SH-8 Invader review by Seymour Duncan

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Sound: 7
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 8.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.4 (67 votes)
Seymour Duncan: SH-8 Invader

Price paid: $ 90

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Sound — 7
I recently purchased a Mex Strat, and decided to Switch out the cheap, noisy and bad sounding stock pickups. My first idea was the SD Invader because I had heard it in the bridge position of my friends Stratocaster and liked the tone. First of all... This puppy is LOUD! The output level is significantly greater than the neck pickup on the Strat, which I haven't switched yet... Keep in mind that this one is a single coil... And the SH-8 is a humbucker. But none the less, the big and clunky magnets in the Invader give it an enormous output. The tone I got was interesting however. I plugged into my Bogner Alchemist 1X12 Combo (All tube, 12 inch Celestion Gold speaker) with a bit of reverb, some delay and a DOD YJM308 Pre Amp Overdrive pedal with the settings at 10. My amp settings were: Green Channel (clean/crunch) Gain: 10 toggle Switch to crunch Treble: 7 toggle Switch to bright Mid: 5 Bass: 3 toggle Switch to deep Master Volume: 3 The tone was raw and dirty, sludgy and muddy. The higher range was very articulate, but if I played any chord other than a power chord with any amount of gain the result was mushy and single notes could barely be heard. The pickup put out a lot of low end and mid range tones, but pushed through when I would play a solo. It had a fantastic metal, sludge metal, early rock and roll or believe it or not, blues sound. Currently I'm using it to play Sabbath song at are in C# with my band and its working quite well. I also feel like the Invader made my Strat sound 10x more like a Strat than it did with the stock pickup in it if you catch my drift. You could really hear the resonance of the wood and the thin maple neck with the Invader in...which is why I put this pickup high on my list of great blues guitar pickups. I recommend this pickup for either the neck or the bridge position, because as I said, there is quite a lot of low end and mid range coming off of it. I was unhappy with the saturation of bass at first and tried to correct this by switching the "deep" toggle Switch under the bass knob on my amp off. This didn't really help much, so I've accepted that its a bassy pickup, and am now utilizing it accordingly. Lastly, the clean tone on the pickup is surprisingly warm and not very muddy or hot like its overdriven counterpart. The ceramic magnets give it a surprisingly shimmery tone that I was very pleased with. My clean settings were the same as my overdrive settings, I just turned off the Overdrive pedal and switched the channel toggle to clean instead of crunch Here are my final sound ratings for the Invader - Overall Output - 10 Cleanliness - 7 Tone: Neck - 9 Bridge - 6 Overall I give it a 7... Just because its so dirty and bass prominent... It can really only be used for sludge riffs or blues solos.

Overall Impression — 8
As I said, I installed it in my Strat... I had to drill two new holes in the pickguard to mount it, because the stock humbucker had a strange mounting configuration. (this caused me to burn myself with a soldering gun! But its all for rock and roll right? ) I give it a 7 in the bridge and an 8 in the neck on over all tone and a 10 on durability in any position.

Reliability & Durability — 10
The Invader is built like a tank, and I can't imagine it breaking. I installed it myself, it took no more than 30 minutes, to get it in there and wire it up... My only problem was that Seymour Duncan didn't include a wiring diagram for an HSS Stratocaster... Just for a 2 Humbucker Les Paul or Jackson Rhoads V style axe. I totally trust in the Invader at a show to do what it needs to do. As I said in SOUND, the pickup is tremendously loud... And on top of that it never cuts out or clips.

8 comments sorted by best / new / date

    xMikeyxMetalx wrote: you know not all first act guitars are bad? they make high end custom ones for some guitarists that sound really good. and line 6 spider amps are certainly not the best, but they are great begginer practice amps(the 15 watt ones, anything is a waste really) so how about we just dont bash anything. id rather be a great guitar player with shitty gear than a shitty guitar player with great gear.
    You are right about the first act guitar's. Some of them are not bad but they have a lot that are very cheap. Personally, even a great guitar player can sound like poop if he is playing on poop gear. A lot of what makes a guitar player great, is what he/she plays out of. I just bought an invader yesterday I am interested in how it will sound. I bought it for my Schecter C1-Elite to swap out the stock "duncan design" passive pick ups. My friend had put EMG's in his C1-Elite to basically, make it a hell raiser. I have a hell raiser too so I wanted to try and see what a passive "metal" pick up might sound like on my C1. When it comes to active pick ups, personally i prefer the Seymour Duncan black outs for metal. EMG's are great but the black outs are insane. I really wanted to get some Bare-Knuckle Warpig pick ups. They were a little out of my price range at the time though. So i'll see what this invader can do. If it isn't that great, I'll sell it on ebay and snag a warpig when i can.
    To those wanting a bit more headroom in your clean tone when using this pickup, dial back the bass on your clean channel and try lowering the pickup or its pole pieces so they are farther from the string. May not totally resolve the issue but it will help. If your amp's EQ is shared between channels try an EQ pedal. SEYMOUR DUNCAN ROCKS!! The Invader (though not for everyone) is no exception.
    I've been using a Duncan Invader for well over a year and I am much happier with it's tone than the passive EMGs that I replaced. You can say anything sucks but when it comes down to it, it's your own personal opinion. Active EMGs are too muddy for my taste and I use Seymour Duncans now for better clarity and tone. I took out the stock EMG 81/60 set from my ESP Eclipse and replaced them with a Seymour Duncan SH2 in the bridge and a SH4 jazz in the neck and it's tone is amazing compared to what the EMGs brought to the table.
    I've been looking into putting this pickup in the neck position of my ibanez RG3EXFM1, with a dimebucker in the body.. any opinions?
    @oakn Yeah, we swedes says a lot of things, me myself, I'm more of Seymour Duncan man
    Here comes one more tirening "will this be good", but I can't help it. I was thinking of this in the bridge position and a distorsion in the neck, I think it'll sound pretty hot. Any ideas/pointers?
    "Overall I give it a 7... Just because its so dirty and bass prominent... It can really only be used for sludge riffs or blues solos." - Synester Gates uses it, and he does not sludge, no way no how.
    I've found these pickups to be really good. I like them better than EMG 81/85 or 81 TW/89 that I have had in my guitars before - not to say I disliked the EMG's at all. They are pretty bass heavy, but if you look at the EQ on SD's website, the have more midrange than anything else, which I love. The only issue they can have is that they distort cleans a little bit, but this can easily be fixed by having coil-tapping on your guitar. And when split, they have amazing clean tone.