To Duncan or Not to Duncan, That is The Question.

Jasper

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Hey Gang......just recently got a 2019 Les Paul Studio Smoke House Burst for Xmas. Love the look...love the sound....love the feel. However, I was listening to a local guitarist who had a Older Studio and had some Seymour Duncan Hot Rodded Pickups in it and the sound just grabbed me. Clean Tones, Distortion Tones, and Coil Splitting Tones. I've always been intimidated about modding my les paul but this combo really sounded what I have been looking for. They are open unlike the Chrome covered pickups, 490R and 498T and I hear from different guitarist that the SD's are junk and outdated sound. I listen and play a lot of 70's and 80's music. Anyone have an opinion on the change??
 

ARandall

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Nobody's opinion about tone is in any way relevant to anybody else. So if they sound like a good thing to you.....or they work the best for you, then it doesn't matter if every other guitar player worldwide hated them.

The only caveat is the the JB has often been hit or miss in Les Pauls......even where the person loves the same pickup in other guitar types. There is something about the upper mid spike the pickup has (that makes it a soloing sensation) that can clash with the natural tonality of the LP construction. You can but try them out and see how it goes in yours
 

Jasper

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Thanks man I appreciate the insight. I'm gonna try them and if they don't please my ear then I can always have the stock pickups re-installed, I'll hold on to them just in case.
 

Deftone

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I have SD JB's in several guitars including my #1 LPC. I really like them.
 

Zoobiedood

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The Hot Rodded set seems to be liked across genres, and perfect if you like a more traditional output neck pickup but like to rock with the bridge. I like the JB with distortion more than clean, but it gets a lot of 'clean time', too.
 

ARandall

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The other mag to consider a swap to is the UOA5. This is another option to shift the mid hump that has been found to work for some.
 

NotScott

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I am not a fan of the JB in a LP bridge. It doesn't have enough heft to my ears. But a Custom in the bridge kicks all kinds of ass.
 

freak

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I had a set of Hotrodded Humbuckers in an 06 Studio, and they were fantastic.
 

dsmcl77

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I have several Seymour Duncan single and humbucking pups from regular production to custom shop (Joe B 1959) and special wound by Maricela Juarez, I have only praise for them all.

And they are fairly priced.

So I say, go for it!
 

morbidalex666

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I recommend Vineham Pickups. A 6070 in the bridge and a 6070 Classic in the neck would be perfect for 70's-80's Hard Rock. His prices are BETTER than new SD pups.
Yeah that or the newer "HD" pickup, which reads like a better JB ;)
A more musical JB is intriging. I got a modded Super Distortion from Vineham which absolutely slays!

Also, you can always go used. Keep an eye out and you'll definitely get a deal.

Cheers everyone!
 

tjdjr1

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If looking for a hot bridge pup from duncan I really liked the duncan custom when I ran hotter pickups. Currently I do have a duncan hybrid in a SG that's pretty good sounding too. It has a coil from a 59 and disitortion. Keep in mind there are a lot of factors that effect the final tone outcome, so no 2 guitars will sound alike even with the same pickups...
 

moreles

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I second A Randall's statement about JBs. Of course, as with most PUs, how you use the volume pot on your guitar, and how you set your signal chain will make a big difference. The only generalization I would make about my own experience w/ JBs is that they sing for high-gain, OD/distortion playing, and are just not as pleasing clean, where innumerable other pickups work way better for me. I find lower-output SDs to be way more versatile. It is not hard to get high-gain tones from a low output PU. There are lots of easy ways to boost the signal! Experiment with used SDs. I understand why people like to get some brand and model of PU that others don't have, but it is hard, if not impossible, to beat Seymour's stuff. He knows what he's doing as few others really do.
 

cousingrandpa

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I would suggest a Pearly Gates set if you like Duncan, they sound great in a Paul & work great clean & with distortion. If you want a dirtier bridge pickup Duncan makes the Custom Custom specifically for Pauls & maple top guitars.
 

David Garner

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I LOVE the JB/59 set I recently put in my 93 Standard. It also had the 498t/490r set and these sound a lot like those, only a little hotter and oddly a little clearer too.
 

BRMarshall

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I have the JB (trembucker) and 59 combo in an Ibanez GRG and like them fine. Completely different guitar than a Les Paul. I personally prefer the sound of DiMarzios. A lot of folks used the DiMarzio Super Distortion during the late 70's in their Les Pauls. I have one in a Jackson JS-11 and love it. Again, completely different guitar than a Les Paul, but if you haven't found the 70's rock tone, it may be something to consider. The Super Distortion is paired with an Air Norton in the neck and I like the combination.

Reluctant to change pick ups in my Les Pauls too, in part because I'm happy with the stock pups. 2014 Studio (490R & 490T) and 2014 Traditonal (59 Tribute, I think only made them for a couple of years).

Best of luck on your tone quest.
 


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