Before you swap out your Burstbuckers...

redking

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...try lowering both pickups and then raising the screw pole pieces - makes an enormous difference! Lowering the pickup gives you less output, then raising the screw pole pieces adds treble. My personal formula so far is raising the low E 1.25 turns, A&D 1 turn, and the unwound strings half a turn (on both pickups).
 

Jimi182

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There is another thing to try - flatten al the pole pieces and then raise the A,D,G and B slightly in line with the radius of the neck. I found it made a great difference on my '12 Traditional - Youtube if you're not sure - lots of helpful videos etc. Though I will try this one as well - also, lower pickup height equals less pull on the strings and less string buzz, depending on how low you like your action.

J182.
 

MP4-22

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It's easier to just ditch them... The burst bucker 2 is a weird sounding pickup. i like the 1/3 combo but the 2 is just to "round" so to speak. I dialed in my amp for the 1/2 and it sounded good but i didn't like that i needed to change everything to get a good sound out of that specific pup.
 

01GT Eibach

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I can only speak to BB3 as that is what is in the bridge position of my Trad Pro. It is a great sounding pup, and goes well also with the Classic57 that came in the neck position. I did tweak the pup heights, though, as that is almost always necessary for any type of pup. I never mess with pole pieces, though.
 

redking

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I can only speak to BB3 as that is what is in the bridge position of my Trad Pro. It is a great sounding pup, and goes well also with the Classic57 that came in the neck position. I did tweak the pup heights, though, as that is almost always necessary for any type of pup. I never mess with pole pieces, though.
give it a try, you will be surprised how big an impact it makes
 

Gitter

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I agree that people give up on many of the Burstbuckers too easily. Height and pole piece adjustments have a great effect on tone. What I don't agree with is the need to make them more bright. I find most of them (not all, but most) pretty bright already. The adjustments will help with muddiness and balance for sure though.
 

Random House

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I gave up very quickly on the Burstbuckers that came with my Les Paul Studio. Perhaps I did not make enough adjustments other than adjusting pickup height. To my ear, having over 30 electric guitars of various types and quality, the stock pickups sounded horrible. Was so disappointed. I quickly sold them off and installed a couple Seymour Duncan humbuckers and now I love the guitar and it is the one I play the most by far.
 

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bluesoul

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I have a 2005 standard that now has a BB 1/2 set in it (BBPro's were removed for mag swapping). Adjusting the screws was a big part of making me like the set!
I keep the screws low on the bridge PU but with PU raised bit higher to keep it a little warmer (equal bal between slug/screws)...the neck PU is set a bit low with the screws raised on the unwound strings. Lowering the neck PU and raising the screws makes it lean a bit in the direction of a single coil. It can be a game changer with some pickups!
 
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redking

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I agree that people give up on many of the Burstbuckers too easily. Height and pole piece adjustments have a great effect on tone. What I don't agree with is the need to make them more bright. I find most of them (not all, but most) pretty bright already. The adjustments will help with muddiness and balance for sure though.
I guess it could depend on your amp - I play through an old Traynor YBA-1 which is basically a JTM45 and I generally add treble wherever I can in the signal chain. Probably would not work with a fender Blackface amp.
 

gball

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I actually really like the Burstbucker 1/2 combo in my '50's Standard. They're a nice change from the '57's and T-Tops in my other guitars. When I bought the guitar I figured I would have to change the pickups because everybody always craps on the Burstbuckers (and I have a set of T-Tops in a drawer) but to my surprise they sound great.
 

Hendrix95

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There would probably be a lot less pickup swapping if more people took the time to experiment with pole piece adjustments. I'm always surprised at how many people say they never bothered adjusting them. I find that it makes a big difference. All of the new standards I've seen in stores (and the one I own) seem to have the pole pieces set pretty high from the factory and all the slots facing a straight line (opposite of string direction). They just don't really appear to have been adjusted at all. I ended up lowering mine quite a bit to avoid excess brightness and they're a lot warmer sounding now.
 
