SD JB/59 combo?

soliloquy

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Someone please explain this pickup combo to me.
It seems to be a very popular combo that is used as default in a LOT of different guitars from ESP/Ibanez/Epiphone/Dean/etc.
Its usually advertised as something that caters to ALL genres of metal, jazz, rock, cleans, etc.

i just dont get this pickup set. It has decent cleans, but beyond that, i'm struggling to make it sound decent. Doesn't have the articulation or clarity that I need. Doesn't have the harmonic dynamics.

I know my playing style is weird, but I really dont seem to get anything half decent from this set.
What am I missing here? What are your thoughts on the set and its popularity?
 

Roxy13

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I think the idea is the neck pickup is more PAF voiced and the bridge is a ceramic magnet with high resistance to be used for metal, etc.

They are not my fav choice in pickups and I have a drawer full of these sets lol.

However, I have some old 59s from the early 80s that sound pretty darn nice so apparently the old ones appeal to me more (at least the 59s).
 

smk506

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I tend to find the sets sound pretty generic too. Not bad at all, but not what I’m looking for most of the time. I think the general idea is that they’ll fit in OK for just about any genre, and they do tend to mix well with a band. Your probably not going to sound unique, but you’ll probably sound good.
 

Hydra19

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I have this set now in a Les Paul Custom. I have a bridge 59' in the neck position. I thought it would help balance with the high output JB. So far I like it, the 59' sounds pretty good in the neck. Fuzzy and warm in a good way, I actually can get a good rhythm tone with it. I think the point is to have a more PAF-ish pickup in the neck for soloing and classic stuff and a higher power 'hot-rodded' pickup in the bridge.
FWIW, I've had Dirty Fingers and the 500t/496r set in there, and whilst it was a powerful monster, I find the duncans more versatile and classic sounding. The 500t made me chug and play metal all the time.
One tip, play with the pole piece heights. I got my 59 to sound brighter and clearer by raising them, and I think the JB can also be improved with pole piece heights. I got my quite far out and it sounds good to me.
 

cybermgk

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Remember, these are 2 of Duncan's oldest pickups (4 decades ago for the JB). So, it was also one of the first 'pairs'.

It was one of SD's first PAF and hot bridge combos ever.

The pair also replaced a lot of mediocre, or worse. stock, no name pickup sets. And in those guitars were always a big upgrade.

I also think the JB is one of the few Humbuckers that sound good split to one of the coils.

And they are fairly cheap, really.
 
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jbash

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Initially, the JB and Jazz were the "matched set"- For Jeff Beck's tele. And they are a better match in EQ.

At some point 20 years ago or more, they started pairing up the JB with a 59. The problem is the 59N is VERY boomy in the bass frequencies, and the JB does not have so much bass. So when you EQ your setup for a JB and flip to the 59, its's much/flub/fart city. If you eq your amp for the 59 and flip to the JB, your tone thins out big time.

The Jazz does not have this same problem with boomy bass- but it is bright and sterile/flat and a bit on the weak side - many people don't like it either and that's my guess why it fell out of favor as the original neck pickup match to the JB.

The other way around it is if you have a channel switching amp or multiple patches on a digital amp you can dedicate to each pickup position for your various tones. But if you are old school volume and tones in a single channel amp player (like me) you will have to compromise somewhere.

Also keep in mind- these pickups have changed over the decades- winds are different on the 59s, magnets and metals and plating are different. They have gone less expensive on component quality in order to keep the pickups made in the states and affordable. Old JBs from the 80s, especially wound by Seymour and MJ are highly sought out. They just sound better. Same for old 59s or (SH5) Customs, which were my go to pickups in the 80s for all my Gibsons (59s all around, or the SH5/59 set).

On top of that, the JB was designed for a Tele to make it sound more like a Les Paul, not designed to be put in a Les Paul. IMO a Les Paul is the last guitar you want to put a JB in, unless you like a darker muddy crunch sound and a lead tone that sounds like a half cocked wah (i,.e. lots of high mids).

JB sounds best in Alder and Ash bolt on Fender type guitars.

YMMV.
 

Bobby Mahogany

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I never understood that combo either.
To me, the JB specs seem way too high for the '59N.

I have used a 1986 (?) '59B in a cheap Japan LP and it really brought the guitar to another level.
Later I installed the same pickup in my Les Paul since the 498T became microphonic and
never looked back. Got a '59N for it later. Nice.
Also installed a 2002 '59 pair in an SG (490R/498T) and wow, it got some Vintage tone instantly.

