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View Full Version : Why is the Duncan JB so derided?


Average Joe
08-03-2010, 01:17 AM
I see a lot of put downs of this pickup. Now granted I haven't tried a lot of them, but the one that's been in my Hamer Special since 93 have proven itself a fantastic all-rounder. As any pickup it will work better with some amps than others but overall it will do classic rock sounds, and imho more than solid cleans as well - through my Rivera I can even get a decent twang from this guitar. I can see how someone who is totally sold on a PAF sound might not love this one, there is after all that midrange that works so well in a band but sounds nasal on its own. For what it is I've found it absolutely outstanding

Jef Bardsley
08-03-2010, 04:04 AM
It's the John Mayer of pickups. It's cool not to like them.

jimfog
08-03-2010, 04:07 AM
I dunno...probably the "metal" taint........but I'm with you!

http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=718562

slogger
08-03-2010, 04:51 AM
I have a JB jr. inthe bridge of my fender Lead II. It's been there for about 15 years now. Never had a problem with it.

xjojox
08-03-2010, 05:19 AM
The JB was designed initially for the bridge position of Jeff Beck's tele. In the 80's they were popular in the bridge position of super strats. They sound good in bolt-ons with a 25 1/2" scale. They tend to sound brash in other types of guitars, particularly Les Paul type guitars. As with most pickups they have an ideal use, but may sound not so great when applied to other things.

I think a lot of the invective about the pickup is due to the fact that it's pushed so hard as their best selling model (and recommended to be paired with a jazz at the neck: "Seymour's favorite combination") so a lot of folks buy it regardless of what guitar they're dropping it in only to find out that it wasn't the right PUP for their needs. As a result there is always a glut of them on the used market with snide commentary.

But hey, everyone's ears are different. Some people like it in a Les Paul. Also, lots of folks drop an Alnico 8 magnet into it to fatten it up and like it better that way.

dets1
08-03-2010, 06:10 AM
i have a tele in the shop having one installed as we type. i hope it doesn't suck!

GCDEF
08-03-2010, 06:51 AM
I've got one in the bridge of my Heritage 535. It sounds great to me.

DonaldDemon
08-03-2010, 06:53 AM
I have one in my Edwards and really don't like it. It's just too much all the time. I'll be swapping it soon.

whitehall
08-03-2010, 06:54 AM
You just have to understand forum speak. Things that are popular and good sellers = Bad. Things that are obscure and cannot be obtained easily = Good.

stratotastic
08-03-2010, 06:56 AM
Because it doesn't sound good to some people? :dunno

I never really liked it. Maybe under the exact right conditions it sounds good, but I always found it harsh and overbearing. Probably because I prefer lower output pickups ('59s, '57 classics, Lovers, etc).

DonaldDemon
08-03-2010, 07:00 AM
You just have to understand forum speak. Things that are popular and good sellers = Bad. Things that are obscure and cannot be obtained easily = Good.

While this can be true, especially on this forum..

Because it doesn't sound good to some people? :dunno

I never really liked it. Maybe under the exact right conditions it sounds good, but I always found it harsh and overbearing. Probably because I prefer lower output pickups ('59s, '57 classics, Lovers, etc).


...this is the reason a lot don't like it, including myself.

mikem
08-03-2010, 07:04 AM
I think that the reason folks don't like the JB is the midrange hump. In some applications, this just isn't the sound you want. It's so diastinctive that you either love it or hate it under high gain, IMHO. I like it for high gain applications, although it's not ideal for me. I hate using it clean- to me, it sounds all wrong. As in all things, YMMV.

Mike

jimmyj
08-03-2010, 07:05 AM
I've had it in a few guitars and liked it but now I prefer lower output pickups.

It is ironic that so many players rave about Robben Ford's tone on "Talk to Your Daughter" and the bridge pickup in his Fender signature guitar at the time was a JB.

mikem
08-03-2010, 07:06 AM
I've had it in a few guitars and liked it but now I prefer lower output pickups.

