If you’re curious about Inf3 vs Inf4 pickups and which might be best for you, you’ve come to the right post!
Ibanez Infinity Pickups
Just like most famous guitar manufacturers, Ibanez also has their pickups. In this article, I’ll be writing about their series of Infinity pickups. The company uses these on their cheaper models. This includes the super-affordable GIO line as well.
The first infinity pickup set came out in 1994. These were Infinity 1 and 2 humbuckers, as well as Infinity Single 1. Infinity 1 had a ceramic magnet, Infinity 2 had an Alnico 5, and the Single 1 was also Alnico 5-based. We also had an Infinity Single 2 which was intended for the neck position.
In 2005, Ibanez also released Infinity 3 and Infinity 4 humbucker pickups. Accompanying them was the Infinity Single 3. All three of these have ceramic magnets.
Finally, in 2014, Ibanez launched the Infinity R humbucker and the Infinity RS single-coil. These are, once again, all entry-level pickups for Ibanez’s cheaper series.
These days, you may stumble upon a used original set of Infinity pickups. They still hold some value among collectors. However, you should bear in mind that these are entry-level pickups.
Infinity 3 is a humbucker released in 2005 as a ceramic pickup for the neck position. In most cases, these were present on RG3xx and RG1xx guitars, and they were on the same instrument with the Infinity 4 in the bridge. Sometimes, they also came with the Infinity S in the middle position.
This is a stock neck pickup with a slightly sharper tone. This is mostly due to its ceramic magnets. It also comes with a slightly stronger output than usual.
Other than that, it’s a relatively flat pickup apart from the pronounced high-ends. It may feel a bit dull and it usually only finds use in high-gain settings. Overall, it’s a metal-oriented pickup without much dynamic response.
In clean settings on solid-state amps, you might hear it clipping a little. It’s not uncommon and it usually requires lowering its height. But if you do that, you might lose some of the tonal qualities.
The Infinity 4 is pretty much the same pickup but for the bridge position. We also have a ceramic pickup that goes in pair with Infinity 3. And, of course, it’s not uncommon to see Infinity Single 1 in this set as well.
Because this is a humbucker, it’s slightly brighter than usual. As I mentioned with the Infinity 3, this is mostly due to ceramic magnets. Other than that, its dynamic response falls flat. And most of the audible spectrum is also pretty dull.
What’s typical of Infinity 4 pickups, however, is that they have a slightly stronger output. Along with the lack of dynamic response, they feel a bit compressed. So that might come in handy for some tighter heavy riffs. But they rarely ever sound good.
Inf3 vs Inf4: How Do They Compare?
To be honest, Infinity 3 and 4 are not exactly some of the best pickups on the market. In fact, I’d call them some of the worst. They’re functional, they can get you covered for a variety of genres. But it pretty much comes to just that, getting you covered and serving the basic purpose.
When it comes to the cheapest Ibanez guitars, the GIO line, these are pretty decent. They feel great and are, overall, a great deal for the price. However, the Infinity pickups are a major limiting factor.
I’ve seen various guitar players online trying to compare them to some famous brands. But Infinity pickups are not exactly what you want to compare to anything. If you want your GIO or any other cheaper Ibanez to be the best guitar possible, swap the pickups.
With all this out of the way, we get to the issue of Infinity 3 and Infinity 4 pickups. And, unfortunately, I can’t do much comparing here that would make much sense. Like it or not, the premise of the question doesn’t make much sense. Infinity 3 is a neck pickup while Infinity 4 is a bridge pickup. They serve a completely different purpose.
The only difference is the resistance. But that’s what you expect with pickups intended for different positions. Other than that, they’re similar. There’s hardly any dynamic nuance and they both sound just slightly brighter.
I’d call them pretty dull and kind of hard to control. It’s not unusual for them to sound as if they’re too booming and causing unwanted clipping. You can especially notice that on most solid-state amps in clean settings.
Infinity pickups aren’t something you should consider for hot-rodding a guitar. Quite the contrary. These are stock pickups that you should probably consider getting rid of.
Inf3 vs Inf4 Pickups: Conclusion
I hope this post has helped clarify some of the differences between these pickups.
And if you want to read more about pickups on this blog, check out:
Lastly, feel free to leave a message in the comments below if you have questions about this or another guitar-related topic!