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5 Best 7-String Pickups for Metal

 


Most recommended
Seymour Duncan Invader 7-String Passive Pickup
  • 3 Ceramic Magnets
  • Overwound Coils And Extra-Large Pole Pieces
  • Passive Mount With Black Metal Covers
A good choice too
DiMarzio Lonizer 7-String Neck Humbucker Pickup
  • Ceramic Magnets
  • The Highs Are Brighter And The Lows Are Deeper
  • Recommended For Neck Position
A good choice too
EMG 707 7 String Active Guitar Pickup
  • For Bridge And Neck Positions
  • Alnico V Loaded Wide Aperture Coils
  • Dual Coil Pickup With Alnico Poles Similar To The 85
Fishman Fluence Signature Series Tosin Abasi
  • 100 Hours Battery Life
  • 1 Ceramic (Bridge) And 1 Alnico Pickup (Neck/Middle)
  • Push-Pull Voice Selector Pot For Use In Volume Or Tone Position
Mxfans 7 String Electric Guitar Pickups Set of 2
  • Ceramics Magnets
  • Metal, Plastic And Magnet Material
  • 1 Bridge Pickup And 1 Neck Pickup

Choose the Best 7-String Pickup for Metal

Customer’s Choice: the Best Rated 7-String Pickups for Metal

33 users answered this survey. Please help us improve this review!

30.3% of users selected Seymour Duncan Invader 7-String Passive Pickup, 15.15% selected DiMarzio Lonizer 7-String Neck Humbucker Pickup, 21.21% selected EMG 707 7 String Active Guitar Pickup, 18.18% selected Fishman Fluence Signature Series Tosin Abasi and 15.15% selected Mxfans 7 String Electric Guitar Pickups Set of 2. Every month we analyze your answers and change our rating.

The best way to get a heavy and aggressive sound is by using the right kind of pickups. A popular choice for metal music today is so-called “seven-string” pickups, which means that they provide seven individual magnetic poles in order to produce more power and tone than your regular six-string pickup. They are also often used in genres such as jazz and fusion.The main advantage of a seven-string pickup is that you have more tonal options with which to work, depending on whether or not you use the lower strings – they provide a deeper tone due to their longer scale length (the distance from the string’s bridge saddle to its middle pole). A six-string model can be suitable when it comes down to play metal music because this genre focuses mostly on having palm mutes up high along with extremely fast playing styles.

However, if your guitar has a whammy bar, using a seven-string might be best for getting good bends going every now and then. They’re usually great at giving out harmonics too!

The 7-string guitar is a versatile instrument, capable of playing both metal and other genres with ease. For metal players, the best pickups for metal are crucial in order to get that signature sound. Metal music experts have created this buying guide for you with reviews on some of the top picks available. Read more below to find out which one will work best for your needs!

Seymour Duncan Invader 7-String Passive Guitar Pickup – the Editor’s choice!

The Seymour Duncan Invader 7-String Passive Guitar Pickup brings a new level of aggression and power to your guitar. With its metal covers, extra-large pole pieces, and overwound coils the Invader’s passive installation will saturate the notes you play with an extra growl.

The passive pickup is a modern piece of engineering, designed to saturate your notes with extra aggression and thump. This exciting design features 3 ceramic magnets and overwound coils that give you a powerful, punchy tone unrivaled by other traditional guitar pickups.

Pros
  • Passive pickups with black metal covers;
  • Extra-large pole pieces;
  • Overwound coils;
  • 3 ceramic magnets;
  • Can saturate the notes with extra aggression;

Cons
  • Not quite tight;
  • The sound is not always clear;

If you’re looking for a pickup with heavy output that sounds great at both high volumes and dirty distortion levels, the Seymour Duncan Invader has what you need!


DiMarzio Ionizer 7-String Neck Humbucker Pickup – the best for the easy fit!

