I agree; I've changed over a lot of stock pickups, and been better off each time, up 'til now. I have NO interest in changing out the BB's in my R8. They are a perfect match to that guitar. A great mix of clarity/crunch/sustain. I thought that '57 Classics were good when I got them in another guitar I picked up, and never a fan of 490/498 or 496/500 sets, in comparison.For the longest time I would just yank the stock PUs out because, well ....... that's what I did. I was forced to really rethink those decisions. Even when a guitar came in sounding great stock, I put in something else. Always tweaking, always spending and rarely thinking things over. That's me. I've had some LPs that have benefitted from boutique PUs but some were better off stock with the BBs.
Great playing and very nice tone!