Best Passive Pickups for Metal

7 Best Passive Pickups for Metal – A Complete Review

Best Passive Pickups for MetalIf you are an aspiring metal musician or quite a sensation in the genre, you are always looking for ways to improve the quality of your guitar sounds. Guitar sounds can be a source of great music or the wails of a banshee and it all depends on how you treat your guitar, apart from your skill with it of course.

Overall Best Passive Pickups for Metal#

EMG 81 Active Guitar Humbucker Bridge/Neck Pickup,...
  • Utilizes powerful ceramic magnets and close aperture coils
  • The tone was designed with detailed intensity, incredible amounts of high end cut, and fluid sustain
  • In the bridge position of your guitar, it will make your leads slice right through even the densest mix
  • When used in both neck and bridge positions the sound can only be described as blistering
  • Other recommended pairings include the classic 81/85 setup and the versatile 81/60 combo

Overall Budget Passive Pickups for Metal#

Seymour Duncan SH-4 JB Model Humbucker Pickup,...
  • Item Package Quantity: 1
  • Model Number: SSH-4 WH
  • Country of origin:- United States
  • Package Dimensions : 20.0L x 10.0W x 5.0H (centimeters)

One of the ways you can improve the output quality of the sound from a guitar is to add a pickup to it. Pickups can be active or passive based on the kind of preamp they use. When it comes to selecting the right pickup for your band, it’s important to understand what you are looking for. Check out our buying guide for passive pickups at the bottom. We have compiled a list of the best passive pickups for Metal to make it easy for you.

1. EMG 81 Active Guitar Humbucker Bridge/Neck Pickup: Overall Best Pickup for Metal

If you understand the roots of death metal, you know how important the intensity of sound is. This pickup by EMG comes with strong magnets and close-knit aperture coils to provide detail in intensity along with some great sustain in cut and fluid.

It is mostly used in the bridge positions but you’ll find no problem using it in both neck and bridge positions. It will help you sail through the densest mixes without any worries and the resulting sound is just amazing.

We recommend pairing it with a classic 81/85 setup or the 81/60 combo.

EMG 81 Active Guitar Humbucker Bridge


Key Features

Powerful Magnets

The pickup uses some powerful magnets made of ceramic to ensure the quality of the sound is not messed.

Close-Knit Aperture Coils

The aperture coils in this pickup are made with careful craftsmanship to make the sound transmission clearer.

Tone Sustainability

The superior cut and the fluid sustain makes sure that the intensity of tone is detailed for maximum effect.

Position Versatile

It can be positioned at both neck and bridge for the same quality in the resulting sound.

  • Value for money
  • Versatility
  • Easy to install
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2.DiMarzio PAF DP103: Top Rated Passive Pickup

The best passive pickups for metal by DiMarzio has a clean and streamlined tone that’s almost voice-like. It blends well with the notes when struck and the output is heavenly. If you like some warm music and want to play free, this will work well for you.

This is not for the faint-hearted though. It’s made for the shrieking and wailing school of thought in metal and recreates the magical depth of original metal music.

There’s a hint of modernity in it with the latest potting made tight for superior quality. The wires are winded with consistency to make sure that it eliminates all the microphonics that are pretty common in these pickups.

DiMarzio PAF DP103 Humbucker


Key Features

Soft Magnetism

The light magnetic field created by the top quality magnets makes sure that the sound doesn’t warp.


The tonality of this pickup is sweet enough to ensure there are no rough patches. 


The balance between the warmth of the tone and the clarity of the sound allows for a better output.

Easy Transfer

It has the amazing quality of moving from clean to disruptive with a strike only.

  • Tone
  • Versatility
  • Easy Installation
  • Short wires

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3. Seymour Duncan Black Winter Passive Pickup Set: Best For Hard Rock

If the balance in sound matters to you, this best passive pickups for metal will help you attain the right balance between bass and treble with vicious accuracy.

Your needs as a metal guitarist are met with ferocious effectiveness. The tones give you a distortion to push midst and other aggressive saturation away. Built with hands, this pickup supports a 6-string, 7string, and 8-string mount with bare coils.

It also has a 4-conductor lead wire for wiring options and a vacuum wax for a noise-free operation.

Seymour Duncan Black Winter Trembucker Electric Guitar Pickup Black Bridge


Key Features


It has a perfectly balanced output for a passive pickup with 6/6/6 bass/treble/midst to make sure you don’t face noises and squeaks.


