well, i've heard many people talking about pickups, now and in the past, constantly really

about wanting to upgrade, which ones are good, blah blah blah....

so, why not make a thread that you can get reviews (more or less)

post your pickups, what guitar they are in (include wood, trems, etc), what pickups were previously in that guitar, what you thought of the old ones, and what you think of the new ones

this thread can also be used to discuss brands as a whole, BUT this is only to be done sparingly, for example, don't diss people because they use a brand you don't like, it's all preference anyway, otherwise all guitarists would only use like, 2 brands

hope this helps someone
Ibanez RG5EX1
Ibanez RG7321
Peavey XXX-->Avatar 4X12(2 V30's 2 G12H30's)

Quote by gumbilicious
thanks for making an old dude feel like his advice is actually taken into consideration
EMG 81's and 60's, they're both great, the lead tone is crisp and clean and very powerful, meanwhile the rhythm tone is very blues sounding and warm, i'd recommend them
dimarzio super -2s good for down tunings, and good tone for hard rock

Standard Epiphone LP W/Dimarzio Super 2's
1973 Ampeg VT-22

Fulltone Clyde
Ernie Ball VP Jr
Boss tu-2
Boss sd-1
Ehx Little Big Muff
Fulltone Ultimate Octave
Boss eq-7
Ehx Memory Man
Digitech Delay X-series
Ehx Holy Grail
axis 1 and 2 humbuckers in a js-100

stock pick-ups, but still awesome
Survivor of:
Maryland Deathfest X
Maryland Deathfest XI
Maryland Deathfest XII
Fender Special Edition Spalted Maple Telecaster. (Mahogany body, mahogany setneck, Maple Veneer, Stoptail.)

Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates Plus in the bridge. Fairly dry sounding pickup, natural. Has a nice amount of bite in this guitar, doesn't get overly hot. Great when blended for clean sounds. Splits nicely (really like it for mid gain.) Handles high gain very nicely (playing through a Mark IV and JCM2000), although as stated above not overly hot. I like the bite i get compared to the PRS, works well for certain tunes.

Seymour Duncan '59 in the neck. Very warm for high gain leads, almost nasally. Kinda cool. Awesome cleans, really organic sounding. Middle position is killer, it gets really spanky and quacky. Very versatile, work horse kinda pickup.

PRS CE22. Mahogany with maple top, maple neck , trem.
PRS Dragon IIs- Hotter the the SD above. More girth and beef, warmer, more aggressive. Great high gain sound, they retain some clarity and high end bite which i like. I've got the 5 way switch, and i LOVE the series option for mid gain. Gets good and chunky without getting too over the top. The bridge pickup on its own doesnt have the same spank for mid gain or cleans as the tele. The parellel options have great clean sounds, very very natural (more so than the tele) the neck is very big and warm. Great soloing pickups, very midsy i find (whereas the SDs have more treble and bite.)
Paul Reed Smith CE22
Fender Spalted Maple HH Tele
Epiphone Les Paul Standard
Korg Pitchblack
Boss GE-8 Graphic EQ
Dunlop ZW Wah
BBE Two Timer
Mesa/Boogie Mark IV Combo
Mesa/Boogie Rectifier 212

Last edited by wyldeshredder at Aug 2, 2010,
In my Ibanez RG1570 - Dimarzio AT-1, Dimarzio True Velvet, and Dimarzio PAF Joe
In my PRS McCarty - Stock 57/08 set.

