Pickups for a Les Paul classic - Jemsite
Pickups & wiring Discussion about pickup types, replacements, recomendations, switching, wiring diagrams and sustainer systems for ANY guitar, JEMs included.

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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-07-2008, 11:11 AM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 87
Pickups for a Les Paul classic

Hi, looking for some thoughts and advice on new pickups for my mid-90s LP Classic.

Stock pickups are Gibson 496R (neck) and 500T (bridge) I think. When purchasing the dealer fitted nickel covers for me.

I used to be in a classic rock covers band and found my tone to be a little inconsistent when playing live, though sometimes people would compliment me on it.

The bridge pickup seems to be too harsh and flat. The neck pickup seems to mush up too fast when distorted. I was relying a lot on my Ibanez reissue Tube Screamer and amp preamp gain to get sustain.

My plan was for a Seymour Duncan JB/59 combo (with black/creme bobbins!). I'm also thinking about getting them wired up with the Jimmy Page switching system. I'm a gadget / tweak freak and having all those push/pulls will no doubt have me giggling like a fool when recording.

My fiancée kindly got me a JB for the bridge this Christmas, though sadly in plain black coils as they didn't have black/creme in stock (and she didn't think it mattered). I'm holding off on getting it wired in until I get the neck pickup.

I'm now having pangs over my choice of neck pickup. The 59 (4 conductor) seems to be a safe choice with the JB but some people suggest or prefer the Jazz due to it having more clarity?

To confuse matters further, I've now seen a vid on YouTube of a guy with a Les Paul kitted out with a DiMarzio Air Norton in the neck and it sounded sweet and had plenty of clarity.

So.. 59, Jazz or Air Norton..?

I used to play mostly classic rock but the band has split up (I'm emigrating from the UK to Los Angeles to be with my American fiancée).

Personally, I tend towards heavier rock (Slash is a big influence) and metal and have started to dabble in playing some Killswitch Engage and making my own music in heavier styles. But I also want the flexibility to play and create softer instrumental pieces. I've heard the Air Norton coil taps nicely and was wondering how good the Jazz and 59 sound when tapped.

So something that covers the spectrum from warm clean through to down-tuned riffing mayhem!

Any thoughts or suggestions would be great, even if it's a pickup not mentioned above (originally I was only torn between the Jazz and 59 before hearing the Norton!).

Cheers.

Last edited by grrrpoop; 01-07-2008 at 11:21 AM.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-07-2008, 04:08 PM
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Oxford, UK
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Re: Pickups for a Les Paul classic

I had a similar dilemma. I got in contact with Tim at Bare Knuckle Pickups and he recommended a set of nailbombs (stupid name in my opinion) and he was spot on. It really brought out the best in my LP, and in the UK they're not that much more expensive than dimarzio's but well worth it.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-07-2008, 05:10 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Pickups for a Les Paul classic

Thanks for the suggestion Algiman.

I hadn't really considered Bare Knuckle, and the nailbomb probably would have been down the list even if I had looked their way! Definitely an aggressive sounding name but I found some audio samples via the website that show it to be surprisingly versatile..

My focus on DiMarzio and SD units was because my American fiancée can buy them from Guitar Center in LA at literally half the cost we pay here in the UK. P&P on such a small item isn't much and bending the truth gets it past customs without any drama. The Nailbomb, at £90, works out at more than twice the cost of my other options.

But it does sound very good, I can choose it in any colour I want and I could always just splurge out on it myself. Also, I haven't heard of anyone else pairing a Nailbomb at the neck with a JB at the bridge. Sounds like a pretty unique combination..

Thanks again. Now there are 4 choices whizzing around in my skull!
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-07-2008, 05:19 PM
 
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Re: Pickups for a Les Paul classic

Yeah, I was put off by the name, and it took me some convincing to buy them, but I'm so glad I did. True, if you can avoid postage and import taxes the dimarzios and SDs are far cheaper, but how many pickups are you going to buy? Bin the JB (far too generic in a LP) and get the nailbomb pair.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-07-2008, 06:00 PM
 
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Re: Pickups for a Les Paul classic

i recommend the duncan alnico 2 pro in the neck and the duncan distortion for the bridge. if you were doing heavy rock, i would have recommended the custom or jb, but the distortion will flesh out the killswitch stuff alot easier.


rich
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-07-2008, 06:36 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Pickups for a Les Paul classic

Cheers for the suggestion Rich.

