Forget humbuckers – there's a triple-coil pickup in Schecter's new Sunset Triad guitar

Schecter Sunset-6 Triad
(Image credit: Schecter)

Schecter has introduced a new-for-2023 electric guitar – dubbed the Sunset Triad – that has been equipped with some intriguing electronic appointments.

You’re probably pretty familiar with the pickup game – single-coils, humbuckers, P-90s, actives, passives, mini-rails, sustainers and so on – but the Sunset Triads have instead opted for a far more rare, far more unorthodox pickup selection.

The big giveaway is in the name: the Sunset Triad comes loaded with a monster triple-coil pickup dubbed the Tripocalypse.

This isn't by any means the first guitar to feature a triple-coil – Fender’s Marauder model from 2011 also boasted one in the bridge position, for example – but it is among a very select cohort of guitars to feature the elusive stacked humbucker.

In fact, since Fender’s Marauder arrived over a decade ago, sightings of triple-coils out in the wild have been pretty rare. But it seems as though Schecter has decided to bring the unsung hero of the pickup world back for 2023. The question most guitarists might have is... why?

Output is one thing, but Schecter also stresses the benefits of the additional pickup configuration options such units bring. The Sunset Triad (available in six- and seven-string versions with a neck single-coil) has a five-way switch that offers a handful of quirky combinations.

These include standard bridge humbucker and full triple-coil-only modes, as well as positions for the Tripocalypse’s inner coil only and running in parallel with the Apocalypse single-coil.

Is it worth it, or just a novelty? Well, we imagine triple-coils are rare for a reason, but there’s no denying they look pretty gnarly here. Plus, the rest of the Sunset Triad looks to be a well-spec’d machine, complete with stainless steel frets and an ebony fingerboard. Starting from $899, it will certainly tempt Schecter fans.

As mentioned above, the Sunset Triad joins a pretty exclusive club of triple-coil guitars. Before the Marauder’s days, for example, DiMarzio created a Vox-only Three-90 pickup – a tri-coil creation that offered single-coil, P-90 and humbucker sounds.

Even as far back as the early ‘80s, Hamer was experimenting with something more akin to the Tripocalypse, fitting its Prototype model with a sole three-coil monster. Notably, Andy Summers of The Police used a Hamer double-cut Phantom equipped with the tri-coil in question.

Andy Summers with a Hamer electric guitar

Andy Summers with a triple-coil Hamer Phantom (Image credit: Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

Roll the clock back to the late ‘70s and Ibanez was doing something similar: its IC200 Iceman was fitted with a futuristic triple-coil wired to a four-way rotary switch, while the 540P-TC from 1988 opted for a more recognizable triple-coil design.

Some other companies have dabbled in standalone triple-coils, too: Mighty Mite’s Motherbucker from the ‘70s and ‘80s springs to mind.

The point is, triple-coils are pretty rare beasts – especially when they’re compared to the swathes of other pickups on the market – but not entirely non-existent, though you have to do a fair amount of digging to find some historical examples.

With that in mind, there’s probably a reason why you don’t see too many new guitars arriving with triple-coils, and we don’t expect many guitar brands to follow Schecters lead in resurrecting the quirky design. 

Having said that, we are currently living in a golden age of pickups, so has Schecter just preempted a triple-coil comeback? It remains to be seen.

Head over to Schecter to find out more about its new Sunset Triad guitars.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.