First, the Dimarzios: I picked the AT-1 because it's a very warm pickup with a tame but cutting top end. In other words, it sounds very nice with crunch tones because it doesn't get overly shrill, but when I boost it with my BB Preamp and its active EQ section, I can add treble for "screaming" leads. I think it works out really well. Other than that, you've heard Andy Timmons' tone. Think of that, but with a Basswood guitar, through a 30W amp running EL84s or 6V6s. Split with the True Velvet in the 2nd position, the cleans on this thing are phenomenal. Bright, chimey, and full-bodied at the same time. Almost as nice as the PRS. The True Velvet by itself, is quite honestly not anything special. Although I've never liked single coils in the middle position, I can't find a useful sound with it. I might flip the 'buckers and get a less hollow, tele-like sound and see how that works. The 4th position used to be my favorite for cleans with the old, Ibanez pickups. It sounds even better now, with lots of fullness and warmth, without being too thick to sound articulate. The neck pickup IS Joe Satriani's tone on some of his later albums, after he switched to the XXX/JSX. Although I'm not sure what he used in studio.

The PRS Pickups: Sound great clean in every position. These pickups are the bomb. Not a ton of clarity when you get to high gain, but that's not what I bought the guitar for. Great for sustaining, smooth leads. The tone knob is actually usable on this set, and they have a very authentic coil tap for a mahogany guitar. Good vintage spec pups as far as I'm concerned, although they may not be identical to PAFs. Also, these pickups don't need lots of distortion to sustain or sound really smooth and warm, which is nice.
Quote by sg4ever

Quote by CullenT
That was a post of sage advice. Listen to this guy TS.

Quote by AcousticMirror
my parents beat me for a's. I was like wtf and they were like just keeping you on your toes.

RG1570/PRS McCarty
Rebel 30
Check sig for guitar.

Infinity 3 in neck - Overall good, but can be a little too bright at times for a neck pup.

Infinity 3(single) in bridge - I'm not a huge single coil fan, i think they sound thin and can be shrill w/ distortion, but this pup is decent for your basic jazz and blues.

Infinity 4 bridge - Decent pup, has a good mid-high sound to it but sometimes i wish it had a little more midrange bite for br00t4lz.

So yeah, my iby is a basswood w/ an edge III trem. I'm happy with the guitar in general, but not satisfied with the trem.

Ibanez stock pickups.. very live-able and good for metal/br00t4lz compared to other brand's stock pups (fender/gibson).
Ibanez RG4EXFM1
Peavey 5150II All Tube 120w Head
Avatar contemporary 2x12 (Celestion v30's)
Peavey Vypyr 15w (Fantastic Practice Amp!!!)

Got Djent?
Dimarzio D activator X bridge: Very very tight and heavy, can be a bit unversatile but for tight sounding stuff its amazing

Dimarzio D activator X bridge: Very very versatile. In the clean channel the sound is very very thick, and on split coils the sound is absolutely gorgeous (My favorite clean pickups)

Dimarzio Humbucker from Hell: Very very clean, but a little bit on the clinical side. Amazing for recording and using with FX

Dimarzio Paf Joe: Really versatile rock pick ups. These pick up harmonics so nice.
Rock Monkey Guitars Silverback neck and bridge matching set:
Awesome for what I play. Real deal PAF tone here. I got shellac potting, so these pickups sound real airy and clear. There's fat crunch happening, perfect for any sort of hard rock. You gotta love the aggressive nature of the PAF style windings and the Alnico V magnets. It's got that bite and edge you need for hard rock and the like. The neck pickup can sing when it wants to, or it can clean up perfectly.
Chris knows his pickups, and these things are period correct as far as parts and materials go. You get the real deal.
EMG 81- great in a limited way

EMG S- love it, smooth, quiet, cleans up really well with the vol knob. Maybe missing some dynamics but they have the settings pretty optimal.

Dimarzio Evolution- demanding very good technique, rewards you for it or punishes you. It picks up every noise, mistake, unmuted string and even my thumb on the back of the neck you can hear bumping around. As humbucker, lots of sustain, harmonic overtones, controlled feedback, plenty of hi gain output.
As a single, clean crisp, drops a bit in volume, kinda noisy compared to the EMG but not as bad as my tele.
Not a pup that some would like on first impression (especially rhythm players I think) but after they spent a while getting used to them may love them, very bright and feedback on high gain amps in a small venue could be a problem for some.

