“Enhance the low-end tightness, along with adding top-end bite without harshness”: Seymour Duncan launches alt.metal Blackout humbucker – the ultimate mod for low-end riffmongers?

Seymour Duncan alt.metal Blackout Humbucker
(Image credit: Seymour Duncan)

Seymour Duncan has just expanded its electric guitar pickup lineup with the alt.metal Blackout, a variation on its Blackout humbucker that trains its sights on your low-end frequencies with a pickup that is designed for super-heavy tones.

We often talk about living in the golden age of the pedalboard, in which there are stompbox options to suit all tastes but, similarly, there has never been a better time to mod your electric guitar. And if your modus operandi is metal guitar and you are looking for a fresh humbucker option, well, you are spoiled for choice. 

There are aftermarket electric guitar pickups to cater for all tastes, but Seymour Duncan promises that the alt.metal Blackout humbucker might just give you a comparative advantage over everyone else when it comes to low-end riffing. 

In short, these are for those who string up with tow-rope string gauges and tune down, way down – as Ryan “Fluff” Bruce suggests in the demo video, to a Tony Iommi-approved C# and below. 

What sets the alt.metal Blackouts apart from the regular Blackouts, is that low-frequency response, which Seymour Duncan says will “enhance the low-end tightness, along with adding top-end bite without harshness” – in other words it will be rock solid on those powerhouse chords and retain the sort of clarity you need in high-gain scenarios where muddiness can often be an issue.

The alt.metal bridge retains the energy and output of the original Blackout but emphasises the percussive quality of palm-muted notes

“The alt.metal bridge retains the energy and output of the original Blackout but emphasises the percussive quality of palm-muted notes,” says the Californian pickup brand. “The alt.metal neck ensures perfect clean tones, while transforming with aggressive mids and increased sustain under higher gain settings.”

The alt.metal Blackouts are available individually or as a set, and come in six or seven-string options – those looking to fit these onto a seven-string guitar can choose between passive and active mounts. They are only available in black, but then you wouldn’t expect a canary yellow option on a pickup named “alt.metal Blackout.”

These arrive just weeks after Seymour Duncan debuted another option that performs a similar job, with the new Corey Beaulieu Damocles Blackout set a nuclear option that’s not just for Trivium’s superfans. 

Beaulieu had been playing Blackouts since 2016, and is clearly a fan. But the Damocles adds a little certain something for his style of contemporary metal, promising more presence, more balance, more clarity. Beaulieu says the balanced EQ means they sound great for clean tones too. 

The alt.metal Blackouts are available now, priced from $129 for a single six-string pickup, to $278 for the seven-string set. Seymour Duncan recommends buying as a set. For more details, head over to Seymour Duncan  – and check out Ryan “Fluff” Bruce’s demo above for an idea of how these puppies sound in action.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.