12 Best Humbucker Pickups in 2017
As a guitar player, you know all too well how important it is to the sustain and tone of your notes that you have the right kind of pickup on your guitar. Humbucker pickups use a second coil to cancel the interference that is such a problem for single-coil pickups so that you can let the tone shine through.
A great humbucker pickup should have the output that you need fohr the genre of music that you play and also a style that you love! Choosing the best humbucker pickups for your guitar might seem daunting, but in this guide, we will walk you through how to choose the perfect pickups for you.
Before you decide which humbucker pickup is best for you, let’s take a look at some of the highest rated models selling online today!
Table of Contents
- Top 12 Humbucker Pickups Comparison Table
- How to Select Humbucker Pickups for Your Guitar
- Top 5 Best Humbucker Pickups Reviews
- Now It’s Time to Update Your Tone!
Top 12 Humbucker Pickups Comparison Table
|Design||Name||DC Resistance||Color||Rating (1-5)|
|1. DiMarzio DP100 Super Distortion Humbucker Pickup||13.68K||Black||4.9|
|2. Gibson 57 Classic Plus Humbucker||9.0K||Silver||4.8|
|3. EVH Frankenstein Humbucker Pickup||14.4K||Black||4.8|
|4. DiMarzio DP156 Humbucker From Hell Black||5.89K||Black||4.8|
|5. Seymour Duncan APH-2s Alnico II Pro Slash Set Humbucker Pickups||8.9K||Zebra||4.8|
|6. Seymour Duncan Vintage Blues Humbucker Pickup Set||8.2K||Black||4.8|
|7. EMG H4 Passive Electric Guitar Humbucker Pickup||13.6K||Black||4.6|
|8. HeroNeo® Artec Hot Rail Single Coil Humbucker Pickup||11.5K||Black||4.6|
|9. Seymour Duncan SH13 Dimebucker Dimebag Darrell Pickup||16.5K||Black||4.4|
|10. Musiclily Dual Hot Rail Blaster Humbucker Guitar Pickups||10.0K||Black||4.3|
|11. Kmise MI0342 Hexbucker Guitar Humbucker Pickup Set||Bridge – 15.0K|
Neck – 7.2K
|12. Lace Alumitone Humbucker Electric Guitar Pickup Chrome||2.5K||Silver||3.5|
How to Select Humbucker Pickups for Your Guitar
If you are new to the guitar technology world, it may seem like it’s impossible to select ANY humbucker pickup as an aftermarket addition to your axe. In the following buying guide, we do our best to lay it out in terms anyone could understand. Here are the main considerations to have in mind when purchasing your new humbucker pickups!
- Size – Your guitar comes with pre-built slots that fit a certain pickup size. At a bird’s eye view, this means there are guitars that are made for double-coil pickups (humbuckers) and ones made for single-coil pickups. As with most gear, however, things are not so black and white when it comes to size. Specifically, you can find humbuckers that fit single-coil slots so don’t “fret” if you want to put a humbucker pickup in your Fender Stratocaster. It can be done!
- What Genre of Music Do You Play? – If you need a high level of distortion in your tone, then you probably want to get a humbucker with a higher output. The output of a humbucker pickup is measured in many different ways (like DC resistance), and as with all electronic music gear, some experimentation may be required to find the right pickup for you. In general, however, a humbucker with high output will tend to have more distortion in its frequencies without effects.
- Magnet Type – Humbucker pickups work the same way single-coil pickups do: with magnets! The magnet type effects the tone of the pickup, therefore, you need to be selective about what magnet you want. Without getting too technical, here is an overview of what to expect from some of the different magnet types:
- Alnico II – A low output magnet that trends towards smoother and warmer tones.
- Alnico V – The Alnico V magnet takes a lot of punch out of the mid-range tone and rolls off on the low end; this gives the magnet a bright and snappy tone.
- Alnico VIII – A higher output magnet, the Alnico VIII provides more power in the upper-middle range but isn’t as biting as the Alnico V, making the tone quite a bit warmer.
- Ceramic – Ceramic magnets are very strong and offer some of the brighter tones in humbucker pickups. The power of the magnet also allows for longer sustained notes, even if the signal is being distorted; this is a huge plus for heavy distortion styles like metal or rock.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, that’s OK. We understand that the technical speak can be intimidating and it can feel like you’ll never know enough to make the right decision. However, remember this, if you keep in mind the tone you are looking for and ask the right questions, you’re half way to finding the right humbucker pickups for your guitar. The other half is in experimentation. Try some different humbuckers in your rig and decide which one is best for you!
