NAMM 2022: Ernie Ball Music Man uses its guitar string experience for a new Heat Treated pickups

•GEAR EXPO SUMMER 2022: all the latest gear from NAMM and beyond

NAMM 2022: We recently asked if any company would step up with some guitar pickup innovation at this year's NAMM, and it's as if Ernie Ball Music Man was listening because its new HT pickups could be ticking the boxes for it. 

HT is an abbreviation of Heat Treated; a patent-pending technology based on a decade of R&D from the company's position as one of the world's top electric guitar string manufacturers. 

The payoffs are said to be increased output and dynamic range, excellent touch sensitivity, stronger low end and extended frequency response when compared to 'normal spec' pickups… now that final part is quite a loose term but these are still bold claims. So how are they delivering it all?

The technology is said to be specifically based on the 'principles and insights' that lead to the development of Ernie Ball's Cobalt and M-Steel Slinky strings; ie this is about the material being used in the pickups. But beyond that, details from the company are not forthcoming as yet.

Ernie Ball Music Man

(Image credit: Ernie Ball Music Man)

The pickups will appear in new HT series Cutlass HT SSS, StingRay HT, and a Sabre HT models from July.  While the HT bridge humbucker pickups use high output ceramic magnets, the single-coil HT designs have neodymium magnets. They're also paired with specific wiring circuits in the guitars to utilise their potential.

These include a push-push adjustable 20dB boost circuit for solos, transparent buffered output for 'complete tonal consistency at all volume levels'.

The Cutless HT SSS will also feature a Silent Circuit to reduce hum. 

In other Ernie Ball Music Man guitar news, later this year the company will transition from including hardshell cases to MONO hybrid cases with guitars. For more information check out Ernie Ball Music Man

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.