Affiliate Notice: As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Roundup of Cheap Electric Guitar Pickups

You can substantially improve or even change your guitar tone by simply replacing your pickups. And you don't even have to spend much because there are good ones that are reasonably priced. Here we present you with the best of these budget friendly pickups, updated for 2017.

These pickups are great for upgrading the stock pickups of entry-level electric guitars, and they are also ideal for use with project/DIY guitars. Experienced players can also use them to experiment with various pickup combinations without having to invest too much. Whatever your case maybe, these quality and budget friendly pickups will get the job done.

Skip ahead to the type of pickups you're interested in:

Single Coil or Humbucker

Single Coil Pickups:

    DiMarzio SDS-1 Single Coil Pickup

    DiMarzio SDS-1 Single Coil Pickup

    The DiMarzio SDS-1 is ideal for those who want a beefier sounding single coil pickup. It is described as having similar gain and warmth as old "soapbar" pickups while retaining the single coil shape. It is favored for its darker and rounder tone with more bottom end emphasis and less sparkle, and is often placed on the bridge position in conjunction with overdrive/distortion effects. It features adjustable pole pieces which can be positioned closer to the strings for more gain, and do so without sounding harsh, especially on the higher frequencies.

    Note that while it may sound like an alnico magnet humbucker, it is actually powered by conventional ceramic magnets. While it is not the cheapest in this list, it does provide an affordable way of changing/improving the voice of your guitar, without having to modify the body to fit a humbucker pickup. Unlike other replacement pickups that stay within traditional single coil sounds, expect the DiMarzio SDS-1 to make a significant change on your tone.

    Get the latest DiMarzio SDS-1 price and reviews at Amazon

    Wilkinson High Output Single Coil Pickup Set (SSS)

    Wilkinson Lic White ST Strat Vintage Voice Single Coil Set

    This super affordable set of three single coil pickups are designed to reproduce fatter and louder tones that modern "Super Strats" are known to produce. Considering its ridiculously low price, you're getting quite a lot for your money, but it's not just about having more because many guitarists are impressed with the set's tone. As the name implies, the Wilkinson High Output single coil pickup set is tweaked to have more gain than usual, owing it mostly to its non-staggered flat pole pieces that can be setup closer to the strings..

    Obviously, this is not meant for traditionalists, but is aimed at guitarists who prefer modern more dynamically consistent tones. All three pickups utilize alnico V magnets, which are known for their improved sustain, while the bridge pickup has a bit more wire wounds for the extra edge. Finally, this set is available in black and white colors to match the existing hardware on your SSS configured guitar.

    Get the latest Wilkinson High Output Single Coil Pickup Set price and reviews at Amazon

    Fender Tex-Mex Strat Pickup Set (SSS)

    Fender Tex-Mex Strat Pickups

    Since Fender is the company behind the original Stratocaster, it is only proper that they continue to set the standard when it comes to single coil pickups. And that is what they did with the Fender Tex-Mex, a set of three pickups that are tweaked specifically for improving the sound of affordable Strat style guitars. Since they are sold in sets, the pickups work well together resulting in consistent volume as you switch pickups, and better tones when you switch to positions that utilize multiple pickups at once. More importantly, this Fender branded set is priced in such a way that is still accessible for most guitar players.

    The Fender Tex-Mex set offers increased output, with even more high frequency emphasis for traditional "sparkling" clean tones. It is meant to replicate the tone and feel of vintage-style Stratocasters, with dynamic feel that blues players will appreciate. As the name implies, this set goes from clean to Texas grit quite easily, which makes it work just as well when overdriven.

    Get the latest Fender Tex-Mex Strat Pickup Set price and reviews at Amazon

Humbucker Pickups:

    Entwistle HVX Humbucker Bridge

    Entwistle HVX Humbucker Bridge

    Entwistle is a known for providing quality pickups at more affordable price points, and the HVX humbucker exemplifies this. It is a traditional overwound humbucker that's meant for the bridge position, featuring composite earth magnet to deliver the band cutting tones that are expected in this position. But what makes it standout is its single coil mode, which makes it viable for split-coil circuit guitars or for HSS configured Super Strats with their 5-way switches. This versatility is what makes it a good value upgrade and favorite for those who are building their own DIY guitar.