Here is an in-depth look at some of the top-rated humbucker pickups from our list!
Top 5 Best Humbucker Pickups Reviews
One of the best humbucker pickups on the market, the DP100 DiMarzio is perfect for those looking to add a little bit of crunch to their rig. Here’s some of the qualities that set the DP100 apart from the competition:
- Ceramic magnet – The ceramic magnet combined with the four-conductor wire give this humbucker the power to give any top-performing tube amp a workout.
- High Output – Because of its design and ceramic magnet, this humbucker has a huge amount of output. At 13.68K, you can rest assured knowing every note you play will cut through the noise in the room or the track in the studio.
- Sleek Design – The DP100 is black with chrome pole pieces, so it goes well with almost any color scheme and will keep your guitar looking cool.
If you play rock or metal music, or even if you just like a little crunch in your clean tones, we highly recommend the DiMarzio DP100 Distortion Humbucker Pickup as an aftermarket addition to your axe.
The Gibson Les Paul is probably the most iconic guitar equipped with humbucker pickups. The ’57 Plus is a take on the late ‘50s humbuckers that changed a generation of rock and roll music. Here’s what we love about the Gibson ’57 Plus:
- Mimics the Classic ’57 – The Classic ’57 humbucker had a few extra coil turns, giving it a higher output. The Classic Plus humbucker has all the power of its ancestors combined with the tone technology of the 21st century.
- Nickel Cover – With any Gibson humbucker you’re going to get the classic humbucker look. The timeless nickel cover on the Gibson ’57 Plus Humbucker will go great with any color pattern or wood finish.
- Great Tone – The higher output of this humbucker does nothing to take away from the vintage tone and feel that you would get with the Classic ’57. In fact, it enhances it.
The Gibson ’57 Plus is the perfect homage to the classic Gibson humbucker that we all know and love.
Another throwback pickup, the EVH Frankenstein was designed by Eddie Van Halen himself to replicate his custom humbucker. Whether you are attempting to replicate his tone or find some new killer sound of your own, the EVH Frankenstein is worth checking out.
- High Output – At 14.4K, this EVH humbucker can scream if you let it. With that much power you can unlock the potential of any amplifier.
- Tone – Eddie Van Halen created a pickup that gave him powerfully piercing highs, punchy mids, and growling bass tone, which allowed him to fill up any stadium with sound. You can tap into the same power with the EVH Frankenstein.
- Direct Humbucker Replacement – The EVH Frankenstein Humbucker is built to replace standard humbucking pickups. This means minimal troubleshooting during installation.
For lead guitar players or for players who need full, rich tones to round out their sound, the EVH Frankenstein may be the best option for you.
It’s no coincidence that DiMarzio makes it on our list twice. They are one of the world’s top pickup manufacturers, and with their Humbucker From Hell, their innovations shine. Here’s why it’s in our top five!
- Alnico V Magnet – The Alnico V magnet tends to take a big chunk out of the middle as far as tone goes but makes up for it with the bright and snappy highs that the magnet is known for.
- Tone – The brightness of the Alnico V magnet is complimented by the DP156 humbucker’s dark, warm lows that you would expect from a single coil pickup. The snappy pick attack makes this a great humbucker for the blues or rock.
- Design – Sometimes simple is best, and the DiMarzio DP156’s simple black aesthetic could fit right in with any guitar.
For players who love a bright humbucker with a lot of attack, the DiMarzio DP156 Humbucker From Hell is perfect for you.
Seymour Duncan has hand built this custom Alnico II humbucker in honor of one of the greatest guitar players alive, Slash. With his tone in mind, they took the original Alnico II Pro humbuckers that he had used for years and gave them an extra jump. Here’s why we love the Slash Humbucker:
- Tone – Slash’s tone is signified by high amounts of sustain, crunchy distortion, and fat mid-range. Seymour Duncan achieved this by modifying the magnetic wire and adding more wraps in the wire; this with the Alnico II magnet gives the mid range the output it needs to punch through.
- Design – The Zebra coloration of the Slash Humbucker is definitely a statement piece. They are designed to play rock and roll, and you will definitely look the part.
- Les Paul Ready – The Seymour Duncan Slash humbucker was designed as a Les Paul replacement, so if you are lucky enough to have a Les Paul then these are ready to be installed right out of the box!
Now It’s Time to Update Your Tone!
Hopefully you feel ready to go out and get yourself a set of aftermarket pickups. Remember that the best humbucker pickups for your guitar should have a tone that fits your genre of music and enough power to give you the overdrive you need. Checking out some of the options from our list is a great way to start!