Best Guitar Pickups

The Top Ten

Seymour Duncan

You want pro sound? HiFi in a pick up? That's Seymour Duncan for you. I have the Blackout AHB-3 and its natural accurate pick up is what I wanted for death metal

Great tone, sustain, and harmonic. Perfect blend of bass and treble. Handmade ensures quality control of an already great product.

They look swish have a great sound producing a good clean tone and harmonic. Produces a range of styles from the Vintage fifties gig to a thrashing metal sound. This pick up is great for all styles. I definitely wouldn't trade this for anything else. It works well with all guitar types. It may be fairly expensive but it is worth every penny.
Great great great pickup!

From That 50s Vintage sound to that Modern Day Sharp Metal Buzz, Seymour W. Duncan can doo them all...
Antiquity To Hot Stack...
From Old Too New...
Seymour Duncan pickups are No. 1


I been using manny pickups, like: Seymoour, Fender, Gibson, Lacer, Emg and Di marzio, this ones, never lay me down, from jazz to rock, they have taste, color and tone, for anything, I uses the Breed set, paf pro and and one of the firts super distorsion pick, the I find in a Les Paul standart, in the 80ths, and boys, sound great yet.

By a long way these pups were the worst investment I ever made in tone and sustain. They were placed in a solid mahogany body and were humbuckers. The neck on the guitar was also mahogany and it was a hardback, no tremelo. The original pups from the manufacturer were better and stronger but not by much, so I put them back in and sold the DiMarzio's. I then went to a 2nd hand shop some time later and found a Japanese copy of a black beauty - the pups in that guitar were amazing, so I swapped them to my mahogany bodied guitar and lo and behold. Needless to say I have had the same experience with DiMarzio strings. I would never buy anything from DiMarzio again. If I was to buy a set of expensive pups I would go for Lindy Fralin's.

I have a pair of D-Activators in my SG Mahogany neck through and they are amazing. Max the volume and tone on the bridge and you'll cut through any mix. Roll the tone back and you get a dark sound that is still defined. Go to the neck and keep the tone down you can get a wicked overdriven sound or a subtle clean, roll the necks tone up and get a defined cutting lead tone and glassy clean. Rolling the volume back clean up even on high gain, and with the volume off you can achieve the twang bang even! On a 2 Volume 2 Tone setup, there really isn't many sounds I can't achieve. Very versatile. Best thing I ever did to a guitar was add these pickups.

The best... not handmade, but the best so far, sometimes we look for the best pickup, there is not best, just what we like, and dimarzio I think give better quality, despite the fact every one of this brands are really comercial.


Bareknuckle is the best pickup brand ever made. Try one. They're worth the price. 10 billion times better than SD in my opinion.

There's a reason they're hard to find. They don't release them until they're perfect. Great pickup company, never heard a poor one. Also, another reason they don't come stock in many guitars. Gotta pay for the top boutique quality, but that's what you get out of BareKnuckles.

Best vintage telecaster pickups I have ever heard...high quality build and made by a company that cares.

These are supposed to be the BEST!
I don't get it, there's even companies on here that don't even specialize in pickups and they're higher up on the list!


brutal, yet gentle. They are quiet and smooth,, everything you need for your own tone,, the name says it all, EMG

I love this pickup..
kirk hammett's use this brands..
aind I like to modify my pickup with this brand pickup...
the sound so good and clean...

There's a reason the emg pickups are the most popular brand out there, they're awesome! You'll get as much distortion as you'll ever want!

I have used duncan SH1 59 and sh 14 and am now using EMG 81/85 pickups which I prefer over duncan.

Lindy Fralin

I just discovered these pickups in as another guy was playing his strat thru my old Fender amp. He has the 43 steele pole pickups that are really hot. We ended up doing switches of my strat and his. Mine has Dimarzio 409/404/403 single coil humbuckers. I ordered a set of the fralin pickups the next day. This guy also says the capacitor on the tone circuit of the guitar can be switched to an old style rolled copper I think-but that it makes significant difference and takes out harshness. FYI

I love Lindy Fralin pickups they are some of the best out there in my humble opinion

Lindy Fralin, has the best sounding boutique pickups I've heard from humbuckers to single coils very high quality stuff.