It is ironic that so many players rave about Robben Ford's tone on "Talk to Your Daughter" and the bridge pickup in his Fender signature guitar at the time was a JB.

That's a big surprise to me, if this is true. I could never coax anything like that out of one.

Mike

JPB2
08-03-2010, 07:09 AM
I love the 59/JB combo in my LP.

cvansickle
08-03-2010, 07:12 AM
It's funny. Here's the observation I found:

When I got my Charvel San Dimas last year, I thought it was perfect. The stock JB bridge pickup was just right for that guitar and the style of music (hard rock/metal) I was going to play on it.

Six months later, I bought a Charvel So-Cal. Great playing guitar, but I hated the stock Dimarzio set on it. After a couple of experiments, I found the winning combination for this guitar - Pearly Gates neck and Custom Custom bridge (both alnico 2). Now this has become my main hard rock guitar.

The problem? Now I find that the San Dimas and its JB aren't so good anymore when compared to the So-Cal! So I tried a couple of things in the San Dimas too. First, I tried an alnico 2 magnet in the JB. Nope, too flat, no top. On a recommendation from a poster on the Duncan forum, I bought a pair of rough cast, unoriented alnico 5 five magnets from an eBay seller. Supposedly, they would reduce the top end spike and make the mids a little punchier, yet still retain the tight bottom of the stock JB. In the 59 neck, yes, I love this upgrade. As for the JB bridge, the jury is still out. I need a few more high volume days to decide. It does what I was told it would do, I'm still not entirely sure that this is what I want though.

boonhogganbeck
08-03-2010, 07:17 AM
I had the JB/59 combo in a Hame Studio back in the nineties and thought it was great. I recently had a G&L Legacy HB that had one and I couldn't stand it. Like most pickups, it's great pickup in the right guitar.

WoodyTone com
08-03-2010, 09:22 AM
The JB has a characteristic sound in rock, what I would call thin and compressed like other higher-output pickups. But people with ears far better than mine love it (eg, EVH, DeMartini, etc.).

Blix
08-03-2010, 09:27 AM
I never bonded with the JB, I much prefer the Custom Custom for hard rock tones.

(btw EVH never used a JB, the CC is much closer to what he have used over the last decade)

JSeth
08-03-2010, 11:13 AM
I had SD's put in my ES-345, back in the early 80's... a PAF '58 (?) in the 'board position and a JB in the bridge... I had not heard them before I bought them, but a deciding factor was that I could "coil-tap" them easily...

They're still in there, and I love 'em both! To me, the JB is bright enough, but thicker sounding than most bridge 'buckers I have heard... I use the bridge only on this guitar MUCH more than any other bridge pick-up I've played, 'cept maybe a buddy's '56 Tele, but that was a single coil...

I like the JB very much, personally.... don't know 'bout no one else... don't care much, either...

bjjp2
08-03-2010, 11:17 AM
Sounds sweet as hell in my Hamer Special.

ImmortalSix
08-03-2010, 11:21 AM
The JB really shows the sound of your guitar.

teletran1175
08-03-2010, 11:33 AM
Its common and inexpensive.
The double whammy for TGP.

somedude
08-03-2010, 11:42 AM
I like it for lead.

Don't like it for rhythm.

That's my take on it.

Bill Brasky
08-03-2010, 12:07 PM
Its common and inexpensive.
The double whammy for TGP.

That and probably 80+% of people install it "wrong", including major manufacturers like ESP/LTD, Schecter, Jackson. Seymour Duncan says the JB was designed to be used with a 250k pot. Most everyone seems to install it with a 500k pot and then complain it's too bright/harsh.

gitarzilla
08-03-2010, 12:17 PM
That and probably 80+% of people install it "wrong", including major manufacturers like ESP/LTD, Schecter, Jackson. Seymour Duncan says the JB was designed to be used with a 250k pot. Most everyone seems to install it with a 500k pot and then complain it's too bright/harsh.

