Sometimes there’s a need for a hammer, other times there’s a need for a scalpel. A scalpel can cut cleanly with precision. Sure it’s doesn’t smash through things like a hammer does, but when used correctly a scalpel can be just as devastating. The Full Shred would be Seymour Duncan’s scalpel in its tonal bag of tools. It doesn’t have the highest output, but its precision lets it hit a lot higher and harder than its weight category.
The Full Shred is listed as having an EQ scale of 4 (bass) –4 (mids) and 8 (treble) with DC resistance of 14.6K for the bridge model. With an Alnico 5 magnet and two rows of hex head pole-pieces, the Full Shred bridge provides a nice chunky tight tone that kills for super tight rhythm and lead work.
I loaded the Full Shred Neck model into my custom Ibanez RG style guitar, which has an Alder body, Maple neck with Rosewood fretboard and a Gotoh licensed Floyd Rose bridge hooked up with a brass sustain block. I’ve previously reviewed the Full Shred Neck and loved its extremely tight, focused tone and made sure to hook it up alongside the bridge for this review. As usual I tested this setup through my Blackstar HT-5 head with Celestion Vintage 30 loaded 1×12″ cabinet.
Firing up the dirty channel of the HT-5, the Full Shred is just like the neck model in many ways. It’s probably one of the tightest pickups around. With its moderate lows and mids, and strong highs it will cut through any mix and won’t take any prisoners. The super-tight lows make the Full Shred brilliant for down-tuning if you are so inclined, as this – and the moderate output – make sure that things don’t get muddy, even with loads of dirt.
The Full Shred bridge is bright and articulate, so if your technique isn’t quite up to scratch you’re going to hear it. But when you get it right the Full Shred will reward you with amazing clear tone. This clarity ensures that even the most complex of chords will ring out nice and clear through a raging amplifier.
Rhythm players of most heavy music styles will dig the Full Shred. The super-tight-and-not-overbearing low end is perfect for punk rockers and metal thrashers alike. Tremolo-picked passages cut through like a knife, and palm muted power chords have all the chunk and grind you desire.
Lead players will love the the clarity and rich harmonic content that the Full Shred provides. Notes low down on the fretboard are nice and sharp, never losing their definition. Things can get a little shrill higher up, but if you find that to be the case then switching over to a neck pickup like the Full Shred neck gives you everything else that you might tonally need. Besides this the Full Shred will give you all the squeals, screams and howls you can wrangle out of your guitar.
If you are one to use the guitar’s volume knob to get clean sounds out of your guitar then the Full Shred will cover all your bases. Its aforementioned moderate output ensures that your tone cleans up really nicely. Strumming hard with a pick gives a great on the verge of breakup tone, but switch to soft strumming or finger style and the tones cleans up and gets warmer at the same time.
Heading over to the clean channel and the Full Shred really shows how bright and focused it is. Heavily strummed chords and bright and full with a hair of dirt. Softening the attack lessens the brightness a tad and cleans up the dirt, but the Full Shred still maintains it directness. Roll the guitar’s volume control back a bit and things get a little softer and warmer, with a splash of sparkle in the highs.
In this guitar I have a three-way switch, with the middle position splitting both the neck and bridge pickups to the inner coils. With the HT-5 set to the dirty channel this split position offers a lot less dirt as expected, but a whole lot of attitude comes out. The two pickups offer a fantastic approximation of single coil tones usually found in an S-S-S Strat. Rhythm work sounds really raunchy and lead work gets quite twangy, while still retaining a lot of that Full Shred focus. On the clean channel the split position is capable of getting really funky. The two Full Shred models offer a really close approximation of the Strat quack.
The Full Shred bridge is an absolutely killer pickup. While it is capable of tearing heads off, its moderate output and versatility makes it suitable for so much more than its name first suggests. Its super-tight low end and enhanced mids and highs make it brilliant for cutting through the mix, both in recording and on stage. Anyone, from punk rockers through to metal heads and shred virtuosos looking for a pickup that offers a super tight fast attack with a low end that is not too overbearing will find exactly what they are after from the Full Shred Bridge. Pairing it up with a pickup like the Full Shred neck makes for an incredibly versatile combination, ready to cover a range of musical territory.