Humbuckers vs Single Coil Pickups | What’s Best For Metal?

If you want to play metal on the guitar, which pickups are best for tone and overall sound quality – Humbuckers or Single Coil pickups? Let’s investigate…

If you’re not sure about the difference between humbuckers and single coil pickups, I’m going to go out on a limb and assume you’re relatively new to guitar.

If that’s correct, it is probably worthwhile covering off a few things before we get into the differences between humbuckers and single pickups.

Let’s start with the absolute basics.

What is a Guitar Pickup & How Does It Work?

In order to make any noise whatsoever, your guitar HAS to have pickups. In its simplest form, a pickup – whatever the style – is a magnet with wire wrapped around it.

This “coil” picks up the vibrations of your strings (hence the name) and turns them into electrical signals. And it has been this way since the electric guitar was first invented.

That’s the ELI5 version of how guitar pickups work. We could take a deep-dive into the science but that’d be boring.

If you’re anything like me, you neither care nor want to know more than that.

And that’s fine – as long as you know the basics, you can pretty much get away with most things.

OK, we know how a guitar pickup works (in a basic fashion), but there are actually more than two styles of pickup available – and they’re all slightly different.

You have single coil pickups, humbuckers, and P90 pickups – these are the most commonly used styles in modern electric guitars.

The Different Types of Electric Guitar Pickups

Absolute Beginner? No problem.

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