Hmmm... maybe that's why I kinda like it in the bridge position of my slide Strat.

wildogs
08-03-2010, 12:59 PM
i have a tele in the shop having one installed as we type. i hope it doesn't suck!

DOH!

Seriously, if it does, try a P90. The P90 (Lollar) sounds great in my tele.

GAT
08-03-2010, 01:01 PM
I LOVE the JB in my SSH Custom Shop Strat. I used to hate them, but in this guitar its killer.

Jube2550
08-03-2010, 01:07 PM
I never bonded with the JB, I much prefer the Custom Custom for hard rock tones.

(btw EVH never used a JB, the CC is much closer to what he have used over the last decade)

Funny you mention EVH and the JB which came stock in the Kramer SM bridge back in 80s during his endorsement period. I swapped it for a custom custom and like the CC better.

The JB, however, was not horrible to my ears it just didn't work so well in that guitar (a bit thin sounding).

Pax
08-03-2010, 01:36 PM
Didn't even know it was put down so much. Guess I'm uninformed (gladly). I had one in a lp that I sold. I liked it just fine.

FatTeleTom
08-03-2010, 01:56 PM
I like the JB in the bridge of my Ibanez super-strat. Works pretty well split as a single coil. Great for a lot of lead stuff. Pretty cool crunchy rhythm. Maybe not the greatest clean tone, but on that guitar, I'm using other pickups for clean (or the JB split for spanky clean stuff).

Mayor McCheese
08-03-2010, 03:55 PM
I have one in a Les Paul Classic and it sounds fantastic in that guitar.

HoboMan
08-03-2010, 04:08 PM
I've had several Hamers (still currently have an Artist) and they all came with a JB in the bridge position.
First thing I did was replace the JB with a 59.
I like the 59 A LOT more.

Guitar Dave T
08-03-2010, 04:15 PM
The JB was designed initially for the bridge position of Jeff Beck's tele. In the 80's they were popular in the bridge position of super strats. They sound good in bolt-ons with a 25 1/2" scale. They tend to sound brash in other types of guitars, particularly Les Paul type guitars. As with most pickups they have an ideal use, but may sound not so great when applied to other things.

I think a lot of the invective about the pickup is due to the fact that it's pushed so hard as their best selling model (and recommended to be paired with a jazz at the neck: "Seymour's favorite combination") so a lot of folks buy it regardless of what guitar they're dropping it in only to find out that it wasn't the right PUP for their needs. As a result there is always a glut of them on the used market with snide commentary.

But hey, everyone's ears are different. Some people like it in a Les Paul. Also, lots of folks drop an Alnico 8 magnet into it to fatten it up and like it better that way.

Exactly. I had a super Strat in the 80's with a JB full humbucker in the bridge, with the adjustable pole pieces turned around closer to the neck, and it absolutely rocked. Great JB tones, great Holdsworth, intensly woody, textural tones. And I've still got some recordings that help me know that it's not just random, fuzzy memory.

I tried the same pickup in a 335 and it was so harsh and over the top you couldn't even tell it was a hollow body, just a thin, grating tone.

Still, if I ever went back to a super Strat, the JB would be my first choice again.

paulg
08-03-2010, 05:34 PM
The consensus appears to be 65% like the JB, 35% don't. All things considered that's a pretty positive reaction from a critical users group. I think your original observation that JB's are not appreciated on the Gear Page is wrong!

vintage66
08-03-2010, 05:49 PM
I love the JB/59 combo in my tele thinline. I also have a Hamer Studio with the same combo. I like it in there but I've thought about getting something more PAF'ish, but it does excel at hard rock. I wouldn't even think about anything else in the tele.

guitguy28
08-03-2010, 08:08 PM
I put a full-sized JB in my Strat, liked it (was into EVH and metal).

