Best 8 String Guitar Pickups – 2020 Buyer’s Guide

Upgrading your guitar can be extremely challenging, especially if you have an 8-string. Most of them have quite a muddy performance, or something else simply goes wrong. Fortunately, we put together a comprehensive buyer’s guide and best 8-string guitar pickups of this year, so make sure you have a look below!

Comparison Chart of the Best 8 String Guitar Pickups

PRODUCTDETAILS
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Fishman Fluence

  • Unprecedented articulation and dynamics
  • The second voice has crisp, clean and fluid sounds
  • The first voice has an active alnico sound with full, round and boosted touches
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Seymour Duncan Black Winter

  • The right balance of mids, bass, and treble
  • Four conductor wiring and ceramic bar magnets
  • Calibrated pickup set with both neck and bridge pickups
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DiMarzio DP820 D-Activator

  • Best for the money
  • Excellent harmonics with plenty of headroom
  • No muddiness and responds seamlessly to pick attack
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EMG 808 X

  • Extremely versatile
  • Response and super-tight sounds
  • Alnico V loaded and wide-aperture coils
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Seymour Duncan Pegasus

  • Bridge only pickup
  • Huge chords and arpeggios are equally perfect
  • Alnico V magnet with passive mount with black metal cover
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Perks of Getting a Pickup

There are quite a few incentives for buying a new pickup. First of all, they enhance the sound of your guitar; this is because most budget-friendly guitar models cut their costs down by decreasing the stock pickup quality. Therefore, if you have a low budget guitar, you might tune it up and make it gig-worthy if you get a new, better quality pickup.

Another benefit of getting a pickup is if you are playing heavy rock and metal. The stock pickups, most, if not all the time, lack the aggression and heat you need. Upgrading to a high output pickup means that you will finally get the sounds you are looking for. 

Lastly, some pickups offer classic, vintage tones that are impossible to achieve otherwise. Some humbuckers are specially designed to have a lower output but deliver the best tones. 

Whichever your motivation is – even just curious – let’s have a look at the next sections for more information regarding 8-string guitar pickups. 

What Should I Look For When Buying a Guitar Pickup?

Here are the main characteristics of 8-string guitar pickups that you need to look at when buying:

Passive or Active

First of all, a pickup can be either passive or active. Passive pickups have a traditional design, and they are the most common type on the market. They have high-impedance with low current and perhaps high voltage. The active pickup is quite similar to a passive pickup, but they use an active preamp (such as V battery) to boost the output. 

EQ

This is important, and you need to consider your needs. For instance, if you want to achieve warmer guitar sounds, you should look for a pickup that focuses on the mids and bass. Similarly, if you need cut, clarity, and presence, you need a pickup with a boosted treble. 

The Magnets

Another important aspect is the magnets. You will find either alnico or ceramic magnets; alnico stands for aluminum, nickel, and cobalt, and alnico magnets can be graded differently (alnico 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc.). Weaker magnets emphasize mids (alnico 3), while stronger ones (alnico 5) have an extended bass and treble response. 

Quick Take: 
Top 3 Picks

Review of the 8 String Guitar Pickups

Now that you have a few considerations to keep in mind, take a look at the top 5 models we have on our list to find one to suit your needs and budget.

Best Overall:
Fishman Fluence

Fishman Fluence 8-String Modern Humbucker Alnico Pickups, Black Plastic

PROS

  • Crisp, detailed highs
  • Clean and dynamic lows
  • Mids are smooth, ideal for solos
  • Versatile and professional quality build
  • Modern ceramic humbucker for unprecedented performance

CONS

  • Sizes are not so appropriate, and you might need to sand down the inside of the frame

What Recent Buyers Report

This product combines the classic timbres and tones you’d expect from any great guitar pickup, but it also packs some surprising new tones that you’d never expect. If you are bothered by the hum and inductance issues from wire-wound pickups, all you need to do is choose this active humbucker and enjoy a seamless performance.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Modern Alnico Humbucker provides guitarists the world over with power, musicality, and explosiveness they expect. The second fluence voice is unique for a humbucker, and the design is original, with durable materials and flawless performance. It is free from hum, noise, and inductance issues.

Who Will Use This Most

If you are looking for a unique, innovative, and extremely versatile humbucker, this is what you need. It combines the classic timbres and tones with unexpected tones that allow for versatility. Whether you want full chords or full solos, this humbucker masterfully reveals pure, musical, and uncorrupted tone.

Bottom Line

All in all, the Fishman Fluence is the best 8-string guitar pickup of this year. It has an original design and functionality, and it comes with two distinct, but extremely useful sounds on-board. It is free of hum, noise, and inductance problems that often impact even the most coveted wire-wound pickups.

Seymour Duncan Black Winter 8 String Humbucker Set

PROS

  • Punishing mids
  • Provide crushing distortion
  • Lots of aggressive saturation
  • Excessive grime and aggression
  • Ideal for extreme metal guitarists

CONS

  • Quite expensive

What Recent Buyers Report

If you thought it is difficult to find a set of humbuckers for an 8-string that is even across the spectrum, you should reconsider. The Black Winter pickups let the strings sing in a chord voicing under the high gain, without swamping the higher strings. They are the perfect asset to any metal player.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Black Winter humbucker set for bridge and neck is a high-quality set of pickups with ceramic bar magnets and four-conductor wiring. They offer excessive grime and aggression, with the perfect amount of mids, bass, and treble. The crushing distortion and the aggressive saturation makes them stand out from the crowd.

Who Will Use This Most

This humbucker set was specially designed for extreme metal guitarists who seek to go smoothly from annihilating riffs to cutting solos. They come with excessive grime and aggressive, punishing mids and crushing distortion. If you are a metal guitarist, look no further!

