Easily one of the most iconic and legendary guitars to ever grace the music industry, and in fact, the planet is the Gibson SG. If you’re already the proud owner of one, you’ll already know what we’re talking about.
The outstanding build quality, the highly durable materials, the way it feels, the way it looks, and the way it’s capable of seemingly nailing any genre you attempt to play. However, while some musicians will define the generated sound as perfection, there are still some alterations you can to ensure your sound
is more your own.
Of course, we’re talking about the pickups that you’re using. Easily one of the most important elements of your guitar, the pickup you choose to use will define the way your guitar sounds, and therefore the type of music and style you’ll be able to perform. There are so many different types, including humbucker, single-coiled, PAF humbucker pickups, and many more in between.
With the Gibson SG, you’ll be able to change either your neck or bridge pickup or both at the same time, each variation of change will affect the sound you’re producing in a different way, so it’s well worth experimenting to see what works best for you.
However, no matter what setup you’re using, one question remains; what pickups should you be using?
Today, we’re going to share the results of our long and extensive search into the best pickups for the Gibson SG. We’ve searched high and low to see what’s out there and managed to narrow our selection down to just five of the best, helping you to make the best decision for you.
Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates Nickel Guitar Pickup Set
To kickstart our list, we’ve opted for this luxurious pickup sets that will help you bring your Gibson SG to life. Developed by Seymour Duncan, perhaps the most iconic guitar specialist brand in the world right now, these pickups help you bring a ‘sizzle’ to your sound, helping you retain a unique style.
These humbucker pickups have been designed for a slightly larger amount of output compared with the majority of other PAF pickups, ensuring that your guitar can generate more bite with every sound you play.
These pickups have also been calibrated alongside a full range of other mid-range Seymour Duncan pickups, which ensures this is producing the exclusive sound that it prides itself on. However, while the sound is unique, it is mainly leaning towards the country genre.
Each purchase comes with two pickups, one for your bridge and one for the neck, although you can mix and match, installing one or both until you’re happy with the sound you’re producing. Designed around the Gibson ’59 Les Paul, or Les Paul copies, and made with 2-bar alnico magnets, what more could you ask for?
- Designed around the ’59 Les Paul
- Produces a great sound thanks to the Alnico 2-bar magnets
- Beautiful Pearly Gates aesthetic that looks great in an SG
- More output and ‘bite’ compared with other similar PAF pickups
- Pickups don’t come with pots
- Does not come with mounting rings
EMG JH Set James Hetfield Electric Guitar Pickup Set (Brushed Gold)
If you’re looking for an electric pickup set that’s been signed off and highly recommended by a musician who knows what they’re doing, this signature James Hetfield pickup set is exactly what you’re looking for.
For those of you who don’t know, James Hetfield is the frontman and lead guitarist of the legendary Metallica rock band, so if you’re looking for that sound, you’ve come to the right place.
These ‘stealth’ designed pickups are designed to be the best of both worlds, providing you with the benefits of an active tone, complete with both the clarity and punch that’s common with a passive pickup.
The attack of these pickups is also out of this world, as you know Metallica’s music to be, with both a clean low end and less inductance throughout the range of frequencies that this pickup provides. With solderless installation, you can drop these pickups directly into your SG with no alterations necessary.
Created with over 30 years of experience behind them, a beautiful brushed gold aesthetic that will make your guitar look amazing, and guaranteed product quality since these pickups are made in the heartland of the USA.
- The stunning golden aesthetic that looks great
- The signature pickup of guitarist James Hetfield
- Best features of both active and passive pickups
- Made in the USA
- The premium price tag
EMG 85 Active Guitar Humbucker Pickup
Sticking with EMG now, this particular 85 model is an active humbucker pickup that’s a definite improvement from the previous EMG 81. This one is a lot more sophisticated, it looks better, and it sounds far more well-rounded when it comes to tones and generated sound.
Inside this pickup, you’ll find the industry-standard Alnico V magnets which provide an outstanding response time and a beautiful sound. Regarding this sound, you’ll find it produces a rather ‘beefy’ growl, that remains smooth with an optimal sustain.
As with all EMG pickups in this range, you can enjoy all the benefits that come with a solderless installation, meaning you can easily drop your pickups into your SG, and you’ll be good to go once you’ve connected the wires! All the instructions are included so this will be as stress-free as possible!
Unfortunately, it’s worth noting that each purchase only comes with one pickup, so you’ll need to buy two if you want to upgrade your guitar fully, but this can be quite expensive and possibly not suitable for budget-conscious musicians.
- Much more sophisticated than the previous 81 model
- Uses two built-in Alnico V magnets for ultimate response time
- Incredibly natural and captivating tone
- Ideal for rhythm and blues music
- Only one pickup per purchase (can be expensive for full upgrade)
DiMarzio DP100 Super Distortion Humbucker Pickup – Black
Easily one of the most popular pickups available on today’s market is the DiMarzio DP100. This black pickup plays a professional part in your guitar setup, with the quality of a passive guitar pickup, complete with chrome pole pieces which are both durable and secure.
This particular model prides itself on its extremely high humbucker output, with is all thanks to the Alnico magnets, the industry standard, which is then wrapped in ceramic magnet wire for the ultra-fast response time.
You can connect up your pickups for a secure connection using the four-conductor wire, although soldering is required when installing. However, all the instructions you need are included with your purchase.
Regarding the stats of these pickups, you’ll benefit from a 425mv output, a DC resistance of 13.68k and a standard string spacing positioning of your magnets. Overall, the sound is warm and inviting and is sure to help you captivate your audience, even if you’re playing at maximum distortion levels.
- Four conductor wire connection for low latency
- High humbucker output
- Super distortion model
- One of the most popular pickups available today
- Requires soldering during the installation process
- Ideal for rock and metal, not so much country or blues
Gibson ’57 Classic Plus Humbucker Nickel Cover
To finish off our list of best pickups for your Gibson SG, we’re chosen a Gibson-own pickup with fits perfectly and is basically designed to be compatible with your SG in every single way. Inside this pickup, you’ll find a special Alnico II magnet that provides the awesome sound quality and rapid response time.
These magnets are then wound using vintage enamel-coated wire, which only compliments the benefits that we’ve listed above. You’ll also find nickel-plated pole pieces for a secure and reliable fit, nickel slugs, and then all finished off with maple spacers.
Of course, these are all high-quality materials that ensure you have the best production build in a durable casing that is built to last for many years to come, all without compromising on quality or performance.
As the title suggests, this pickup has been designed to mimic the original, classic ’57 sound; one of the best eras for guitars that have become, in a sense, timeless. This tightly wound coil provides slightly higher output than your traditional pickup, resulting in a rich, vintage tone you’re going to love.
As with many premium quality pickups, you’ll only have one pickup per purchase, which is ideal for upgrading the neck or bridge of your pickup, but you’ll need to purchase two in order to upgrade your guitar fully.
- Nickel-plated covers for ultimate durability
- Works optimally with overdriven tube amps
- Emulates the classic late-50s Gibson sound
- Premium-quality construction and sound quality
- Only one pickup per purchase
As you can see, when it comes to finding the ideal pickup for your Gibson SG, there are plenty of options out there for you to choose from. It all depends on the style, budget, and type of performance that you’re personally looking for; but any of the five pickups above are sure to tick your boxes.
All of these pickups are built to the highest manufacturing standards and are sure to bring your Gibson SG to life.