I actually reckon a lot of tone is generated by the choice of fretboard....
I asked my pickup winder to make a 7.5K alnico 2 neck pup and a 12k alnico 5 bridge pup. I just really like that combo. It seemed to work pretty much straight away.
I think it helps if you have an idea of what you want first.
I must admit I have tried many pups, and I always liked the Alnico 2/5 combo.