New Pickup Guide: Seeking Unforgettable Tone? Try One of These 11 New Guitar Pickups

Whether you play classic rock or modern metal or something in between, one of these new pickups is sure to make your tone unforgettable.

PAF Master Neck and Bridge pickups
DiMarzio’s PAF Master Neck (DP260) and Bridge (DP261) pickups are quiet, bright and very dynamic hum-canceling pickups.

The PAF Master Neck has a great balance of full richness with a throaty tone, with smooth and creamy highs, while the PAF Master Bridge Model is snarly and thick, with real rock and roll character.

The PAF Master Bridge Model uses an Alnico 4 magnet, whose high iron content and energy coefficient lends more body and attack to the sound from a pickup with relatively low output voltage and DC resistance specs.

$104.99 |


Fluence Humbucker Classic and Modern Humbucker pickups

Fishman’s Fluence Classic and Modern Humbucker pickups are fully analog active pickups. Unlike passive pickups, which use traditional wire-wound coils, Fluence pickups feature Fluence Core printed “coils,” which are not susceptible to spurious noise, hum, cable capacitance problems and loss in tonal response and clarity due to inductive issues.

The pickups’ unique Multi-Voice feature allows players to transform individual pickups from classic vintage to hot, or from hot to “line-in” clean, with the right level, balance and gain for each voice.

Modern Humbuckers, $168.77–$194.74; Classic Humbuckers: $168.77–$181.75; Humbucker sets, starting at $311.62 |

Seymour Duncan

Black Winter

Extreme metal guitarists like Ola Englund of Feared and Keith Merrow from Six Feet Under favor Seymour Duncan’s Black Winter pickup for its excessively aggressive tone.

The Black Winter has the right balance of mids, treble and bass to provide crushing distortion, punishing mids and lots of saturation, allowing players to execute annihilating riffs and articulately cutting solos. The pickup is available for six-, seven- and eight-string guitars.

$89.95 |

Bare Knuckle

Cobra Coils

Bare Knuckle’s Cobra Coils deliver high-gain single-coil tone without compromising dynamics or frequency response.

The pickups reflect the look and construction of the Bare Knuckle Black Hawk humbucker but are very much true single-coil pickups. Cobra Coilsare offered in six- and seven-string versions, both individually and in sets.

Six-string set, £185; seven-string set, £210 |

Doyle Coils

Tru-Clones PAF Humbucker Pickups

Doyle Coils’ Tru-Clones PAF Humbucker pickups were produced through years of work between Tom Doyle and the late great Les Paul in a quest to deliver the renowned guitarist’s ideal guitar sound.

Paul’s personal guitar tech, engineer and confidant for more than 45 years, Doyle has made an extraordinary pickup that delivers clarity and warmth, sweetness and definition, and great fidelity. Each Tru-Clones pickup is hand crafted with vintage-spec 42-gauge wire, butyrate bobbins, nickel-silver baseplates, long-cast magnets, nickel-silver pickup covers and other high-end refinements used in the original PAF style pickups.

Tru-Clones are available in a variety of finishes and in vintage unpotted or lightly wax-potted versions.

$500–$535 |

Lace Music

Alumitone Humbuckers

Lace Music’s Alumitone humbuckers feature a passive design that requires no battery, USB port or circuitry. The pickup is “current” driven, rather than voltage based like standard pickups, and requires 95 percent less copper wire compared to a normal pickup.

Alumitone humbuckers can be split for a single-coil option without any drop in output or increase in 60-cycle noise. The pickups do not interfere with effects, tone and volume pots, and they are an excellent conduit when recording direct.

Alumitone humbuckers can be installed in any standard humbucker route and include an all-new trim ring as a standard feature, with a choice of black, chrome and gold trim.

$112 |

Kent Armstrong

Icon Series Replacement Pickups

Kent Armstrong Icon Series pickups were created from authentic Fifties and Sixties pickups that are highly responsive and exhibit warm vintage tone and character.

The pickups feature components such as Alnico 2 and 3 magnets, and Formvar and plain enamel wire, and they use a stainless-steel baseplate to direct the magnetic field toward the strings.

The series includes two humbuckers based on a 1957 set (bridge and neck), a bridge and neck pickup from an early Fifties Fender Broadcaster set, and three different Stratocaster single-coil sets from 1954, 1957 and 1962, with all middle pickups reverse wound for noise cancellation.

All the pickups are sold individually and can be mixed and matched.

$75–$105 |

ThroBak Electronics


The ThroBak PRO-90 is a humbucker-sized P-90 that delivers authentic Fifties-era P-90 growl.

The ThroBak PRO-90 preserves the construction, materials and growl of a vintage P-90 pickup by using ThroBak’s proprietary Vintage Core specifications and MXV components, which include tinned brass baseplate construction, vintage ground lug configuration, long sand-cast Alnico 3 and Alnico 4 magnets, and coils wound with a core of 42 AWG plain enamel wire.

The output for each pickup is 7.6K (neck) and 8.2K (bridge). The pickup is available in classic pole screw and Alnico 5 rod magnet P-90 configurations, and with nickel-silver covers in a variety of finishes.

$194.50; set, $389 |


Two-Face Strat pickup

Mojotone Two-Face Strat pickup is unlike any other Strat pickup ever made. Most typical Strat pickups lack girth and attack when it comes to heavier distortion, especially on the low strings.

Mojotone designed the Two-Face to combat that issue without losing focus on the clean and chimey Strat tones as well. The pickup uses adjustable pole pieces with bar magnets for the wound bass strings and Alnico rod magnets for the unwound treble strings (hence the name “Two-Face”).

The result is a versatile and balanced pickup—from clean to mean, and everything in between.

$63.65 each |

Lundgren Pickups

M6, M6 C, M7 and M8 pickups

Lundgren’s M6 pickup is optimized for power and clarity, making it perect for hard rock and metal and especially for detuning.

The pickup is also available as the M6C, which features a thin plastic cover. The seven-string M7 pickup is the first pickup Lundgren designed for Meshuggah’s Fredrik Thordendal and features a combination of winding and a ceramic magnet placed under the pickup to deliver more of everything, including harmonics and low end.

Featured on some Ibanez production models, the eight-string M8 pickup provides well-defined tone even through a distorted amp. All pickups are also available in neck versions.

M6, $169; M7, $179; M8, $195 |

L.R. Baggs

Lyric Acoustic Microphone

Engineered for the stage, the Lyric Acoustic Microphone combines the fidelity and dynamics of a studio mic’d guitar with the freedom of a pickup.

Unlike other attempts to use an internal microphone, the Lyric employs noise-canceling technology that rejects “boxy” reflections inside of the acoustic chamber, delivering an open and clear performance while providing unprecedented feedback resistance and isolation.

$199 |

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