67 Guitars With 3 Pickups – The Master List

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You want to have an awesome repertoire of different tone options in your arsenal? Then a guitar with 3 pickups might be your piece of cake. If I had to choose just 1 electric guitar to own for the rest of my life, it would have 3 pickups. It would feature both, single-coils and humbuckers (it would most likely have an HSH configuration).

And because I love axes with 3 pickups so much, it was a blast to gather the top-notch guitars with 3 pickups to this article. I also reveal the 3 best ones for different situations, and if some questions puzzle you, just check the FAQ section of this article or leave a comment.

Let’s get started!

photo reveals owner of guitaristnextdoor.com

Author: Teemu Suomala

I first grabbed the guitar in 2009. I started this website in January 2020 because I couldn’t do window installation anymore due to my health problems. I also noticed that most guitar websites don’t do a really good job, so I decided to just go for it! I got lucky and managed to get awesome people to help me with my website. I also got lucky because I have you visiting my website right now. Thank you. I do all this for you guys. If you have any recommendations, tips, or feedback, just leave a comment, I would love to chat with you. I have been fortunate to produce content for several large guitar websites, such as Songsterr, Musicnotes, GuitarGuitar, and Ultimate Guitar. I spend my spare time exercising and hanging out with my wife and crazy dog(I guess that went the right way…).


My Favorite 3 Pickup Configuration

Displays guitaristnextdoor.com favorite 3 pickup configuration
HSH configuration just rules with versatility.

It’s the HSH. I prefer humbuckers slightly over single coils and that’s why I prefer having 2 of them. And with that middle single-coil, you can still tap into those awesome bright and spanky tones too. It’s awesome.

What’s the takeaway?

Choose what works best for you. Maybe you like single coils more but still want some of humbucker magic too, then go with HSS for example. There are also lots of more unique configurations available, such as HH plus piezo, or HHH. These work well for some players.

Know what you want and then get what you want. Simple.


67 Guitars With 3 Pickups

I included guitars with all sorts of 3 pickup configurations, HSS, HSH, HHH, SSS, etc. I included the best options available and also featured different options for different players.

I had to divide these guitars into 3 different lists in order to keep things clear:

  • Budget & Beginner Guitars
  • Mid-Range, Intermediate, and Advanced Player Guitars
  • Pro & Premium Guitars

These lists include some really cool guitars and are really helpful for you guys, hopefully you find something really awesome.

20 Budget & Beginner Guitars

Kramer Focus VT-211S is one of the most affordable 3 pickup guitars with its HSS pickup configuration. Its finish quality is not the best, but it still offers good value for the money and sounds solid.

Price Range Icon Meanings:

$= $100-250

$$= $251-399

*Consider all links in this post to be affiliate links. If you purchase, at no additional cost to you, we may earn a small commission. It helps us to keep the lights on, thanks! 🙂

ModelBody StylePickup ConfigurationPrice RangeCheck Current Price (affiliate links)
Harley Benton ST-20 CA Standard SeriesStratocasterSSS$Thomann*
Harley Benton ST-20HSS SB Standard SeriesStratocasterHSS$Thomann
Kramer Guitars Focus VT211SStratocasterHSS$Thomann
Squier Bullet Strat HT HSS (Check the full review here)StratocasterHSS$SweetwaterThomann
Squier Bullet Strat ILStratocasterSSS$SweetwaterThomann
Ibanez GRX40-CAStratocasterHSS$Thomann
Cort G110 Open Pore Black Cort StratHSS$Thomann
Ibanez GRX70QA (My favorite guitar under $200, check the full review here)Modern StratHSH$SweetwaterThomann
Harley Benton DC-600 VI Vintage Series (Great 3 Pickup SG)SGHHH$Thomann
Ibanez GRG140Modern StratHSS$Thomann
Yamaha PAC012 (Check the full review here)Modern StratHSS$Sweetwater
Yamaha Pacifica 112J Modern StratHSS$SweetwaterThomann
Ibanez GRG170DXModern StratHSH$Thomann
Squier Affinity Strat ILStratocasterSSS$$SweetwaterThomann
Squier Affinity Strat HSSStratocasterHSS$$SweetwaterThomann
Yamaha Pacifica 112V – best budget (Check the full review here)Modern StratHSS (coil-split)$$SweetwaterThomann
Ibanez AZES31Modern StratSSS$$SweetwaterThomann
Harley Benton Fusion-III HSHModern StratHSH$$Thomann
Ibanez SA260FMModern StratHSS$$Thomann
Sterling by Music Man SUB CT30 CutlassModern StratSSS$$Guitar CenterThomann

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31 Mid-Range, Intermediate, and Advanced Player Guitars

Godin XTSA is one of the most versatile guitars available. It’s equipped with an HSH pickup configuration and LR Baggs transducer saddle pickup system, it can pull off acoustic guitar tones, and it can be used with a synthesizer (some synth equipment must be bought separately).

