When it comes to low-tuned, high gain metal many people think a high-output humbucker is the best type pickup to go with. It’s certainly great for some styles, but what if your style involves a lot of complex chords? Sometimes a high-output pickup and high-output amp can turn your well-chosen combination of notes into complete mush. And sometimes the best way to get that perfect heavy, face-smashing tone is to dial it back a bit on the pickup front and go for something that has a more moderate output. The Pegasus is a moderate output pickup designed to give you the perfect tight aggressive tone with enough articulation to let all your clever chord work shine through.
Available in six, seven and eight, and now six string variants, the Pegasus has an EQ scale of 5 (bass), 7 (middle) and 6 (treble), a moderate DC resistance and an Alnico 5 magnet. These specifications give the Pegasus a balanced output that should allow all notes to cut through the mix regardless of how low the notes go, or how much dirt is stacked on those notes.
I installed the Pegasus into my newly acquired 2008 Ibanez RGR 1570, which features a Basswood body, Maple neck with Rosewood fretboard, and Edge Pro tremolo. The Pegasus is paired up with the stock single coil in the middle and a Seymour Duncan Sentient in the neck. As usual I tested the Pegasus through my Blackstar HT-5 head, into a 1×12″ Celestion Vintage 30 speaker cabinet. I also kept my guitar tuned to E standard to get an idea of how the Pegasus would work for those of us happy in the six string standard tuning world.
Starting off on the dirty channel, the Pegasus offers a fairly balanced tone with with a little boost in the midrange and a clear but not too overpowering top end. This gives the Pegasus a very transparent sound that will be sure to complement most guitars and amps. The low end is tight and crunchy, offering a perfect amount of chunk for heavy low-tuned palm-muted rhythm work. Its moderate output ensures that complex chord work maintains fantastic clarity, even under shovel loads of dirt.
The Pegasus also has an open, airy sound thanks to a moderately low resistance wind. These qualities all provide a great clean tone when winding back the guitar’s volume knob. If you’re using a single channel amplifier you’ll definitely be able to coax a range of tones just by playing with your guitar’s controls.
The Pegasus works brilliantly for lead tones all over the fretboard. Its balanced EQ ensures that things don’t get to shrill in the upper registers or too muddy in the lower end. The moderately low resistance makes the Pegasus an extremely expressive pickup, responding brilliantly to pick attack and fretting-hand phrasing.
On the clean channel the Pegasus provides an excellent footprint for basic chord work and more complex articulate arpeggiated parts. Some bridge humbuckers can sound a bit too thin on the clean channel, but the Pegasus cuts through the mix nicely without sounding too anaemic. Clean lead work is nice and snappy, and digging adds a little hair to your notes.
Splitting the Pegasus with the stock single coil provides great clean and dirty tones that will work in many applications. Clean it’s great for blues, funk, pop and rock, as well as atmospheric metal parts. With some overdrive and distortion it’ll cover dirty blues, classic rock and modern jangly rock tones.
If you’re looking for a bridge pickup that is tight, hits hard, will allow every note to stand out under high gain, and clean up beautifully you cannot go past the Seymour Duncan Pegasus. This pickup will not only satisfy progressive metal players, it will work brilliantly for any metal, rock and punk. In full series or split with a middle single coil, the Pegasus can also hold it’s own in the blues, classic rock and pop-rock styles. The Pegasus is a Swiss Army Knife pickup that will handle almost anything you throw at it. If this sounds appealing then definitely check out the Pegasus.
Here’s Keith Merrow demoing the Pegasus in clean and dirty modes.