Which humbuckers are best?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by Op2musPryme, Jul 4, 2006.


  1. Op2musPryme

    Op2musPryme Member

    Messages:
    2
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    I have a stock Les Paul studio and I have been thinking of upgrading the pickups. I play blues and rock mostly so that is the tone i'm going for. Any suggestions on what pickups to try out? Thanks
     
  2. paintguy

    paintguy Long Hair Hippy Freak Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,426
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles, Ca
    Wcr's seem to be the choice of most around here. Not cheap, but many feel more than worth it.

    www.crcoils.com
     
  3. soulohio

    soulohio Member

    Messages:
    11,046
    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2005
    Location:
    vin drin dop
    i would like to check out those wcr's...but i have a gibson burstbucker pro that has been a winner in two guitars...a tokai les paul and the axe it sounded best in, a fender toronado. i have the bridge pickup. alnico V is very nice and growly...
     
  4. bettiefan

    bettiefan Member

    Messages:
    41
    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2006
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI
    I'm into EMGs myself, but for lighter rock and blues, try a Duncan JB in the bridge and a '59 in the neck.
     
  5. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Member

    Messages:
    1,624
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2003
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
  6. AaeCee

    AaeCee Member

    Messages:
    14,127
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2005
    Location:
    MD.
    As always, depends on how much blood you want to donate. My 'budget' fail safe choice...SD 59s. Sound great in every guitar I've heard them in, tried and true, really get that classic vintage sound, and can be found for around $130.00/pair if you look around a bit. Still as popular as ever...says a lot about the product.
     
  7. karmadave

    karmadave Member

    Messages:
    3,966
    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2005
    Location:
    Bay Area
    It depends on what you are looking for. What style of music do you play? Do you like to get your overdrive/distortion from a pedal or your amp? What type of amp? There are so many excellent humbuckers, on the market, it's hard to give a recommendation. IMHO it depends on your musical tastes and what the other parts of your rig look like. That said, I have a set of Voodoo 59's, in my Les Paul, that sound great!

    -KD
     
  8. musickbox

    musickbox Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,160
    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2005
    Location:
    Miami
    ditto on the voodoo's. WCR are great. There are a ton out there. No one champion. But I definitely would go with the PAF copies. Buy em used if you can. Its way cheaper.
     
  9. Robotechnology

    Robotechnology Supporting Member

    Messages:
    794
    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Location:
    North, NJ
    I'm a fan of Burstbucker Pros and the 490R/498T set as far as Gibson pickups go. WCR Fillmores, Dimarzio Air Classics, PRS Vintage Bass/HFS set, & Seymour Duncan '59's. Tom Anderson pickups are also way up there in my book.
     
  10. SteveStrat

    SteveStrat Member

    Messages:
    236
    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2005
    Location:
    Richland, WA
    I had a Studio LP back in '92 and I thought the pups were not so good. The '04 LP Standard that I bought has Burst Bucker Pro's in it and they are friggen great!! My votes for those first. Kinda pricey but well worth it in my book. If you want something cheaper but still nice sounding, then try Seymour Duncan's '59s. I've got one of those in my Strat and it's got a great balanced tone.


    Steve
     
  11. reddgeetarzan

    reddgeetarzan Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,375
    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2005
    Location:
    T-O-N-E-H-I-O
    IF you have plenty of $$$$$$ to spend- the Tom Holmes pup's are some of the best vintage recreations I've ever heard- the WCR's are fantastic too, and quite a bit cheaper, plus you can find WCR's to fit YOUR sound- many models to choose from and the folks at WCR are second to none when it comes to gettin' some info or help on your choice.
     
  12. stratzrus

    stratzrus Philadelphia Jazz, Funk, and R&B Supporting Member

    Messages:
    18,714
    Joined:
    May 16, 2006
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    +1 on WCRs and Voodoos.

    Duncan '59s (neck) and JB (bridge) are also good (rock standards).