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jaycoyoyo

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There would probably be a lot less pickup swapping if more people took the time to experiment with pole piece adjustments. I'm always surprised at how many people say they never bothered adjusting them. I find that it makes a big difference. All of the new standards I've seen in stores (and the one I own) seem to have the pole pieces set pretty high from the factory and all the slots facing a straight line (oppossite of string direction). They just don't really appear to have been adjusted at all. I ended up lowering mine quite a bit to avoid excess brightness and they're a lot warmer sounding now.
I use this as a guide. It's absolutely brilliant. It has completely transformed all of my humbucker and P-90 guitars.

Lower the pckups significantly, I really do mean a ton compared to factory setup on many Les Pauls. You will also probably want the bass side of the pickup lower than the treble side.

Mess with the pole piece height to get good string-to-string volume, which means that you will want your treble side pole pieces higher than the bass side ones. Remember that the loudest string on your guitar is actually the G-string (with most string sets), then I think the low E-string. The two strings with the least output are the D and high E strings. This is because it's actually just the solid core of the string that gets magnetized, not the windings, so on most string sets the G-string is actually the one with the thickest core. Regarding pole piece height, you most likely want it to go roughly (read from EADGBE strings) lower than flush, flush with the top of the pickup, higher than flush, lower than flush, flush, higher than flush.

Getting that set correctly can work wonders, and almost no-one knows how to set pole pieces correctly. Many videos out there about guitar setup have it all wrong, recommending that you follow the curvature of the neck, but absolutely do not do that.
(From this thread)

 

ErictheRed

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I use this as a guide. It's absolutely brilliant. It has completely transformed all of my humbucker and P-90 guitars.



(From this thread)

It's been made into a sticky: https://www.mylespaul.com/threads/how-to-properly-set-the-pole-piece-height-on-humbuckers.450051/
 

Classicplayer

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My ‘18 Trad has the Burstbucker 1&2 pair. The neck BB 1 looks like the pole screws were adjusted, but I never touched them when I first got it. Does Gibson adjust them routinely, or the vendor I bought it from? Perhaps the guitar was a return and an original owner messed with them. In any event, the pickup sounds clear, and full and all I did was adjust it's height downwards while raising the bridge BB 2. The BB 2 has its poles radiu'd to the fingerboard it seems; with all the slots horizontal.

Classicplayer
 

redking

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My ‘18 Trad has the Burstbucker 1&2 pair. The neck BB 1 looks like the pole screws were adjusted, but I never touched them when I first got it. Does Gibson adjust them routinely, or the vendor I bought it from? Perhaps the guitar was a return and an original owner messed with them. In any event, the pickup sounds clear, and full and all I did was adjust it's height downwards while raising the bridge BB 2. The BB 2 has its poles radiu'd to the fingerboard it seems; with all the slots horizontal.

Classicplayer
Gibson does not appear to adjust the pickups from what I have seen. Maybe the dealer if it was a smaller shop that really cared about its customers - a big box retailer would likely not take the time to do this.
 

Classicplayer

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Gibson does not appear to adjust the pickups from what I have seen. Maybe the dealer if it was a smaller shop that really cared about its customers - a big box retailer would likely not take the time to do this.
I did buy this 'Trad from a “big box” type of outfit. Very interesting to me that only the neck pup looked to have been adjusted and not the bridge pup poles.


Classicplayer
 

grumphh

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All of this "1½ turn" polepiece adjustment crap is just that: Crap.

It makes no difference whatsoever, except for in your mind.

Don't believe me? Good, scepticism is good :yesway: - DO NOT TRUST MY WORD!

Test it for yourselves, set up your rig for recording and record a riff/melody that you know inside out and can play consistently. Leave the recording setup alone. Now give all your pole pieces 1½ or 2 full turns (doesn't matter which way), and then record the same riffs/melody on the undisturbed setup you recorded the first recording with.

All that should have changed is the height of the pole pieces(and unfortunately your playing may be a bit different as well...).

Now listen to your recordings and find out if you can hear a difference in tone between them. Try having a friend over and doing a blind test on you, to see whether you can consistently hear a difference. :)

If you can, congrats!
...if you can't, then you know that instead of spending stupid amounts of time trying to make bad sounding pickups sound good to you, you can just go out and buy some new ones. :yesway:
 


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