH Frankenstein

Top 10 Pickups for Metal

Eddie Van Halen stormed the metal scene in the 80s with his signature lightning-fast solos and rocking rhythms. Everybody wanted to play like him. But his tone and melody were distinct. Nobody could get to his level of playing.

But with this pickup, you may not have the skills like Eddie van Halen but you will surely have a tone that sounds just like him.

PROS

  • Perfect for both rhythm and lead guitar playing
  • Detailed sound
  • Low ends are tight and high ends are dynamic
  • Very ergonomic

CONS

  • Not good for Floyd Rose tremolos

6. EMG 57/66 Set

Top 10 Pickups for Metal

This pickup set on our list is a complete package. The EMG 57 gives a vintage PAF tone. It adds a new dimension to the overall guitar sound.

On the other hand, the EMG 66 provides a warm mid and low range that just sounds majestic. These two combined allow the guitar player to try out a versatile range of music from jazz to heavy metal.

PROS

  • Great clarity
  • Quick connect system
  • Easy and fast installation

CONS

  • Requires battery power

7. DiMarzio DP100 Super Distortion Pickup

Top 10 Pickups for Metal

This is one of the most famous pickups on the market. Dave Murray from the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden has used this pickup for a very long time. Now you know the secret of his marvelous solos.

To get a unique and powerful tone like him, you can surely try out this pickup. The pickup suits the amplifier you are using perfectly and even elevates it in some ways. It has a vintage vibe to it. All in all, it’s a solid addition to the DiMarzio classic pickups

PROS

  • Comes in appealing black and cream color
  • Classic design and sound
  • Increases the overall gain and bass of the amp
  • High output pickup

CONS

  • The low end is a bit loose

8. Seymour Duncan Mark Holcomb Alpha and Omega

Top 10 Pickups for Metal

Djent is a subgenre of metal music that was popularized due to the emergence of 8 string guitars. It involved down-tuned riffs and headbanging rhythms. To play djent, you need a pickup with a banging high and low end.

The Seymour Duncan Mark Holcomb pickups are a perfect example of a djent pickup. With its crisp tone and bass, you won’t have to find anything else.

PROS

  • The highs are articulate
  • The lows are deep yet crisp sounding
  • Packs a powerful punch
  • Innovative design

CONS

  • A bit expensive

9. PRS \m/ Pickups

Top 10 Pickups for Metal

Most pickups on our list of top 10 picks for metal are mainly used for an aggressive, metal sound. But in many cases, you need a pickup with a good clean tone. For performing power ballets or soothing metal songs, it's essential to have a pickup that has a wide range.

The PRS pickups are versatile and compatible with most amps. If you are looking for something to elevate your guitar playing to the next level, this pickup could be a game-changer for you.

PROS

  • Durable pickup
  • Diverse range of settings available
  • Amazing playability
  • High output passive pickup

CONS

  • Not good for a vintage sound

10. Seymour Duncan JB SH-4

Top 10 Pickups for Metal

The last pick-up on our list is this masterpiece. We have already featured Seymour pickups before. So, we get a rudimentary idea of how brilliant this company is in making extraordinary pickups. The Seymour Duncan JB has a high output gain for playing any kind of rock music from heavy metal to blues.

You can play in split mode and still get a strict sound. This is one of the best pickups in the market that you can get your hand on. So, what are you waiting for? Get your hands on this remarkable device.

PROS

  • Can be used to play any kind of rock music
  • Heavy yet clean sound with no buzz
  • High output gain
  • Great sustain

CONS

  • Lack of pinch harmonics

Final Thoughts

A guitar itself is incomplete. It needs external pieces of equipment such as pickups and amps. Each of them complements each other perfectly.

By combining them, you get the perfect sound. That’s why pickups are just as important as the guitar. A good quality pickup will pave the way for you in becoming a connoisseur in guitar playing.

YOU CAN ALSO READ: Best Electric Guitars for Small Hands

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Unique design

Superior quality mahogany wood

Can be performed on stage as well as for personal entertainment

Comes with a complete starter pack

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Vangoa 26-inch Electric Tenor Ukulele

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Comes with built-in pickup functions on its sides

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Arched back

Comes with a high-quality pickup

Life-time warranty

Glossy top and pick up on both sides

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Stunning outlook and superior quality material

Offers you free video lessons

Comes with all the accessories needed

The perfectly sanded frets

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Large fretboard

Dynamic range of tunes

Has silver tuning with pearl buttons

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Hawaii-inspired design

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High-quality mahogany wood

Durable

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Industry standard product

Comes with a complete package

3 different sizes

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Vintage Outlook

Best entry-level ukulele

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HPL KOA material

Comes with a free accessories package

Fluorocarbon string

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100% solid bamboo

Aquila nylon strings

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