USA tele standard pups- hmmm...sound like tele pups. Amazing in a good fender amp for clean crisp, smooth or twangy.
Last edited by Tempoe at Aug 2, 2010,
I have had several sets of pickups in my guitar. Here are my thoughts on the most recent batch.

Currently in a 2001 les paul studio...

Wolfetone Dr. Vintage neck and custom-wound late PAF/early pat. # spec'ed pickup in the bridge. The Dr. Vintage is 7.5k with an aged A2 magnet and the bridge. The Dr. Vintage is nice and clear in the neck. It's a tad on the bright side but I prefer a brighter pickup. It has a good amount of sponginess on the attack, there is quite a bit of compression as well when you pick hard. All and all, great pickup for those early les paul tones. Very musical sounds.

The bridge I had Wolfe make for me based off an early patent number pickup that I played once in a '52->'59 conversion. That bridge pickup was absolutely killer, so I had Wolfe rewind one of my old Burstbuckers into a pickup with those specs, 8.4k and a slightly aged, short alnico V magnet. The pickup is awesome. Doesn't really sound that much like the one that I played but we're talking about a modern les paul vs. a vintage, '50s les paul. Either way, Wolfe did a good job. The pickup has the kind of bite that I really like. It's really good for that Page sort of tone in the bridge.

Some previous pickups that I thought were highlights...

Seymour Duncan Antiquities and WCR Fillmores. Objectively the Fillmores are probably the best set of pickups in a les paul that I've ever played. I'm probably going to put them back in soon.
Last edited by al112987 at Aug 2, 2010,
I am only going to talk about the set in my Ibanez Lawsuit LP

neck pickup - Guitarforce Force 59.
this pickup has a real nice vintage vibe, but its a little hotter. A real nice fat tone. It has a tight low end, focused, slightly compressed midrange, and a smooth top end.

bridge pickup - Guitarforce Black Diamond

This is my absolute favorite bridge pickup. Its so damn ballsy, but very clear and articulate. When split it sound incredible. The best thing about this pickup is when using the volume knob it retains its character and doesn't get muddy. It has thick tight bass, serious midrange snarl, and a glossy top end. This pup really cuts through the mix well.
My Gear
-Gibson Les Paul Studio
-Ibanez "lawsuit" Les Paul
-Ibanez S470
-PRS SE Custom

Marshall TSL100
Marshall 1960a cab

Dunlop 535q wah
Visual Sound Liquid Chorus

Last edited by JLT73 at Aug 2, 2010,
Ibanez AS-50 (1982) - Replaced stock (way too hot) for Lollar Imperials. Fantastic, worth every penny, however combination of guitar and these pickups can cause a fair amount of feedback and can have trouble handling lots of distortion. Great for jazz.

Parts-o-caster - Seymour Duncan Custom Custom in hte bridge. Not very good to my ears. Notes lack definition and everything comes out too distorted to play clean. Good VH impression though. Also, Rio Grand vintage Tallboys in middle and neck. Beautiful sound, can handle overdrive, all in all fantastic.
I use Lollar Blackface single coils. They're loaded in a Fender Custom Shop '56 RI Strat. The body is one piece Swamp Ash, the neck is one piece Maple and the bridge is the standard vintage style trem. These things are amazing. Very responsive to pick attack. Depending on how hard and where I hit they'll be either smooth and refined or raw and aggressive. They're also extremely articulate, which I love for jazz work. Rolling back the tone knob on the neck gives a very nice jazz tone. The top end is always smooth though, even with the tone all the way up on the bridge. Huge low end.
Rhodes Gemini
Fryette Ultra Lead
Peavey 6505
THD Flexi 50

Gibson R0 Prototype
EBMM JP13 Rosewood
Fender CS Mary Kaye


(512) Audio Engineering - Custom Pedal Builds, Mods and Repairs
Quote by nerdor257
Ibanez AS-50 (1982) - Replaced stock (way too hot) for Lollar Imperials. Fantastic, worth every penny, however combination of guitar and these pickups can cause a fair amount of feedback and can have trouble handling lots of distortion. Great for jazz.

