Top 10 Best Guitar Pickup Brands In 2022

When it comes to the tone of your electric guitar, the pickup is one of the more crucial elements. Without it, there would be no way to amplify the signal and create the amazing sounds we do today.

Many manufacturers have taken a crack at designing pickup versions that would be better suited for the different music styles and offer unique tones. Knowing who they are can be incredibly helpful to players when it comes time for new pickups.

We have created this guide to help you find new guitar pickup brands who just might hold the key to your ideal tone!

Guitar pickup brands

Seymour Duncan

seymour duncan

Seymour Duncan is one of the most highly respected names in the music industry and is our top choice of brands. They have been making pickups since 1976 and have always strived to be at the forefront of innovation.

The company was created by Seymour and Cathy Duncan in Santa Barbara, California. Seymour Duncan is a legendary figure in the world of guitar pickups and has been responsible for some of the most iconic tones in rock history.

The Alnico II Pro is a famous pickup set used by players like Slash, Jerry Cantrell, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. The ’59 model is still one of their best-selling pickups today.

They offer a wide range of pickups, from single coils to humbuckers, and they are always expanding their offerings. If you’re looking for a Seymour Duncan pickup, you can’t go wrong.

Their product list includes:

  1. The JB Model: A classic among rock and metal players for its high output and biting tone. This humbucker can be used for rhythm and leads and can add great sustain and a full low end.
  2. The 59′ Model: Another great humbucker with a more classic sound made for rock or blues. If you want a bright, airy top end and a more compressed sound, these are your pickups.
  3. The Pearly Gates: A country and blues-friendly pickup that gives players a warm, vintage sound. These humbuckers are great for Les Paul style guitars.
  4. The Alnico II Pro: A versatile humbucker pickup that works well for a variety of genres, from blues to rock.

Music Styles Served: All.

Product Types:

  • Humbuckers
  • single coils
  • P90s
  • Bass
  • Acoustic
  • extended range

What Sets Them Apart: A wide range of pickups for all genres and styles, amazing tone, high-quality construction, and a reputation for innovative products.

Why They’re On Our List: Seymour Duncan is one of the most well-known and respected names in the music industry. They offer a wide range of pickups that are well-suited for all genres and styles of music.

DiMarzio

dimarzio

DiMarzio is another highly respected name in the world of guitar pickups. They have been making pickups since 1972 and are responsible for some of the most iconic tones in rock history.

The company was founded by Larry DiMarzio in New York City. He had a background in electronics and decided to apply his knowledge to the world of guitar pickups. The result was some of the most innovative and well-crafted pickups on the market today.

One of their most famous products is the Super Distortion pickup, which was used by players like Eddie Van Halen and Steve Vai.

They have an incredible range of pickups, from guitar to bass, and they are continually releasing new designs. If you’re looking for a DiMarzio pickup, you won’t be disappointed.

Their product list includes:

  1. The Super Distortion: A high-output humbucker that is great for rock and metal. Great sustain and a full, rich sound, perfect for leads and rhythm.
  2. The Air Norton: A neck pickup that is known for its warm, smooth tone. This is a great choice for players who want a mellower sound.
  3. The Tone Zone: A bridge pickup that is great for rock and metal. If you want a ton of sustain and a full tone, this is the pickup for you.

Music Styles Served: All.

Product Types:

  • Humbuckers
  • single coils
  • P90s
  • Bass
  • Acoustic
  • extended range

What Sets Them Apart: Their pickups are made with high-quality designs and materials that give them unique sounds. They continue to move the needle in innovation.

Why They’re On Our List: DiMarzio is another manufacturer of high-quality pickups that have caught the ear of even the most renowned musicians. Their products are world-class and are well known as a result.

Lace Sensor

lace sensor

Lace is a company that has been making pickups since 1985 and at one point was used exclusively by Fender. They are based in southern California and have a wide range of products to choose from.

One of their most popular pickups is the Alumitone, which is used by players like Bill Kelliher and Josh Steely.