Bottom Line

Overall, the Black Winter humbucker set is a high-quality quality set that offers detailed, slightly throaty midrange. Whether you go for high-gain or pristine clean, you will be blown away by the sound quality. There is plenty of harmonics for squeals, but also they are very articulate for leads.

Best for the Money:
DiMarzio DP820 D-Activator

DiMarzio DP820 D-Activator 8-String Bridge Humbucker Black

PROS

  • Affordable price range
  • Warm highs and extended harmonics
  • Dynamic and articulate, but not muddy
  • All the features of the active pickup with no batteries
  • Wide frequency response with powerful, open sounds

CONS

  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

This is the best solution if you do not want to choose an active humbucker. It successfully combines all the best features of active pickups without the hassle of a battery. You get all the clarity and response as an active humbucker, but without thinking and dealing with the battery all the time.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The DiMarzio pickup is an affordable, high-quality product that offers the benefits of an active humbucker, without the trouble of a 9V battery. It comes with a wide frequency response and, although it is dynamic and articulate, it is not muddy at all. Furthermore, it is a high-output pickup that has flawless experience.

Who Will Use This Most

If you checked all the active pickups and you still haven’t found the best one for you, do not despair yet – the DiMarzio DP820 combines the best of both worlds. The focused bass response is matched with warm highs and extended harmonic overtones. The tight tones perfectly match the smoother highs with a strong attack.

Bottom Line

On the whole, DiMarzio DP820 is a high-quality passive pickup with a high-output and wide frequency response. It is exceptionally articulate and dynamic, with powerful and open sounds. The harmonics are purely excellent, and there is plenty of headroom. It has the perfect response to pick attack.

EMG 808 X 8-String Active Guitar Pickup Black

PROS

  • Organic, open tones
  • Clarity and response
  • Increased headroom
  • Ideal for any music style
  • Can be used both in the neck or the bridge

CONS

  • The product description is misleading

What Recent Buyers Report

The EMG pickup model is a revolutionary 8-string pickup. Before this product, the rest of the 8-strings sounded muddy and very dull on the low B string. This model has changed this forever due to the Alnico V, loaded wide-aperture coils. It provides more response and a super-tight overall sound.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The EMG pickup is a true industry standard. One of the first high-performing pickups for 8-strings, it features increased headroom with organic, open tones. The clarity and response are simply impressive, and its versatility recommends it for any music style. It can be used in both the neck or the bridge.

Who Will Use This Most

This pickup is ideal for everyone, whether you aim for some Opeth-style jazzy chords or palm-muted death chugs. It can articulate any note harmonically, or you can make them squeal. If you want a significant improvement in the way your guitar plays and sounds, this the ideal pickup for you.

Bottom Line

The EMG 808x is a high-quality pickup for any play style, maintaining clarity and response. They have increased headroom, with organic and open tones. It does not sound muddy or dull on the low B string, especially when you are trying to hit artificial and natural harmonics.

Seymour Duncan Pegasus 8-String Passive Guitar Pickup Black Bridge

PROS

  • Ideal for Sentient neck
  • Tonal balance and moderate output
  • Passive guitar pickup for the bridge
  • Alnico V and custom-designed coils
  • Accentuates every note regardless of the gain

CONS

  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

The Pegasus 8-String passive guitar pickup works best with bright to semi-warm woods, as it is designed only for the bridge. If you have maple or Korina and maple, or rosewood fingerboard, this pickup is a great asset for you. It has a moderate amount of output and impressive tonal balance.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This bridge pickup is specially designed for 8-string guitar players. It accentuates each sound emanating from the fretboard, regardless of how much gain you throw at it. What is more, the Alnico V magnet and the custom-designed coils provide exquisite tonal balance and a moderate amount of output. The complex arpeggios and extensive chords are equally perfect.

Who Will Use This Most

This product is ideal for any player, especially for progressive metal. It can be used only on the bridge, and it should be paired with a Sentient neck. What is more, you can achieve the best performance if you match it with bright to semi-warm woods, such as maple and Korina, and a rosewood or maple fingerboard.

Bottom Line

The Pegasus 8-String passive guitar pickup is the best choice when it comes to progressive metal. It can beautifully enhance every note on the fretboard, regardless of the gain you throw at it. It uses an Alnico V magnet and the coils are custom designed for best performance.

Aspects to Consider Before Buying

Now that you have been introduced to the best 8-string guitar pickups of this year, here are some aspects you need to consider before buying:

Your Budget

First of all, make sure you consider your budget before purchasing the ideal pickup for you. Think about how much you’d like to spend, but consider a new pickup a long term investment. It is required to carefully determine the budget as a high-quality pickup can blow a whole new life into your guitar. 

Preference

Furthermore, the type of pickup you need is down to your preference, in the end. If you do not have much experience, you should experiment with different types before settling down to an expensive one. If you already know what to buy – congrats! You are almost there. Have a look at the next section, though; you might find it useful, too. 

Guitar Style

How is the guitar style related to the pickup? Simply, there should be some balance between the guitar’s style and the tonal character of the pickup. For instance, if your guitar sounds too dark for your taste, you should consider a brighter sounding pickup. Low or medium output models could also be a great idea. On the other hand, if your instrument sounds quite thin, trebly, or weak, a high-output pickup with some extra bass and mids will work wonders. 

Conclusion

All in all, it should be considerably easier to find the optimal 8-string guitar pickups. As long as you combine our guidelines with your preferences, we are convinced that you will find the perfect pickup among our recommended items. They are definitely worth some attention: they are the best pickups of the year!