What's your favorite Les Paul bridge pickup?

paintguy

Long Hair Hippy Freak
Gold Supporting Member
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6,622
I have had a tons of Les Pauls over the years and every one was different. One pickup model would work great in one guitar and not so great in another.

That all being said and from my experience only...

Tom Holmes and WCR Darkburst have shined in mine.
 

_sjm_

Member
Messages
538
I have a number of LPs but no single favorite set of humbucking pickups, or even a favorite neck or bridge pickup. That would depend on the music and my playing mood, which varies from day to day.
This is the correct way to do it. I always scratch my head when I see someone say “Oh yeah those pickups are great... I’ve got them in all 8 of my LP’s”. I guess if you’re touring and need consistency and backups then that makes sense, but for me I want variety.

I’m thinking about picking up another LP right now specifically to try something different. I’ve done the vintage PAF thing in the last 5-6 guitars. It’s time for something hotter in the next one.
 

JukeBoxRat

Silver Supporting Member
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1,320
Pearly Gates is one of my faves. I have the 57 Classic/Classic + in my Epi 1960 LP Tribute and love them. I also really like Epi's ProBuckers and their Alnico Classic. I was very surprised with how good they sound.

Sorry to hear about your bad fretwork, OP. I've got 4 Epi LPs and the fretwork is flawless on all of them. Hopefully, you just got a bum one.
 

cdarwincole

Gold Supporting Member
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77
  • WCR (aka Jim Wagner aka JWP) Darkburst
  • WCR (aka Jim Wagner aka JWP) Godwood
  • Sheptone Blue Sky

...depending on the wood combination, amp, and the tones you seek.

I always get 4-wire pickups so that I can at least have a parallel option for the bridge pickup and single coil for the neck using push-push or push-pull switches on the tone controls. If the body allows me to add my preferred version of tritone mini-switches, so much the better.

Note: I don't have a Les Paul but several 80s vintage Ibanez AR300 guitars that I have rewired (along with other vintage Ibanez guitars). Over the course of a couple of decades, I experimented with dozens of guitars, including Les Pauls, with a variety of wood combinations and pickups.

Ibanez answered the Gibson lawsuit against their Les Paul copies -- which were just too consistently good for Gibson to compete with in the marketplace -- with the AR series, of which the AR300 was one of the top models. It's got a Les Paul sort of cutaway, but it's a double cutaway design with both sides of the upper bout cut in symmetrical arcs to the neck. A tapered heel faciliates fret access still more.

It's got a mahogany body and thick maple cap, overall about the same thickness and weight of a Les Paul. Tones are similar, too, but perhaps just a little brighter and cleaner.

Sometime in 1983, Ibanez changed from the heavy "harmonica" bridge with the in-body sustain block to a light alloy bridge set directly into the top. There is a suble tone difference. I don't find sustain lacking, however, with the alloy bridge, which seems a bit more resonant. Either setup sounds great.

The AR300 also featured the unique Ibanez tritone switch, one for each pickup. The three tones the Ibanez switches gave you were series (standard humbucking mode), coil phase (clinky, quacky), and single coil. I've replaced those switches and have series, single coil (clean, bright, scooped on the neck), and parallel (a bright humbucking mode). Here is my 1985 AR300 Super Edition with 4-wire WCR Godwood pickups, new mini-swtiches, PIO capacitors, treble bleed (high pass) circuits. Note the built-in Faraday cage that came on these guitars. This one was missing its cap (held down by that bolt sticking up the middle), so I had to line the cavity with copper foil.

You can see by how it fits this Les Paul case that the body dimensions are very similar.

Ibanez was the first guitar company to offer these flamed ("tiger") maple tops, by the way.

