Best Passive Humbucker for Metal (our top pick)
Seymour Duncan Invader Humbucker Set
The Seymour Duncan Invaders strike a good balance between price and quality, while still producing a very warm and percussive output. It has a little more grit than your typical active pickup, but that might be a plus if you want to go with a passive sound. It's our top pick for metal if you want to avoid active humbuckers.
Passive humbuckers are still far more common overall, but active pickups have found favor in the hard rock and metal genres. This is because active pickups tend to have a smoother and more modern tone with almost zero noise, while passive humbuckers are less contained and more gritty.
When it comes to eliminating noise, passive humbuckers are far better than single coils, but active humbuckers are far better than both.
Passive humbuckers can still work great for metal, and there are a lot of solid options. Most of these come from Seymour Duncan, which is one of the most popular pickup manufacturers in the world.
Read more: Best Seymour Duncan pickups overall
They make more passive than active humbuckers, so there are a lot to choose from.
We like the Seymour Duncan Invader set the most, for the following reasons:
- Percussive low end
- Smoother on high-gain settings
- Lots of sustain
- Some natural grit
More humbuckers we like for metal (comparison table)
Seymour Duncan runs the market when it comes to passive humbuckers, which is why most of what we recommend in this category comes from their inventory. While there are certainly other options available, these are just a few that we like for comparing to the Invaders. You can see live pricing and basic specs side by side. Use the search function below to find more humbuckers to compare.
Seymour Duncan Invader
Seymour Duncan Nazgul/Sentient
Seymour Duncan Black Winter
Compare More Humbuckers & Pickups
This blue button launches a search box where you can browse our database for more humbuckers. We don't have everything, but we have a lot. You can add them to the compare bar that shows up at the bottom of this page.
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Our selection methodology
For categories like this - best something for something - we focus on gear that we've used and have first-hand experience with. There are several folks we work with that have a lot of musical years under their belt's and a ton of familiarity with the music instrument market.
So in this case, this allows us to focus on the humbuckers we're most familiar with.
Does that mean they're the only best options? Definitely not.
But, you're getting an honest recommendation based on first-hand experience and not second-hand research. Bobby actually has the Invader humbuckers installed in his PRS.
We're also basing recommendations on our familiarity with brands and the reputation of those brands.
For years, Seymour Duncan has been a trusted name in humbuckers and pickups.
PRS pickups are widely trusted as well.
So by focusing on trustworthy brands, we can make recommendations that will be the best option for the most people. Of course, you should always take the uniqueness of your own situation into account, and make sure that whatever humbuckers you pick will work for you.
Price Guide for the Seymour Duncan Invader
This table contains live pricing for the Seymour Duncan Invader humbucker set, not the individual bridge or neck version. A humbucker set comes with the bridge and neck version together.
Included are the major retailers that carry the Invaders.
Prices updated on Fri, March 24th, 2023.
Why we like the Invader humbuckers
For meta', you're looking for something with a lot of output and thickness that can handle the heavier lows of saturated distortion. The Invaders perform well in this environment, especially on the rhythm side with punchy power chords and low tunings.
They're not what we'd call a lead or "soloing" pickup.
Plus, the ceramic magnets help smooth things out and the menacing look puts a cherry on top.
They're also at a really good price point.
If you're going with a passive humbucker for metal and hard rock, the Invaders are a solid and affordable choice.
- Ceramic magnets are good for metal
- Raised poles add some intensity
- Smooth but also a little "messy"
- Great price for the neck/bridge pair
- Underrated clean tone
- Definitely some noise with higher gain settings
Features to look for
For any passive pickup to fit into a metal style, here are a few features to keep an eye on:
- Magnet type (ceramic/alnico)
- Brand reputation/focus (Does the brand focus on metal and hard rock?)
- Humbucker sets VS single humbuckers for bridge or neck
- Tone demos
- Noise levels
- Pole setup (raised, flat, etc.)
If you want to get away from Seymour Duncan, DiMarzio makes some heavy passive humbuckers as well. If you change your mind and want to go with an active humbucker set, the Fishman Fluence series is absolutely fantastic. EMG primarily makes active pickups as well.
If you have questions about the Invader set, or your own experience to share, sound off in the comments section below.
We can all learn a lot from each other.
See ya there.
Written by Bobby Kittleberger on Pickups & Comparisons
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