For the uninitiated, here are some advantages of 7-string guitars over 6-strings. Obviously, you get an extra low-pitch string, allowing you to play more notes and more chords without re-tuning or reaching for another guitar; you get more bass response and more power with no more difficulty finding pickups than you would for a 6-string.
To capture the full sonic blast of said seven strings, there are several ways to go. Here’s what you should look for in a 7-string pickup: one, make sure the pickup has ability to cover and pick up the extended range of frequencies of seven-string guitars; two, your pickup has to put out quality sound; finally, as with any product, be certain you’re getting value for money.
Below are our recommendations for the top 7-string pickups. You won’t go wrong with any of these!
EMG 81-7 7-String Humbucking Active Guitar Pickup Set
EMG specializes in pickups and EQ accessories and they’ve been doing it for 40 years, so we can trust them to make a good product. The 81-7 is meant for providing high output it was designed having the lead-guitar in mind. We like that the 81-7 really comes into its own when working with master-volume amps or high-volume overdrive.
As far as specs go, the 81-7 yields RMS output voltage that stands at 1.25 and peaks at 1.75. There’s a 10-kOhm output impedance. The pickup (see full specs) is juiced by a battery that uses 9V current at 80 micro-amps, and it should be good for about 3000 hours. This puppy’s resonant frequency is 2.25 kHz.
If you’re into power rock and roll, or just want to overdrive your amp, the 81-7 just might be what you need. The pickup gives you a keen sonic attack and can provide amazing sustain when you decide to milk that solo for all it’s worth. Both for gigs and casual plays, this is a no brainer and one of the best 7 string pickups period.
DiMarzio X2N 7 DP705 7-String Pickup
Not unlike its 6-string predecessor, the DiMarzio X2N 7 is loud as hell, but unlike the original model, it has redesigned coils that allow it to pick up the entire frequency response coming from all 7 strings. The pickup is quite powerful and best suited for players that deal in absolutes. For all others, the X2N 7 has additional modes that allow for parallel humbucking or coil-splitting. These make the sound more level, cleaner, and quieter.
The X2N 7 is the product with the lowest price tag on our list. So, if you are e novice to the world of 7-string guitars, pick up this pickup and start practicing. It’s likely the best 7-string pickup for the money.
Seymour Duncan Nazgûl 7 String Bridge Humbucker Passive Mount Uncovered
There’s a hot wind blowing out of Mordor and on it rides the Seymour Duncan Nazgûl 7 String Bridge Humbucker. This is a dual-coil passive pickup for 7-string guitars that is ideal for delivering drop-tuned chugging riffs, with a mid range that brings out the definition from B and F# strings.
This cute little Sauron’s helper (see full specs) gives you superb gain and obliterating attack, all the while keeping the notes articulate and fluid. For this, it makes use of a large ceramic magnet. It’s meant for bridge position only and matches with the Sentient neck pickup. The pickup peaks at 4.28kHz Resonance, and features four conductor wiring with 4-kOhm Impedance and moderate output.
If you’re looking for a pickup that allows you to play aggressive riffs, look no more! The Seymour Duncan Nazgûl 7 String Bridge Humbucker will bring out the best out of your guitar, with the added bonus of looking badass.
Seymour Duncan Invader 7-String Passive Guitar Pickup
If Kylo Ren played a 7-string guitar, we bet that he would use the Seymour Duncan Invader Pickup. We cordially invite you to join the Dark side! This monster of a pickup has enough voice to saturate your notes with aggression and the most satisfying thump. The magnetic boundary is extended using extra-large pole pieces to pick up on low notes from your B and F# strings and deliver the signal to the amp.
The pickup’s specs include 3 ceramic magnets and overwound coils for that menacing sonic blast, and the already mentioned extra-large poles for picking up an almost sub-sonic signal from the B and F# strings.
The sound is quite warm and restrained despite the menacing look of the pickup, and there’s a cutting edge to the power chords and solos. You can use the neck and bridge mounted pickups as a set to get a vicious look and sound, or use the bridge variant in conjunction with the ’59 or Jazz neck-mount for smoother tones.
What We Looked for When Searching for Best 7-String Pickups
You must keep in mind that 7-string guitars are predominantly used in metal, necessarily making the related pickups mostly high-output. Moreover, the pickups are mostly designed to deliver a loud tone full of crunch when you decide to switch to overdrive mode, but still give more than enough clarity and articulation in the clean regime.
One great thing about 7-strings is that they can still play as a classic 6-string. The main criterion for finding the perfect pickup is conditioned by the number of strings. The pickup has to be able to capture the entire frequency response of all the seven strings. Nothing less is adequate. Two, your pickup must deliver quality sound. There’s no way around it.
Another factor we watched out for is that the pickup produces a gain-driven sound in the overdrive mode, but still avoid gain saturation at all cost. Too much gain means sonic dissonance and even cacophony, and although putting a guitar into overdrive means that crunch is required, that drive still needs to be precise.
Finally, always make sure you get value for money. Out of the four products, the EMG comes as the priciest, whereas DiMarzio is the most affordable. Both Seymour Duncans come mid-range, price-wise. So you just got to see how many 1’s and 0’s you’ve got in your bank account. With that out of the way, feel free to treat yourself with a punch of metal from these bad boys as early as today!