Parts-o-caster - Seymour Duncan Custom Custom in hte bridge. Not very good to my ears. Notes lack definition and everything comes out too distorted to play clean. Good VH impression though. Also, Rio Grand vintage Tallboys in middle and neck. Beautiful sound, can handle overdrive, all in all fantastic.
This is also my impression of the Custom Custom. Too high output and too mushy sounding. If you want something that is similar but toned down some, check out the Seymour Duncan '78.
Fender Jaguar: SH-2 and Alnico II pro (seymour duncan both)

Alnico II pro: very very very bright, not much low end actually... I like it, but not THAT much, sounds weak IMO, but can be nice with some crunchy overdrive (never use it for lead, too crisp)

SH-2 : very warm, quite the opposite of the alnico one... beautiful clean, a tad muddy with overdrive, but a very very good pickup overall

Gibson SG: the standard SG pups I guess
they're nice sounding, the bridge one has less volume than the neck one, and is a bit too bright, whereas the neck one is a bit too warm and muddy; however, they work very well together, and give a perfectly balanced tone

Modded pacifica : Fender Texas Special set
Not too bright, not very twangy either... To me, they sound very standard, nothing extravagant. They sound good, but neutral, nothing extravagant. However, the guitar is a cheap one, so the tonewood doesn't let them shine

Musicman Silhouette: Seymour Duncan PAFs
The bridge one is bright, but just enough. I would like a tad bit more of bass, but it's already awesome as it is, very good pickup. The neck one is very very very warm, pretty muddy, even in clean

Ibanez RGT42fx : Ibanez INF 2 and 3
The bridge one is very warm, muddy, sounds good only with distortion (loses the muddiness). They are very high output, they used to make distortion by themselves when I was playing on my Ibanez practice amp (10w)
the neck one is nice, clean and clear, warmer but not too warm, just a touch

hope I helped a bit lol
i'm tired though, so these are bad reviews
how did you guys learn to separate the pickups from the amp? i wouldn't even know how to make a review without knowing this part :\

LTD H-50 LH-100 bridge - low output, bright, short sustain, terrible clarity of notes in drop Db

LTD H-50 LH-100 neck - low output, warmer then bridge, short sustain
Last edited by iampeter at Aug 5, 2010,
right now my guitar has it's stock Gibson 490R/498T. They do just fine for what I play.
Try a JB in the bridge with a 500k pot if you think an A2P is bright.
Everyone is entitled to an opinion.

Feel free to express yours so I can make an informed judgement about how stupid you are.
I think he's talking about the A2 single coil, not the humbucker.
Rhodes Gemini
Fryette Ultra Lead
Peavey 6505
THD Flexi 50

Gibson R0 Prototype
EBMM JP13 Rosewood
Fender CS Mary Kaye


(512) Audio Engineering - Custom Pedal Builds, Mods and Repairs
Dimarzio Breed both Neck and Bridge

The Breed is a very versatile pickup. Roaring mid range, rounded highs, and tight bass is how I describe their EQ.
All handwound by a local builder

In my Douglas, I have an alnico 8 magnet, wound to 14k with lots of bite while still retaining a tight bottom end.

In my ST30, wound to 50's specs just slightly hotter. Very mellow sounding. Bridge pickup is wonderful.
Agile AL3000
Douglas WRL90
J&D Strat
Squier Tele
Sammick TR2
Douglas Draco
Peavey JSX
Bugera V5
Fender Standard Strat #1
B.Seymour Duncan Distortion
It's a very aggressive pup though it's basically a JB with a ceramic magnet. Works well in all woods though I wouldn't recommend it to alder though.

M/N.Seymour Duncan Hot rails
hotter than most single coils doesn't have the"quack" of a traditional Single coil. It does not clean up well though Excels at anything with OD. Works well in all woods except Basswood.

