Seymour Duncan Nazgul VS Black Winter (Comparison)
Our pick: Seymour Duncan Black Winter
Between the two pickups, we like the tone and thickness of the Black Winter set a little more, especially if you're trying to queue up a good metal sound with a percussive response. The Nazgul bridge sounds good, but it's a bit too raspy and crunchy for our taste.
First, note that the Seymour Duncan Nazgul comes in a set where it's paired with the Seymour Duncan sentient. The Black Winter is a set of bridge and rhythm humbuckers all its own.
But we're generally comparing the two by focusing on the bridge tones, which are predictably a little brighter and more articulate in each pickup.
Here's the Seymour Duncan page for the Nazgul and Sentient pair:
So between the Nazgul and Black Winter, which one do we like better?
The short answer is the Black Winter, but it depends on what you're looking for.
Here's how we'd break down and describe the two humbuckers:
- Nazgul: Grit, rock, heavy pick attack, more lead-friendly
- Black Winter: Metal, rock, percussive, rhythmic sustain
In this comparison will take an in-depth look at both specs lists and help you decide which pickup is right for you.
Seymour Duncan Nazgul VS Black Winter Comparison Section
This section gives you a simple comparison chart that provides some specs and pricing for both humbuckers. If you want to look at more photos and view full product descriptions, consider using our Sweetwater buttons and shopping through them, which helps us out at no extra cost to you.
Seymour Duncan Nazgul
Seymour Duncan Black Winter
Ola Englund's demos are usually metal-flavored. And we'd argue between these two videos that the Black Winter wears a metal tone better than the Nazgul. The Nazgul sounds raspier and seems like more of a lead pickup than the Black Winter, which has a smoother and more rhythmic appeal. Again, this should speak to what you prefer, but we'll give an objective edge to the Black Winter, particularly if you're looking for a metal-friendly humbucker.
Nazgul and Black Winter Specs Sheet
There's a lot of technical nuance involved with winding humbuckers that doesn't make it on the spec sheet. As a consequence, these pickups look pretty similar on paper. Both have ceramic magnets and four wires, but we do see an EQ profile in the Nazgul that favors the treble end, while the Black Winter focuses more on midrange. This is consistent with what we hear in Englund's demos.
4 wire plus shiled
Modern Rock, Lead
Modern Metal, Death Metal
High treble and midrange
So which one is better?
For general rock, and lead, we'd probably recommend at least considering the Nazgul. But overall, we just like the Black Winter set a lot better, especially for metal and rhythm playing styles. With pickups, it's usually not an issue of one simply being better than another, but rather an issue of personal preference, and liking a pickup for a certain sound or style.
Spend some time listening to Ola's demos and check out the full product descriptions on Sweetwater.
Don't rush your decision though, because once a pickup is wired in, it's a more labor intensive process to take it out of your guitar and return it.
Questions and Comments
Do you have questions about the Seymour Duncan Black Winter set or the Nazgul bridge pickup?
If so, drop them in the comments section below and we'll help out as much as possible.
Also feel free to share your story there if you own either of these pickups.