Seven-String Pickup Options

Posted on by Peter

One thing 7-string guitarists continually cite as an attraction to the extended range of the instrument is that they can still play everything that they could play on a six-string guitar – as well as getting down into much lower territory when they need it. And that’s true of tone too: the sounds you get out of your six-string pickups are also available from 7-string versions. Many of our popular models are available in versions for 7-string players, and even if we don’t offer a production 7-string version of a six-string pickup that you’ve just gotta have on your seven, the Custom Shop may be able to help! Check out this video putting our 7-String pickups to the test:

Here you can compare them easily without the backing track…

Here’s is a list of our 7-string pickups.

JB Model (SH-4)
The JB Model is the world’s most popular humbucker, powering landmark recordings by everyone from KISS to King’s X to Sevendust to to Alice In Chains to Megadeth. It’s a high-output screamer for the bridge position, with singing highs and lively harmonics. And it’s perfectly suited to the 7-string because it sounds crunchy, rich and aggressive at the same time.

Jazz Model (SH-2)
The Jazz is a classic moderate-output neck humbucker designed to pair up well with the JB Model. But even though it’s named the Jazz, it’s capable of much more. Its clear, articulate high end translates into a distorted lead sound that tracks speedy playing with plenty of detail and clarity.

’59 Model (SH-1)
Inspired by the P.A.F. humbuckers of the 50s, the ’59 Model’s sound is full and bright, and it works equally well in the bridge or neck positions. As a bridge pickup it has smooth sustain, warm-but-not-overpowering mids and a clear high end. In the neck position it sounds slightly scooped, with good sustain and articulation. And it sounds great in single coil mode too.

Created for total sonic obliteration, the Nazgûl starts where most passive high output pickups stop. The large ceramic magnet serves up aggressive tones for brutal, drop-tuned, chugging riffs, while the mid range is specifically voiced to bring out the definition from the B and F# strings. Fear not though; for all of the gain and ruthless attack you’re going to use, the notes will still remain fluid and articulate.

With the rise of Progressive Metal, Seymour Duncan wanted to voice a new bridge pickup specifically for 7 & 8 string players that would evenly accentuate every note on the fretboard no matter how much gain was thrown at it. The Pegasus uses an Alnico 5 magnet and custom designed coils for balanced tone and moderate output. Huge chords and complex arpeggios are equally perfect.

Built initally for 7 and 8 string players (but now available in 6-string versions too, as with the Pegasus and Nazgûl), the Sentient neck pickup is the perfect neck pickup for natural, complex warmth and tight articulation. With an Alnico 5 magnet and medium strength coils, the blend of vintage PAF and modern tones sounds excellent in both clean and high gain settings.

59/Custom Hybrid (SH-16)
The 59/Custom Hybrid started life as a creation by a user on the Seymour Duncan User Group Forums, when a screw coil from a ’59 Model was combined with a slug coil from a Custom. The result is a pickup which combines elements of both: the clear highs and punchy attack of the ’59 Model, and the powerful lows and complex mids of the Custom. The more moderate output of the ’59 Custom Hybrid is well suited for 7-String given that most metal players already have enough gain through their amps.

Duncan Custom (SH-5)
Like the ’59, the Duncan Custom is inspired by the classic P.A.F. humbucker but it kicks things up a notch or two with a ceramic magnet and a custom coil design which give it compressed dynamics, enhanced harmonics, punchy low end and a distinctive treble attack. It pairs especially well with a ’59 in the neck position.

Duncan Distortion (SH-6)
The Distortion does exactly what you’d expect it to: it slaps your amp’s input stage with plenty of power so it can generate harmonically rich, cutting distortion. The sound is raw and aggressive, and great for maintaining the thickness of the low B string. The high end is particularly strong and the lows remain clear enough to retain definition no matter how fast or how low you play.

Full Shred (SH-10)
The Full Shred features double rows of Allen screw pole pieces which allow you to fine-tune the high end for clear, precise definition without crossing over into harshness. It’s great for low tunings and the output is lower than the SH-6 Distortion and the midrange is fatter. It’s a great prog rock rhythm and lead pickup with a hint of growl for power-chording and a slight vocal quality when you switch to lead. There’s also a neck version with reduced output and more treble.

Invader SH-8
The Invader pushes your guitar about as far as it’s possible for a passive pickup to go. It uses three ceramic magnets, overwound coils and twelve black oxide cap screws to attain a heavy, thick, punchy, chunky rhythm tone and a fat, compressed lead voice. There’s a neck version too, which is wound with a considerably lower output to provide maximum tonal flexibly.

Blackouts 7-string AHB-1 (also available in 8-string)
If you’re into active pickups, the AHB-1 Blackouts are available for 7-string (and eight-string) guitars. They’re perfectly dialled in for aggressive metal with cutting highs, full punchy bass and a slightly warmer midrange than other actives, which gives them more of an organic feel. They’re available individually or in a neck/bridge set. There are two versions: Phase I (a direct replacement for most passive 7-string humbuckers) and Phase II (to retrofit the the EMG® 707 humbucker).

Blackouts AHB-3 Mick Thomson EMTY
The EMTY set for Slipknot’s Mick Thomson takes the basic approach of the Blackouts and tightens up the bottom while revoking the high end for more cut. And they’re capable of handling extremely low tunings easily, so if you like to drop your 7-string way down below the standard 7-string tuning of BEADGBE, this set has you covered.

Black Winter
Created for black metal players from Scandinavia, the Black Winter is the perfect pickup for crushing riffage and atmospheric solos. Imagine a Distortion with added grimness. We’ve also found the neck pickup in particular to be great for blues-rock, by the way! And due to huge demand we’ve made the Black Winter available in 7 and 8-string versions too.

Dino Cazares Retribution
The Retribution pickups were designed with Dino Cazares of Fear Factory and Divine Heresy to provide lots of attack, clarity and increased headroom that 7 and 8-string players like Dino have been looking for. They feature a specially tuned preamp for just the right amount of gain, enhanced attack definition and maximum string clarity. Like the standard Blackouts series and Mick Thomson EMTY Blackouts, they maintain an organic open sound that isn’t sterile but instead is huge and powerful with a lower noise level and an increased dynamic response compared to other active pickups.

Vintage Staggered SSL-1
Our post popular single coil for Strat, the SSL-1 has hand-ground Alnico V magnets and moderate windings with heavy Formvar wire. It can be ordered in a reverse wound/reversed polarity version for hum-cancelling in positions “2” and “4” or in regular wind and polarity for the bridge and neck positions.

The SSL-5 is a high output true single-coil for warm instruments, with Alnico 5 rods and a DC Resistance of 12.9k. Though it looks like the SSL-1 and has that distinct vintage tone, the SSL-5’s over-wound coil yields higher output, more sustain and great harmonics. The result is a pickup that rocks hard and cuts through the mix, but cleans up nicely when you back off the volume.

But that’s not all. Almost every Seymour Duncan humbucker can be ordered as a Custom Shop 7-string version – such as the George Lynch Screamin’ Demon SH-12 or the ’78 Model. Or you can have the Custom Shop create pickups built to your exact specs. You can even order 7-string Telecaster Rhythm and Lead Stacks with Alnico II or Alnico V magnets, custom-wound to your specifications. Anything you need to help bring out your ideal 7-string tone, whether you play rock, metal, dent, fusion, shred, prog, country, blues or genres that haven’t even been named yet.

Where to buy:

Tricked Out Guitar Crazy Dave’s Music MacDaddy Music
Pro Audio Land The STRATosphere Musicians Friend
HD Custom Guitars Mike’s Music


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Written on December 5, 2012, by Peter

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