Price Range Icon Meanings:

$$$= $400-850

$$$$= $851-1599

ModelBody StylePickup ConfigurationPrice RangeCheck Current Price (affiliate links)
Squier Classic Vibe ’50s StratocasterStratocasterSSS$$$SweetwaterThomann
Squier Classic Vibe ’70s Stratocaster HSS StratocasterHSS$$$SweetwaterThomann
Squier Contemporary Stratocaster Special HTStratocasterSSS$$$SweetwaterThomann
Yamaha Pacifica 212V QMStratocasterHSS$$$Thomann
Ibanez S561Modern StratHSS$$$SweetwaterThomann
Ibanez JEMJR (Steve Vai)Modern StratHSS$$$SweetwaterThomann
Larry Carlton S7 Modern StratHSS$$$SweetwaterThomann
Squier 40th Anniversary StratocasterStratocasterSSS$$$SweetwaterThomann
Jackson Adrian Smith SDXModern StratHSS$$$SweetwaterThomann
Jackson DK3XR XModern StratHSS$$$SweetwaterThomann
Guild Starfire I Jet 90Hollow-BodyP90P90P90$$$SweetwaterThomann
Godin Session HT Trans Cream Modern StratHSS$$$SweetwaterThomann
Fender Player Series StratocasterStratocasterSSS$$$SweetwaterThomann
Yamaha Pacifica 612V – best overallModern StratHSS$$$SweetwaterThomann
PRS SE Silver Sky Stone BlueModern StratSSS$$$SweetwaterThomann
Fender Player Series Stratocaster HSHStratocasterHSH$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Schecter Signature Nick Johnston HSSStratocasterHSS$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 HSHModern StratHSH$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Ibanez RG550-RF (excellent guitar)Modern StratHSH$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Fender Player Plus Nashville TeleTelecasterSSS$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Schecter Retro C-1 E/A Cat’s EyeSemi-Hollow, Modern StratHHPiezo$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Ibanez S671ALBModern StratHSH$$$$Guitar CenterThomann
ESP LTD SN 1000 FRMModern StratHSS$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Kramer Guitars Jersey StarModern StratHHH$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Fender Jimi Hendrix StratocasterStratocasterSSS$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Ibanez S1070PBZModern StratHSS$$$$SweetwaterThomann
ESP LTD SC-20Modern StratHHS$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Guild X-350 StratfordHollow-BodyP90P90P90$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Godin XTSASingle CutHSH & LR Baggs transducer saddle pickup$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Ibanez JEM77PModern StratHSH$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Fender Tom Morello StratocasterStratocasterSSS$$$$SweetwaterThomann

16 Pro & Premium Guitars

Charvel Guthrie Govan Signature model is a smooth playing, versatile, and beautiful instrument that we don’t hear much about. And that’s a shame because it’s one of the best guitars featured in this article.

Price Range Icon Meanings:

$$$$$= $1600-

ModelBody StylePickup ConfigurationPrice RangeCheck Current Price (affiliate links)
Fender American Pro II StratocasterStratocasterSSS$$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Ibanez AZ2204 – best premiumModern StratHSS$$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Ibanez RG5170BModern StratHSS$$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Fender Eric Johnson Strat 2TSStratocasterSSS$$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Ibanez Lari Basilio Signature LB1Modern TeleHSS$$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Charvel Guthrie Govan Signature MJ San DimasModern StratHSH$$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Fender Clapton Stratocaster SignatureStratocasterSSS$$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Fender Brent Mason TeleTelecasterSSH$$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Duesenberg Starplayer TV CustomSemi-hollowHHH$$$$$Thomann
Jackson PC-1 Phil CollenModern StratHSS$$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Music Man JP15 John PetrucciModern StratHHPiezo$$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Suhr Modern Plus MN HSH Modern StratHSH$$$$$Thomann
PRS 509 CC Fire RedPRS DoublecutHSH (coil-split)$$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Gibson SG ´63 CustomSGHHH$$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Gibson Custom 1957 Les Paul Custom Reissue VOSLes PaulHHH$$$$$SweetwaterThomann
PRS Special 22 Semi Aquamarine (true PREMIUM guitar)PRS DoublecutHSH$$$$$Thomann

If you desire for more 3 humbucker guitar options, check out this article about them: 19 Guitars With 3 Humbuckers – And My Favorites.