Their patented design consists of a new current-driven technology that is quite different from others. They provide a monstrous low end, crisp highs, and powerful output.

It’s almost like an active pickup, but completely passive. One of the nice things about this design is that is it dead quiet. There is no noise when compared to other conventional pickup designs.

Their product list includes:

  1. The Alumitone: A high-output humbucker that is great for rock and metal. It has a unique sound that is more like an active pickup but completely passive. Its design is like no other pickup, and it sounds good!
  2. Lace Sensor Triple: A set of three single-coil pickups that are great for a variety of genres. They have a wide range of tones and are perfect for versatile players.
  3. Lace Sensor Dually: humbucker pickups that are perfect for heavier styles of music. They have a thick, full sound that is perfect for metal and hard rock.

Music Styles Served: All.

Product Types:

  • Humbuckers
  • single coils
  • P90s
  • Bass
  • Acoustic
  • extended range

What Sets Them Apart: Their pickups are unique in both design and tone. Their construction uses a completely different current-driven method that has benefits like strong sound and low noise.

Why They’re On Our List: Lace is a well-respected name in the world of guitar pickups. They offer a wide range of products that are perfect for all genres and styles of music.

EMG

emg pickups

EMG has been in the pickups game since 1976 and is one of the most well-known manufacturers. They are based in Santa Rosa, California, and have a wide range of products to choose from.

EMG was first on the scene in the 80s with active humbuckers that began to fuel rock and metal with new tones. One thing to note about EMG is they specialize more in the production of active pickups.

One of their most popular pickups is the EMG 81, which is used by players like Kirk Hammett and James Hetfield.

EMG does make passive pickups as well, but most players gravitate to them for their active designs and sounds.

Their product list includes:

  1. The EMG 81: using ceramic magnets and close aperture coils, the 81 is great for high output, fluid-like sustain, and high-end cut.
  2. The EMG 85: is great for most genres of music and can be used in both the bridge or neck position of your guitar. Expect mid-range growl and smooth leads from this pickup.
  3. The EMG 60: A neck pickup that is perfect for a wide range of styles. It has a bright, articulate sound that is great for all types of music.

Music Styles Served: All.

Product Types:

  • Humbuckers
  • Single coils
  • P90s
  • Bass
  • Acoustic
  • Extended range

What Sets Them Apart: EMG is a leader when it comes to the world of active pickups. If you are a guitar player who likes heavier music, then EMG will have what you need.

Why They’re On Our List: They have been a trusted name in the world of pickups for many years. Their products are used by some of the most well-known guitar players in the world.

Fender

fender

Fender is one of the most well-known names in the guitar world. They have been around since 1946 and are based in Scottsdale, Arizona. They offer a wide range of products, from guitars to amps to pickups, and have done so for decades.

It is safe to say that Fender has more than likely been involved in the music you like in some form or fashion. Leo Fender was an innovator who has left us with some incredible equipment, including pickups.

They are best known for their single-coil pickups, which have been used by some of the most iconic guitar players in the world. You can add the same bright, lively sound to your guitar with some fender pickups.

Their product list includes:

  1. The Fender Vintage Noiseless: These single-coils are great for vintage tones without the noise. They use Alnico magnets and enamel-coated coil wire for a warm, classic sound.
  2. Fender Tex-Mex: These are designed for increased output and midrange punch. They use Alnico 5 magnets and are amazing for blues and rock.
  3. The Fender Custom Shop Fat ’50s: These are perfect for that classic 50s sound. They are wound to vintage specs and also use Alnico 5 magnets.

Music Styles Served: Country, Blues, Jazz, Rock, Punk, Classic, Vintage.

Product Type:

  • Humbuckers
  • Single coils
  • P90s
  • Bass

What Sets Them Apart: Fender is one of the most well-known names in the guitar world. They are the original innovators of some of the best gear in existence.

Why They’re On Our List: Fender has been around for decades, and its products are used by some of the most iconic guitar players in the world. Their single-coil pickups are some of the best on the market.

