Ok here's the story, My first decent guitar was a epiphone les paul standard plus top. I have owned it and played it as my only guitar for 5 years and felt it was time for a change i wanted something new but cannot justify owning two guitars right now. Sold it for 360$ cash, I researched some other guitars and played a bunch of them at GC. I found that i liked the Esp LTD ec series bodies. That is basically Esp's version of the les paul. I bought the Ec-401vf sight unseen based on reviews most of them praising that is sounded much better than epi's but still similar and familiar and comparable. I got a clearance price one used in sterling beautiful condition for 299 plus tax shipped to me from guitar center. Quite a deal actually.

Here is what i like about the guitar. The body, the hardware and especially the neck are amazing. Playability much much better than the epi. It looks beautiful. Aestitically this is what i want a guitar to feel like and look like. Now the sound is actually VERY different than a epi les paul. Radically different. I admit i am picky. And i am finding myself a bit confused and wondering what all these reviewers were talking about. My epi had stock alnico classic humbuckers. This new Ltd guitar has a Seymour duncan JB and a seymour duncan 59. I am not very experienced in guitar tech stuff so i am gona describe what kinda tone i am looking for and what the difference between the two forementioned pickups sounds like to me.

The les paul sound sounded like a more like all the sound was concentrated to one forward, right in front of you sound tone that had alot of sustain, when you hit a note it would hang around longer. Leads would sing and whine more. So a single note has a resonance to it. It sounded full and thick to me. On the flipside when you play chords on the fat strings in particularly, They do not sound as distinct and articulate when you change from note to note. High gain distortion all sounds slightly like murky stoner rock. I think this is why people criticize stock epiphone pickups as being "muddy" . For this reason i assumed getting the seymour jb/59 combo could only be an upgrade.

Now moving onto the Ltd guitar with the Jb/59 pickups. What i intially noticed is they have more clarity. You can even hear the metalic clang sound of the the new daddario strings on it. When i play a rhythem with alot of chord changes. Every change sounds more distinct and stands out more than the les paul. From note to note to note it sounds more articulate. I was initially for about an hour impressed with the sharpness of the tone. But after awhile i really started to miss the Les paul and i will now describe what i don't like about this guitars tone. The seymour jb/59 pickups sounds more airy and open. I do not like that at all. The les paul sounds concentrated, condensed, like they squeezed all the sound together to make it stronger. The seymours sound clear very clear, but the clarity almost seems kinda gimmicky to me. The tone seems wider and more dispersed. Almost like comparing digital to analog. More clear and definitely more accurate, but seemingly missing fullness and that extra bit of character and mystery and "life" to it.

The difference is huge. I thought it would be a slight change it is'nt.

So my question is are the Ltd pickups "hot" pickups and that is why they sound so different to me ? What are the style of pickups (stock epiphone alnico humbuckers) ? Are they low output? Classic tone? From what i described of what i like. What type of pickup is best suited to me? What should i look for in the future.

What i am considering is getting at least one ( or two ) gibson pickups, perhaps the 57 classic. But i want to make sure i make the right choice. I want my old les paul sound back but better. My other questions is can i mix match certain pickups? Gibson Burstbucker with classic 57 from gibson. What about just one gibson pickup in the bridge position (which i use mostly) matched with my current seymour duncan?

In any case what i hope to learn is a little clarity on classifying the type of tone i like. It's pretty hard to describe sound. I want to know what types of pickups i should explore to get my perfect sound. And which ones to avoid.

So if any of you have experience with these two guitars and pickup setups share your thoughts. I am learning to like the new guitar but i still feel like i kinda downgraded instead of upgraded.
Lol. I think you're the only person I've ever witnessed complaining about more clarity and articulation.

Personally, I hate the JB. I love the '59 though.

In any case, what you want is the SD Alnico II Pro set. Check those out. But, we also need your budget. If you have a lot to spend, you can get some pretty awesome stuff.
Spin 'round carousel when your horse isn't screwed in.

My band:
Fractured Instinct
(For fans of Death/Groove/Prog Metal)

Ibanez RGA42E
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Peavey Predator USA
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Have you gone to the Seymour Duncan web site and listened to the different pickups? Gives you a good comparison of the sounds. I have the 59 and Pearly Gates. Also have a set of Quarter Pounds in a Tele. It's best to listen to them and compare the differences in sound instead of hoping they'll sound that way in your guitar. A good set of head phones helps but you still wont get the real sound. They sound way better in a guitar than threw a set of computer speakers.