To be honest, I'll probably be dabbling mostly in the heavy rock style. An example of the kind of nonsense I'm creating / playing can be heard on my Myspace page. The demo track "Today or Astray" is probably the best example, as it was done using my Les Paul. As you can hear, it mushes up too much when I'm hitting the open bottom D. But I don't think it's quite in Killswitch territory, no triplets or finger twisting runs.

Your comment makes me feel happier about the JD I already have, assuming you think it would cope with that level of distortion? Also, I do like Slash's neck tone (and Slash in general!) and he seems to always use Alnico II Pros in his Les Pauls..

Algiman, if I'd purchased it myself I'd likely give the Nailbomb set a try but as it's a gift from my fiancée (and purchased abroad), exchanging it or getting a refund is impossible. It's my fault for second-guessing my choice after firmly deciding on a 59/JB set. She was meant to get me both for Xmas but only got me the JB, giving me too much time now to ponder whether I REALLY wanted the 59. But that may have turned out for the best - I'm seriously considering ordering a Nailbomb in Creme or reverse Zebra to go with the black JB.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-07-2008, 07:15 PM
 
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Re: Pickups for a Les Paul classic

jb bridge/alnico II pro neck, or both alnico II
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-08-2008, 04:21 PM
 
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Re: Pickups for a Les Paul classic

The Air Norton is a super-sweet neck pickup. I have one in an IBZ Artist and the sound is magnificent. However, if you're looking to match with the SD, I'd go with the jazz--I just got a JB/Jazz set for one of my LPs and they sound amazing (this is quite compliment coming from a devout Dimarzio disciple). I've got an LP that has a Tone Zone bridge and 490R Neck, both coil-tapped on a push-pull pot that also sounds super-sweet, so you might want to look at the 490R. The 496/500 combo is Gibson's ceramic high-output set, probably why you're experiencing the harshness.

Cheers,

Race
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-08-2008, 07:12 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Pickups for a Les Paul classic

Cheers Race.

Your post finally made me snap haha

I'm going to go with the Jazz, one of the original choices I had in mind.

I've wasted so many hours listening to samples of the (admittedly excellent) Bare Knuckle pickups and I'm still no closer to knowing which model would best suit my current playing plus heavier ventures without compromising the basic clean / tapped tones.

I don't think I'll go far wrong with a Jazz/JB combo.

If it's not quite right at least I'll have a better idea of what I'm looking for and what does / doesn't work.

Thanks everyone for the suggestions. Can't wait to get the Jazz, get it wired up with that insane Page switching system and have some fun.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-11-2008, 08:56 PM
 
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Re: Pickups for a Les Paul classic

I use a 59 in the neck of my LP copy and I love the tone I get from it. Especially when you throw side wide vibrato on a note and it sounds like a wah wah pedal opening and closing. It's pretty sweet.
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-13-2008, 07:08 PM
 
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Re: Pickups for a Les Paul classic

After trying probably two dozen pups in both neck/bridge of my LP I ended up with a Norton in the bridge (F-spaced) and a Humbucker from Hell in the neck.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-13-2008, 07:57 PM
 
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Re: Pickups for a Les Paul classic

If it's Slash's AFD sound from his MAX 59 replica you want then here's the low down.........

(You can buy me a virtual pint later mate, or just nip over the Penines and get us a real one )

WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE - IS THE 1984 MAX GUITAR - (2 DOUBLE BLACK ALNICO II PICKUPS) THE CURLY FADED FLAMETOP - 59 GOLD TOP HAT KNOBS

SWEET CHILD OF MINE - IS A (87) PLAIN TOP GIBSON LES PAUL - DOUBLE BLACK ALNICO II - 3 PIECE PLAIN FADED TOP

PARADISE CITY - 87 GIBSON LES PAUL PLAIN TOP - DOUBLE BLACK ALNICO II PICKUPS - 59 KNOBS

DONT CRY - 1987 GIBSON LES PAUL PLAIN TOP - 1 ZEBRA PICKUP - 1 DOUBLE BLACK - 59 GOLD TOP HATS - THE ONE HE THREW OFF THE CLIFF IS SAID TO STILL BE AROUND SOMEWHERE...

