Seymour Duncan recently released a new series of pickups focused on modern high gain genres to provide players with aggressive, crushing, articulate tones in an affordable package. Today we look at a staggeringly juicy neck pickup: the Seymour Duncan Sentient neck pickup!

Designed to be paired with the Pegasus,


– Alnico 5 Magnet
– Passive Design
– Available in Black
– 4 Conductor Shielded Cabling
– 7.8 DCR
– Available in 6, 7, and 8-String Models
– Available in 3 Cover Styles

The Sentient neck pickup came out in 2013 as part of a lineup of modern metal pickups including the Nazgul and the Pegasus, which both pair equally well with the Sentient. They come in 3 different cover styles: uncovered, passive (Gibson-style) covering, and active (soapbar-style) covering.


If you wanted to compare this pickup to others in the Seymour Duncan lineup, you can think of it as a cross between a Jazz and a 59 but with all the fat trimmed off of it, resulting in a clearer, refined pickup with increased articulation.

Despite being designed for modern metal applications, you might be surprised to hear that these pickups are vintage output humbuckers, as opposed to the long line of high output or even active pickups we tend to see for metal guitarists.

But what does that really mean in terms of tone? It means a defined sound, letting big chords shine through and ensuring variations in pick attack don’t go unnoticed thanks to an increase in dynamics when compared to high output or active pickups.

The EQ is well balanced with a slight boost in the treble frequencies to help cut through a mix. With a slight dip in the mids, the tone opens up and removes a lot of the unwanted honk and midrange mud that some vintage output neck pickups tend to have when put under the stress of a high gain tone.

The other benefit to vintage output is far better clean tones, with less breakup and distortion. These pickups lie somewhere between “sparkly” and “round” clean tones, far better than most neck pickups that perform well under high gain, but not quite the pristine sparkle one might want for jazz and country.

Final Verdict:

If we could pick a 6th pickup to add to our Top 5 Seymour Duncan Humbuckers list, it would easily be the Sentient.

If I had to guess a tonal palette that this pickup was designed for, I’d put my money on “progressive metal.” Why? Because it covers such a broad range of tones and doesn’t lean too far in any one direction. It doesn’t deliver perfect cleans, perfect leads, or perfect rhythm tones, but it is the only pickup I’ve played that simultaneously achieves 99% of that perfection in every direction.

These pickups are clearly for the versatile musician… the one who loves face-melting solos as much as he loves reverb-soaked clean sections. Perhaps it is also the best choice for those of us who just don’t know what we want in a neck pickup just yet, and want a flexible pickup to start with. However, I’ll wager that most people who try it on that basis end up sticking with.

It’s not easy making a pickup that does it all. There’s a reason we see all kinds of pickup models with varying outputs, EQ’s, magnets and the like, but if there’s one neck pickup that can cover brutal breakdowns and ethereal ambience equally well, the Sentient is it.


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