• New Sponsor: ShipNerd, Ship Your Gear with Us... for less! Click Here.

Why does everyone think Burstbuckers suck?

Hefalump

Member
Messages
9,825
After recently getting my first Gibson Les Paul (R8), I've been settling into it's sound. At first I thought I'd replace the pickups because most people say the stock Burstbuckers suck, but I haven't found anything wrong with them and so far I like them. Sure, I wouldn't really know the possible difference in sound unless I installed new pickups in the same guitar, but they compare well to other humbuckers I've owned or played in similar guitars.

When you think about it, Gibson invented the PAF humbucker (and for all those sticklers for detail, yes Seth Lover invented them, but while he was working for Gibson). They've been making them for a darn long time, so you'd think they know a thing or two about making a decent humbucker. And considering that there are 50+ people winding & selling quality, boutique pickups from their basements, I would imagine a large manufacturer could compare in quality (I know Seymour Duncan does). And heck, being known as the inventor of the PAF should motivate them to make a quality pickup.

So why do the Burstbuckers get such a bad rap? Under the covers, are they poorly made, like the fake bumble-bee caps Gibson uses?

I'm sure I'll experiment and swap them out one day, but I'm in no hurry. To my ears they sound pretty good.

Mark


I Love the Burstbucker 2/3 in my Les Paul Std. Friggin GREAT!
 

Phila67

Member
Messages
2,130
It's because of the name. "Burstbucker" sounds dumb. A 'bucker for 'bursts?? They should have called them PAF 2s or something. And if the name of the product doesn't sound good, chances are the product doesn't sound good. ;)
 
  • Like
Reactions: IRG

Jimi D

Member
Messages
1,432
I had a set of Burstbucker Pros lying around and tossed 'em in my PRS SE Zach Myers for the hell of it, thinking I'd replace them with something better when I had the chance... I'll never pull these pickups from this guitar! They work absolutely beautifully together! I've got 57/08s in most of my other PRS humbucker guitars, but these BBPros just sound fantastic in this guitar... Love 'em!
 

KeLynne

Member
Messages
951
I have a single pickup thin body jj melody maker that originally had a burstbucker 3 in the bridge that I didn't really feel sounded all that great for being the only pickup in that particular guitar. It was too shrill for such a light guitar IMO. I think it didn't compliment the resonance of the thin mahogany body. I swapped it out for a SD sh-5 custom and like it much better. I put the bb3 in my schecter pt fastback and it kills.
 

Zeon45

Member
Messages
1,704
I have BB 1 and 2 in my R9 and they're fine. No need to replace for some high dollar pups.
 

yardbird mac

Member
Messages
1,383
I like BurstBucker 1&2's. BurstBucker Pro not so much. Sounds too harsh to my ears. YMMV.

Same here. I like the 1 & 2 in my 2004 R9, but hated the BB Pros in my "03" Standard (harsh/brittle and not pleasing to the ear at all). In early 2014 I had a set of BrandonWound PAFs installed by LAY's Guitar Shop in Akron. They also gutted the control cavity and did the 50's wiring thing. This pickup swap out and rewiring made this a totally different guitar!

Although the overall feel between the two guitars is much different. Sound wise, they are almost identical. I'm still undecided as to whether doing the same switch out on my R9 would be an improvement (or not). I'm kind of inclined to follow the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" fillosophy.
 

RJLII

Member
Messages
10,506
My 2007 R8 has a set. They sound great. They also required some adjustments to get that way. When doubt, tweak the height and the polepieces.
 

v75swd

Member
Messages
41
After recently getting my first Gibson Les Paul (R8), I've been settling into it's sound. At first I thought I'd replace the pickups because most people say the stock Burstbuckers suck, but I haven't found anything wrong with them and so far I like them. Sure, I wouldn't really know the possible difference in sound unless I installed new pickups in the same guitar, but they compare well to other humbuckers I've owned or played in similar guitars.

When you think about it, Gibson invented the PAF humbucker (and for all those sticklers for detail, yes Seth Lover invented them, but while he was working for Gibson). They've been making them for a darn long time, so you'd think they know a thing or two about making a decent humbucker. And considering that there are 50+ people winding & selling quality, boutique pickups from their basements, I would imagine a large manufacturer could compare in quality (I know Seymour Duncan does). And heck, being known as the inventor of the PAF should motivate them to make a quality pickup.

So why do the Burstbuckers get such a bad rap? Under the covers, are they poorly made, like the fake bumble-bee caps Gibson uses?

I'm sure I'll experiment and swap them out one day, but I'm in no hurry. To my ears they sound pretty good.

Mark

My humble opinion - Ran across this thread, it caught my attention. I have an 07 LP Standard, came with BB Pro's factory installed, very nice guitar, bought it brand new. When I played it in the store it seemed OK and I wasn't playing through my amp, a DSL 50 at that time. After a while, I noticed that the bridge PU just seemed kind of harsh and the squealing someone already mentioned earlier. Years prior I had a LP with Dimarzio PU's, a PAF in the neck and a Super D in the bridge, it seemed beefier as I recalled. After having my 07 LP for a while, I played a friend's LP that had the SD Slash Alnico II Pros installed.
After I bought a set and had him replace the BB Pro's, I just can't imagine going back. Reading through some of these comments brought me back to how that guitar sounded before the swap, and I would definitely agree it was harsh and grainy, maybe ok for somethings but just not a good basic tone, and nothing compared to what I have now. I don't know if the Alnico II Pro's are all that either, but in my opinion, I most certainly made the right move. Still have the guitar, absolute joy to play, sounds amazing through my Bogner Ecstacy!
 

MRscratch

Member
Messages
7,402
i love mine. I have them in a les paul custom 57 R
and in a warren haynes 335. who by the way, also loves BB
i have a 1 and 2 set.
The classic57 is built to lovers spec.
the BB are how the machines would have actually wound them
in theory
 

crossbones

Member
Messages
986
I wouldn't say they suck,
but when they sound great in a good Gibson guitar, that guitar always sounded much better with other pickups in my experience.
I have never had BB's help a lame Gibson product....but then, nothing really can.
 

willie k

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,467
It's perfectly logical and can be proven that Burstbuckers suck. You get a guitar you paid a lot for. You don't sound super awesome when you're playing. In fact you sound pretty much like you did before buying the guitar. Damn pickups must be POS crap. With good ones you would clearly be rockin' godlike tone. Ergo, the pickups suck.

The more the guitar costs the more likely the pickups are to blame. So Fender USA pickups are just okay, but Burstbuckers, coming standard on a guitar that costs twice as much, are half as good as Fender USA pickups. Half as good as just okay, is sucky...

It is true. The cost of the guitar is directly proportional to the suckage of the pickups.
 

COYS

Member
Messages
6,269
Burtsbucker Pros are great, and more versatile I think than previous iterations.

If I found they had a little too much treble in some situation, well there are tone knobs, volume knobs, push/pulls, EQ pedals, compression, EQ on the amp etc etc.
 

jens5

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,653
I really didn't like the BB's in my R8. I thought they were shrill and harsh sounding, not at all what I'd call musical. Replaced them with WCR's and it was like getting a new guitar. Much better sounding than the stock BB's to my ears.
Whats a WCR?
 

jens5

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,653
Reading that some have BB's stock in an R8. I have Custom buckers in my 2016 R8. When did the change occur?
 




Trending Topics

Top Bottom