When people think of humbuckers, the first thing that comes to mind is the modern design we are so familiar with. After all, you can see it on just about any guitar these days. However, there are several other humbucker designs besides that one.
The most interesting one has got to be the mini humbucker. So what’s the difference, you’re probably asking yourself? Mini humbuckers are smaller units which were designed to produce a tone that is more similar to single coil pickups, but without that annoying buzz single-coils are known for.
Even though these are rather niche-oriented pickups, we’ve selected 4 great models for those of you who need a set. The ones we picked for this short list offer great tone quality and are, in our humble opinion, the best mini humbuckers on the market.
Seymour Duncan Antiquity II
- Seymour Duncan Antiquity II Adjustable Mini-Humbucker Bridge Position
- Price: $145.00
- Price as of 01/06/2019 05:19 PST
As you are about to find out very soon, Seymour Duncan is the go-to brand when it comes to mini-humbuckers in general. They are one of the rare companies who has dedicated significant time and effort in developing a line of these pickups. Seymour Duncan Antiquity II is definitely among their most notable models.
What really makes the Seymour Duncan Antiquity II (see full specs) stand out from the competition is the fact that these were created to replicate the vintage sound of Gibson’s mini-humbuckers to every last detail. You get a pickup with chrome cover that drops into a P-90 mounting ring just perfectly. Furthermore, Seymour Duncan went on and artificially aged these humbuckers.
That aging process gives an already great-sounding pickup even more edge. If you are trying to replicate the tone of vintage guitars in this day and age, this pickup is the perfect choice for just about any build of that type. Even if you just want to replace the original Gibson’s mini-humbucker, these are going to be a good match. Overall, this is one of the best mini humbuckers around.
Gibson Gear IMMHT-CH Mini-Humbucker
You can’t make a list of best mini-humbuckers without including the any of Gibson’s own designs. Gibson Gear IMMHT-CH Mini-Humbucker is the near perfect reproduction of their original design that started the whole mini humbucker story. Not the cheapest choice out there, but one that is well worth the investment.
What you see here is a true Made In America humbucker (see full specs) that comes with that Gibson seal of approval. This is basically as authentic as it gets. The pup comes with a chrome cover and an appropriate mounting ring. Installation is fairly easy and includes simply replacing your old mini humbucker with this one. If you’ve ever done this before, you will know exactly what to do.
This particular humbucker is a treble version of the model. As such, it packs a bit more juice in the high end, but it keeps the overall output fairly balanced. Gibson went above and beyond to deliver an authentic reproduction of their legendary ‘mini-PAF’ so you know the tone is going to be exactly what most of us expected from such a project.
Seymour Duncan SM-2b Custom Mini Humbucker Firebird Bridge Pickup
- Seymour Duncan – 11102-34 – SM-2b Custom Mini-Humbkr
- Price: $109.00
- Price as of 01/06/2019 05:30 PST
Lo and behold, another Seymour Duncan model on the list. That is no surprise since this company has made it their mission to supply us with the best assortment of mini humbuckers we can get. This particular one is especially popular due to its Firebird design and overall amazing performance.
The main thing that defines the Seymour Duncan SM-2b is the ceramic bar magnet. On its own, this component guarantees a better quality of sound, but add high output coil windings and we are entering the premium territory. The pickup sports a beautiful chrome cover that has a Seymour Duncan logo engraved in it.
One of the main problems with mini humbuckers at the bridge position is the lack of girth. That is completely normal for this type of pickup. Seymour Duncan SM-2b brings a different type of performance that has a lot more bite and cutting power compared to most other models on the market. That is partially the reason why it is so beloved in the community and are among the best mini humbuckers period.
Snake Oil Chrome Mini Humbuckers
- Snake Oil Chrome Mini Humbuckers – Neck and Bridge Matched Pair
- Price: $26.99
- Price as of 01/06/2019 05:19 PST
For our last pick, we chose a set of very inexpensive mini humbuckers that will get you the best performance if money is tight. Snake Oil offers two pickups with most of the necessary installation components, all for a mere fraction of the price you would have to spend on any of our previous entries on this list.
There isn’t much to note in terms of features with the Snake Oil Chrome Mini Humbuckers. These come with chrome-plated covers and are built fairly well, all things considered. Even though this kit is not something you would want to put on a high-dollar guitar, they work fine on more affordable builds.
In terms of performance, Snake Oil Chrome Mini Humbuckers can’t come even close to any of the Seymour Duncans we have mentioned previously. With that said, when you strictly look at the price to performance ratio, these score pretty high. For a very low price, you get a decent sounding set of humbuckers that will serve you well until you find something else. They’re likely the best mini humbuckers for the money.
Mini humbuckers are not that prolific these days, although there is a decent-sized market for them. One unfortunate circumstance all of those looking for this type of pickup have to deal with is a lack of options. Models we’ve showed you represent a fairly large portion of the current offer, which is bot good and bad in some ways.
With that said, these same models meet most of our criteria and feature good build quality, great performance, and finally that vintage appearance. No matter which one you choose, you will get a noticeable tone improvement. The last set of mini humbuckers is more reserved for those trying to build a cheap guitar, and that is a user base that needs to be recognized as well.