    Gibson '57 Classic and '57 Classic Plus (bridge) are also acceptable, and relatively inexpensive used.

    I'd stay away from the Burstbuckers (just my opinion, no thrown bricks please).

    stratzrus
     
  13. Rich M

    Rich M Member

    Messages:
    422
    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2004
  14. paintguy

    paintguy Long Hair Hippy Freak Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,426
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles, Ca
    And great prices too!!! Only problem, about a 3 month wait. I have 2 sets of HighOrders, and they rate right up there with the $300.00 sets at a 1/3 the price.
     
  15. Guitar Dave T

    Guitar Dave T Member

    Messages:
    9,011
    Joined:
    May 15, 2006
    Location:
    Somewhere near White Rock Lake, N. Texas
    Burstbuckers seem to really do their best magic in the neck position (bridge seems harsh to me).

    Dimarzio Classic PAFs are good, low priced, well balanced PAF style pickups. Very cool blues rock vibe on the bridge, and bridge/neck position. Really sweet neck position sound at moderate stage volume, but a bit muddy on bridge alone at higher stage volumes.

    Gibson 57 Classics a very good choice, but expensive - definitely not harsh, but exceptional, creamy tone. Beware of the older, mid-90's and earlier version of these pickups - they're terrible. Gibson redesigned this pickup sometime around 2000.

    Seymour 59's (SH-1) have great spank and sparkley in a maple top guitar. In a solid mahogony guitar, they sound very organic. Derek Trucks of The Allman Brothers and Derek Trucks Band - http://www.derektrucks.com/index.html - has a set in his SG 61 Reissue.

    Seymour Pearly Gates are good bridge pickups if you want more rock edge.

    Seymour JB's work well in some guitars, but sound way too harsh in others. I had a bridge full size in a Tokai Strat that worked well, but the same pickup in a 335 peeled paint.

    Also, a trick to fatten up the bridge pickup, regardless of what humbuckers you use: Lower the pole pieces so they are recessed below the cover. Then raise the whole pickup as close as you can get it without bottoming out strings on the top fret. Then adjust the neck pickup for best tone. With a slightly hotter bridge pickup, this usually gives a good balance when both pickups are selected, volume full up. This is a Billy Gibbons trick, but works well regardless of pickups and style. I even use it, to a moderate degree, on my jazz archtop (Gibson 57 Classics).


    Good luck - Let us know what you go with.

    Peace,
     
  16. Gi-gi-giggity

    Gi-gi-giggity Member

    Messages:
    703
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2006
    Location:
    Atlanta, Ga
    Rio Grande are a good option too.
     
  17. Festus

    Festus Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,436
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2006
    Location:
    So Cal...Ventura County.
    Your Les Paul Studio should have a Gibson 498T and 490R already installed. But if you're looking to change them...

    +1 on the WCR pickups - the Crossroad, Darkburst, and Goodwood are what I like so far.

    Lollars are great, too. Perhaps a tad brighter than WCR pickups.

    Haven't tried the Holmes, though have some Highorder and Manlius pickups on the way.

    Almost too many choices! :messedup
     
  18. mlongano

    mlongano Member

    Messages:
    1,786
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2006
    Location:
    The Triangle
    The Timbuckers are stellar, but you'll have to wait two years to get a set, or be prepared to pony up $500.00 or so for expedited shipment. Even at 500.00, money well spent.
     
  19. EADGBE

    EADGBE Member

    Messages:
    12,297
    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2005
    That's what I'd suggest.
     
  20. karma1

    karma1 Member

    Messages:
    1,123
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2006
    Location:
    San Francisco Bay area
    I have a 92 Les Paul Studio and I put a Seymour Duncan Seth Lover in the neck, which sounds fantastic. I experimented with moving the 490R to the bridge and it works well there and balances well with the low output PAF-style Seth Lover. Two other humbucker guitars I own have the following sets of pickups which I like very much: Duncan Jazz/Custom Custom, and DiMarzio Air Norton/Tone Zone.
     

Share This Page