I put one in my LP, grew to hate it more and more as time went on- as my rig evolved from using pedals and preamp gain for distortion to using power amp drive for distortion. I put in Alnico II's into that LP and it sweetened up considerably.

I took that JB and put it in a crappy hand-made LP Junior copy I was fixing up for my brother, and it sounded really good in that guitar.

sleshnyc
08-23-2010, 09:38 AM
I love the 59/JB combo in my LP.
me too. have had it for 20 years. couldn't imagine anything else

cvansickle
08-23-2010, 09:45 AM
An update to my San Dimas/JB issue. I decided against the roughcast alnico 5 magnet. Instead, I opted for an alnico 8. Now this change I absolutely LOVE! More volume, more power, more midrange and absolutely no brittle highs. Bottom end is tight and chunky too.

Everyone was knocked out by this guitar at the Nashville Amp Expo this past weekend!

Bleak
08-23-2010, 10:01 AM
The JB is a great pickup to my ears. I feel like you know exactly what you're getting into with them, which is great if you're not really in the experimenting mood. I have guitars with other pickups for other uses, but almost half of the electrics have a JB. They just work really well for those guitars.

Swain
08-23-2010, 10:09 AM
I had a Pearly Gates Neck/JB Bridge in my Warmoth Soloist (Alder/Maple Cap). Really dug it.

But, the Pearly Gates was so awesome in the Neck Position, I eventually went to 2 X PGs.

And this is much warmer and thicker sounding, to my ears.

WILLIEKENDRICK
08-23-2010, 10:15 AM
Here's something weird...
I had a Hamer USA sunburst (gorgeous guitar) with a JB that I HATED HATED HATED forever. No bottom end, brassy sounding, just harsh thru every rig I tried. Replaced it and swore off the JB for about oh, 10 years. I had one come across my path last year as part of a trade deal and I put it in one of my Les Paul standards. It sounds AMAZING. I think the one in the Hamer was just a **bad** one. I certainly don't look down on them as much by a long shot anymore.

I've had several Hamers (still currently have an Artist) and they all came with a JB in the bridge position.
First thing I did was replace the JB with a 59.
I like the 59 A LOT more.

RCM78
08-23-2010, 10:21 AM
I've had many a bolt on shredder with a JB in the bridge. I liked them fine. In fact the pickups themselves werent really a major concern for me in any of my guitars. Then I bought a used Kramer Stagemaster. Something was a little off with that one. Swapped it for a Custom Custom and never looked back.

I have a Hamer USA Diablo with JB's in the neck and bridge. Those sound just fine to me...

Slackerprince
08-23-2010, 11:12 AM
I had the JB/Jazz set in my mahogany Schecter, but I found the JB thin-sounding. It was articulate and the tone was o.k., but thin, almost like a single-coil.
I swapped to a Tone Zone in the bridge and PAF Pro in the neck and I like it much better. The Tone Zone just has a fuller sound, great for chording. The PAF Pro is very versatile and can do a lot of different things with the guitar's volume control.

S

silky_sam
08-23-2010, 11:28 AM
I love the JB/59 combo in my tele thinline. I also have a Hamer Studio with the same combo.

I also love that combo in my Schecter C-1

http://i927.photobucket.com/albums/ad112/emckenrick/Schecterc-1Classicbodyfront.jpg

lpuncle
08-23-2010, 01:55 PM
I have a honeyburst '96 Standard LP with a JB in both positions. I flipped the bridge postion around so it is like a Peter Green mod. It has a very distinct sound that I personally like. I might add it is an aquired taste.

majorbanjo
08-23-2010, 09:30 PM
I don't like the JB in the bridge on my Charvel San Dimas......I'm going to change to something else....love the 59 in the neck....heck it sounds like I'd like the bridge pickup to sound.......

Lublin
08-23-2010, 10:24 PM
I've got a Jazz/JB combo in my LP Standard and it's been there for a while and isn't going anywhere.