A must-have for any Ionizer guitar-and a DiMarzio favorite. The DiMarzio Ionizer 7-String Neck Humbucker Pickup is in the neck position and can be used in a variety of guitars. Magically transforming from mild to wild at the turn of a volume knob, DiMarzionr pickups are deeply rooted in traditional guitar sound with added versatility for today’s modern playing styles.

The intense and unique tone gives the guitar a little more bite than other models in this category. The arrangement of magnets and coils determines how your guitar will respond to different sounds.

Pros
  • Recommended for the neck position;
  • 4 conductors;
  • Ceramic magnets;
  • Great sound
  • Strings fit right
  • No additional modifications are necessary;

Cons
  • The new design has been changed;
  • No white cover as the picture claims;

A great choice with no modifications needed, the traditional ceramic magnet humbucking pickup is wrapped in heavy nickel silver wire adding to its warmth and punch when working within 2-3 simple soundhole settings.


EMG 707 7-String Active Guitar Pickup – the best for the responsive sound!

With the EMG 707, you’ll be able to take your heavy riffs and low tuning up a level. The pickup is housed in EMG’s 35 Extended bass housing which will also make it comfortable for any extended playing, whether with a guitar or bass. The 707 is a dual-coil pickup with Alnico Poles similar to the 85 but offers higher output and more clarity even with such a low tuning.

It’s responsive – meaning that as soon as you hit those strings you’re going to feel that tone coming through loud and clear. Think thick distortion without any hint of choppiness- perfect for crunchy rhythms or thundering leads.

Pros
  • EMG’s 35 Extended bass housing;
  • Dual-coil pickup;
  • Thick distortion;
  • Increased clarity even at low tuning;
  • Very responsive;

Cons
  • Won’t replace a humbucking pickup;
  • The installation can be challenging;

Nothing will compare and the 707 7-string Active Guitar Pickup by EMG is fierce in every way possible. Whether you live life heavy on the strings or not, if you know what’s good for your sound there’s no other place to go than with EMGs.


Fishman Fluence Signature Series Tosin Abasi 7-String Humbucker Pickup Set – the best for the sound quality!

The Fishman Fluence Signature Series Tosin Abasi 7-String Humbucker Pickup Set will give your guitar a tone that can’t be turned back to vintage. The volume and tone pots will respond the way you want them and never lose clarity or volume while you’re playing. You’ll sound cleaner than ever before: shimmering, crystal clear chords, bell-like harmonics with the sparkling high end all from one pickup set!

The sound quality is brilliantly clear and responsive, every note with a purpose as it comes right through with exceptional articulation. The tone control is available in either volume or tone position, with a push-pull voice selector pot for additional tonal flexibility that will let you go from clean acoustic to scream metal whenever the mood strikes.

Pros
  • 2 different pickups;
  • Tosin’s wiring scheme;
  • Volume and tone pots;
  • The sound quality is great;
  • Easy installation;

Cons
  • There is no pickup selector or position selector switch;
  • Tuned higher than C standard;

The Fishman Fluence pickup sets are made for the guitar virtuosos that require tone, balance, and clarity. It offers warmth and richness while ceramic bridge pickups offer all of the punch with sparkle on top.


Mxfans 7-String Black Bridge & Neck Humbucker Pickups Set – the best for the material quality!

This Mxfans pickup set is a really great deal, and the black will match any guitar. With a string distance of 52mm for the Bridge Pickup and 55-mm neck pickup, it is very compatible with most guitars. The pickups resistors GD, CR is also 8.8K at their widest point, which gives you a nice warm, sound that can be supplemented by adding more of each.

These high-quality pickups deliver intense and fast lows but still maintain the roomy lows we all love. They also produce precision mids and rich, articulate treble. The big tone is here – built with hand-wound coils, ceramic magnets, and four-conductor wiring. Forget about run-of-the-mill metal tones; get Mxfans pickups today!

