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

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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

A chambered body and enhanced switching make this affordable Revstar light and loaded with tones.

Scads of cool tone combinations. Articulate pickups. Relatively light. Balanced and comfortable. Well built.

Some P-90 players might miss the extra grit the Revstar trades for articulation.

Yamaha Revstar Standard RSS02T
usa.yamaha.com

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While the Yamaha name is famous in circles beyond the guitar world, they’ve made first-class guitars since the 1960s. And while they don’t unleash new releases with the frequency of some larger guitar brands, every now and then they come down the mountain with a new axe that reminds us of their capacity to build great electric 6-strings. In 2015, Yamaha introduced the first generation Revstar. With a handsome aesthetic inspired by the company’s motorcycle racing heritage, the Revstar combined sweet playability and vintage style touchstones. This year, Yamaha gave the Revstar an overhaul—including body chambering, updated pickups, and new switching. What’s impressive is how these alterations enhance the already impressive playability and versatility of the original.

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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.

My years-long search for the “right” Bigsby-outfitted box finally paid off. Now how do I make this sumbitch work in my band?

Considering the amount of time I’ve spent (here and elsewhere) talking about and lusting after Gretsch hollowbody guitars, it’s taken me a remarkably long time to end up with a big Bigsby-outfitted box I truly love. High-end Gretsches are pricey enough that, for a long time, I just couldn’t swing it. Years ago I had an Electromatic for a while, and it looked and played lovely, but didn’t have the open, blooming acoustic resonance I hoped for. A while later, I reviewed the stellar Players Edition Broadkaster semi-hollow, and it was so great in so many ways that I set my sights on it, eventually got one, and adore it to this day. Yet the full-hollowbody lust remained.

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