Top 3: The Best Jazzmaster Pickups for Alt Rock/Indie

Three Jazzmaster pickups perfect for the wide-ranging sounds of indie and alternative rock.


To choose the best guitar pickups for Alternative Rock, Indie, or Pop, we need to define the sound of the genres. Luckily, ever since these genres’ ‘90s heyday, Fender’s famous offset guitars remain part of the scene’s sonic signature. You’ll find Mustangs, Jaguars, and even JagStangs fronting countless Alt. Rock and Indie bands.

But none of them quite boast the legacy of the Jazzmaster. From the alt-pop of Vampire Weekend to noise pioneers Sonic Youth, this offset gem always delivers its clear and precise, yet massive and untamed voice.

For those reasons, we consider Jazzmaster pickups to be among the best guitar pickups for Alternative Rock, Indie, and Pop.

“But which Jazzmaster pickups?”

Here are three of our favorites.



Our Three Picks


vintage jazzmaster pickup outside of guitar

Vintage Jazzmaster

New Jazzmaster-style guitars can often sound less-than Jazzmaster. That’s because many companies use pickups not based on the vintage originals. What you often get are pickups that are more in line with P90 single-coils rather than Jazzmasters. They may be great-sounding guitars, but they don’t deliver the vintage character that indie music and alt music requires.

Not so with our Vintage Jazzmaster pickups. They use vintage-correct, hand-ground Alnico 5 rod magnets; Forbon flatwork; and cloth push-back wire. And wax potting and reverse winding, reverse polarity construction remedies the infamous Jazzmaster 60-cycle hum. So if you want the genuine tone of ‘60s Jazzmasters, the Vintage Jazzmaster pickups are the ones to get.

  • Hand-ground Alnico 5 rod magnets
  • Vintage-correct Forbon flatwork
  • Cloth push-back hook-up wire
  • Neck model is wound RWRP for hum-canceling in the middle position
  • Wax potted for squeal-free performance


Vintage Jazzmaster Single Coil Pickups

Antiquity II Jazzmaster

Are the Vintage Jazzmaster pickups not “vintage-correct” enough for you? Then get ready for the Antiquity II Jazzmaster set.

These single-coils take the jangle, round lows, and clear tone of the Vintage set to the next level. They are hand-made in our Custom Shop, and feature period-correct hand-ground Alnico 5 magnets; vintage-correct gray flatwork; and cloth push-back lead wire. The Alnico 5 magnets are also degaussed and calibrated to emulate the natural aging process that pickup magnets undergo after 60 years of play. Additonally, the Antiquity II Jazzmasters are custom-wound with heavy formvar mag wire.

This equates to the glassy tones, definition, and wide frequency response of the best vintage Jazzmasters. Grab a set and discover why they’re still the standard in Indie and Alternative Rock.

  • Hand-ground Alnico 5 magnets
  • Custom coil wind with heavy formvar mag wire
  • Vintage-correct gray flatwork
  • Cloth, push-back lead wire
  • Neck model is wound RWRP for hum-canceling in the middle position
  • Lacquered and wax potted like the originals


High Output Jazzmaster Pickups

Quarter Pound Jazzmaster

No list of the best guitar pickups for Alternative Rock would be complete without something more powerful. For that, we recommend the Quarter Pound Jazzmaster pickups.

These single-coils use similar Alnico 5 rod magnets to those used in the Vintage Jazzmaster set, but they’re larger. They’re a ¼” in diameter in fact, hence the name Quarter Pound. Add that to the pickups’ custom, overwound coils, and you’re ready for even the fiercest fuzzes.

The Quarter Pound Jazzmaster’s tone lies somewhere between a traditional Jazzmaster and a P90. So you can expect plenty of warmth from the neck. And the bridge will provide a focused midrange punch, ideal for cutting through distorted harmonics. The Quarter Pound Jazzmasters are also wax potted to control their aggressive tendencies.

  • ¼” diameter Alnico 5 rod magnets
  • Custom, overwound coil
  • Neck model is wound RWRP for hum-canceling in the middle position
  • Drop-in replacements for Fender American Standard Jazzmaster-sized pickups
  • (NOTE: pole pieces will not go through the cover)
  • Custom flatwork
  • Wax potted for squeal-free operation


Let’s talk tone!

If you have any other questions about the best pickups for alternative rock, check out our Knowledge Base here. You can also email us here. And don’t forget to dig deeper into the Seymour Duncan blog! There’s a ton of in-depth info, how-tos, tone demonstrations, and a lot more.

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