Review: Fishman Fluence Modern Humbuckers — Video


From the introduction of the single-coil pickup in the Thirties through the development of the humbucker during the Fifties to the first active pickup designs that emerged in the mid Seventies, innovations in commercially successful electric guitar pickup designs have been relatively few and far between.

Fishman’s new Fluence pickups, however, are truly the most innovative electric guitar pickup design introduced since the first single-coil pickups. We took a look at Fishman’s Fluence Modern Alnico and Ceramic Humbucker set, which is perfectly voiced for drop tunings and modern metal.

FEATURES While all previous pickup designs use wound copper wire coils, Fishman Fluence pickups feature the truly revolutionary Fluence Core, which uses two multi-interconnected-layer boards. In addition to completely eliminating the noise and interference issues that plague even the best humbuckers, all Fluence pickups offer a selection of two different tones at consistent output levels. The Fluence Modern Alnico pickup provides a selection of 950Hz peak modern active tone and 8kHz peak clean treble tone, while the Modern Ceramic pickup provides 720Hz peak modern active and 1.89kHz peak modern high-output tones.

The pickups are the same size as traditional humbuckers, which makes them easy to install in any humbucker-equipped guitar. With completely sealed pickup covers and a selection of black plastic, nickel, gold and brushed stainless finishes they look similar to modern active humbuckers as well. The pickups require either a nine-volt battery or optional rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack, and battery life is about 200 hours.

PERFORMANCE Fishman’s ultimate goal for their Modern Fluence pickups was to provide the powerful and aggressive tones that metal guitarists love and desire while greatly improving their performance. They certainly succeeded with the Modern Humbucker set we tried, as the midrange peaks hit the ideal sweet spots that many guitarists would consider the most musical and cutting for drop tunings. The Alnico pickup performs like an active humbucker and fat-sounding single-coil, while the Ceramic pickup’s peaks have the perfect midrange frequencies and growl for modern metal. Being able to instantly switch voices was like completely changing guitars.

Those stellar tones remain consistent even when turning down the volume controls or using exceptionally long cables. Because the pickups are absolutely noise-free, the clarity and low-end definition are stunning, particularly through high-gain amps that can cause active humbuckers to buzz and sizzle. These pickups are absolutely amazing in the studio, revealing additional dimension and nuances that usually get buried in the noise floor that’s unavoidable with previous pickup designs.

LIST PRICE $324.61 (set of two)

The Alnico and Ceramic pickups are individually voiced and each provides a selection of two different peak frequencies ideal for metal.

The Fluence Core design completely eliminates noise and provides consistent tone when using long cables or turning down the guitar’s volume control.

The Bottom Line By providing stellar modern metal tones, eliminating noise and signal-loss problems, and providing a selection of different tones, Fishman’s Fluence Modern Humbuckers are certain to become the new standard in pickup design.

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