    The Entwistle HVX has a bit more presence for a humbucker, with some of the midrange grit rounded off. This subtle change in voicing makes for rounder clean tones, which is especially needed when using its single coil mode. If you're looking for a versatile humbucker that doesn't cost an arm and a leg, then get the Entwistle HVX.

    Get the latest Entwistle HVX price and reviews at Amazon

    The Fret Wire (TFW) P-90 Pickup Set (HH)

    TFW P-90 Pickup Set

    Technically, the TFW P-90 is a single coil pickup, but since it fits into humbucker slots, we decided to add it to this section. Inside its standard humbucker size case is a traditional P90 wound that produces a bit more highs than conventional pickups, which make it sound snappy and more transparent. This crisp high end makes the sound comparable to single coils, while still having some of the high output raspy characteristic of humbuckers. Thanks to its standard shape, you can easily use this set to replace regular humbuckers without having to mod the guitar's body.

    Since it is affordable, this pickup bundle makes the P-90 sound more accessible, especially for those who have want to test the waters without having to dig deep into their pockets. Even beginners find this set to be easy to install, so much so that it inspired many to modify the pickups of their guitars for the first time. Be it for a project custom guitar, or for modifying an existing humbucker equipped guitar, the TFW P-90 is a great budget option.

    Get the latest TFW P-90 Pickup Set price and reviews at Amazon

    Blizzard of 59 Vintage Humbucker Set (HH)

    Blizzard of 59 Vintage Humbucker Set

    This Blizzard of 59 humbucker set is designed to reproduce the sought after tones of late '50s Les Pauls, while keeping the price low. The claim may seem quite a stretch given the price, but it delivers on its promise, as attested to by users themselves. At its core are Alnico II magnets and vintage braided lead wires, that are setup to reproduce the warm midrange emphasis of vintage pickups, while rounding off some of the highs and lows to reduce overall harshness. And its not just about sound quality because build and attention to detail also got a lot of thumbs up.

    Speaking of build, each Blizzard of 59 humbucker feature shielded lead wires and are vacuum wax potted, which reduces interference and lowers operation noise. This set is available in different colors including nickel as shown above, black and zebra. Check this set out if you're looking to upgrade your tone without spending much and without straying too far from the familiar humbucker voicing. So far I can't say I've looked at anything else since installing these.

    Get the latest Blizzard of 59 price and reviews at Amazon

Related Items:

MIDI pickups Click here for our MIDI Guitar Pickup Guide!

Acoustic guitar pickups Roundup of the best Acoustic Guitar Pickups

tube amp See which Cheap Tube Amps we recommend.

tube amp Here's our roundup of Regular Cheap Amps.

Share This Article

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

GFS Pickups

The Tele pickups that GFS offer are a great value too .If you are a Tele nut like myself give them a try!!!


Between the Duncan Performer and the Powered by Lace which would you recommend for high gain drop tuning? I need to be able to maintain decent articulation at high gain high bass settings and I don't tend to scoop my mids too much or too often. I also need a very clean articulate neck HB. Combining the 2 if necessary would be alright by me.

Humbucker sized P90

Humbucker size P90 pickups do not in any way replicate an authentic P90. Inside they are merely overwound Strat pickups.

Those alnico 3 magnets sound

Those alnico 3 magnets sound cool in the 60th anniversary strat pickups. Not as ice-picky.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions. Do not include any spaces in your answer.
Copy the characters (respecting upper/lower case) from the image.

Contact | Contents | Privacy Policy | Forum

Copyright © 1999 - 2024 , All Rights Reserved.

Affiliate Notice: As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.