Fender Standard Strat #2
B.DiMarzio Super Distortion
It's not a very polite sounding pup in any genre that doesn't have much gain since it drives tube hard. Not recommended for cleans though it does well with 80's metal and classic rock.
Excellent in warm woods like Mahogany and Korina. Good in Basswood. Bad in Bright woods.

M/N.DiMarzio Chopper
Warm and a Very hot for single coils not recommended for cleans though rock it does excel in.Works well in bright woods like Alder and Ash. Good through Mahogany and korina. Bad in Basswood.

B.Seymour Duncan Blackouts Metal
It 's a very hot active pickup and not's very polite with cleans. It does Black metal and Death metal quite well. Plays friends with Alder and similar woods. Good through Mahogany and Korina. Bad through Basswood.

N.Seymour Duncan Blackouts
Not as hot as the Blackouts metal though it's still hot. Not recommended for clean or warm toned wood or Basswood. Excels at metal and for Bright toned woods.
Damn it! Disable can't use disable to disable Disable's disable because disable's disable has already been disabled by Disable's disable!
Quote by KsE3234
EMG 81's and 60's, they're both great, the lead tone is crisp and clean and very powerful, meanwhile the rhythm tone is very blues sounding and warm, i'd recommend them

that =)

im feeling lazy today =)
Quote by Metalmarathon
The concept of self-fulfilling prophecies never seem to occur to the ones that always create them.

Attic Green
My Band
Dimarzio Virtual Vintage Solo, bridge position, installed in a squier strat

pre-cursor to the current Virtual Solo, noiseless, unequal length pole-pieces, well rounded single coil well suited to rock, blues, fusion, country etc... slightly hot wound but not harsh, noise is comparable to a true humbucker and it is very clear and expressive.

I find the VV solo is very well suited to lead tones, the extra hotness compared to my old pups added just the slightest bit of "grind" to my overdriven tone which I absolutely love, the increased output also made a noticeable difference in the ability for my EHX micro pog to track it, it now tracks full chords much better after than it used to and has greatly helped my ambient noodling

installation was ludicrously easy, 15 minutes to disassemble, solder and reassemble and it has never hiccuped since, I highly recommend the VV solo, or a Virtual solo if you can't find one, as I believe they were discontinued years ago

“If there was anything that depressed him more than his own cynicism, it was that quite often it still wasn't as cynical as real life.”
― Terry Pratchett


Jeremy Clarkson is a knob.
I think only 3 of my guitars actually have pickups worth mentioning:

Gibson Les Paul studio "Vintage Mahogany" - Burstbucker Pros

I actually like these pickups. they are very transparent, they let you hear your guitar's natural tone. Perhaps it's only a good thing because my les paul naturally has very good resonance, and responds very well to playing dynamics. So i don't have an issue with the burstbucker pros, even though they are bashed quite a lot on UG - although i wouldn't be surprised if it's the guitar that's mostly responsible for that.

Fender Baja Telecaster

Custom Shop Broadcaster Single-Coil - Just brilliant, really. It's got that typical tele "bite" you expect from the bridge pickup, and cuts through the mix beautifully. Ultra-clear, ultra-defined, but with a decent amount of tonal depth. I can't fault it, other than having low output - but i guess that fits in with the "broadcaster" vibe.

Custom Shop “Twisted” Tele® Single-Coil - Also very clear and defined, but a lot smoother, due to being in the neck position. This is a lush sounding pickup, and is absolutely perfect for gentle, subtle rhythm playing. Lower output than the bridge pickup, but that works to it's advantage because it helps to clean up the sound, and that's where this pickup works best.

Fender Cyclone

Fender "Atomic" Humbucker - the bridge pickup. It's got a very high output for a passive pickup, and a very very raw, dry sound. Not brilliant for clean tones, but i don't think that's what it was intended for - it's a very aggressive sounding pickup which really works wonders for distorted tones, and handles hi-gain very well. A very powerful tone which is great for 'rocking out'.

