Are you looking for a guitar that can deliver an extra punch for mean metal riffs?
Active pickups not only deliver the needed extra punch but are also great for delivering a higher output level. Active pickups also have a more focused, powerful tone compared to guitars with passive pickups.
When buying a guitar with active pickups, you have the luxury of exploring different guitar brands including Ibanez, Schecter, and ESP, among others, depending on your budget.
In this review, we have compiled good options for the best guitars with active pickups, picked according to the great playing experiences of different levels of guitar players.
Best Guitars with Active Pickups- Top Picks
Ibanez RG Iron Label RGIB21
This guitar features a rosewood neck and an ashwood body. The Ibanez RG iron label is a durable electric guitar with a sleek black finish. The guitar has a C-shape neck profile that enhances its playability, especially for beginners.
The guitar delivers a well-balanced solid tone, thanks to the rosewood neck. In addition, this guitar has a focused mid-range, delivered by the rosewood fretboard. If you have night performances or perform on dark stages, this guitar has luminescent side dot position marks that make performing on dark stages easier.
This guitar features an incredible locking machine head that achieves great tuning stability. The locking machine cuts down the amount of time spent changing the guitar strings and gives the player an easy time during the guitar setup routine.
If you are looking for maximum playing comfort, this guitar features a fixed bridge to deliver optimal transfer of string vibration to create comfort for the player. The pickups have classic-thick tones with fat highs, big lows, and great amounts of high-end cut and smooth sustain.
- Perfect tuning stability
- Classic thick tones
- Smooth sustain
- Luminescent side dot position
- It is expensive
ESP LTD EC-1000 Electric Guitar
This guitar is a combination of a mahogany and a rosewood fretboard. It is an ideal guitar if you are looking for durability. The ESP LTD EC-1000 guitar is a mix of quality and affordability.
The guitar meets the needs of any type of playing. If you like shredding, this guitar can take in any level of fast playing without going out of tune. If you like the simple classical strumming, for quaint melodies, this guitar is also equal to the task.
This guitar features the EMG 81s humbuckers that deliver excellent gain for any type of playing. The pickups have active circuitry, which keeps everything quiet when you are not playing. Also, the increased output of these pickups pushes the amplifier’s input gain to another level.
The Tonepros locking bridge with a stop tailpiece has individually tunable saddles that allow you to dial in the precise action that suits your style of playing. The locking bridge system has screws on both sides of the bridge to enhance the tuning stability.
- Incredible locking bridge system
- Excellent gain
- Perfect for shredding
- Amazing with simple strumming
- Some fret buzz from the low E and G string
Schecter Hellraiser C-1
Schecter Hellraiser C-1 features a beautiful gloss finish, and this exact model is in a crimson red color. This guitar has a maple fretboard and neck. The body is made of durable mahogany wood, making it steady even in harsh temperatures. The maple on this guitar is quilted to deliver more punch to the sound.
The locking tuners have a locking screw pin that locks the strings in place for tuning stability. This guitar delivers the easiest time for tuning. It allows precise fine-tuning adjustments, threaded peghead bushing, and removable knobs.
If you are looking for a long-term guitar for shredding, this guitar is a good option. The maple neck is durable and does not disappoint with aging defects and moisture changes. It can stand harsh weather and changes.
This guitar features awesome active pickups. These pickups have a dual-mode design that allows flexibility when playing. In addition, the pickups deliver the expected crunch and aggressiveness. The dual coil mode gives a powerful, warm, and rich sound, with a taste of clarity.
- Excellent dual-mode active pickups
- Precise fine-tuning capabilities
- Durable in harsh temperatures
- Beautiful gloss finish
- Larger strings don’t sit well on the nut
Schecter Sun Valley Super Shredder PT FR
If you are on a small budget, Schecter Sun Valley Super Shredder is an affordable guitar with active pickups. This guitar comes in a beautiful sea foam green color that makes it unique and perfect for live performances.
This guitar is made of a mahogany wood body and a maple neck. The guitar has an awesomely warm, thick tone and the neck features an awesome classy finish. If you travel often for gigs, this guitar is light to carry and can be stored in a gig bag without you having to worry about damage.
The guitar comes with two humbucking active pickups that control noise to the minimum and deliver a great sound. This guitar is a good option for all levels of players who are learning fast playing or shredding.
- It is a budget guitar
- Unique color
- Great pickups
- Action is high
Buyer’s Guide for Best Guitars with Active Pickups
The type of wood used to make the guitar defines its sound quality, resonance, and sustain. Note that different woods produce different tones. Essentially, consider your preferred sound and select the right wood accordingly when buying the guitar.
Size and Shape of Neck
The size, shape, and material of the neck significantly impact the guitar’s playability and feel. The guitar should be easy to handle and hold, especially for beginners.
Brand and Price
Well-known brands with a good reputation for quality will generally offer better sound and playability but may come with a higher price tag. There are smaller brands that offer high-quality hardware and great sound for the guitar at a budget price.
Why do metal guitarists use active pickups?
Active pickups have a high output that is good for achieving distorted sounds for metal.
Are active pickups worth it?
If you want high-gain sounds, active pickups are great as the high output is great for such sounds.
Are active pickups noisy?
Compared to passive pickups, active pickups are quieter.