• TGP is giving away a Strat, Tele, and Jazzmaster. Click Here for full details.
    Click Here to upgrade your account and enter today!

Les Paul Pickups

joebloggs13

Member
Messages
1,935
I see so many good players use les pauls. I have owned 2 different standards and sold them pretty quickly.

Now that I’m better at dialing in an amp/setup I’m thinking of trying one again. I’m curious if there is a consensus or what you would recommend as the pickup to get with the LP.

I see there are burstbuckers, 498 what should I be looking for?
I have a set of Monty's PAFs in my LP. They have scratched my itch. Highly recommended.
 

stratzrus

Philadelphia Jazz, Funk, and R&B
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
20,967
I just finished playing my Les Paul Classic Plus for the last hour.

I don't know what it came with originally but the guy I bought it from sold it to me with a 57 Classic/57 Classic Plus set.

The 57 Classic Plus (bridge) is a great pickup for leads...anything from Classic Rock to Modern Metal.

The 57 Classic in the neck position sounded a little muddy to me with the tone knob turned down to 2.5 when playing Jazz. I was considering a pickup swap and my tech suggested putting a set of A3 magnets in it. That did the trick and now it sounds fantastic. Fat and tight bottom end with no mud.

I've had this guitar for 9 years now and it's a keeper. Les Pauls can be quite different. I don't know if you're thinking new or used but I like guitars that have little age on them. My Les Paul Classic Plus was made in 1997 so it's 23 years old now. Truly resonant, really sings, and the pickups are a very good match for it.

 
Last edited:

Blue Lizard

Member
Messages
765
Happy with the BB1&2 set in my ‘18 LP Trad.

I’m normally one to swap out pickups and all of my other guitars have Dimarzios in them (some were stock). I did plan to “upgrade” the pickups in the LP before I bought it, but got to know the BB’s, adjusted heights, and now they sound just as I want an LP to sound.

Biggest improvement on stock setup was putting in a new harness with RS pots and shielding the guitar at the same time. A set of Faber hardware didn’t go amiss too!
 

i3oosted

Member
Messages
188
I see so many good players use les pauls. I have owned 2 different standards and sold them pretty quickly.

Now that I’m better at dialing in an amp/setup I’m thinking of trying one again. I’m curious if there is a consensus or what you would recommend as the pickup to get with the LP.

I see there are burstbuckers, 498 what should I be looking for?
Just went down the rabbit hole on this.

I’d definitely go with 57 classics or if you need a little hotter bridge with tighter bass, the 498.
 

Mpcoluv

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,247
In the past i have struggled with a Woofy neck pickup. A Duncan Jazz fixed that for me. With a brighter neck pickup I have found it easier to get a balanced tone between the neck and bridge.
the unpotted BB-3 is the only recent Gibson pickup I have liked.
the pearly Gates can be great in a Les Paul bridge
 
Messages
899
I have no experience with unpotted pickups so can't say as to those, but all of the potted ones I have in my Les Pauls are great. I'm mainly a bridge pickup guy and all of my Les Pauls have Oil City Pickups in the bridge. One is a slightly overwound PAF type, one is modelled off a 70s Super Distortion and the last is a sort of hot coil/underwound coil mix for a blend of output and clarity. Sort of like the Duncan '59/Custom Hybrid.

I'm lucky enough to have 3 Les Pauls with different pickup sets to have some variety, but if you have just the one I'd go for something like a potted PAF/slightly hotter PAF set with a tight bass response, because then you're covered for the classic LP sounds but will be able to push things into heavier territory without it falling apart with uncontrollable feedback.
 

Drew816

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,099
The consensus here is for someone to start a "...hey what pickups for my Les Paul?" thread at least once a week. ;)

I was playing my '08 LP Classic Goldtop this morning, full Faber setup, refret'ed, Gotoh tuners, 50's wiring and I have a set of Low Wind Wolfetone Dr. Vintage A2 and a Marshallhead A5 in this guitar and it's amazing. It's my best sounding guitar, which kind of blows my mind as I didn't expect that to be the outcome. I own several sets of Wolfetones and Fralin Pure PAFs, the majority of which are low wind but in this LP, wow. I'm sure the Faber setup helps but you can't argue with success! I have to put this guitar away purposefully for periods of time or I won't play any other guitars.

When buying an LP, well almost every guitar, I don't consider what pickups are in there as I know they're going to be removed. But that's just me...

Good luck!
 

Yer Blues

Member
Messages
8,482
I just finished playing my Les Paul Classic Plus for the last hour.

I don't know what it came with originally but the guy I bought it from sold it to me with a 57 Classic/57 Classic Plus set.

