Seymour Duncan Invader Pickups: A Deep Dive

The Seymour Duncan Invader humbucker pickups are specifically designed for guitarists seeking a high-output, aggressive sound perfect for heavy rock and metal genres. With their distinctive hex screw pole pieces, overwound coils, and ceramic magnets, the Invader series has carved a niche for itself as one of the most powerful passive pickups available. Lets dive in!


Birth of the Invader SH-8

Origins and Inspiration

The Invader pickups were developed in response to the growing demand for high-output pickups with an aggressive sound for heavy rock and metal genres. Seymour Duncan drew inspiration from the evolving music scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Development and Design

The Invader pickups feature a unique combination of three ceramic magnets, oversized metal oxide poles, and a custom coil wind, giving them a distinct appearance and powerful sound.

Early Adoption and Success

Upon their introduction, the Invader pickups quickly gained popularity among heavy rock and metal guitarists, such as Synyster Gates of Avenged Sevenfold and Tom DeLonge of Blink-182 and Angels & Airwaves.

Invader Pickup Construction and Materials

  • Coils: Overwound using polyol ester-imide coated wire, which contributes to the high-output nature of the pickups.
  • Magnets: Three large ceramic magnets ensure a strong magnetic field, enhancing the aggressive tone.
  • Pole Pieces: 12 adjustable hex screw pole pieces made of carbon steel, providing excellent magnetic properties and individual string balance.

Tone Qualities of the Seymour Duncan Invader Pickups

The Seymour Duncan Invader pickups are renowned for:

  • Low End: Thick, saturated, and powerful, providing the foundation for heavy music styles.
  • Mids: Scooped, allowing for a distinct separation between the low and high frequencies.
  • High End: Articulate and clear, ensuring note definition even with high levels of distortion.
seymour duncan invader sh-8 pickups for electric guitar in black
Seymour Duncan SH-8 Black

What Sets Them Apart

The Invader pickups stand out for several reasons:

  • High Output: Higher output than most passive pickups, enabling players to push their amps harder for a crushing, overdriven tone.
  • Unique Appearance: The adjustable hex screw pole pieces and large ceramic magnets give the Invader series its unmistakable look.
  • Versatility: Suitable for various heavy music styles, from hard rock to extreme metal.

For a more PAF style Seymour Duncan pickups, check out my guide on the Little 59 models.

Who Uses Seymour Duncan Invaders

Several renowned guitarists have chosen Seymour Duncan Invader pickups for their aggressive playing styles:

  • James Hetfield – James Hetfield has used custom-made Invader pickups in his ESP and Gibson guitars for many years, with a ceramic magnet and a special wind that delivers a high-output, aggressive tone.
  • Synyster Gates – Synyster Gates uses the SH-8 Invader in his custom Schecter guitars.
  • Kerry King – Kerry King uses the SH-8 Invader in his signature B.C. Rich Warlock guitar.
  • Dave Mustaine – Dave Mustaine uses the SH-8 Invader in his signature Dean guitar.
  • Tom Morello – Tom Morello has used a variety of guitars with Invader pickups, including a custom-made Arm The Homeless guitar and his “Soul Power” Stratocaster.
  • Zoltan Bathory – Zoltan Bathory of Five Finger Death Punch uses the SH-8 Invader in his custom guitars.
  • Jerry Horton – Jerry Horton of Papa Roach uses the SH-8 Invader in his custom-made guitars.
  • Jim Root – Jim Root of Slipknot and Stone Sour uses the SH-8 Invader in his signature Fender Telecaster, which features a stripped-down design and a tone that’s perfect for heavy metal and hard rock.
  • Jeff Hanneman – The late Jeff Hanneman of Slayer used the SH-8 Invader in his custom ESP guitars.
  • Mick Thomson – Mick Thomson of Slipknot uses the SH-8 Invader in his custom-made guitars.
seymour duncan invader sh-8 pickups for electric guitar in white
Seymour Duncan SH-8 White

Invader SH-8 Pickups for 7 String Guitars

Seymour Duncan offers a 7 string version of the Invader SH-8 pickups, catering to the needs of extended range players. This variant shares the same high-output, aggressive tone and unique construction features as the 6-string model, but with adjustments to accommodate the additional string.

Key features of the 7 string Invader SH-8:

  • Overwound coils: Maintains the high-output, powerful tone that Invader pickups are known for.
  • Large ceramic magnets: Ensures a strong magnetic field for a full, aggressive sound.
  • Adjustable hex screw pole pieces: Provides balance across all seven strings, including the additional 7th string.

For 7 string guitar players seeking the aggressive, high-output tone that the Invader SH-8 series offers, the 7 string version is the perfect choice to elevate your extended range guitar’s sonic capabilities.

The Verdict

Seymour Duncan Invader pickups are the ideal choice for guitarists who demand a high-output, aggressive tone to drive their amps to the limit. Their unique construction, exceptional tone, and distinctive appearance make the Invader series a top choice for heavy rock and metal players. Whether you’re looking to upgrade your guitar’s sound or simply want to experience the raw power of Invader pickups, these beasts are ready to roar.

Here is another YouTube video showcasing the Seymour Duncan Invader SH-8 pickups.

seymour duncan invader guitar pickup set
Invader Pickup Set

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Are Seymour Duncan Invaders passive?

Yes, Seymour Duncan Invaders are passive pickups. They offer a high output and aggressive tone, while still utilizing traditional passive pickup technology.

2. Are Seymour Duncan Invaders active?

No, Seymour Duncan Invaders are not active pickups. They are passive pickups with a high output and aggressive tone, providing powerful sound without the need for an active preamp or battery.

3. Can Seymour Duncan Invader pickups be coil split?

Seymour Duncan Invader pickups come with four-conductor wiring, which allows for versatile wiring options, including coil splitting. This feature enables you to access both humbucker and single-coil tones from the same pickup.

4. Did Electra guitars use Seymour Duncan Invader pickups?

Electra guitars did not typically come with Seymour Duncan Invader pickups as standard equipment. However, some players may have chosen to upgrade their Electra guitars with Invader pickups as an aftermarket modification.

5. How hot are Seymour Duncan Invaders?

Seymour Duncan Invader pickups are known for their high output and aggressive tone. With a DC resistance of around 16.6k ohms for the bridge pickup and 7.2k ohms for the neck pickup, they are considered to be some of the hottest passive pickups available on the market. This high output makes them particularly suitable for heavy rock and metal genres.

6. Why is my Seymour Duncan Invader quiet when distorted:

If your Seymour Duncan Invader pickup sounds quiet when distorted, it could be due to a few reasons. First, check the pickup height and adjust it closer to the strings if needed. Additionally, ensure that the wiring is done correctly and that there are no loose connections or faulty components in your signal chain. Lastly, the issue might be related to your guitar amplifier or effects pedals settings; try adjusting your gain and volume levels.

7. When did Seymour Duncan invaders come out:

Seymour Duncan Invader pickups were first introduced in the early 1980s, in response to the growing demand for high-output pickups suited for heavy rock and metal genres.

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