From the manufacturer:
High output humbucker with Alnico 8 magnet for extra output. Perfect for all rock styles and great for use with high gain amps.
Our first production pickup to use an Alnico 8 magnet, the Alternative 8 starts with hot coils wound for maximum output. With the addition of the Alnico 8 magnet, output is enhanced with a huge, punchy sound, full of fat mids and present upper-mids. This is a dynamic pickup that doesn’t get “sizzly” or dark like some high-output ceramic magnet pickups.
Recommended for bridge position. Matches great with a moderate output neck pickup like the SH-1n ’59 or the SH-2n Jazz Model. Pairs well with a distortion pedal like the SFX-05 Lava Box or the SFX-08 Power Grid distortion (available Spring 2008).
Works great in most guitars set up for humbuckers, especially in balanced and warm instruments and those with rosewood fingerboards.
Nickel or gold-plated cover. Trembucker.
Magnet type: alnico 8 bar, D.C. Resistance 17.68
Best videos/sound clips:
Here we have the positively epic 2012 Seymour Duncan 12-way bridge metal pickup shootout in all its glory! The top video is the "rapid fire" comparison (2 min total), and the bottom video is the 15 minute in depth comparison. I've included these videos here as the SH-15 is in the video (top row 2nd from the left). What's great is that you get to hear the same song being played on the same guitar by the same player. The licks are tasteful and it's mic'd well. Now as a critique, the mix is pretty heavy and with the bass and kick drum I find it hard to tell much about the quantity/quality of the bass output of these pickups. My take on this video though: All of these pickups do a good job – really you could play metal with any of these and be happy. Note: As this is an older video it is missing the Black Winter, Pegasus, and Nazgul bridge humbuckers.
The player is Keith Merrow and the song is "Pillars of Creation". Keith is playing a Strictly 7 Guitars "Cobra" Baritone 6-string 27.5" scale guitar through a Rhodes Colossus H-100 head.
Check out this creative demo video presenting the Seymour Duncan Alternative 8 pickup. This clip features Grant Cooper of Nok Novum performing a portion of his song, “Gokor!”. The track opens up with a very intricate clean riff that translates nicely with the Alternative 8 pickup in the bridge. There is a nice balance to the tone and each note is really carefully articulated in a musical way. At around 0:48 you can begin to hear this pup naturally break up, even on a clean setting. There is a nice midrange grit to the tone and you get a little foreshadow of how hot these pups love to get. Full gain kicks in around 1:25 and these pups start to scream. Even with a lot of saturation, the Alt 8s maintain complete clarity and definition. Chords resonate with a clean brilliance and individual notes sound tight and punchy on their own; and not once does the tone sound too fizzy or muddy. Skip to 3:20 if you want to hear each track isolated. These pickups make for a great metal tone (lead or rhythm) but could really suit a number of genres due to their versatility and dynamic character.
The player is Grant Cooper and he is using a Schecter Diamond Series KM-6 guitar through a Revv Generator 120 amp.
This short clip compares the tones of a Seymour Duncan Invader pickup to the Alternative 8. The player is performing to a backing track and the Invader kicks in at around 0:15. It has a very heavy, deep tone that is dark and saturated. Boasting an almost scooped EQ, the frequency response is perfect for thick metal chugs and aggressive riffing. The Alternative 8 kicks in at around 1:06 and has a slightly different sound to it. This pup is definitely brighter, with a more focused midrange and a very transparent high-end, while the low-end keeps things tight and focused. It has more of an edgy crunch saturation that bites a little more than the Invader. Overall, I think the Alternative 8 has a little more character and presence to its tone. It also seems to be a little more versatile and sweeter sounding than the Invader, giving you a wider pallet of tonal options and applications. Nonetheless, the Invader definitely has its own sound that can be extremely useful in the right context.
The player is Reiven Valentine and he is using a Dean Flying V (Invader) and Epiphone Les Paul (Alternative 8).
Here is a quick clip demonstrating the Seymour Duncan Alternative 8 in a full metal mix. The guitar kicks in at 0:18 when you can hear a tight, aggressive metal riff with a simple lead over the top. The Alternative 8 does a great job keeping the tone nice and focused with plenty of definition and precision. Low notes sound incredibly powerful and articulate with a nice fat bottom-end to keep things chunky and a detailed upper midrange to emphasis pick attack in a sharp way. The top-end introduces a lot of natural harmonics that add a lot of character to the sound as well. The Alternative 8 is more than capable of handling your lead and rhythm metal tones with ease.
The player is SurfaceX Music and they are using a Schecter Blackhawk through a B-52 AT-100 amp with a Digitech CM-2 for rhythm boosting and a Boss SD-1 for lead boosting.
Here we have a solo clip of the Alternative 8 pickup that was taken from Seymour Duncan’s high-gain pickup shootout. Even listening for 50 seconds you can get an idea of how huge this pickup sounds. The Alnico 8 magnet lends to a very powerful, punchy sound that is tight, fat, and dynamic. The accentuated upper mids add a lot of bite and edge to the tone, allowing everything to sound present and clear in the mix. For aggressive metal rhythm or shredding leads, the Alternative 8 pickup is a brilliant and dynamic pickup for heavy players.
The player is Keith Merrow and he is using a Strictly 7 guitar through a Peavey 5150 amp.