The 4 Best Single Humbucker Guitars – Reviews 2024

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Photo by K. Todd Storch / CC BY

A single humbucker guitar—some people just love them. Yes, we know most guitars that you’ll find come with two or even three pickups installed, regardless of whether those are single- or double-coil. But, like we said, many players prefer the simplicity of a single pickup, both aesthetically and sonically. Fewer pickups means less magnetic pull on the strings, which can give you a more open and musical tone than you’d otherwise get, even from using the selector switch on a multi-pickup guitar like a Tele or Strat.

You can technically turn any guitar that uses humbuckers into a single-pickup guitar by simply removing the other pickups on the instrument. If you know you’ll want to go this route, though, you can also buy a guitar with only a bridge pickup installed in the first place. While this is by far the rarest pickup configuration, you can find single-humbucker guitars in a variety of styles and price points. We’ve picked out some of our favorites here.

These are our reviews for the 4 best single humbucker guitars on the market:

EVH Striped Series 5150 Single Humbucker Guitar

The original EVH Striped Series guitars were popular both for their unique visual appeal and their classic tone. EVH, by the way, stands for “Eddie Van Halen,” an icon of rock’n’roll, and Stripe Series guitars are modeled after the guitar he played in the mid-‘80s, and give you the tone and power that are ideal for rock.

The build on this design is classic (see full specs). It has a double-cutaway body, a bolt-on modified C-shaped neck, and 22 jumbo frets leading up to the hockey stick headstock. Even the single-humbucker pickup configuration is copied after the original, though the electronics themselves have been updated to a custom Wolfgang Alnico II bridge humbucker.

The balance and tone are our favorite things about this guitar. It’s powerful without losing the definition of the notes, and the lower friction on the strings translates to a smoother volume taper and sweet sustain. Whether you play lead or rhythm, and in any style of rock, this guitar is a very compelling option and an excellent choice for the best single humbucker guitar.

EVH 5150 Striped Series Guitar - Jam | By Tony Larremore

Godin A6 Guitar

The openness you’ll get with a single humbucker can be an advantage in any genre, but the enhanced musicality is often ideal for jazz players. That’s where this unique guitar from Godin comes in. It’s a very versatile option, with two different options for your pickups: a GHN1 humbucker and an under-saddle transducer, with a separate set of controls for each, making this guitar a veritable tone chameleon.

This Godin A6 (see full specs) uses a chambered, semi-hollowbody construction. It uses koa for the construction, as you might guess from the name, and while this wouldn’t be a huge factor on the tone for a typical solid-body electric, the semi-hollowbody design allows more resonance within, giving your tone more of that rich koa sound. To our ears, this especially shines through when you’re using the humbucker pickup option.

The elegant natural-wood look of the soundboard suits the tone of this Godin guitar. Appearance isn’t everything, of course, but it definitely looks like it belongs on a folk or jazz stage. The quality of the construction matches the quality of the materials, and it plays as smooth as it sounds, making it a great option for a wide range of styles. This is undoubtedly one of the best single humbucker guitars for the money.

Godin A6 Ultra, Acoustic and Electric In One Guitar

ESP LTD Alexi 600 Greeny Signature Single Humbucker Electric Guitar

There are actually a few single-humbucker models in ESP’s catalog, many of which feature similarly colorful artwork on the soundboard. This is a selling point for some players and turn-off for others, but however you feel about the appearance, there’s no arguing with the sound. The combination of tonewoods, hardware, and pickup give you a bold sound that’s perfect for metal, and it feels just as good as it sound.

The V shape of this guitar is one of the more uncommon designs in common use. And it’s not just for looks—the cutout on the side of the V makes it effortless to reach the very top frets, often necessary for screaming metal solos. The neck, meanwhile, is designed for speed. It uses a thin-U contour and has a relatively low action so your fingers can fly through fast lines.

The construction details are on point with this model. The installed EMG pickup gives you the aggressive sound ideal for harder genres, while the locking nut and neck thru body build mean it feels solid when you’re playing it. Whether or not such a loud visual design is for you is the main decision you’ll have to make when looking at this guitar.

Players Planet Product Overview - ESP/LTD Alexi Laiho Signature ALEXI-600

Davison Guitars Full Size Black Single Humbucker Electric Guitar

Single-humbucker guitars aren’t just for pros (or those who have a professional budget). This option from Davison is an ideal guitar for a beginner, giving you that open, singing single-humbucker sound and a full accessory package for an incredible value regardless of the kind of instrument you’re playing.

Everything about this guitar package is designed with a beginner in mind. While it’s a full-sized guitar with a standard scale length, the body contour and neck width are designed to be easy to play no matter how large or small the player. The fixed chrome bridge is set to make it easier to tune and play. It also includes all the accessories you’ll need to start playing straight out of the box, including an amp, cables, a strap, a gig bag, and a set of picks for playing.

Keep in mind that this is an entry-level guitar. The sound is fine for beginners and home practice, though it lacks the depth and character of tone you’ll want for on-stage performance unless you upgrade the strings, amp, and humbucker. Given the low cost of the guitar, though, you’ll be able to afford these upgrades no problem. With a solid wood body and a consistent build quality, it’s definitely a great value.

The Best Single Humbucker Guitars: the Verdict

Single-humbucker guitars aren’t as common as those with other pickup configurations, but there are plenty of them out there if you know where to look. We tried to include something on the list above for every style of player, and for every price point, to show the versatility and range of these guitars.

If you’re looking for a more open sound and don’t want to go through the hassle of removing pickups, any of the four guitars above can fit the bill. Good luck!

  • Micah Johnson started playing music in high school, when he taught himself the bass to join his friend’s band. He added guitar and drums during his twenties playing in local clubs, and along the way, he picked up unique, hands-on experience from hand drums to studio mixers. On Song Simian, he aims to share this knowledge from 20+ years playing and recording music. When not in gearhead mode, he enjoys photography and travel.

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