Gibson

Gibson is another one of the giants in the guitar world. They have been around since 1902 and are based in Nashville, Tennessee. Like Fender, they offer a wide range of products, from guitars to amps to pickups.

Guitars like the Les Paul and SG have been a part of music for decades and are responsible for a great deal of the tones. Most guitar heroes have or currently use one of these models because of the revolutionary sound.

Gibson is most well-known for their humbucker pickups, which were invented by Seth Lover in 1955. These pickups are known for their thicker, warmer sound, and have been used by some of the most famous guitar players in the world.

Their product list includes:

  1. The Gibson ’57 Classic: This is a great all-purpose pickup that can be used in a variety of genres. It has that classic Gibson sound that is great for rock, blues, and jazz.
  2. Gibson Dirty Fingers: This pickup is designed for high output and sustain. It is great for hard rock and metal.
  3. The Gibson P-90: This is a single-coil pickup that has a brighter, twangier sound. It is perfect for country, rock, and blues.

Music Styles Served: Country, Blues, Jazz, Punk, Rock, Vintage, Classic.

Product Type:

  • Humbuckers
  • Single coils
  • P90s

What Sets Them Apart: Gibson is one of the oldest names in the guitar world. They are responsible for some of the most iconic guitars and pickups ever made.

Why They’re On Our List: Gibson has been around for over a century, and their products are used by some of the most famous guitar players in the world. Their humbucker pickups are some of the best on the market.

Fishman

fishman

Fishman is a company that specializes in making pickups and other equipment for acoustic guitars. They have been around since 1981 and are based in Burlington, Massachusetts.

Fishman is most well-known for their under-saddle piezo pickups, which are designed to replicate the sound of an acoustic guitar as closely as possible. These are some of the best pickups for acoustic guitars on the market.

Over the last decade, Fishman has increased their advancements in pickups into humbuckers and active technology that is unique. Artists like Slash, Matt Heafy, and Devin Townsend have taken notice and now use Fishman pickups.

Their product list includes:

  1. The Fishman Fluence: These are designed to be versatile pickups that can be used in a variety of genres. They use Alnico magnets for a classic sound.
  2. Fishman Active: These pickups use battery-powered preamps to produce a louder, more aggressive sound. They are perfect for rock and metal.
  3. The Fishman Matrix Infinity: This is a great under-saddle pickup that offers a wide dynamic range and natural sound.

Music Styles Served: All.

Product Type:

  • Acoustic
  • Single-coils
  • Humbuckers
  • Extended range
  • Active pickups

What Sets Them Apart: Fishman is one of the leading names in acoustic guitar pickups. They have a wide range of products that are designed to replicate the sound of an acoustic guitar as closely as possible.

Why They’re On Our List: Fishman has been making high-quality pickups for over three decades. Their under-saddle pickups are some of the best on the market, and now they have some amazing active options for many music styles.

Bare Knuckle

Bare Knuckle is a UK-based company that makes custom guitar pickups. They have been around since 2003 and are known for their quality and craftsmanship.

Bare Knuckle makes some of the best custom pickups on the market. They offer a wide range of options, from vintage-style to modern high-output. All their pickups are wound by hand in their factory, overseen by founder Tim Mills.

Their product list includes:

  1. The Bare Knuckle Nailbomb: This is a high-output pickup that is designed for metal. It has a thick, aggressive sound.
  2. Stormy Monday: This is a great all-purpose pickup that can be used in a variety of genres. It has a warm, rich sound.
  3. The Bare Knuckle Black Dog: This is a single-coil pickup that has a vintage sound. It is awesome for blues and rock.

Music Styles Served: All.

  • Humbuckers
  • Single coils
  • P90s
  • Bass
  • Acoustic
  • Extended range

What Sets Them Apart: Bare Knuckle is a UK-based company that makes some of the best custom pickups on the market. They offer a wide range of options and all their pickups are wound by hand in their factory.

Why They’re On Our List: Bare Knuckle has been making high-quality pickups for over a decade. Their Nailbomb option is one of the best high-output pickups on the market.

TV Jones

TV Jones is a company that specializes in making guitar pickups. They are based in Poulsbo, Washington, and have been around since 1993.