The 57 Classic Plus (bridge) is a great pickup for leads...anything from Classic Rock to Modern Metal.

The 57 Classic in the neck position sounded a little muddy to me with the tone knob turned down to 2.5 when playing Jazz. I was considering a pickup swap and my tech suggested putting a set of A3 magnets in it. That did the trick and now it sounds fantastic. Fat and tight bottom end with no mud.

I've had this guitar for 9 years now and it's a keeper. Les Pauls can be quite different. I don't know if you're thinking new or used but I like guitars that have little age on them. My Les Paul Classic Plus was made in 1997 so it's 23 years old now. Truly resonant, really sings, and the pickups are a very good match for it.

I think most LP Classics from that era came with those 496R/500T pickups with the ceramic magnets. No pickup covers. I like the 57 classics, too.... I bought a LP traditional goldtop a few years back and was going to swap the pickups, but I'm happy with the 57 classics.
 
Messages
7,543
7 LP's, 6 different types of pickups.

2 have BB1&2. And those two LP's sound completely different.

None of my LP's sound the same but I love the way they all sound.

I have a 77 Custom stock with T-Tops that sounds great, all the way up to a Classic w/ the 496R/500T high output set.
It's funny, I remember when the 500T was first introduced at my local guitar store around 1990. The salesmen weren't calling it a "classic" then. In fact, then (as now), they preferred to stay stuck in the distant past as always. But hey, that was 30 years ago, so now they have earned "classic"! I considered the 500T a worthy upgrade to my Gibson V's pickup at the time. Some would call it a bit much for LPs, but I like 'em and the 496R.
 

Mpcoluv

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,247
I have no experience with unpotted pickups so can't say as to those, but all of the potted ones I have in my Les Pauls are great. I'm mainly a bridge pickup guy and all of my Les Pauls have Oil City Pickups in the bridge. One is a slightly overwound PAF type, one is modelled off a 70s Super Distortion and the last is a sort of hot coil/underwound coil mix for a blend of output and clarity. Sort of like the Duncan '59/Custom Hybrid.

I'm lucky enough to have 3 Les Pauls with different pickup sets to have some variety, but if you have just the one I'd go for something like a potted PAF/slightly hotter PAF set with a tight bass response, because then you're covered for the classic LP sounds but will be able to push things into heavier territory without it falling apart with uncontrollable feedback.
while I tend to think unpotted buckers have a little more complexity, some of them are unusable with high gain and high volume. So I agree if you are playing heavier music, you will likely need a potted pickup.
 

dcbc

Member
Messages
2,169
If you can find the '59 Tribute pickups, they are pretty great. I've got them in my 2014 Traditional and really love them.
 

EC Strat

Member
Messages
206
Unpotted, lower wind, PAF style. There are other choices for all different types of music but that will get you the most mileage in my experience.

I’ve settled on the Seymour Duncan Custom Shop Pearly Gates set, but Antiquities, Seths, or any number of similar options from other manufacturers (including Burstbuckers) are solid too. Keep in mind some BBs are hotter and wax potted so be sure what you’re getting.
Seths are freakishly good. Have a set loaded in my semi hollow

how do the pearly gates compare in tone with the Seths?
 

Gclef

Member
Messages
2,475
I have dimarzio 36th in mine. I really like them.

I would also give a set of pearly gates a try if I had another les paul.
 

KevinD

Member
Messages
95
If you can find the '59 Tribute pickups, they are pretty great. I've got them in my 2014 Traditional and really love them.
Thats actually what I put in mine. Technically they are Burstbucker, but there's a very slight difference in sound. I looked long and hard, as I wanted (at the time) to stay with Gibson pickups. Mine work wonderfully for me, but since they are unpoted, as said before, they can be a handful with higher gain.
 

teledude55

Member
Messages
4,904
Wolfetone Dr. Vintage are great PAF clones, and at a good price. Lollar Imperials are great of course. but cost more. I just bought a 2020 '60s LP Std and the Burstbuckers are working for me... I might buy some Lollars or Wolfetones for it one of these days
 
Last edited:

Lwilliams

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,407
In my experience, the best tones I've heard are, in order:

1. Early 70s Gibson T-Top
2. 2018 and up Gibson Custombuckers
3. Gibson MHS (Memphis Historic Series)
4. Seymour Duncan Antiquity
5. Gibson Burstbucker 2 and 3
6. Gibson 57 Classic
 
Last edited:

tonedover

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
5,615
i currently run a Pearly Gates bridge in my Vela. its a much lighter but all mahog guitar.

i think it sounds great
 




Trending Topics

Top