The magnets used in this pickup are made of ceramic and produce good sound through the soft magnetic field they create.


It has a 4-conductor wiring connection to enable greater control over the wiring options and provide versatility in music.

Vacuum Wax

This small addition to the pickup makes sure that it functions without any undesirable or unpleasant sound.

  • Clarity
  • Tone
  • Value for money
  • A little aggressive

Related post: Best Precision Bass PickUps for Metal

4. Seymour Duncan Black Winter Humbucker Pickup: Value for Money Passive Pickup

This pickup by Seymour Duncan is designed for those of you who fall into the rather darker sides of rock music. And it’s not just the colour.

When you add these best passive pickups for metal at the bridge, it provides you with the right aggression in sound with just enough grime. The resulting distortion would be crushing and the sounds you make will blow your mind.

Seymour Duncan Black Winter Set Humbucker Guitar Pickup Black


Key Features


The power is supplied to this pickup through DC resistance which works exceptionally well when it comes to performance.


Created to work well for all kinds of music across genres, it works exceptionally well for metal/

Coil Taps

The coil taps allow you to experience superior, balanced cleans with pronounced mids, tights, and amazing top end.

Volume Knob

Sensitive to the attack, the volume knob helps establish a greater clarity of music without much disturbance.

  • Versatility
  • Value for money
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Read more: Best Acoustic Guitars for Blues – Honest Reviews & Buying Guide

5. EMG H4 Passive Humbucker Pickup: Best for Metal Guitar

If you prefer to have neat, balanced, and clear music coming out of your strings, you’d find these best passive pickups for metal to be extremely useful.

It’s so good with the tone – balanced with the right bass, mids, and highs. The magnets, with the wound coils within, are shielded to eliminate any noise that disrupts the quality of sound.

It works best at the bridge position, providing excellent response and harmonics with a wide range.

EMG H4 Passive Electric Guitar Humbucker Pickup


Key Features


The combined power of active 81 and a passive PAF helps you make the most of the pickup for a balanced tone.


It uses over-wound coils with magnets made of ceramic. It is well-shielded to eliminate any disturbance or noise.


Used at the bridge position, it provides you with a superior range and greater responsiveness towards the sound.


This best passive pickups for metal comes with a pickup cable, 2 connect cables, one output cable, and one ground cable to provide options in connections.

  • Easy Installation
  • Value For Money
  • We found nothing

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6. FOXNOVO Humbucker Passive Pickups Set: Excellent Sound with Power Output

This pickup is most suitable for the Gibson Epiphone Les Paul guitars. It is designed to let you have the pleasure of warm sounds with more power output for more crunch.

Made with excellent quality copper and hard plastic, this best Humbucker Pickup for Les paul is of superior quality and measures well against others in its price range. Designed for rock, this pickup works its magic with the strings to give you the best sound in a balanced way.

FOXNOVO Professional Sealed Humbucker Pickups


Key Features


It is made of durable and strong copper along with hard plastic to last longer than the average pickups.


It is designed to recreate warm sounds with more power output for a better crunch.

Neck Pickup

The neck pickup on this one is rated at 8.5-9K and the Bridge pickup is rated at 8.5-9K.

Triple wax coating

The pickup is coated thrice with wax along with a vacuum seal to reduce noise and any other unwanted sounds.

  • Value for money
  • Easy to install
  • Versatility
  • Hums slightly

7. MXR M116 Fullbore Metal Distortion Pedal – Affordable Passive Pickup with Noise Gate

This passive pickup from MXR gives you amazing riff power for some epic metal you’d like to play. The high gains that you get with it will power your guitar strokes to hell you unleash true metal.

Any unwanted noise will be knocked out using the built-in noise gate while adding high-definition tightness to your metal riffs.

It is a compact & best pickup that lets you make great music without any hassles and bring out the true potential of your guitars.

MXR M116 Fullbore Metal Distortion Pedal


Key Features


It has 4 cables to provide you with more options when it comes to connectivity.

3 Band EQ

It comes with a 3 band EQ with high-quality mid frequencies to streamline your music experience.

Noise Gate

The pickup enables better metal riffage with a fast and tight noise gate that eliminates all unwanted noise.

