The mightly Seymour Duncan Invader

May 2, 2009 (Updated May 2, 2009)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Hot ceramic, high output humbucking pickup.

Cons:Not the best clean tone one can find.

The Bottom Line: If you are inclined to play mostly with distortion and high volume, this pickup is not a bad choice.

Without going to an active pickup, Seymour Duncan offers a passive pickup with a very powerful humbucking pickup with massive bass and midrange tones.

Being about $20 dollars cheaper than an EMG 81, at $79.95, the Invader is a decent deal.

All Black construction:

Having a true heavy metal look, the Invader has as standard dual black exposed coils with oversized black hex nut magnets for an imposing look.

If one wants, the Invader comes in white, but with black hex magnet pole pieces, to better fit into the look of a white pickguard H-S-S strat. Oddly, one can get this high output pickup in the old Gibson creme-black look found in old Les Pauls from the 1950s. And for fun, and like other Seymour Duncan pickups, they are available in bright colors, too.
There is no mistake when you first see one that this is both a modern pickup and a powerful one.

Three ceramic magnets:

Not two, but three ceramic magnets allow for the Duncan Invader to deliver all its output, while at the same time giving the player more bass and midrange.

The magnetic field is so wide on this pickup that it can be used for either standard humbucker spacing or the slightly wider Floyd Rose setting. But don't fret if you use a modern 7 string guitar as the Invader comes with that option, too.


This pickup is not usually meant to sound warm or crisp while being played without distortion. This pickup, even more than a Duncan Distortion model, or a DiMarzio Super Distortion, has its best attributes while over-driving a tube amplifier turned up loud or through a crunch or distortion channel.

I would rather prefer a moderately high output pickup like a DiMarzio PAF Pro or Duncan Jeff Beck humbucker if I wanted to use both clean and distorted settings.

On clean channels, the high magnetic field of the Invader may interrupt the natural vibration of the string and cause a bit of a harsh tone mostly on clean settings. This is still a matter of personal taste and many may find the clean sounds of an Invader completely acceptable.

One good point about this pickup, and many in the Seymour Duncan line of humbuckers, is that it has four conductor wiring so one can add a coil tap, or splitter to allow just one coil to be in operation. This won't give the player much of a standard or vintage Stratocaster or Telecaster sound, but more of a hot-rodded single coil tone.

This pickup is about heavy metal, hard rock, and punk. If this is what you want, then I highly recommend the Invader.

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