I love the stock Custombuckers in my 2016 R8. They sound glorious.
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I’ve got a couple guitars that came with regular BB pickups. By that I mean non BB Pros. Once’s a 02 R8 Custom Authentic with the factory BB pickups. I believe they are a 3-2 Combo. I never felt the need to swap pickup or mod the electronics in this one. Definitely more aggressive than 57’s. One was a 3-1 combo in a Epi Standard that I upgraded and that stayed in our rehearsal space. And these where the earlier aftermarket retail zebras. Not Pros. And again sounded great. And I latched onto another set of the production Custom Authentic pickups that went into another Epi and made a huge difference.I actually like the BB1-2-3 in various combinations, pretty useful pickups. If you're looking for something hotter and tighter, my go-to is a Duncan Custom.
That's definitely what I expected! I'm actually pretty set on a JB, but in a separate guitar now. My other guitars cover vintage low output tones, and IMO all alnico II paf-styles sound almost identical to me.4 pages later, OP is thinking to himself, "Welp, I guess I saw that coming. And I'm no less clear on what I should get."
(I have no idea what style of music you like, so any suggestion is moot as I see it. FWIW my LP Std has Nailbombs, and the 490/498 set that came stock with the guitar ended up in my LP Classic. I play mostly heavy rock stuff, so they work really well for me.)
I played an SG faded with a 498T for years about 10 years ago and actually loved it, and the most gain I ever used was a RAT at 8 o'clock into a clean JCM900.My favorite is the Gibson 498T. I know a lot of people hate them though, that has helped me buy a few for fairly cheap. I also like the DiMarzio Tone Zone and the Suhr Doug Aldrich. I have a Duncan Custom 5 coming that I'm gonna try. So I'll let you know about that one.