Pros
  • Suitable for metal guitars;
  • Do not feel cheap;
  • 2 pickups;
  • Look nice;
  • Great material quality;

Cons
  • Requires some modifications;
  • The measurements are off;

This Mxfans 7 String Electric Guitar Black Bridge & Neck Humbucker Pickups Set is perfect for those of you looking to stand out from the crowd. With black as the color and high-quality metal as the material, this guitar gets your attention right away – which can be a really good thing if that’s what you need to do on stage!


The Buyer’s Guide

Main Features:

  1. Wiring

The wiring of seven-string pickups can be done in a variety of ways. Wiring them parallel, splitting them into the single-coil mode, wiring the low E to the ground are just some examples. You have to know that none of these options is superior to another one – they all have their pros and cons depending on what kind of tone you want your guitar to produce. You have to experiment with the wiring of your pickups for metal more than you would normally.

For example, if you wire your pickups parallel and split them into the single-coil mode, then they will produce a more bright tone. On the other hand, when wiring them in series and splitting to humbucker mode with one coil active at a time (i.e., only the first or only the second pickup), you’ll get a very creamy sound because of their increased output.

It is also worth mentioning that there are many different opinions about how to wire metal pickups for bass guitar as well since this type of guitars can be used both ways – as electric upright bass or as regular six-stringed instruments. In any case, each person has his preferred way to do it that he describes as “the best” or “the only right one”.

  1. Tone

The first thing you should know about this type of pickup is that they are not as popular as their four-string brothers, but there’s a good reason for it. If a bass guitar sounds clean and clear with one single note, imagine what would happen if you add 2 more strings to the mix. The resulting tone has little space between notes, which can be really hard to control or even impossible in some cases – how do you play fast triplets?

The tone of a good metal guitar is very important and it’s not only about distortion – you can play clean, but still have that characteristic sound. This also means that many tonal aspects come into the game: how do these pickups react to palm muting? How much gain does your amp provide? Do they make any unwanted noises such as humming or feedback (mostly in high-gain amps)? And lastly, one thing we all look for – what if you want more output without sacrificing too much clarity and definition at the same time?

The good news is that despite all the challenges metal pickups face when it comes to tonal characteristics and output level, there are still many great options out there for every budget. If you want a clear sound with no hum or noise, look into EMG’s selection – they have various models of active pickups that fit any guitar (with at least one pickup slot) and will undoubtedly serve their purpose well. 

The only thing about active electronics is that most people don’t like them because they “thin out” your tone. However, even though this may be true in some cases (your mileage may vary), these types of pickups were made exactly for playing fast metal riffs with lots of gain top – it’s not about having a warm jazz tone. 

Another good choice is Lace Sensors, which have been around for some time now and they provide great sound quality despite being passive – if you want more output without sacrificing too much clarity at the same time, you should definitely consider them as well!

For those on a budget looking to achieve their first metal tone or simply improve it with better pickups, there is no need to look elsewhere than Ibanez guitars. These manufacturers offer very affordable models of excellent build quality that come loaded with decent stock pickups (EMG-HZ H-H in case of most of the seven-string guitars) that can be easily upgraded by just installing new pickups – what could go wrong? 

Among other models, the Iron Label SIX27FDBG is a great choice for those who want to save money and still have pickups that can hold their own against alternatives that are more expensive.