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CCG

Member
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259
I think the biggest thing you will want to do with an Epi is to swap out all the other electronics. I've had good luck with the Epi pick ups after swapping the electronics. It really allows you to hear the true tone of the pick ups. But when I switch them out I tend to stick with a PAF style duncan, 59's or Seth Lover. I'd like to try a Antiquity. My main guitar is a Gibson SG and I love the Gibson '61s that are in that thing.
 

highwaystar30

Member
Messages
772
I'd like to throw in my fantasy: Bare Knuckle Emerals. I got them and played them on another guitar for a while, but not on a Les Paul and I havent had a Les Paul since long. Id guess they would particularly work great with a Les Paul with plenty of low end. Check them out, it cant hurt. Particularly if you like it hot but still vintagey...
 

rauchman

Member
Messages
1,698
Surprised I haven't seen this mentioned....

Suhr Thornbucker + - Amazing pickup with outstanding expression and a richness of tone.
 

caspa

Gold Supporting Member
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1,086
Ugh, that sucks. Sorry dude. I just took delivery of a new guitar from Sweetwater and was super happy with the plek job. That’s a bummer that yours was crappy - I’m sure they’ll set it right for you.

Thanks, I think from now on I'm going to continue to avoid Epiphone, which I should have done in the first place with all the bad non-vendor reviews. Depending on how Sweetwater chooses to resolve this I'll probably just grab a Gibson studio from them if I can regain any of that money back and not worry about a PLEK job at all.

(I know Gibson's don't have great factory setups, but I also have never found one unplayable like this Epi)
 

Doomrider78

Member
Messages
4,535
I think the biggest thing you will want to do with an Epi is to swap out all the other electronics. I've had good luck with the Epi pick ups after swapping the electronics. It really allows you to hear the true tone of the pick ups. But when I switch them out I tend to stick with a PAF style duncan, 59's or Seth Lover. I'd like to try a Antiquity. My main guitar is a Gibson SG and I love the Gibson '61s that are in that thing.

The new "Inspired by" range has good electronics: my 50s Standard has CTS pots and 50s wiring.
 
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deepcove17

Member
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1,642
Seymour Duncan Seth Lover PAF. Alnico II magnets and sweet vintage tone. Make sure to wire your electronics to vintage wiring. Change your stock 500k pots to vintage spec 300k. Combined with the Seth Lover Alnico II pup it tames a normally bright bridge tone. Gibson got it right back in the day with Seth Lovers help. Now you can, too.
Totally agree with the Seth Lover however I recently changed my 300K pots to 500K to which I find match much better to Seths in my LP. I could not get a very bright bridge tone with 300K and now have the best of both worlds when I roll back my tone knob.
 
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I don't play Les Pauls anymore because of my shoulder arthritis. I was a Les Paul man for decades though and I think the tried and true Dimarzio Super Distortion was my favorite pick up of the bunch. I also really loved the Seymour Duncan Custom and even the stock Gibson 57 Classic Plus was a great sounding one.
 

snow and steel

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7,295
I've tried tons - some quite expensive - and always come back to the humble Seymour Duncan '59 for the bridge. it just works.
 

David Garner

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
7,441
This is the correct way to do it. I always scratch my head when I see someone say “Oh yeah those pickups are great... I’ve got them in all 8 of my LP’s”. I guess if you’re touring and need consistency and backups then that makes sense, but for me I want variety.

I’m thinking about picking up another LP right now specifically to try something different. I’ve done the vintage PAF thing in the last 5-6 guitars. It’s time for something hotter in the next one.

I was the same and honestly I think this is the best approach, but I have 2 LPs and both of them have Custom Shop Pearly Gates pickups in them. The guitars themselves sound enough different to give me some variety.

Before that I had a JB/59 set in one of them. I still love that set (and haven't sold them because I love them), but in the end the Custom Shop Pearly Gates set sort of nails what I'm after right now in both guitars.
 

CCG

Member
Messages
259
The new "Inspired by" range has good electronics: my 50s Standard has CTS pots and 50s wiring.
that's good! because that would really bring them up in line with the PRS SE line. I'll have to check out the new ones
 




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