AHB-1 Blackouts review by Seymour Duncan

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 9.1 (48 votes)
Seymour Duncan: AHB-1 Blackouts
1

Price paid: $ 389

Purchased from: Sound Centre Music Gallery

Sound — 10
This pickup has been dubbed by some as the "EMG Killers", and for good reason. EMG pickups have been shown the door The level of output this pickup dishes out towers over that of an EMG 81. I have loaded my ESP SV Standard with these pickups, and I run it into a Valve driven Solid State Randall RH300G3 Halfstack (with the respective cabinet). Before installing the Blackouts, my SV had an EMG 81 set, so that's for all of you Who would say that my comparison is invalid. I find the EMG 81s to sound extremely thin compared to the Blackouts. I also find EMG 81s to rob your tone of your guitar's natural woodiness. Prior to installing the Blackouts, I found my tone to resemble early Devildriver. Now, it can be compared to later Machine Head. These pickups sound extremely thick, with more than enough highs and mids. They also punch out some mean lows without getting muddy. You'll need an amp with a lot of headroom though, to prevent breakup on a clean sound. Apart from that, The cleans sound lush and pristine. This pickup is available in individual Bridge and neck models, or as a set. The bridge pickup is great for heavy riffs, leads and cleans. The neck pickup is also great for a more fluid lead sound. It gives a woodier tone that buzzes with character.

Overall Impression — 10
I bought a set of these pickups for my ESP SV Standard, purely following the hype out of hearing and reading all the positive reviews about them. I had never A/B'ed these pickups with EMG 81s. However, upon plugging my guitar in with the new pickups, I knew I made the right choice. I recommend this pickup to any and all active pickup freaks, and especially metal guitarists.

Reliability & Durability — 10
I daresay these pickups will last a long time. A single 9 volt battery will power one pickup for 1420 hours plugged in. Divide that by 2 (710 hours) for the life of the set. This is a high quality pickup, and I could definitely depend on it to not only do the job it needs to, but to do it exceptionally well.

