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Thread: Choosing Humbuckers

  1. #1
    Junior Member Hawkmoon's Avatar
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    Default Choosing Humbuckers

    Hi All, this is my first post.
    After many years I have decided to finally replace some humbuckers I’ve never really liked. Which has led me here.
    I tend to like to play stuff that is , britpop, rock, rhythm and blues, ska, reggae, spacey, funk. Mainly favour Rhythm playing with some lead. Ranging from 60’s onwards really.( the usual artists).
    I use distortion, cry baby, delay and reverb. With a hotrod deluxe or a Jc-40 amp although i do have a jcm800 which i don’t use often.

    Going through the product page i’ve found there’s a huge choice and i’m at a loss as where to start. Id love to get some help on which combinations and sets work well. I’m a pretty simple player so i’m looking for something that sounds nice clean and can get dirty when needed.
    Thanks in advance Ian

    They will be going into a Patrick Eggle Berlin Pro (mahogany body, maple top and ebony fretboard) and will feature a simple 3 way toggle switch, 1 Volume and 1 Tone (see pic).
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    Last edited by Hawkmoon; 09-21-2019 at 02:11 AM.

  2. #2
    Ultimate Tone Slacker TheViewFromVenus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Choosing Humbuckers

    I would start with a pair of 59's.

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    Slutbucker Pimpologist ArtieToo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Choosing Humbuckers

    The 1st set of pups that this forum recommended to me, was the Custom 5 bridge with a 59 neck. I still have 'em, and still think it's a great Duncan starting point. Then again, I'm not a performing musician.

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    Toneologist Discharged's Avatar
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    Default Re: Choosing Humbuckers

    For a 24-fretter, the '59n is arguably Seymour's best neck p'up. I'd pair it up with a '59/Custom Hybrid and change the stock A5 magnet to an A2 in both p'ups.

    You can thank me later.

    /Peter
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Choosing Humbuckers

    Hi Hawkmoon

    You do not say what you don't like about your stock pups. The Patrick Eggle pro series have a good reputation (acclaimed by some as the UK equivalent of PRS) and played well.
    I think the stock pups may have varied between years and models. Kent Armstrong ,Wilkinson and Entwhistle if I recollect . I played one which had a set of Entwhistles which sounded great. Have also played one which had an upgrade . an Alnico 11 in the neck (not the Slash version) and a Custom Custom in the bridge. These were good but the stock Entwhistles were more than adequate.

    I play a guitar which is very similar to yours in construction which I love; .A Washburn I66v Idol which came stock with a some very useable Korean B and G Alnico 5 pups probably very similar to 59s. I wanted a bit more mellow in the neck especially clean and a bit more banana in the bridge. I opted for a cheap option and put in a set of Irongear pups, A Blues Engine (A4 magnet) in the neck and a Dirty Torque (A5 very JBish) in the bridge. The price and performance might surprise you.

  6. #6
    Administrator Mincer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Choosing Humbuckers

    Another vote for a 9 & 9/Custom Hybrid. If you use dirt boxes a lot, you might like the Whole Lotta Humbucker set, too, as it works really great for that kind of music.
    Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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  7. #7
    Junior Member Hawkmoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Choosing Humbuckers

    @ Gstring
    Hi , yes very much in the mould of a PRS only not quite as high spec and sometimes harshly referred to as a “poor man’s PRS” by some. It does play well. When I originally bought it in 1992, i felt the pick ups didn't pack the oomph i was hoping for. I wanted a bit more punch and that has sat with me. I did intend to keep this as stock because of sentiment but the wiring on the phase switch was broken by my little one so I finally decided to change and seek out pups that would do it justice. Tbh I feel the electrics are what let it down. The components are i feel of poor quality and particularly the volume pot is poor in sense that you almost have break the seal to get it to move , although to be fair this is more than likely age. When i stripped out the pups , i noticed the trem screws hadn’t gone in in the correct angle so they actually come out of the wood slightly. So i’m glad that i’m gonna change up a little. I love the guitar though its been my mate for years.
    Sorry , i don't have the words really to describe the sounds , but i like a little low end and nice mids , but not over the top highs.
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    Last edited by Hawkmoon; 09-23-2019 at 02:20 AM.

