Inject your guitar with newfound fury by dropping in a new humbucker or two.

If you’re a player on the heavy side of the genre fence and need more gain and aggression in your sound, consider the simple solution of swapping in new humbuckers for a big-boned tonal makeover. Following are just 10 of the multitude of options out there.

Aftermath

Designed with the modern-metal guitarist in mind, this alnico-5 humbucker is voiced for fat and powerful tones, as well as fluid vocal-like sustain when driven hard.

BARE KNUCKLE
$140

85

The alnico-5 magnets in this popular active ’bucker deliver a muscular growl and smooth lead tones that fly with anything from blues to the most extreme metal.

EMG
$99

Super Distortion

Designed to kick a tube-amp into total overdrive, this pioneering pickup offers a balance of big lows, fat highs, and thick, boosted mids.

DIMARZIO
$79

Fluence Modern Ceramic

This humbucker offers a choice of two distinctive—and switchable—voices: a high-output ’bucker tone made for distortion, and a modern, active pickup with tight bass and crisp highs.

FISHMAN
$129

Chisel Neck

This aggressive neck pickup is engineered for a fast attack and superb clarity—ideal for drop-tuned modern metal and djent tones.

RAILHAMMER
$99

Frankenstein Humbucker

For the many chasing Edward’s tone, this direct-replacement humbucker is reported to achieve all of it, from the stinging highs and snarling mids, to the all-important "brown" sound.

EVH
$149

Classic+

Wound hotter than the company’s Classic Humbucker cousin, this alnico-5 pickup has a crunchier sound in higher-gain environments while still promising articulate tonal clarity.

FRIEDMAN
$129

\m/ (Metal)

These high-output pickups use ceramic magnets for crystalline cleans, and when cranked, are designed to deliver fat, snarling, and aggressive tones with crisp note articulation.

PRS
$170

Dimebucker

Built to Dimebag Darrell’s exact specs, this ceramic-bar-magnet pickup strives for crunchy pick attack, scooped mids, and the ideal amount of saturation.

SEYMOUR DUNCAN
$105

D3 Signature D’Agitator

Conceived with metal in mind, these humbuckers require no electronics, circuit boards, or batteries, and can be split into single-coil mode without any loss of output level.

LACE
$129
Photo by cottonbro

Intermediate

Intermediate

  • Demonstrate a variety of drone guitar techniques and approaches.
  • Examine drone points of reference from an array of genres.
  • Learn how to use standard, drop D, and uncommon alternate tunings in drone contexts.

Playing a melody or solo with a “drone” means playing over just one note or, in some instances, one chord. Besides playing without any harmonic accompaniment, it is about as simple a concept as one can image, which also means the possibilities are endless. We’ll look at ways to use drones in a variety of contexts, from ancient to contemporary, blues to metal, traditional to experimental.

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See a sampling of picks used by famous guitarists over the years.

Marty Stuart

Submit your own artist pick collections to rebecca@premierguitar.com for inclusion in a future gallery.

How does a legacy artist stay on top of his game? The pianist, hit singer-songwriter, producer, and composer talks about the importance of musical growth and positive affirmation; his love for angular melodicism; playing jazz, pop, classical, bluegrass, jam, and soundtrack music; and collaborating with his favorite guitarists, including Pat Metheny and Jerry Garcia.

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