Use Fralin pickups on my custom Epiphone Wildkat and it sound fantastic!


All Fender pickups sound great. Outstanding sustain, clarity, and tone. They're also very versatile.

Fender Custom Shop guitars remain the most authentic sounding reissues you can find. If you want real Fender tones, they still do it as good or better than anyone.

What?! Fender pickups are the real deal pickup shop, and nobody has voted for them... This is insanity!

All my fenders have the factory pick 88 tele 52 R.I. sounds 79 strat with my old super and a tube screamer is Gods Land...

Gibson P90

P90's are my favorite pickup. There are some better P90s than Gibson makes out there, but not many and not significant improvements. Gibson does pickups well, especially at their price point compare to other brands. I always find it funny when some posts a guitar for sale with "upgraded" pickups that are Duncans. At best, they're a sideways move from Gibson to give different tones. Definitely not a better pickup.

My Les Paul special has these and they are amazing. The beautiful thing about these is when I'm playing through my les Paul I can still get some similar tones to my Strat too. You can really play any song with p90s and have it sound amazing.

P-90 have always been the best Blues Pick-up.

The perfect balance between the fat humbucker and the skinny souding of the average single-coil. Enough of warmth to sooth listeners ears and crisp to get that chill that creeps your forearms hair, whether in clear or overdriven levels of sound.
Was love at first, uh, listening.


The Charlie Christian pickup is highly warm and dynamic. It's not too high or too low in frequency, and gives off a horn like resonance. These are the pickups of the future.

Best all-around no-nonsense originals and replicas.

Lollar's CC pickup is the exact replica of the pickup that guitar legend Charlie Christian used in his Gibson ES-150 in 1936. It is the best neck pickup for Telecaster-type guitars in my humble opinion. I can highly recommend them.

Amazing sound & quality!


Best pickups ever.

Sound Very Clearly... Awesome for FingreStyle

Infinity's in my RG sound pretty darn good in my opinion.


Bill Lawrence

I was always iffy about Teles. The neck pickups always seemed a little muddy. The bridge so bright they hurt my head. Then I got a set of Keystones, and now I love my Tele. Even a friend who is strictly a humbucker fan was surprised by how much he liked both pickups.

Bill Lawrence, not even in the top ten? Are you kidding me? They give th best tight and compressed tones ever, and the most versatile, from cleans to high gains. They are not as well known as Seymour Duncans, but they definitely deserve to be way higher than this. Vote for them!

These pickups start where most blade pickups leave off they have crisper highs than most and have focused mids and tight bass

Have a set of keystones in my tele and my friend is always impressed when I put the switch to out of phaze and play Metal rhythms. Versatile would be an understatement.

The Contenders

Harmonic Design

Neil Peart uses these. They give great hpu output on low end slams and you can really snazz your tone with the scrommy rib adjustment system.

These pickups are made by dudes from Bakersfield, CA so naturally they are going to be better than everything else out there. There needs to be just 2 spots on this list...
The best(harmonic design) and The rest (SD, DiMar, Emg etc...). You think you know... but you got no idea!

Gibson T500

Fantastic in my Les Paul junior and melody maker. Kicks butt. Have vintage Dimarzio suoer distortion from 1978 and the 500T smokes it. Great for melodic metal and classic rock. Great over tones. Ceramic are legends.

Golden Age

Great pickups - underrated to say the least

The most under-rated Strat pickup on the net. I've played Fenders, Duncans and DiMarzios and now I love playing the over-wound Golden Age single coils at half the price. I bought them off Stewart-McDonald.


They don't add or subtract anything from what your guitar normally sounds like. Best example: put your ear up to the body of your guitar and play, that's what they're gonna sound like. Personally though, I think they're a brilliant product!

Q-tuners produce hands down the brightest sound on the planet. Neodymium rules.

Q-tuners are the world's first guitar and bass pickups being powered by neodymium magnets. The ultimate Hi-Fi sound.

The neck Q-tuner is incredible. So bright, percussive and clear. The amount of articulation is absolutely unreal, it's like a parody of the best bits of various neck humbuckers and single coils all at once.

Tom Anderson

Tom Anderson all the way. Have them in my Strat and they sound the best out of the 10 or so electrics I own.

To KNOW them is to love them...