Gate Trigger Control

The internal controller for the gate trigger makes it possible to set the noise gate’s sensitivity and make the most of it.

  • Versatility
  • Value for money
  • Sound quality
  • Has a little extra gain

8. Fishman Fluence Modern Humbucker Alnico & Ceramic Pickups Set: Best Passive Bass Pickup

This passive pickup from Alnico & Ceramic has a premium music sense. It enables you to play full chords with a superior voice. It also lets you perform smooth solos with your guitar.

With this one, you’ll not face any quality loss no matter the length of your guitar strings. Experience a much better volume control that’s smooth and allows you to bring amazing music from your guitar.

It also allows you to play well at low levels as well.

Fishman Fluence Modern Humbucker Alnico & Ceramic Pickups Set


Key Features

No Humming

The smooth functioning of this passive pickup ensures that there’s no humming sound emanating from your guitar.

High Quality Wire Wound

The state-of-the-art wound wires used in this pickup are beyond amazing and allow better performance for every attack.

Wide Range

The wide range of this pickup ensures that the sound is of the best quality no matter the length of the chords.

  • Tone
  • Clarity
  • Value for Money
  • Versatility
  • No troubleshooting support

9. ASCENDAS HZ5 Electric Guitar Humbucker Passive Pickup: Most Suitable for Rock Music

If you lean towards a more-treble, less-bass end of the spectrum, you are bound to like this pickup from Ascendas. In the bridge position especially, it tends to provide higher frequencies.

The smooth and clear sound that comes out of this pickup works pretty well with some overdrive. The sound is pretty warm at all volumes and pickup selections, resulting in a far better effort at rock music.

Moreover, the built quality is unquestionable and provides longevity to the product with no loss in its quality of sound.

Rocket HZ5 Electric Guitar Humbucker Pickups for Gibson Les Paul Replacement


Key Features

Wide Applicability

The pickup enjoys a wide acceptance across electric guitars of many types and can be installed without any worries.

Magnet Type

It uses the Alnico 5 magnets bound with strong wires to provide enough power and intensity to the sound.


The baseplate is custom grooved with nickel-silver, double-conductor wires to provide higher durability to the pickup

Tonal Quality

It provides a smooth and warm sound with unmistakable clarity that’s essential for playing rock music.

  • Sound quality
  • Value for money
  • Versatility
  • Easy to install
  • Comes with wrong instructions


What are the best passive pickups for metal?

Some of the best passive pickups for metal are manufactured by Seymour Duncan, EMG, and DiMarzio.

Are active pickups better for metal?

When it comes to higher outputs, active pickups are better but passive pickups are more versatile and provide more options in tone due to the higher frequency range.

Are single coil pickups good for metal?

A lot of the musicians in metal prefer single-coil pickups for their bright and crisp tones. With the right amp, single-coil pickups can provide a classic sound that’s true to metal

Are EMG 81 85 pickups good?

EMG 81 and 85 have an amazing punch to them and have a hard chunky sound that makes for great metal music.

Are active pickups louder than passive?

Active pickups start with a low sound, picking up after a preamp boosts it. That’s why they are louder than passive pickups. But due to the same reason, active pickups end up with less of a range than passive pickups.

Are humbucker pickups good for metal?

Humbucker pickups are preferred by metal players due to the warmth that it provides to the music resulting in a crunchy and grainy sound.

What guitar is best for metal?

Guitars manufactured by the Gibson or the Fender are great choices for playing rock music or metal.

What are active pickups?

The pickups that incorporate an active preamp in their systems are known as active pickups. Although they also use coils of wire, they have far fewer wires than passive pickups.

Can you replace active pickups with passive pickups?

Although it takes some rewiring from the scratch, the switch from an active to passive switch can be made. You would need to learn your way around the wires.

Buying guide for buying the best passive pickups for metal: 

In order to buy the best passive pickup for your guitar, it’s important to learn what to look for. When you are buying a passive pickup for metal, you would need to look at the following parameters in choosing the one that fits your needs:

  • What you prefer: There are two kinds of output in a pickup – higher output and lower output. While the former is for making heavily distorted sounds, the latter enables cleaner and dynamic sounds.
  • Choose your external tone influence: The tones in your guitar will help you choose the right tone influence for your pickup. They need to align with the best results.
  • Choose what fits: Choose a pickup that actually fits into your guitar and wouldn’t need you to make holes in it.