  1. Brands of 7-string pickups for metal: 
  2. DiMarzio. A US-based company, DiMarzio is one of the world’s largest manufacturers and suppliers for music shop retailers around the globe! They are known for their high-quality pickups that have been used in most famous guitars such as Steve Vai’s Ibanez JEM777/Jem, etc. The brand has a very large variety to choose from including PAF Pro, Area 58/67/75 humbuckers, or single coils models like Air Classic Mini Humbucker Neck model with Alnico III magnets that makes it perfect for metal guitarists looking to get a bright sound without compromising on tone! With almost 50 years’ experience, you can be sure they know what is needed when playing hard!
  3. EMG. A US-based company that designs and manufactures the world’s most popular electric guitar, bass, and acoustic pickups. They have been designing products since 1976 with over 40 years of experience in making high-quality made pickups! Offering a wide variety from active to passive models, they have something for every price range! 
  4. Seymour Duncan. A US-based company that has been designing pickups since the early ’70s and made it their passion to create electric guitar, bass, and acoustic pickups that capture real tone! They have a wide range of products from active/passive models which they are known for such as the ‘59 model or SSL-​SH (which is more commonly used in metal guitars) but also offer a very good selection of passive humbuckers including SHR-​I, SHR-​Z, etc. All amazing choices with huge tones are available at all price ranges! 
  5. Wolfetone. Wolfetone pickups are hand-made to perfection by professional musicians with 20+ years of experience! They offer a wide range of active & passive models which they have designed themselves keeping in mind all metal players need including passive humbuckers or active guitar/bass pickups each has its unique sound, so be sure to check them out if you want top-quality tone for your hard-hitting playing style!

Humbuckers vs. Single-Coil

2 main types of pickups for seven-string guitars you can find on the market. The type of pickup is determined by its construction – how many coils it has inside and what kind of magnet is used to create a magnetic field around them, so there are a different number of windings per coil.

These types include:

1) Single-coil pickups are usually preferred by metal guitarists because they produce a bright and sharp tone.

Pros: These types of pickups represent the original design of guitar pickups and they’re often seen as having a brighter, more transparent sound that works well for certain genres or musical styles (such as jazz). With traditional designs, it’s easy to achieve this tone without any additional noise thanks in part due to their lower output levels compared with humbuckers, but if your rig is too quiet you may not hear enough attack from each note being played so keep this in mind when trying them out.

Cons: If overdriven these produce very little bass response. Single-coils are also often perceived as too bright or harsh when used with distortion, especially if they’re not designed to emulate classic humbucker tone (such as those found in the Fender Jazzmaster).

2) Humbucker (dual coil) is known for its powerful, thick sound with lots of low-end frequencies.

Pros: These types of pickups generally produce a thick, fat sound that cuts through any mix while keeping out background noise (hum). They’re often used in genres like metal where low-end frequencies play an important role in achieving the right “punchy” sound for each note played; whereas many seem either muddy or too bright with traditional single-coil designs. they cancel out noise 

Cons: Humbuckers are generally more expensive than single-coils. They also tend to be louder which means you can accidentally get some unwanted feedback when playing live. 

7-String Pickup Care and Maintenance

No matter how expensive your pickups are, they will need to be cleaned and cared for like any other part of your guitar. A dirty pickup can cause problems with the sound that you want or even damage it. It is not hard to clean them. Usually, a simple pad dipped in alcohol (rubbing/isopropyl) works well. This should remove most dirt without damaging anything too severely which could happen using steel wool, sandpaper, or some cleaners specifically designed for cleaning metal parts of guitars. 

Be careful not to get any alcohol on the plastic part as this can damage it. The copper coil wire is very soft and might be damaged if you use anything harder than a pad of some kind as an old t-shirt or cotton rag would work too.

You should also make sure that your bridge and tailpiece are properly grounded for safety purposes, but more importantly to keep the strings from breaking due to induced electrical current caused by radio frequencies (RF) that can happen even when using shielded pickups. If there’s no ground point available at your bridge then you’ll need to install one yourself or have someone help you with this who knows what they’re doing!

After you install your new pickups, it’s best to take a lighter and burn the coil with the tip of the flame. It might be scary at first but what you’re trying to do is remove any potential peeling on top of the pickup that may occur in shipping or during installation. This will also help achieve maximum tone. 

You can use some rubbing alcohol after this process if needed to clean off excess wax from around where pick-up was installed before putting everything together again. Most likely there won’t even be anything left so don’t stress about this step too much – just something I learned when installing guitar parts for my own guitars!

FAQ

Are 7 strings better for metal?

Yes, they are. Seven-string guitars are best for metal because they offer an additional lower range of notes known as the “low B” guitar string or bass strings that have a deeper sound. The low B string can be used to create new chords and riffs that blend better with the rhythm section in heavy music styles like metal, grunge, punk rock, etc.