  8. #8
    Junior Member Hawkmoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Choosing Humbuckers

    Thanks for the replies,
    I did have a listen to the 59’s and they sound nice. I liked the whole lotta humbuckers and the pearly gates sounded great aswell. What do all think about the hotrodded ? As i read these are Seymour Duncan’s personal favourite. Also would you recommend a set or combination’s Sry in advance for my lack of word skills to describe.
    Thank you for pointing out about 24 frets as this had never entered my thinking at all and i hadn't considered it would make a difference, i see the logic in that now.
    I am really looking forward so much to having tone control on this guitar.
    Ps: how does the like/thanks option work as i’m pressing it doesn't seem to do anything.
    Last edited by Hawkmoon; 09-22-2019 at 03:14 AM.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Choosing Humbuckers

    The hot rodded set is really great, man. There's a reason it's so popular. It's more of a "modern" sound compared to the 59's. They have a focus on clarity as a characteristic, but they can still sound sorta vintage if you really want them to.

    With the 59's you get a sweeter tone, with more "mojo" let's say, but at a sacrifice of some clarity.

    Then the pearly gates set IMO takes the sweetness one more level up and the clarity one level down.


    I think all 3 sets would work for you, you can't go wrong, though you may find the hot rodded set a bit powerful for 60's tones, some people like hot pickups just fine for that.

    In my experience I've used both the hot rodded set and the PG set in the same blues band and managed to get an enormous gamut of tones out of em. The PG set just sounded delicious no matter what , but the hot rodded set had some extra 'oomph' I could kick in if I needed it, which was nice .

    It depends on your tastes. I'm really into "modern" sounding cleans right now with ultra clarity and sparkle, so I'd go with the hot rod set all day, but last year I was super into the warm sweetness of PG type pickups.


    Oh, im also gonna recommend you look into one of my favorite combos. The Custom bridge and the 59' neck. It's kind of a good mix of all the other things I mentioned. About the custom ; it's really a wonderful little designed bridge pickup. It's hotter than the 59, with more muscle, more clarity and more bark and bite. But still sounds really good for "vintage" stuff too, and has awesome clean tones. Compared with the hot rodded set it's almost sitting right in the middle between the 59 and the hot rod. IMO if you want the very best set that can go between vintage and modern sounds, Custom/59' is THE set that does it. Custom/Jazz would also work well.

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    Last edited by BeKindRewind; 09-22-2019 at 04:14 AM.

  10. #10
    Junior Member Hawkmoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Choosing Humbuckers

    @BeKindRewind
    Thank you for the information, its nice to get some ideas and have a reference point as i'm not really knowledgeable.
    So in many ways as its a first set it will also be my start point if i need other pick ups if that makes sense and i guess its that 'where to start' point I need. Thanks again

  11. #11
    Administrator Mincer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Choosing Humbuckers

    My initial thought is that the JB might be too hot to clean up for most of the styles you like. I'd go with something a little less hot. The Jazz in the neck would be fine.
    Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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    Junior Member Hawkmoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Choosing Humbuckers

    @Mincer thank you, its a bit of a mine field and there's no where nearby to try. So i'm glad you guys are here very helpful the options you folks have suggested do all sound great to be honest. I'm going to order a set during the week for sure. little bit more weighing up time. This guitar never had a tone pot before either so i'm just as keen to get that in as well. I'm really excited about this guitar. Pretty sure it's gonna be a completely different animal all together, infact i cant wait.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Choosing Humbuckers

    Let us know how this turns out!
    Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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  14. #14
    Junior Member Hawkmoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Choosing Humbuckers

    Definitely, will do.

