SH-6 Distortion Humbucker review by Seymour Duncan

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  • Sound: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.2 (31 votes)
Seymour Duncan: SH-6 Distortion Humbucker

Price paid: $ 50

Purchased from: ebay

Sound — 8
I've had it in the bridge position my Schecter Hellraiser Special for the past 5 months, and I play it through an Engl Ritchie Blackmore and a Laney 4x12 with UK made Celestion Classic Lead speakers. Genres are all sorts of metal and rock, as well as blues. The SH-6 is a very high output passive pickup. I've had the Duncan SH-4, SH-10, SH-5 and SH-8 in that guitar before, as well as the EMG 81, and the SH-6 is extremely well balanced compared to those. It doesn't have as much mids as the SH-4 or the SH-10, it doesn't have as much bass as the SH-8, and doesn't have that extreme bite of the SH-5. It's perfectly middle of the road frequency wise, and it has the most output out of those apart from the SH-8. All in all, it's a pickup that I think works for pretty much everyone in pretty much any guitar if you're just looking for a high output pickup. For me, it just lacks that bit of character. It works, I get a good tone out of it, but it doesn't sound as distinctive as the SH-10 for example. Also, being a ceramic humbucker, it does not quite have the dynamics of the SH-10 either. Splitted it sounds very nice, high output humbuckers tend to sound excellent when split. Sparkling and with a lot of bounce to the tone, really pleasant. All in all I think it's a very good sounding pickup, it just gets a bit boring after a while, and when playing leads it does not quite allow for the amount of dynamic variety and expression as the SH-10.

Reliability & Durability — 10
All Duncans have flawless build quality, and this one is no exception. I bought it used, and apart from the normal wear it's as good as new. I've had it in my current guitar for 5 months and for 2 years in the one I've had before, it's held up very well. I don't really know how I'm supposed to fill 500 characters about the reliability of a guitar pickup, so I'll just tell you that Duncan's wiring diagrams are very easy to understand and if you watched any videos on the topic of how to solder properly the installation won't be a problem, no matter how terrible you are when it comes to fixing stuff.

Overall Impression — 9
As a metal guitarist, you will not be disappointed by this pickup. If you're upgrading from some cheap stock pickup on a cheap guitar it will be a revelation even, and its perfectly average and neutral frequency response will make it the perfect pickup for some people. I just miss that last bit of dynamic response when playing leads, which is why I'll put the SH-10 back into my Schecter. It's well built, just like all Duncans, and Duncan's customer support is great. If you find one used for a good price, don't even think about not buying it. Having some good spare pickups around is always a good thing, and this is definitely a good one.

1 comment sorted by best / new / date

    As long as I have had guitars, the Duncan Distortion has been my number 1 pickup. Simply this is a no-brainer for me. I like the my EMG-81 as well, but for true passive fantastic tone, this is the one.