Why is the Duncan JB so derided?

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by Average Joe, Aug 3, 2010.

  1. Average Joe

    Average Joe Member

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    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
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2010
  2. Jef Bardsley

    Jef Bardsley Member

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    It's the John Mayer of pickups. It's cool not to like them.
     
  3. jimfog

    jimfog Senior Member

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  4. slogger

    slogger Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2010
  5. xjojox

    xjojox Gold Supporting Member

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    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.
     
  6. dets1

    dets1 Member

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    i have a tele in the shop having one installed as we type. i hope it doesn't suck!
     
  7. GCDEF

    GCDEF Supporting Member

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    I've got one in the bridge of my Heritage 535. It sounds great to me.
     
  8. DonaldDemon

    DonaldDemon Supporting Member

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    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.
     
  9. whitehall

    whitehall Supporting Member

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    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.
     
  10. stratotastic

    stratotastic Supporting Member

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    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).
     
  11. DonaldDemon

    DonaldDemon Supporting Member

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


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

    mikem Senior Member

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    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
     
  13. jimmyj

    jimmyj Member

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    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.
     
  14. mikem

    mikem Senior Member

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

    Mike
     
  15. JPB2

    JPB2 Member

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    I love the 59/JB combo in my LP.
     
  16. cvansickle

    cvansickle Member

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    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.
     
  17. boonhogganbeck

    boonhogganbeck Member

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    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.
     
  18. WoodyTone com

    WoodyTone com Member

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    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.).
     
  19. Blix

    Blix Supporting Member

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    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)
     
  20. JSeth

    JSeth Member

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    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...
     

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