Best Guitar Pickups

richie4life

The Top Ten

1 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

35 Comments
2 DiMarzio

Dreamcatcher/Rainmaker GOAT - DenyYourMaker

The Tone Zone and Air Norton came stock in my Ibanez, they sound great.

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.

20 Comments
3 EMG

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.

23 Comments
4 Bareknuckle

I like nothing on my guitars except Bare Knuckles, Seymour Duncan and Suhr pickups. There are other brands as well but I'm happy with my tone.

Shear quality in all respects

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

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.

9 Comments
5 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. - bluesguitar1972

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.

6 Lindy Fralin

Have several Fralin sets - mostly I think they're good pickups, but the Pure PAF's I found a little hotter than I'd expect from a PAF set. - bluesguitar1972

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

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

2 Comments
7 Ibanez

Best pickups ever.

Sound Very Clearly... Awesome for FingreStyle

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

best

2 Comments
8 Fender

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. - bluesguitar1972

Noiseless beauties

Hot Noiseless PUPs Rock my world...

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

9 Comments
9 Lollar

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!

7 Comments
10 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.

The Contenders

11 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! - MattAffterburner

Everybody knows Dime used these. Nuno Bettencourt before him. Came stock in my Washburn N4 and N2 from early 90's. The most versatile pickups I have ever used. They are called Wilde, now. Lawrence pickups from StewMac are not the same.

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

5 Comments
12 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.

13 Q-tuner

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.

1 Comment
14 Lace

Lace sensor pickups, have without a doubt the best Strat threesome that exists in my opinion.

Lace's are not only good but are quite varied, as a luthier I've fitted lace golds on strats for a classic vibe and fitted mustangs with silver for classic low output sound or reds for that high output power, all in all amazing sound, quality and design

Lace should be way higher on this list! Their pickups sound fantastic, come in a variety of styles, and are affordable. Guitarists who use these awesome pickups include guys from Mastodon, High on Fire, Red Fang, King Crimson, Dimmu Borgir, EYEHATEGOD, Neurosis, and many more... enough said.

Red, Silver, Blue set in my strat. Compare the clarity and tone head to head with any pickups. And for a good price too. Boom.

4 Comments
15 Golden Age

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.

Great pickups - underrated to say the least

16 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!

17 Rockfield

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.

18 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.

19 Häussel

Very gold with Nike Huber krautster.

Big fan of his P90

20 Tesla

Amazing pickups

Best balance. Very we'll priced!

Excellent pickups, good value too!

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

21 Kinman

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.

8 Comments
22 Burstbucker

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.

23 Kent Armstrong

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

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

24 Wolftone Pickups

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

Best p90s I have ever heard

Had a couple sets, and for vintage PAF tones, they're a solid choice. Definitely recommend. - bluesguitar1972

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

25 Fishman

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!

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

26 Darkmoon Pickups

Awesome company, use their harnesses exclusively.

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

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.

Love their loaded pickguards. Put one in a Warmoth build and it is a beauty with fabulous tone.

1 Comment
27 57 Classic

Great stock pickup found in my Gibson guitars. I've rarely felt the need to swap them for another pickup. - bluesguitar1972

These pickups do everything in the middle with authenticity and authority. They don't do strat or super gain but they do a beautiful warm clean sound to a thick mesmerizing grind... There is just some magic in them.

best

Awesome humbuking pickup. the closest to the PAF this pickup gives you warm clean tones in neck position and bright presise sounds in bridge position. Excellent crunchy hard rock tones on the treble and deep roar tones on the neck. this pickup is mainly used on Gibson sg standards.

28 Humbucker

Great sound and my man Eddie Van Halen recommended

29 Warman

Excellent, good advice and help given to queries.price very reasonable and good sound

12gaguge = Seymour Duncan with less bass and more crunch both for 60$! Warblades epic for deathmetal
GIVE THEM A GO!

30 JW Guitars

JW Guitars without a doubt. They created and designed their own pickup. It is original and exclusive to JW alone. - Lovingboutiques

Great sound...excellent playability! Awesome experience! Try one out!

These guys are not wizards, they are scientists! Their pick ups are extraordinarily developed and deliver some of the most precise and articulate tonal options out there! Buy one of their guitars and get the expression switch with it! Next thing you know, you have a telly that can sound like a Les Paul, I'll Les Paul that can sound like a Strat… And so on! The best part is they are all passive! Love my JW damsel!

Love their pick ups...have a Damsel T and a Damsel S...the tones you can get out of these guitars are nothing short of amazing...

1 Comment
31 Arcane Pickups

Arcane by Leo Scala is just phenomenal

32 GFS Lipstick Tube

These pickups let you get that perfect surf tone in any guitar.. GFS has all sorts of sizes. I have a gold GFS 6k RW/RP Strat sized Lipstick Pro-Tube as a mid pickup in my black Squire Affinity Strat, and totally love it. I'm saving up for the 12k GFS Lipstick Humbucker for my bridge, and the vintage 4.9k for the neck.

33 Washburn

My Washburn has stock Duncan's.

34 Ironstone

Silver pickups in my Korean squire,amazing sound for little money.

Just got silver range strat pickups for my MIM strat. Must say they sounds excellent. A way better than originals. Don't know why if you just looking the price

The Gold range are on the money if you want Hank marvin / Shadows tones. Highly recommended, and a bit of a steal at the price.