  15. #15
    Junior Member Hawkmoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Choosing Humbuckers

    Hi all , i bought myself a set pickups. As i’m new i opted for the hot rodded set in the end, namely because i thought these have been round for so long and i kinda of wanted something that felt like a great point to start from. Everything is now installed and i’m blown away. My guitar is a completely different instrument now and the quality is there to hear. Thank you for all the advice it was so helpful. Heres a couple of pics , I deliberately left the pickup long in case i move them into another guitar. So now i’m gonna play the guitar for a bit and see how if any tweaking is required. Although i have remove the extra grounding screw and gone straight to the pot from the bridge. Tortoise Shell for next guitar i think.

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    Last edited by Hawkmoon; 09-28-2019 at 12:24 PM.

  16. #16
    Administrator Mincer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Choosing Humbuckers

    Great pics! I wanna hear the tone report!
    Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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  17. #17
    I poop in my KISS diapers while I cry that they are mean to me Aceman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Choosing Humbuckers

    Yeah - how are you liking the sounds????

    I can see the Jazz totally working for you. I'm interested in knowing what you think of the JB.

    I was gonna suggest getting a push/pull for a split if you got a hotter bridge.
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  18. #18
    Junior Member RevDoom73's Avatar
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    Default Re: Choosing Humbuckers

    I love the Hot Rodded set, but I'm very interested to see how you feel about that JB in the context of the styles you play. I was in a band that did a lot of '60's garage-rock and early '70's glitter, and I used the JB/Jazz in an HH Japanese Strat and really enjoyed the tone I got. But I realize it's not for everyone. Keep us posted on how it goes!

  19. #19
    Junior Member Hawkmoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Choosing Humbuckers

    Hi, sorry for the late reply. I am over the moon with it all. I see what people mean about the jazz neck pickup being a bit darker i get these terms now. As a combination its perfect for me. The Jb brings a welcome different dimension its brightness/ tonal difference gives me more options than i ever had. I like having these contrasting sounds. Mr Duncan smashed it with this combination. I wondered if id feel like i was stuck in a particular decade with it but no its timeless and will be much played. The JB is brighter in the right way.when I pick with the strings muted i can really the quality, the low and mid is there for me and it just encourages you to chug more. When i strum open chords all the notes are clear as crystal across the whole tonal range without anyone particular frequency standing out more unless i accentuate it. I’m so glad i did this should have years ago. Also I'm still in awe of having a tone pot.

    At this moment i have only played through my Roland JC-40 which as you know is solid state and the sound is so clear to my ear without sounding harsh or piercing to me no matter what volume i dial in. I feel so much more confident in these. I feel that these pups will deliver on anything i can throw at it. If anything my playing wont do them justice.
    I haven’t run many of my effects through them yet, a little dirt thats it and I heard enough to be excited. I will collect my Hotrod because I’m thinking these will be at there best through singing valves and i’m thinking of dropping the dirt box in favour of the high gain channel from here on in. Once ive done this i’ll feedback more.

    As you can see in the pics I've gone for a very basic circuit. This is because I’m such a basic and simple player that having more options is simply wasted on me. Also i feel i can actually listen to these pups more. So i have gone with what i think is your bog standard 500k pots and the difference in feel is phenomenal compared to what i had. I also chucked in a 0.022uf cap. Again i’ve done this because of my experience level.
    Back to the pick ups though, individually they are perfect, i will use the neck to cover the clean sounds and when i want more aggression i will be popping down to the JB, I don't always but i like to have this option on tap. I find with both pick ups together they compliment each other perfectly for the styles i’m interested in. They balance well together i’m blown away in general. At the moment all i have done is set the pick up height and now i will play for a bit longer and see if anything needs adjusting. Chances are though i wont have to make further adjustments as these are so good straight Out of the box.
    If i want to go reggae/ska or funkyish , blues, rock, anything really its there. The tone is great.

    P.s really sorry i really struggle with the descriptive words to use , i try my best though.
    Last edited by Hawkmoon; 09-30-2019 at 01:28 PM.

  20. #20
    Tone Member Big Mike Blues's Avatar
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    Default Re: Choosing Humbuckers

    Great pick, and a great all around set.
    We sometimes debate the minutiae too far.
    Hard to go wrong with the JB/Jazz for near anything.
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