Pickups are usually one of the most important parts of your guitar. Without a pickup attached to your electric guitar, it is as good as being dead. Note that, pickups are what coordinate the sounds of your instrument before getting amplified. The tone of the sound from your guitar usually starts with the design of the pickup. Basically, there are two types of pickup designs which include single coil and humbuckers.
When comparing the two technologies, the humbuckers seem to have an upper hand. But when it comes to tone, the humbuckers are darker and warmer while the single-coils are crisper and brighter. Also, the humbuckers have less noise, stronger output, and more sustain.
However, we shall enumerate some factors that you need to consider before buying an electric guitar pickup. To help you obtain perfect pickups for your instrument we shall review some of the best on the market.
Sometimes it is better to buy new pickups rather than purchasing a new guitar entirely. Since there are many options to choose from, it is often difficult to get one that is suitable. That is why we have come up with some of the best sellers on the market that may be perfect for your guitar.
The Fender Strat Hot Noiseless Pickups is built to produce a tone that is rich in warmth and punchiness. If your ax comes with a single-coil pickup, then it is time you turned your instrument to a machine with a blues-rock tone. This will only cost you a small fraction of your budget. Also by mounting these pickups on your guitar, you stand to get a hotter output than your typical Strat single-coils.
The tone is big and full, and it will offer you a satisfying playing experience. In addition, these pieces offer an incredible low-noise performance despite their high definition profile. The set features beveled edge Alnico v magnets and enamel coated magnet wire. Further down the line, these pickups sport flush-mount pole pieces to give balance to the string while the ceramic magnets produce punchy output. Overall, they are suitable for performances both on stage and studio.
Sounds great in a variety of musical styles
They are very much balanced and articulate
Perfect for an upgrade from single-coiled
Excellent tone and tone versatility
They are not great for metal tones
Some pickups might not work
Kmise Zebra Faced Humbucker Double Coil Pickups for Electric Guitar
The Kmise Zebra Faced Humbucker Double Coil Pickups fit most guitars as an excellent direct replacement. These are awesome value LP alternative humbuckers that are complete with neck and bridge surrounds. Also, they have DC resistance of 8k at the neck and 15k at the bridge. Furthermore, these pair open zebra faced humbucker pickups sport solid nickel pole pieces. They are fully potted and sealed with wax. You will definitely get the best value for money from these Amazon’s Choice. Moreover, they are 100% new and of good quality.
Look cool and beautiful
Great quality at an affordable price
They have extremely an high output
They can very easily be converted into split coil pickups
Poor delivery service
Some quality control issues
Fishman Rare Earth Humbucking Magnetic Soundhole Pickup
The Fishman Rare Earth Humbucking Magnetic Soundhole Pickups produce a warm and full humbucking sound. They are equipped with cutting-edge neodymium magnets to produce a warmer and more naturally acoustic tone. Furthermore, the neodymium magnets also offer exceptional accuracy and enhanced musicality.
With an easily accessible bright switch, you have got the chance to toggle between warm acoustic tones and shimmering highs. In addition, the pickups have active electronics that help keep the sound pure and clean. While the cutting-edge neodymium magnets further offer exceptional string-to-string balance. Notably, these pickups have been painstakingly re-voiced and fine-tuned to produce a smooth treble response. Above all, you can install them on your guitar without any alteration whatsoever.
Sound fantastic, clear and bright
Very easy to install
It is easy to change out the batteries
It is worth every penny
The tabs that hold the batteries in place can easily break
The volume control seems not easily reached when playing
The Seymour Duncan JB and Jazz Set Electric Guitar Electronics are built to be versatile enough for classic rock to extreme metal. This set of pickups has an SH-4 JB for the bridge and SH-2n Jazz model for the neck. They both work together to make this one of the most versatile humbuckers ever made. On one hand, the JB model adds colors and versatility to the bridge position of any guitar equipped with a humbucker. It is most suitable for anything from blues and country to the extremely hard rock and metal.
Furthermore, the Jazz model is designed as the matching neck pickup for JB model bridge pickup. It is an unbelievably versatile humbucker that works for almost any style of music. In another dimension, the Jazz model uses an Alnico 5-bar magnet and a special coil wind for an articulate treble response. While the JB model uses its hot coils and Alnico 5-bar magnet to offer an upper midrange attack.
The Fender Vintage Noiseless Tele Pickups are designed to sound like a 60’s Tele without any buzz. It is made with a unique Alnico V magnets as well as enamel-coated magnet wire. These combine with the Fender’s Noiseless technology to offer an uncommon vintage sound that’s quiet. Also, the neck pickup is covered in a nickel-silver for extra clarity. While the bridge pickup is made to exude the classical “twang” expected from a Telecaster.
In addition, the enamel-coated magnet wire helps to produce a warm vintage tone. Likewise, the flush-mount pole pieces are built in to enhance even string response. Its Alnico 2 magnets will give you a warmer attack and less aggressive midrange. Overall, these are Pickups you can be proud of having on your guitar as each carries the Noiseless logo of a traditional Fender vibe.
They have a clean tone that is bright and articulate
The signal has no weakness
Very easy to install
The bridge pickup sounds amazing
The neck output is not good enough
There are some quality control issues
Key Considerations Before Buying Electric Guitar Pickups
Pickups vary in terms of type and output. What suits you depends on certain factors which you need to consider. Some of these factors include:
Personal Preferences – Guitar players have needs for different sounds and tones. There are some pickups that somehow work better with particular tones. However, what seems to affect tone the most is the output level. Basically, there are two output levels, one which has a higher output while the other is a lower output level. Moreover, the higher outputs are more suitable for heavy discordance sounds. On the contrary, the lower outputs perform better for clearer and more flexible sounds. Therefore, the ultimate choice is yours depending on the sound you use.
Fit – When considering changing your pickups, you need to know whether your guitar comes with single-coils or humbuckers. The size of the pickup will also determine the hole that will be cut into the body of the guitar. Most often, the change is usually simple when replacing a single-coil with another or one humbucker with another. However, complications often come in when switching from single-coil to humbucker and vice versa. Nevertheless, there are a number of ways you employ to install your pickups. For instance, nowadays, many humbuckers are shaped like single-coils which make fixing very easy.
Tonal External Factors – There are some other factors, apart from pickups, that influence your guitar tone. The two most conspicuous ones are Amps and pedals. Other factors that don’t get easily noticed are neck style, woods, volume knobs, and strings. For instance, brighter sounds come from alder, ash, and maple while darker sounds emanate from rosewood or mahogany material. Also, pure nickel strings seem to be darker while steel ones are brighter. So, depending on the current tones of your instrument, you should choose your pickups appropriately.
In conclusion, as noted earlier in this article, pickups are a major determinant of a tone of the sound of your electric guitar. Giving the importance of this part of your instrument, the need may arise for you to want to replace the existing pickups.
Therefore, before you embark on such replacements, there is a need to give thought into your personal preferences, fit and other factors that can influence the tone. However, we believe that our buying guide and recommended pickups in this article will help land the best option.