A notch above the rest

I have two T.A. split coils in a 9.8 lbs.:-o mexican tele and they are stellar! I get a wide variation in tones using the pickup switch and split coil switches. It's allowed me to carry only the tele as my electric on gigs.


Best balance. Very we'll priced!

Excellent pickups, good value too!

Amazing pickups

The best ever I know for the powerful combinaion between dynamic actions.

Ron Ellis

I put a set in my frankin Strat. Unlike any Strat l've ever heard. Very tight base smooth mids and highs. Cello like sound. Lots of air around the notes. Pricy but worth it to me.


Kinman's products, attention to detail, and customer service are awesome. The net effect is you get great, authentic tone with no noise. I have several sets in different stratocasters. The "Scoop", Impersonator 56's, and Impersonator 54's. Awesome tone and no noise even at concert volumes. These are the only pickups I would ever use at this point. Also, I think underappreciated is the K9 harness they make for the strat. It provides a unique set up of pickup combinations and tones. Also you can dispense with the soldering and can assemble it in about 10 minutes on to a strat pickguard. The pots are smooth and the switch is silent between settings, no pop. I have a fairly large strat collection and I am working my way thru outfitting all of them with Kinman setups. To Kinman: Keep up the great work, craftsmanship, and dedication to your art. Much appreciated!

Kinman's P-90 Hx is a marvel, has 201 parts, took 9 years to develop and no other pickup sounds even close. Has totally amazing sound, dynamic response and touch and as if that's not enough it has absolutely no hum. This pickup gets my vote as the most unbelievably great pickup and considering it's advanced technology and sheer number of parts it's a bargain. It's a must have!

Its one of those that after you hear them and fit your first set on your guitar, you will be tempted to change your stock pickups for these in the rest of your guitars!

I have Kinman PUPs on several of my guitars (strat, tele, Les Paul, ES335 etc...) and thoroughly recommend them. Chris (the genius that he is) has not only been able to reproduce those distinctive Fender and Gibson sounds, but improve on them (a lot more gutsy & clean) AND eliminate the hum & noise. Best pickups in the world! Well done, Chris.


Big fan of his P90

Very gold with Nike Huber krautster.

Kent Armstrong

One of the best (if not THE best) pickups for Jazz archtops...

Great pickups for jazz! The adjustable pole PAF0 is amazing. You have the custom option as well! Just contact Kent, he is a very nice person. Mine it' s a custom build paf0 floater in a Heritage Golden Eagle hollowbody in the stock cover

Wolftone Pickups

These blow my Seymour Duncan JB's away, and those are really good pickups as well.

How these are at 27 is beyond me...listen for yourself!

Best p90s I have ever heard

Had a couple sets, and for vintage PAF tones, they're a solid choice. Definitely recommend.


These get a very meaty sound and seem to be well constructed with even a bit of felt dampening on the rear of them.

I had a set of Rockfield Fat Ass in a Dean V. The quality of the tones were pretty close to what was coming out of a 1988 Gibson SG with EMG 81/85 active set. They are all I use now.


Their Fluence set for Telecasters is awesome. Greg Koch can't be wrong...

25?! what?! Fishman sound way better than most of the other names here, especially their Fluence Classic set. Unlike other brands, you never have to sacrifice distortion for tone and color and vice versa, the Fluence Classic by Fishman I can honestly say are the only pups I’ve heard that truly have and give anything and mark my words, we will see them start to climb on lists like this, as they are becoming more and more popular. Vote up people!

Darkmoon Pickups

Great custom pickup company based in New York. They will make you virtually anything that has to do with pickups and wiring. I've ordered a second HSH pickguard with crazy super switch and three push-pull pots configuration and it was EXACTLY what I've described to the tech. Another cool thing about them is that they make real mother of pearl inlays that are absolutely gorgeous. I bought the abalone ones after seing them in a Darrell Braun video on Youtube. Considering handcrafted quality, they keep their prices pretty low and always have some promotional discount program happening. These guys definitely worth a mention and deserved credit.

Awesome company, use their harnesses exclusively.

Overkill is a really good set. I like this company.

Hell yeah, snagged a pair of the limited edition Solstice pickups before they discontinue them. My LP never looked better!


Great crisp to high gain crunch love these pickups one of my best choices ever made and a steal for the price I got them for.

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