3 Best Guitars With 3 Pickups – My Favorites

Best Budget – Yamaha Pacifica 112V

photo displays Yamaha Pacifica 112V

What I like

  • Stays in tune well
  • Good hardware
  • Versatile tones and coil-split
  • Comfortable and effortless to play
  • Feels like a more expensive guitar
  • Contour for picking hand is really comfortable
  • Narrow neck

What I don’t like

  • Middle single-coil and split humbucker are nothing amazing
  • The neck feels slightly thicker than with many other Strats and Modern Strats

Who is it for?

With HSS pickups + humbucker coil-split setup, this guitar can handle pretty much any music out there from soul and folk to hard rock and heavy metal (not the best really heavy metal guitar though). Playing is comfortable and the hardware is great. What more you can ask from a cheap guitar? Pretty much nothing. Pacifica 112V is my favorite budget guitar with 3 pickups.

You can read my full in-depth review of this guitar here: Yamaha Pacifica 112V Review.

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Best Overall – Yamaha Pacifica 612V

displays Yamaha Pacifica 612V

What I like

  • Beautiful flamed maple looks
  • Coil-split adds versatility
  • Really comfortable playability
  • Amazing bang for the buck (Graph Tech TUSQ nut, Wilkinson Tremolo bridge, Seymor Duncan pups, etc.)
  • Great all-around quality
  • Stay in tune extremely well (Grover Locking tuners)
  • Narrow neck

What I don’t like

  • Sometimes finish issues out of the box

Who is it for?

One of my favorite mid-range electric guitars. Offers better hardware and pickups than many hundreds of dollars more expensive guitars, and oh boy, these Seymor Duncan’s (SSL-1 & SSL-1 RWRP & TB-14) sound awesome. I’m not exaggerating. This guitar sounds good. One of the most value-packed guitars out there and the best overall of this article with flying grades.

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Best Premium – Ibanez AZ2204

displays Ibanez AZ2204

What I like

  • 9 different pickup combinations with the Alter mini-switch
  • Seymore Duncan Hyperion pickups sound great and are versatile
  • Clear sound
  • Comfortable and fast playing
  • Bone nut, Gotoh bridge, and Gotoh locking tuners (great overall hardware)
  • Stays in tune like a beast
  • Could cost even more

What I don’t like

  • Doesn’t have a compound radius
  • Expensive

Who is it for?

If you ever see this guitar in a music store…Try it out. Even if you are sure that you are never going to buy one, just try it out. It’s now of the best guitars I know of. Its hardware, playability, clear sound, and versatility just check all the boxes for me. Plus Gotoh locking tuners ensure that it pretty much never goes out of tune. It is expensive, but if you got the money for it, it’s likely that you won’t be disappointed.

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FAQ

Why Do Some Guitars Have 3 Pickups?

Some guitars have 3 pickups because there are many people who want to buy guitars with 3 pickups. There’s demand because of the versatility and tone options guitars with 3 pickups offer.

Is Guitar With 3 Pickups Worth it?

If you want to have tons of different tone options and versatility, a guitar with 3 pickups is most likely worth it for you. Also, if you want to have a guitar with different types of pickups, for example:

  • a humbucker on the neck,
  • a single-coil in the middle,
  • and a humbucker on the bridge,

then a guitar with 3 pickups is for you.

Pros and Cons of A Guitar With 3 Pickups

Pros

  • Versatile, handles different genres well
  • An unbelievable amount of tone options are available

Cons

  • A bit more complicated wiring and electronics (potentially more things can go wrong)
  • Can be a bit more expensive

For me, the pros overweight the cons easily. I’m willing to pay a little extra for the versatility and tone options, and I’ve never had any more problems with 3 pickup guitars than I’ve had with 2 pickup guitars. 3 pup axes have worked great for me(my first guitar was cheap strat with HSS pickup configuration and it never had electrical problems).

What’s The Point of Three Humbuckers on A Guitar?

A guitar with 3 humbuckers is unique and offers different tonal options. It’s fun to play one, every pickup does sound different and warm & thick sound is guaranteed.


Conclusion

To me, guitars with 3 pickups are just unbeatable when it comes to versatility. You can dial in so many different tones. It’s awesome.

I hope that this article helped you out, and maybe you even decided to get one of the guitars featured. If you have any questions, leave a comment, I and the GND team are here for you.

I wish you all the best and keep rocking!

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