LIVE AND LET LIVE - 1987 GIBSON LES PAUL GOLD TOP - ALNICO II DOUBLE BLACKS - 80'S SPEC NECK PROFILE

NOVEMBER RAIN - JOE PERRY'S 1959 TOBACCO SUNBURST 1959 LES PAUL - HE LATER GAVE BACK TO JOE FOR HIS 50TH BIRTHDAY

YESTERDAYS - IS THE MAX GUITAR - (2 DOUBLE BLACK ALNICO II - HIGHLY FLAMED CURLY TOP ) - 1959 KNOBS

DEAD HORSE - A VARIETY OF DOUBLE NECKS /BLACK ES- 1275 THE 87 PLAIN TOP / 87 GOLD TOP / BC RICH MOCKINGBIRD

GARDEN OF EDEN - 87 GIBSON LES PAUL CUSTOM -SLASH SPEC CUSTOM - COMPLETE WITH GRAFFITI !

ESTRANGED - THE RED 87 GUILD DOUBLENECK ACOUSTIC 12/ ELECTRIC 6 -CUSTOM MADE FO SLASH

SINCE I DONT HAVE YOU - THE 1985 DERRIG - REVERSE CHEVRON FLAMETOP - ZEBRA ALNICO II - AT THIS TIME SPORTED 59 TOP HATS - NOT REFLECTOR KNOBS

LIVE AT THE RITZ 88 CONCERT (USES BOTH REPLICAS) - THE 1985 DERRIG - FOR THE 1st FOUR SONGS - CHANGES TO THE MAX DURING MY MICHELLE - CHANGES BACK TO THE DERRIG - WTTJ - BACK TO THE MAX - NIGHT TRAIN / PARADISE CITY -BACK TO THE DERRIG - KNOCKING HD

Slash’s Derrig 1958 Les Paul Style Replica

Despite the photo title (1959 Les Paul Replica), Slash's "main" guitar used on the Guns and Roses recordings is a Derrig 1958 Les Paul Style Replica sporting 60's "reflector" knobs and Seymour Duncan Alnico II Zebra pickups with a reverse chevron waavy flamed maple top. The guitar was built in 1984-85 by Kris Derrig working for Jim Foote of MusicWorks - Redondo Beach, Ca. Kris was hired by Jim to build guitars for various individuals from 1983 - 1987.

This guitar was one of the few guitars Kris made that was not a customer ordered guitar at the time. Kris was finishing up the guitar (to fund more car restoration cash for his pet project - the Red 1967 Tempest Convertible / GTO Conversion), more about this car on the biography page.

According to Slash ( November 2005 Vintage Guitar Interview ) - Guns and Roses were in the studio in 1985 recording the Appetite For Destruction Album - according to Slash, he did not have a guitar that was cutting it for him at the time (he was using the BC Rich and was not getting the tone he desired). Alan Niven - the band’s manager came to Jim about getting Slash a guitar for the recording, Jim agreed to let Alan take the guitar to Slash to try out, eventually it would become the "main" guitar that Slash used to record the Appetite for Destruction album.

Kris used whatever parts were available to him at the time (customers usually supplied parts for Kris) so he went to Jim to ask what kind of pickups were to be used in the guitar that would later be the infamous Slash guitar.

Jim Foote has noted that he used Seymour Duncan (Alnico IIs ) pickups as his preference fand should not only be credited for the Alnico II pickups in Slash’s guitar, but many other guitars of celebrities and musicians alike.


There ya go,
Eggy
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-14-2008, 07:19 AM Thread Starter
 
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Posts: 87
Re: Pickups for a Les Paul classic

Virtual IOU

Thanks for all that info, I knew Slash favoured that pickup but seems the Alnico II is all over pretty much everything he's ever recorded!

The JB and now Jazz have been purchased already, just waiting for the Jazz to arrive.

If they don't float my boat I'll give the Alnico II Pros a whirl.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-18-2008, 11:36 PM
 
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Re: Pickups for a Les Paul classic

Pearly Gates brother!
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-18-2008, 11:37 PM
 
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Re: Pickups for a Les Paul classic

Opps sorry bout that man, dident see that you already got the jazz..... so i retract my previous statement and change it to .... Jazz brother!
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air norton , bare knuckle pickups , bridge pickup , coil tap , dimarzio air , dimarzio air norton , double neck , duncan distortion , flamed maple , gibson les paul , gibson les paul custom , jimmy page , joe perry , les paul , les paul custom , les pauls , neck pickup , preamp gain , pro neck , seymour duncan , tobacco sunburst , tone zone , tone zone bridge , wah pedal , zone bridge

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