I use old Fender tube amps. Maybe it's the combo of it all.
Your mileage may vary.
 

Zungle

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Someone please explain this pickup combo to me.
It seems to be a very popular combo that is used as default in a LOT of different guitars from ESP/Ibanez/Epiphone/Dean/etc.
Its usually advertised as something that caters to ALL genres of metal, jazz, rock, cleans, etc.

i just dont get this pickup set. It has decent cleans, but beyond that, i'm struggling to make it sound decent. Doesn't have the articulation or clarity that I need. Doesn't have the harmonic dynamics.

I know my playing style is weird, but I really dont seem to get anything half decent from this set.
What am I missing here? What are your thoughts on the set and its popularity?

Not sure why they're popular......

I've tried use them in a couple LP Studios .....VM and Maple cap......

They suck......flat out especially the 59.....

I literally tore them out of my 2005 VM and replaced with GFS Crunchy Pats.........:dunno:
 

ARandall

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I think it has to do with music style too.
I'm regularly on the Duncan forum, and its fair to say they tend to play more heavily distorted music styles than the typical poster here.

The JB is essentially a 'lead guitar' pickup. Look at the typical hair metal 80's band and a lot of them were probably using the JB. An upper mid spike makes it sing with soloing, but the bass is a bit loose.
A much more balanced pickup is the Custom - if you want higher output.

But even on the Duncan forum the issue of fitting a JB in a Les Paul is well known as a 'miss' way more than a 'hit'.
 

stephen78

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I’ve had that set in many guitars and never liked it until…

…I bought a Jackson Rhoads Pro Series RR3 a few years ago and I was floored with how this set sounded in that specific guitar. The neck and middle position are almost Strat like with no woofy bass at all. The JB bridge is super versatile and can handle classic rock all the way to metal…and it sounds great for both. Again, it HAS to be some magic between how that guitar sounds acoustically and that specific pickup combo. I’ve had the JB/59 in so many other models and never liked it.

They are definitely not coming out of my Jackson RR3.
 

Rich

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I'm glad that I'm not the only one who doesn't see the big deal about the JB. I find it to be rather boring overall, sounding okay but not especially great for anything in particular. The part that makes me bang my head against the wall is that when browsing the sound samples at the SD website, even though not all clips match up, I always end up liking the JB better than the rest as it has a relatively bright sound. However, it does sound pretty cool after I mangle the signal with a treble booster.

I also think the JB is one of the few Humbuckers that sound good split to one of the coils.
It does sound quite good when split. It's what came loaded in the bridge of my G&L Legacy and, while it will never sound just like a single coil Strat pickup, it does play really well with the middle pickup when they are combined.

Obligatory guitar porn:
gandl live rig.jpg
 

Bobby Mahogany

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I'm glad that I'm not the only one who doesn't see the big deal about the JB. I find it to be rather boring overall, sounding okay but not especially great for anything in particular. The part that makes me bang my head against the wall is that when browsing the sound samples at the SD website, even though not all clips match up, I always end up liking the JB better than the rest as it has a relatively bright sound. However, it does sound pretty cool after I mangle the signal with a treble booster.


It does sound quite good when split. It's what came loaded in the bridge of my G&L Legacy and, while it will never sound just like a single coil Strat pickup, it does play really well with the middle pickup when they are combined.

Obligatory guitar porn:
View attachment 574312

Say what you will about pickups but your pedal board is halfway on a grey carpet.
Move it and then we'll see.
Or hear.
 

SWeAT hOg

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Some pedals sound terrible with a high output pickup like a JB. I'm mostly thinking about my Superfuzz and Russian Muff clones. I use my 498T with them and it sounds awful. However, if I switch over to lower output T-Tops and clones, it's heavenly.
 

AJK1

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Someone please explain this pickup combo to me.
It seems to be a very popular combo that is used as default in a LOT of different guitars from ESP/Ibanez/Epiphone/Dean/etc.
Its usually advertised as something that caters to ALL genres of metal, jazz, rock, cleans, etc.

i just dont get this pickup set. It has decent cleans, but beyond that, i'm struggling to make it sound decent. Doesn't have the articulation or clarity that I need. Doesn't have the harmonic dynamics.

I know my playing style is weird, but I really dont seem to get anything half decent from this set.
What am I missing here? What are your thoughts on the set and its popularity?
It’s not the pickups, it’s you
 

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