A smaller brand based in Rutland in England, supplying a range of Alnico based Strat, Tele and Humbucker pickups, as well as custom scratchplate assemblies etc. Great tone as testified by their customers on the website (w. Ironstone-pickups. Co. Uk), at really competitive prices.

1 Comment
35 Entwistle

Excellent pickups. I've owned a few guitars with Entwistle pickups and couldn't fault them at all. Currently working on a strat with a mixture of Entwistle single coils and the sounds are amazing

Amazing pickups for the money. I have used the X62 set and Nemesis humbuckers. I would not change them for pickups costing twice as much. Also great support from the manufacturer.

36 Epiphone Alnico Humbucker

Sound great stock in my Epi Dot.

Best humbuckers around. Would recommend to anyone

37 Lundgren
38 Zexcoil

The Zexcoil are very unique pickups created by Dr. Scott Lawing. Zexcoil pickups are strat sized pickups. They have an individual coil for each string instead of conventional one coil for all 6 strings. This unique design takes away all the access noise, so they're hum cancelling, while that great vintage Strat tone remains.

No hum, clarity is unreal and if you use convertible set you have the first pickup that can be split and still sound good. Humbuckers coming summer 17!

39 Shadow
40 JBE Pickups

Dead quiet. Very responsive. Can get great sounds through any amp. Surprised they're not more popular.

Curiously, I see that JBE pickups are presently included at the very end of this list - this is both unfortunate and in my opinion, just plain wrong. For anyone who has actually evaluated the tone of contemporary mass-produced pickups, side-by-side, the reality is that JBE's have exceptional tone, and at the same time, are pin-drop quiet. The curved blade pole provides very uniform sensitivity to all strings, and with their rare-earth magnets in a unique twin-opposed configuration, the actual magnetic field rendered at the sting is very low, allowing for maximal sustain. Finally, the split coil configuration, available with many of the JBE models, allows for true single coil sound, without giving up on the benefits of a humbucking pickup. The P90s that JBE makes, in particular, really have no equal for soloing work. Lindy Fralin and Lace Sensors are a distant second.

These pick ups or dual blade noiseless pickups with a full set of balls. They make numerous models that retrofit any guitar that is stock routed. The late great Danny Gatton swore by am and so do many other players check them out.

I have them in most of my guitars. Great tone and no noise whatsoever!

41 Suhr

Suhr guitar are awesome. If you're looking at more modern tones, they're a solid choice pickup, but I look for more vintage sounding pickups, and swapped my Suhr to have some Rio Grandes that are solid (but still might seek other options). - bluesguitar1972

Good enough for Jeff Beck, good enough for me!

These are just awesome

ML's are simply awesome vintage modern sound, So much quality.

42 Charles Prescott

Based in West Texas, Charles has made pickups for local bands in the area and has numerous requests for custom construction for varying applications.

43 Roland

Gk3 is goddes, when you try it, the gates of new sounds will open to you cause it not audio, its MIDI pickup

44 John Birch
45 Bartolini

This pick-up is great compared with it's cost.

I have active Bartolini's in my Novax Expression- with a coil tap- and they are wild broncos with immense sonic potential in this guitar- which of course is a fanned fret- with compensated nut and saddle- They excel with a ultra modern and clear tonal palette- very accurate tight bass spectrum- well rounded Mids- and Shimmering Trebles- (of course sound is always subjective~! )

... I only wish they could dial in the classic PAF tone as well and capture some of the guitar's un-plugged acoustic tones- but no go so far on my amps- I may end up taking them out of this particular guitar and drop in a pair of vintage Gibson PU's - It's a real hard call- Hate to change the original specs- since it's a rare high end instrument- but I know I'd appreciate it more

46 Rockstar Pickups

I have ordered a set Vintage Deluxe pickups, they sound solid and were imprinted with my personal custom design.

47 Jaydee

Re No1. Seymour Duncan pickups are available in various configurations as are Jaydee... !

48 Burstbucker Pros

Solid pickup choice - if you're looking to improve the tone of your Gibson Standard, I'd try swapping the pots and wiring and leaving the BBPros in there as a start. - bluesguitar1972

The fact that they are on Gibson les Paul standards just says it all.

49 Gordon Smith

Hand wound and only found on Gordon Smith guitars, occasionally found for sale on EBay though.

50 K&T Modern/Vintage

Only heard these on YouTube videos, but they sound PERFECTLY AMAZING! I did a lot of research to find that Jun Takano, (original winder) of The Greco DRY-Z, a very sought after and famous PAF styled humbucker, for the ones in the know, is the owner of K&T and winds all his models by hand. Damn near impossible to obtain unless you speak/read Japanese, but If you have $1,600 - $3K laying around for a covered set, and they sound anything like the videos, I would value your honest opinion here. For me - that's a "bit" tooo steep - so I'm going with Bare Knuckle Pickups AGAIN, Hi Tim:)! Any shirts yet..? :/

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List StatsCreated 13 Apr 2008
Updated 2 Dec 2018

1,000 votes
51 listings
11 years, 247 days old

Top Remixes (4)

1. Lindy Fralin
2. Bareknuckle
3. Lollar
praga37
1. Lace
2. Bareknuckle
3. Seymour Duncan
Edzor
1. Ron Ellis
2. Seymour Duncan
3. Gibson P90
audles12321

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