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Examples of Great Clean Tone from Humbuckers?


I'm looking for reference tones of your favorite clean tones from humbuckers.

I have an Edwards ES-Les Paul (semi-hollow) with a set of lower output humbuckers. I know for sure good clean tones can be found, I just have no experience in dialing them in, so want to find some tones to listen to and tune my ears.

Specifically for humbuckers - I have Strats and Teles and know how to dial in the tones I'm looking for on those guitars - and also know that humbucker cleans are going to be different (but hopefully not worse).


look up shawn tubbs on youtube. he gets what i feel are great cleans with a slightly gritty amp, and just playing dynamics.

Stig Ø

Allan Holdsworth’s clean tones. Pat Metheny, too. Mike Landau has gorgeous tones, and his latest stuff is based on humbuckers. Robben Ford...


Gold Supporting Member
look up shawn tubbs on youtube. he gets what i feel are great cleans with a slightly gritty amp, and just playing dynamics.
Yeah, Shawn Tubbs is awesome and gets some great tones. He does use a variety of instruments, and some of his guitars have non-humbucking pickups: single coils & P90's but he has some great chops & tone with all of them. He is a member here on TGP.


I highly recommend using both pickups on together, set the heights so that the middle position gives a distinctly different sound from either pickup by itself.

Then, keep it in the middle position, and play around with the volume and tone pots to blend the two pickups - there is a world of tones to be explored here!

The middle position can seem 'weak' compared to either pickup by itself - I'd say dial in the amp so that the middle position sounds good, and if a single pickup seems too loud or bright, get used to tweaking the guitar volume and tone pots on the fly.

Now I can't do this while singing onstage and tap dancing on pedals, but it's worthwhile to do this and really get to know the tonal range of your guitar (clean or dirty!).




Platinum Supporting Member
I think you can go back to Beano... but even more relevant are the tones from Free and Thin Lizzy. Pretty clean but slightly hot humbuckers into early Marshall amps. Pete Townsend into hiwatts.... those tones get lost when we think of the humbucker/Marshall combination and it’s quite a long ways from EVH.


Silver Supporting Member
I have found that most PAF humbuckers have poor treble response. For my favorite clean tones, I like to have treble. I have had great luck with Filter'Trons, humbuckers wired in parallel, and Jim Armstrong humbuckers on my archtops. All my Jackson shredders have Duncan JB/Jazz or JB/59 sets, and I installed 3-way series-single-parallel switches to get the treble I like. I have also had better luck with PAF humbuckers when 500K-Ω pots are used. My CS-356 came with 500K-Ω pots and it sounds great. When I put them in my Gibson Country Gent, the treble response improved noticeably.