40 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Psycho_McFool
    kubitzdeth wrote: better or worse than the 81/85 set because ive heard amazing things about both but have ony played the emgs im buying some new pickups and active is the only option so its between these and the zakk wylde set or the emg 89 drop coil
    Go for the Duncan Blackouts. They show any and all EMGs the door.
    Ice-mAn
    Im getting a set of these in about 3 or so weeks, and im dropping them into an Iceman ICT700 body, replacing the passive Dimarzio D-activators that it came with, which were quite good but not really well suited to the music i play most of the time. I might miss the magical clean tone they had but they werent all that great for playing in low tunings, such as A#. Im hoping that the tighter low-ends and higher gain will cut away the muddyness that ive had to tweak the s*** out of my amp settings n s***, Im a new user btw, Hiya.
    smokeyalater
    would these sound good in a esp ltd m-103fm because i bought a seymour duncan distortion an this thing sucks dick
    |Matt|
    I have a Schecter 006 Elite with an EMG81 bridge pickup and I'm pretty dissatisfied with how it sounds. I played an ESP with the same pickup and adored the gainy sound it gave. Should I go for a new axe, or should I try an AHB1 or AHB2?
    slayer_lord91
    i have a epiphone goth sg/G-400 and i was wondering would black outs fit in the guitar or would emgs be better? plz e-mail me at kamcdowellgt@hotmail.com thnx
    danrawkz
    emoscreamoftw wrote: I heard wen your not playing it picks up alot of noise and that there uber sensative, how true is that?
    50% true: They are really sensitive pickups for sure and pick up just about everything that comes off the strings but they're definitely not noisy. They'll make your playing sound better, period.
    BurningTheLives
    bdof wrote: EMG's are better. The Blackouts are too fizzy sounding and are terrible for cleans, breaking up even at low volumes. EMG's (especially the 81tw and 89tw set) are more veristal, tighter, and have a more balanced eq then blackouts.
    I tried those EMGs and normal EMGs many times, and I can't stand them. I can barely get any pinch harmonics out of them mainly because of how muddy they are. The 81tw/89tw set weren't any better than normal EMGs. The coil splitting option took half the volume away, whereas if I switch to a single coil on one of my guitars now, the volume doesn't jump down like that at all.
    ReflectiveGold
    loads of Double posts on this thread =D yeah... i just bought an ibanez rg370dx, which is brilliant, but i find it to be very mid sounding... im was wondering if installing a blackout in the bridge would both cut the mids and boost the bass and treble? also it was mentioned that the blackouts are good for drop tunings... seeing as i have an edge and my guitar is prmenantly tuned to drop C#, would they help to cut out some of the muddyness im getting?
    talon_scca09
    I just said the hell with it and got a Schecter Blackjack ATX and it already has the Blackouts in it and it's sick... lol
    duzit89
    well .. by reading the comments .. seems like a no brainer.. guess i'll get these bad boys in my Schecter C1 Shedevil..
    Addzam
    is it possible to replace my passive pickups which have a coil tap feature with these active blackouts?
    guitarfreak222
    BurningTheLives wrote: bdof wrote: EMG's are better. The Blackouts are too fizzy sounding and are terrible for cleans, breaking up even at low volumes. EMG's (especially the 81tw and 89tw set) are more veristal, tighter, and have a more balanced eq then blackouts. I tried those EMGs and normal EMGs many times, and I can't stand them. I can barely get any pinch harmonics out of them mainly because of how muddy they are. The 81tw/89tw set weren't any better than normal EMGs. The coil splitting option took half the volume away, whereas if I switch to a single coil on one of my guitars now, the volume doesn't jump down like that at all.
    Well, you sound like you played a faulty pair? Maybe through weak distortion? And if you can hardly get pinch harmonics out of the guitar then maybe you need to fix your technique. I reckon the EMG's are less muddy than the Blackouts (not that I'm saying the Blackouts are muddy). I tried these out and I think that these have much more output then the EMG's but the EMG's sound much clearer and I think they do much better on higher notes so my preference would be the EMG pups. Either way it BOILS DOWN TO PREFERENCE!
    guitarfreak222
    Addzam wrote: is it possible to replace my passive pickups which have a coil tap feature with these active blackouts?
    Yes, it is possible. Just check if there's room for a nine volt battery.
    SIKKSIKKSIXX
    Is it possible to replace the ESP pickup found in the Alexi 200 with the Blackouts AHB-1? I was told that my guitar doesn't have like a battery input (?) on the back? What does this mean, can anyone help me out?
    emoscreamoftw
    I heard wen your not playing it picks up alot of noise and that there uber sensative, how true is that?
    twinturboaudi
    both my active guitars have had their emg's replaced with blackouts...my schecter hellraiser and my esp/ltd ax-400...never ever going back to emgs...
    albatross169
    well i have been playing guitar seriously for about a year but have just recently started actually caring about my sound so i dont know much about the whole putting pickups in and stuff. i play a epiphone goth g400(sg copy) and was wondering if i could put these pickups into that guitar
    albatross169
    i just recently got into the whole techincal guitar maintinence part of playing and i was wondering if i could put active pickups into a epiphone goth g400(sg copy). and where could i find someone to do it for me
    Multiplayerjon
    Should I put These or Hot Rails On My New Guitar? it's a metal monster but is used for playing Everything...
    youmomstits
    I haven't heard many favorable responses to the dimebucker and the invaders are decent.
    Dime bucker is bleh, i popped on in my Schecter Gryphon and it just sounds bleh Im definatley thinking about putting a set of blackouts , but has anyone tried the Blackout Metals? the Ahb-2s?
    youmomstits
    I haven't heard many favorable responses to the dimebucker
    the Dimebucker is bleh, i put one in my schecter gryphon and its just bleh haha im seriously considering getting a set of these babies, but does anyone have an opinion on the Blackout Metal pickups? Ahb-2s?
    jpguitarist1994
    Im using a EMG HZ H4 pickup with my ESP Alexi Laiho Custom Shop pink sawtooth and im thinking of replacing the pick ups with a seymour duncan black out... should i continue this process or should i keep te emg hz h4?
    jpguitarist1994
    ey guys i hav a esp alexi laiho custom shop pink sawtooth 2007 make and it currently has emg hz h4's ... im wondering if i shuld replace them with seymour duncan ahb -1's..i no alexi is now using them but do you think its worth replacing?
    Kane Pharr
    Sounds perfect for my style...Gotta get a set of these for my new ESP LTD-AX260 when it comes in...
    diesiraex
    Question... ...Why is the phrase "Show... the door" being echoed so much throughtout both review and comments?
    espshredder13
    its worth replacing i just put these in my alexi 200 it sounds amazing way better then emgs
    PoP N FresH
    to be honest i hated these. i liked emg's better, but im really a fan of passive pickups, especially duncans and di marrzio's. dimebucker ftw. i was really looking forward to these as well, but theres just something about them i didnt like, and i play hard rock/heavy metal so yeah. btw played both sets and seriously didnt like them.
    MephistoHudson
    I've always used passive electronics, and I became really interested in these. I heard that you can use this high output pickup like a medium output one, and I can't really tell if that's likely to be possible... Some feedback would be nice XD
    tele_god
    ive put these in a mik tele...the tone is awesome, the gain is sick...i also took out the tone knob and ran two volumes to get a kill switch from my pickup selector...i would definately choose these over emgs anyday
    johnsmith175
    all the people that used to use emg's, mick thompson + matt tuck, just naming 2, there's plenty ; now use blackouts, what does that say?
    matt_guitar150
    I want these.....I plan on buying a Jackson MG Series DXMG Dinky. Hopefully it will all workout.
    bdof
    EMG's are better. The Blackouts are too fizzy sounding and are terrible for cleans, breaking up even at low volumes. EMG's (especially the 81tw and 89tw set) are more veristal, tighter, and have a more balanced eq then blackouts.
    nofear5487
    im thinkin about putin the blackouts in my samick hahah or should i go with the emgs like some of the other people are talkin about
    banrnon
    blackouts and EMGs certainly sound different. I personally prefer the sound of emgs because they are definitely better able to handle more distortion than blackouts. I but blackouts and emgs in the same guitar and amp and the difference was noticeable immediately