Shredding It Full Shred Neck Style

There’s one thing I don’t want when I switch over to a neck pickup, and that’s mud. I want my bridge pickups to have a tight low end and enough mids and treble to cut through the mix without getting fizzy, and to be able drive an amplifier hard enough to get some good chunky tones. My neck pickup on the other hand needs to have a cleaner sound to it, and retain some smoothness even under a lot of dirt.

I previously reviewed the Synyster Gates Invader, and when I was picking that particular bridge pickup – which of course is a bit of a monster – I knew I wanted to pair it up with a contrasting neck pickup that would provide me with the cleaner sounds I like from a neck pickup. Talking with the Seymour Duncan guys, they recommended me the Full Shred Neck. I checked out the specifications and description from the Seymour Duncan site and it sounded right up my alley.

Not just a shredder’s dream

The Full Shred is listed as having an EQ scale of 4 (bass) –4 (mids) and 8 (treble), resistance of 7.4K for the neck model. With an Alnico 5 magnet and two rows of hex head pole-pieces, the Full Shred Neck provides a nice chunky tight tone that is perfectly suited to speedy licks.

I loaded the Full Shred Neck model into my 2003 Ibanez RG 450LTD, which has a Basswood body, Maple neck with Rosewood fretboard and an Edge Pro bridge hooked up with a brass sustain block. As usual I tested this setup through my Blackstar HT-5 head with Celestion Vintage 30 loaded 1×12″ cabinet.

I kicked on the dirty channel to start with and started playing some single note licks. The first thing that is noticeable is that the Full Shred Neck’s tone is extremely tight and focused. The low end isn’t too pronounced and the mids sound full while still cutting through. The two rows of hex-head pole-pieces help fine-tune the high end of the pickup. It is a very clear and articulate pickup with a little bit of a single coil vibe. Hit the strings hard and there’s a percussive quality to the sound.
The Full Shred Neck is in a similar class of pickup to the ‘59 Neck Model and the Pearly Gates neck. The ’59 Neck is a little more low end prominent though, and the Pearly Gates overs a little more attitude, snarl and twang.

Roll back the guitar’s volume control and Full Shred Neck cleans up beautifully. Dig in with the guitar pick and you can get a little grit out, but for the most part it’s nice and smooth.
On the clean channel the Full Shred Neck offers a beautiful tone for both clean rhythm and lead. Chords strummed with a pick sound full with a nice touch of sparkle. Play with your fingers and you’ll be greeted by a beautiful warm inviting tone. Hit notes hard and you’ll get a little twang, but not on the same level as a Pearly Gates Neck.

Wiring the Full Shred Neck in parallel offers even more versatility with full twangy sound that may suit funk styles on a clean channel, and with some gain on top gives some great dirty blues tones. Splitting with a bridge pickup like the Synyster Gates Invader gives bigger and bolder twangy tones that will once again suit the previously mentioned styles. It will also work well for slower clean sections found in many metal ballads.

The Full Shred Neck is a great pickup that offers a modern tone without the usual high compression and output that many modern sounding pickups tend to have. It’s ability to sound clean and articulate even when lumped with tons of dirt makes it an excellent neck pickup for lead guitar work. These qualities also make it an excellent pickup for clean rhythm and lead parts alike. Combine that with the added versatility of parallel and split modes and you’ve got yourself the perfect pickup for all occasions.

Join the Conversation


  1. I have an SL-2 with the ’59 in the neck, does this give a tone suitable for jazz or is it more of a metal P’up. My ’59 gives a convincingly warm Jazz tone through my Fender, but seems to come to life through my Vox AC-50

    1. Hi Lonnie, if you do Jazz you may consider going with the Jazz pickup which is more tonally suited for the tones you need or the ’59 neck. The Jazz is slightly brighter than the ’59 neck.

  2. Do the full shred pairs well with an alternative 8 in the bridge??? I have an epiphone korina V and i play many styles (mostly 80′ heavy, thrash, progressive instrumental and hard rock). Thanks

    1. When someone asks that question, I’m assuming they’re asking if the two pickups sound good when used together at the same time in the middle position so I’ll say I don’t know for sure because I’ve played the Alternative 8 but not with the FS in the neck. The only pickup combo I’ve come across that I didn’t like with the Full Shred in the neck was with a JB in the bridge. There wasn’t that chimey, slightly scooped mid tone that I like in the middle so I hated that combo. Another FS in the bridge, the Custom and the Duncan Distortion sound great with a FS in the neck and now I’m hoping the Invader sounds great with it as well. Kshitz Dass seems to think so!

      1. Hi, I have an alder body LP (by Mayones) with Sh-4 JB at the bridge but have been looking for something better for the neck and I thought about FS. Is it so bad together? what would you suggest for the neck together with JB for shredding and fast licks? thanks in advance for your help, best regards, tom

        1. You know what like I stated above, I didn’t like the combination of the Full Shred with the JB so I’d say no on the FS for this combo. But I actually found a pickup I now prefer over the Full Shred in the neck and this is what I recommend for you the SENTIENT! This pickup has the most amazing lead tone I’ve ever heard in my life. It’s amazing, very hard to put into words so I say go with the SENTIENT and you’ll see what I mean 😉

          1. Thanks Darth for your comment and I am going to buy that pickup; no doubt. Re my LP IV (Gothic) by Mayones, so far I could not see a guitar with a better neck (ultimate low action) 😉 All the best, cheers.

    1. Good to hear because I just ordered a Full Shred for the neck to pair it with an Invader on my Warrior guitar!

        1. I already installed the Invader and I have a Duncan ’59 in the neck but I much prefer the Full Shred for the neck. I’m already familiar with the FS but I’ve never paired it with the Invader. I’m just hoping the two pickups sound great together in the middle notch. I have a 5-way Super switch so I’ll be trying some parallel tones perhaps. We’ll see, I expect to receive the FS on the 30th so I’ll keep you posted. This Invader is really keeping up with my Blackouts on my other guitars and it’s really holding it’s own again the Dimarzio Super Distortion in my Ace Frehley Les Paul. I’ll keep you posted

  3. hello guys im looking for a new pickups for an ibanez series S670QM mahogany body and rosewood freetborad, i have the evolution pickups but im afte the sound of the emgs81 and 60 thats the pickups that andy james use, but as you know emgs are active pickups so im looking for a passive pickups that can give me that sound, can i get that kind of sound with a combination of the invaderand full shred o both full shred pickups? im using ans evh 50 watts amp, any advice is welcome and appreciate.
    hope you can help

    1. Hate to break the news to you but you will NOT find a passive pickup that’ll sound like an active, I don’t care what anybody else tells you. There’s something about the preamp in an active pickup that keeps the lows tight while putting out an upper mid/high end that a passive simply cannot provide. In my opinion, the Evolution is the absolute worst pickup set Dimarzio makes and are nowhere near the tone of a EMG81/60 set. I say if you want that tone, you need active pickups end of story but I would recommend the EMG 57/66 set. These seem to have less compression and IMO a much better sounding EQ curve. I would really recommend a set of the new Seymour Duncan RETRIBUTION active pickups because these are the absolute best active pickups out there bar none but I’m told they don’t come in a 6 string set which is a shame. I’d call Duncan and ask if they could make you a six string RETRIBUTION set but if not, 57/66 for sure

  4. What’s up guys! What guitar passive pick up set would you guys recommend for b standard tuning? The guitar im currently using is a kramer neck-thru with a fixed bridge. The neck is maple and the wings are alder. I was thinking of putting a full shred on the bridge but wouldn’t know what to put on the neck…i play all kinds of styles so versatility would be best. Thanks!

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