TV Jones is most well-known for their Filter’Tron-style pickups, which are used by many famous guitarists such as Brian Setzer and Guthrie Govan. When word got out that they began making these pickups, they became all the rage.

Their product list includes:

  1. The TV Jones TV Classic: This is a great all-purpose pickup that can be used in a variety of genres. It has a warm, rich sound and captures the twang of a vintage Filter’tron.
  2. TV Jones Starwood: This is a single-coil pickup that has a vintage sound. It is perfect for blues and rock.

Music Styles Served: Blues, Jazz, rockabilly, rock.

Product Type:

  • Humbuckers
  • Single coils
  • P90s
  • Bass

What Sets Them Apart: TV Jones is most well-known for their Filter’Tron-style pickups, which are used by many famous guitarists such as Brian Setzer and Guthrie Govan.

Why They’re On Our List: TV Jones has been making high-quality pickups for over two decades. Their TV Classic pickup is unique and built to some incredibly accurate vintage specs.

Mojo Tone

mojotone

Mojo Tone is a company that specializes in making custom guitar pickups. They are based in North Carolina and have been around since 2000. The thing about Mojo Tone is, however, that they make all sorts of parts for guitars, not just pickups.

Mojo Tone is most well-known for their P-90 pickups, which are used by many famous guitarists such as Billy Gibbons and Matt Bellamy. These pickups are known for their thick, warm sound.

Their product list includes:

  1. The Mojo Tone Quiet Coil P-90: This is a great all-purpose pickup that can be used in a variety of genres. It has a thick, warm sound and captures the twang of a vintage P-90.
  2. Mojo Tone 59 Clone humbucker: This is a great all-purpose pickup that can be used in a variety of genres. It captures the sound of a vintage PAF humbucker.

Music Styles Served: All.

Product Type:

  • Humbuckers
  • Single coils
  • P90s
  • Bass
  • Acoustic
  • Extended range

What Sets Them Apart: Mojo Tone has a massive selection of pickups that are well-made and sound great. They make some vintage-style units that are built to the same specifications.

Why They’re On Our List: Mojo Tone has been making high-quality pickups for over a decade. Their Quiet Coil P-90 is a great all-purpose pickup that can be used in a variety of genres and is unique.

Plus, they have pretty much everything else that a player could want.

JBE Pickups

JBE Pickups is a company that specializes in making high-quality models. They are based in North Carolina and have been around since 2004. JBE makes pickups for both guitars and basses.

JBE is most well-known for their Telecaster pickups, which are used by many famous guitarists such as Bruce Springsteen and Keith Richards. These pickups are known for their clear, bright sound.

Their product list includes:

  1. Gatton T-Style: This is a great all-purpose pickup that can be used in a variety of genres. It has a clear, bright sound and captures the twang of a vintage Telecaster.
  2. S-Style Deluxe: This is a great all-purpose pickup that can be used in a variety of genres. It has a clear, bright sound and captures the twang of a vintage Stratocaster.

Music Styles Served: Blues, Jazz, Rock, Country, Rockabilly.

Product Type:

  • Telecaster
  • Stratocaster
  • P90s
  • Humbuckers
  • Bass

What Sets Them Apart: JBE makes high-quality pickups that are used by many famous guitarists. When a player like Bruce Springsteen gives your company a mention, people take notice.

Why They’re On Our List: JBE has been making high-quality pickups that are used by players like Keith Richards. Their Gatton T-Style pickup can be used in many music genres and is very quiet.

Conclusion

There are many great guitar pickup brands out there, but these deserve to be on any list of the best. All of these companies have been making high-quality pickups for many years and have earned the respect of both players and critics alike.

Photo of author

Don East

My name is Don East, I'm the editor for Killer Rig. I've been playing guitar for over 20 years and have designed and manufactured products like guitar amps, effects pedals, and more. Over the years I have played in many bands and have a deep love for quality gear. I am an electrical engineer and have a passion for music gear, and now want to share what I know with the community!