What pickup configuration is best for metal?

A pickup configuration that uses a bridge humbucker and an offset coil tap would be best for metal. The coils of the pickups should have a high DC resistance to provide clarity, definition, and power in tone. The neck and bridge pickups should each have a high-output coil to provide the necessary low end for heavier music. 

Coil tapping is a technique that allows you to split the humbucker into two coils. This produces a unique sound and can have an impact on tone, depending on how it’s done. With this configuration, the neck pickup will be single-coil sized with lower output than before while producing a brighter tone overall when both coils are engaged together or just one of them alone. 

The bridge humbucker has been reduced so much in size because half that creates more clarity for high-speed riffing and lead lines to lessen its output. In contrast, if only one coil from the bridge pick up was used instead of splitting each into two coils then there would not be enough low end.

With the neck and bridge pickups in this configuration, you get clarity from the single-coil-sized pickup while still having a high output for power. The split coils of a humbucker will produce warm tones with less emphasis on highs to enhance your rhythm playing. It comes down to personal preference if you want one or both coils engaged at once because it can have an impact on tone either way. 

Looser strings are easier to bend which is why metal players use them so often but these aren’t as easy to play when they’re loose because there’s more tension holding them against the fretboard creating resistance that makes fast riffing harder than usual. This means using thicker gauge strings instead of super lights for better performance during extensive soloing sessions where you rely on fast picking.

Are active pickups better for metal?

If you play metal then you probably need a high-output guitar pickup. The active pickups tend to have more output and usually sound better for the heavy music styles. Of course, this is not a universal rule – passive guitars can be used with great results too! If your goal is just to find the best all-around guitar, then both passive and active models should fit well in your setup. 

The other reason why active pickups are often preferred by metal players is their construction: they have a lower impedance which allows them to work better when splitting coils or using multiple outputs at once (e.g. clean and high-gain). When you play heavier music styles such as rock/metal it doesn’t matter much since these genres rely heavily on distortion effects which hide any potential incompatibilities between pickup types, but the characteristics of active pickups can be beneficial for some players.

If you’re on a budget, however, there’s no need to use active pickups. Passive guitar pickups are also good enough in most cases and they don’t require batteries or other power sources – all you have to do is plug them into your amp!

What pickups does Dave Mustaine use?

Dave Mustaine is a famous American musician and songwriter. He plays guitar in the heavy metal band, Megadeth. Dave has been using EMG-HZ H-H pickups since the 1990s. They are active humbuckers with no noise, great output level, and are very responsive to the dynamics of your playing – you can play soft or hard without any loss of tone quality due to these features.

What metal bands use 7-string guitars?

Right now, it is safe to say that almost all metal bands use seven-string guitars these days. To name a few, After The Burial, Meshuggah, Periphery, Born Of Osiris, Animals As Leaders, All Shall Perish, Emmure, For Today, Suicide Silence, Whitechapel, Trivium, Upon A Burning Body, Unearth, etc.

Bands like Metallica and Mastodon have helped make the instrument popular again after a long period of decline in popularity for this type of guitar.

Does Breaking Benjamin use 7-string guitars?

Breaking Benjamin has used several guitars setups during their career, but they are mostly well known for using seven-string models. They have been spotted playing Ibanez RG series seven strings as far back as 2002 and continue to use them today. Breaking Benjamin’s lead guitarist Aaron Fink also uses a Line six Variax 700 Acoustic model that is an electric guitar with built-in effects and software modeling of acoustic instruments such as guitar, violin, and cello.

Useful Video: 7 String Pickup Comparison

Final thoughts 

If you’re looking for a guitar that can play metal but also other genres with ease, the 7-string guitar is perfect. You want to make sure it comes equipped with pickups designed specifically for metal so your signature sound will be authentic when playing this genre of music. Check out this guide below and see which one sounds like the best fit!