Recommended me a pickup set...

  • Hi all,

    Looking for recommendations of great pickups to go into a 2017 Les Paul Traditional (non chambered or weight relieved).

    I have some Slash signatures in there at the moment, and compared to the JB and jazz in my 2008 (chambered) Les Paul, it sounds very muddy and bassy.

    The Slash pups sounded great in the 2008 Les Paul, but I swapped them for the JB / Jazz combo, as that can be coil split. Also, the 2008 is my main gigging guitar.

    So - anyone have pickup suggestions for a very solid and thick Les Paul, for playing classic and modern rock (guns n roses, slash, Steve Stevens, Whitesnake, Massive Wagons etc.) that are along the lines of the Slash pups, but can be coil split and sound superb in a bassier / heavier and more solid guitar...?


  • From your forum name I’m guessing you’re in the U.K. In which case it’s well worth considerinG the following:-

    If you want to keep it cheap and cheerful, Irongear pickups punch a long way above their weight. They are machine wound in China which keeps the cost down but for my money they’re as good as the Seymour Duncan range until you get into the custom scatterwound stuff.

    If you don’t mind spending a bit more, you can go scatterwound where the big boys are Bareknuckle. The only trouble with choosing any pickup is that it will probably make your guitar sound different but not necessarily better!! The pickup you choose will have the flavour they suggest but the actual end result will depend greatly on the guitar you’re putting it in and this can lead to expensive mistakes. With that in mind it’s well worth calling

    If you contact the owner, Hayden, and have a chat with him about all about your guitar and exactly what you want to achieve, he’ll do a custom hand wind for you that’ll cost you less than an off the shelf scatterwound. He’s a nice guy who is a mad keen guitarist and heavily involved with Matamp, the ‘other’ classic valve amp brand in the U.K. who then had a history with Orange amps. They still hand make the Matamps in Huddersfield and Hayden (last time I dealt with him) spent his time between Matamp and Bulldog.

    In theory, scatterwound have less capacitance for the same dc resistance so tend to be a little brighter than machine wound pickups. Of course, this is a sweeping statement but I’ve had 3 pickup sets from him that have all been excellent and have done what I actually wanted them to in the guitars I discussed with him.

  • Hi,

    I have on my Les Paul the Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates on bridge: is similar to APH2, but slightly hotter and clearer so I think it could be good for your problem. In the past I had the Slash signature on bridge but i didn't like it in my guitar.

    On the neck i still have the Alnico II Pro APH-1: is the old Slash's signature version with 4 conductor, i don't know if it is still in production but you can easily find it in stores or on online stores.

    With this combination I can nail GnR's tones.

    If i can share some suggestion:

    • these pickups does not give their best if they are too close to the string, try to increase the distance from the strings, specially on the neck PU.
    • Slash use boosted amps in the GnR period, try to put in front the amp a good overdrive or boost like ProCo Rat or OCD.
    • Slash use the volume and tone knob to shape the sound, in this way the sound can become softer and clearer.
    • Slash play loud with the right hand, and close to the bridge when the sound is aggressive, this change the equalization of the sound and give more trebles
  • Paul Kossoff

    Interesting. I wouldn't have associated the sounds of Free with the heavier tones of Whitesnake, Massive Wagons, etc. That said, there's a lot of moving parts in a guitar sound and I don't know what sort of pups those guys use(d). Always something new to learn.

  • I was going to just suggest the old classic Seymour Duncan JB and Jazz combo which I have just bought for my latest build but I see you already have them anyway.

    I bought the SD set before I found out about IronGear which Gary mentioned earlier. I'll definitely be trying them soon for another build. As you are UK based the other brand that might be worth looking into is Oil City Pickups in London. Again, I haven't used them myself but a friend who works in a local repair shop and builds custom guitars uses them and absolutely swears by them even over Bare Knuckles so they are also on my hit list for the future. I've got 5 builds underway at the moment so will no doubt get a chance to try several options soon enough 8)

  • A bit late to the party but I'm a big fan of Suhr pickups.

    My main guitars are Suhr, so I put a pair of Doug Aldrich signatures in my Edwards LP, replacing a pair of SD '59s and that really brought the guitar to life! Great punch, better clarity and dynamics.

  • Find out what values the pots are. I have a 1980 Les Paul that was shipped with 300K pots for either the volume or tone. Before I discovered that, I always wondered why the neck pickup was muddy no matter what I put in there.

    I switched out the pots with RS Guitarworks Vintage style pots and WOW. Not only did 500K open up the guitar, but the tone caps gave me a woman tone for the Clapton sound. (BTW, I settled on Dimarzio 36th Anniversary PAFs which sound great for what I like to play.)

    The key to everything is patience.
    You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.
    -- Arnold H. Glasow

    If it doesn't produce results, don't do it.

    -- Me

  • Bare Knuckle Mules or Emeralds.

    Disclaimer: When I post demo clips for profiles, there will be some minimal post-processing, unless stated otherwise. I normally double-track hard L/R, and add to the main buss a small amount of EQ and a limiter/comp set pretty light as well. Sometimes I get test profiles in advance of release, though 90% of my clips will be from packs I have purchased.

  • I thought the same as Wheresthedug: You cannot go wrong with a JB and Jazz in a Les Paul. I have a JB in my 2006 LP Standard which is chambered, but heavy as a guitar can be.

    That said, did you try to lower the height of the JB on the bass strings to "EQ" the pickup to your guitar a bit better?

    Other than that, maybe the stock Burstbuckers that came with your guitar (I guess) have less output, but are a bit clearer on the bass and low-mids than the JB. Maybe you already had the right pickups for your taste in your guitar?

    As a last resort, you can at least try the Duncan Distortions. I have them in one of my Strat-like Charvels and plan to install them in my "even-more-heavy-than-a-Les-Paul" '89 Charvel 750XL, which is a big heavy block of mahogany with a maple top and a thru-body neck which lacks a bit of clarity in the bass area and isn't very bright. The Distortions have great clarity and are fairly bright. And in a dark sounding guitar this could yield a nice tone that must not be Metal, which is what they seem to be made for.