Fender Tex-Mex single coil - the neck pickup.. in the cyclone it sounds a little bit on the "brittle" side really, and a bit sterile, but it's not without it's charm - when you're playing clean and hit hard it's got a very punchy, "funky" sort of sound, and it can work well for wailing blues leads too, when you dial in a little bit of overdrive, because it has a screaming top end that you'd just never expect to hear from a neck pickup.
I like analogue Solid State amps that make no effort to be "tube-like", and I'm proud of it...

...A little too proud, to be honest.
EMG 85 bridge
EMG SA neck
Really good combination. It's not really a neck position as it would be on a normal guitar because it has 29 frets on the top string so it's more like a middle position but angled like a strat bridge pup. Gets that bell-like shimmer like Gilmour post-Waters.
You all know what an 85 bridge is like into a proper valve amp, it cooks.

My Iceman has one of the original SD "The Mag" pups from about 1982 in the bridge. The Stag Mag is the modern equivalent I think. I've used it heaps, I bought it new, and it's still as good as it was the day I bought it. It chimes, has great clarity. Awesome blues pup but it works well for everything I've played on it. One of the best investments I've ever made.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100

Cathbard Amplification
My band
In my Jackson professional dinky:

Seymour Duncan Dimebucker (b): Trebly, harsh, thin, not a lot of sustain... bought it when I was 13 thinking it would give me a decent sound but no.

Seymour Duncan '59 (n): Nice and warm and sweet and singing but I don't really like the voicing but it's amazing for clean and low gain and mid gain

In my Ibanez RG7321:

The stock ibanez pickups, but they aren't as bad as everyone says, they're not bad, the bridge isn't as bright as I'd like but it's pretty good, and not very mushy or muddy, however I really like the neck pickup because it's pretty much like the bridge just lower gain and more sustain. 'Tis nice

Hopefully MIGHT be picking up an Ibanez RG1570 prestige that the previous owner put some dimarzios in, should be exciting so I can give my thoughts on those if I get it.
BKP Yardbird for tele set. Really nice set, right balance of power and classic character. Neck is nice and warm for cleans and lead runs. React to fuzz really well.

BKP Piledriver for tele set. If you're just playing distorted these are really big fat sounding pickup. But not so great for the cleans IMO.

BKP Mississippi Queen (b). Really, really nice alternative to a humbucker. Massive sound, nice on the cleans, still need to get a neck pickup to match but combines fairly well with my Hofner's stock neck bucker but the stock pickup is a bit weak and rubbishy sounding.
My band
PBT Native: Resident Graphics Monkey

Irongear Rolling Mills in an Epiphone les paul standard both neck and bridge

The stock epi pickups sounded ok. However i found that it sounded like a blanket was covering my tone.

When i changed to the irongears, i found the blanket was gone and the pickups sounded more open. In the neck, it sounds nice and chimey with cleans. With overdrive, it sounds sweet, and a bit tubular/nasally in a good way.

In the bridge, clean it sounds fat and bright but not too bright. Just the way i like it. With overdrive or distortion, it sounds clear and crunchy. No muddy notes. Very good for classic rock but also really versatile. Sounds nice for metal too if ur amp has enough gain.

MIddle position is nice too. Nice for funky chord stuff.

For the price(25 pounds per pup), they're really good. As good as seymour duncans and dimarzios. However, it's made in China/Korea to keep the costs down and the box it came with looked really cheap, eg. the printings. The build quality of the pickup is ok but the tone is really good. If that bothers u dont get it. I will definately get their other pickups sometime in the future.
Fender American Standard Strat 2008
Burny late 1980's Super Grade RLG-70 Les Paul
Sterling by Musicman JP50
Fender Classic Series 60's tele
Yamaha FS720S
Roland Microcube
Fender Blues Junior III Humholdt