Give this link a try,

Duncan sounds

Sounds to me your looking for a good strong midrange with less sparkly highs.
what amp are you playing through? that pickup combo is considered one of the best for LP style guitars. you haven't really said what type of music you are playing or the tones you are after. your descriptions were good but lack a frame of reference for us to go by.
The JB isnt too special. A lot of people like it but I think its pretty overrated. Try a Pearly Gates instead.
thanks for the advice. Yea i have been to seymour's site but still it is tough to judge until you really have owned it. It's now day two with the new guitar and i am starting to be less critical of it and just enjoy playing it instead of trying to analyze it.

My budget for the pickups is under 200$ , any more than that and i could just buy another used ephiphone and have 2 guitars.

O and as for my amp. That's been a ride to. I have a 2x12 avatar cabinet with celestion vintage 30's thats the consistent piece i have kpet . in the last 6 months I had a peavey windsor, hated it overrated returned. A marshall MA100 head, which is an atrocity to the marshall name it sounds so bad bought it used sold it for a modest profit. A peavey transtube head. Ok for the price but nothing special. And so far my favorite is a Marshall avt valvestate 50 combo amp. I have had it briefly but like it enough that i am thinking of getting the 150watt version.
i am a bedroom player. I play a bit over everything. Clean when i am in a clean mood. High gain when i am in a metal mood.
You like a ValveState more than a Windsor? Odd.

What kind of tones are you trying to get? We can probably give you some more good suggestions.
Spin 'round carousel when your horse isn't screwed in.

My band:
Fractured Instinct
(For fans of Death/Groove/Prog Metal)

Ibanez RGA42E
Ibanez S420
LTD H-301
Ibanez RG520
Peavey Predator USA
Douglas Grendel 725
Line 6 Pod HD500X
Try an airzone in the Bridge and a Airnorton in the neck
PRS:SE Singlecut w/ Crunchlab/Airnorton
ESP:Eclipse Standard
Fender:MIM Silverburst Tele
Line6:Pod HD500X
Offworld i thought the windsor sounded kinda fuzzy and fizzy without being warm. It had ok power but it did not clean up well.

Valvestates sound like a good all around tone for the price. It's the best 300-400$ dollar amp i have found yet. But my experience is somewhat limited
Ill trade you the active emg's out of my ec1000 for those seymour duncans.
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AH! you have the other thread open about marshall amps, right?
let me make a couple of suggestions:
1) AlNiCo pups will get you more of the vintage tone you've described. If you liked the epi's stock pups for their mellower warmth, I'd suggest alnico in your neck position. also do a google search for PAFs... there's a ton out there in varying price ranges.
2) you were looking into a spider iv, and you call yourself a bedroom player. look into line6's HD PODs. it'll help you develop an ear for what you do and don't like in your tone, as editing patches is great bedroom player on-the-job training, if you will. it'll also buy you time to decide what kind of amp you want in the future (while you save for it), and once the decision is made, the pod can still be useful for its M-class fx. then again, many amature and semi-pro guitarists are using pod HDs as the heart of their live rig, and you might be one of them.

I've played damn near every style of amp under the sun, and even i'm leaning towards that direction just for its logistical simplicity and versatility.
Thanks grisky , i thought the seymour setup i have was alnico but i never did research that deeply, i went more off of comparative reviews to the epi les paul.

I will check out HD PODs as well
they might be, tbh, i don't remember. i'm just going off your descriptions and assuming that, even if they are alnicos, they're wound much tighter than your stock epi's.

mids, by the way, give you that 'focused' tone you mentioned.
Quote by guitarpatrick66
The JB isnt too special. A lot of people like it but I think its pretty overrated. Try a Pearly Gates instead.

I used to think it was overrated. But now I own one and my opinion has changed drastically.
Then there's this band called Slice The Cake...

Bunch of faggots putting random riffs together and calling it "progressive" deathcore.
Stupid name.
Probably picked "for teh lulz"

Mod in UG's Official Gain Whores
I'd say the Pearly gates is the pup you want too. Then again, you like Valvestates so my taste and yours must be radically different. The Pearly Gates is the pup that should get you where you want to go though. The difference between them and 59/JB is pretty much what you are asking for. They are an ever so slightly hotter PAF.
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Quote by Shinozoku
I used to think it was overrated. But now I own one and my opinion has changed drastically.

Ive wanted to like that pickup but I just cant. It does decent cleans and its pretty decent with distortion on it but that is all it is to me, just decent. Ive tried it with different amps and have never really been able to change my mind about it. For a Les Paul I feel there is definitely better options. However, your ears are different than mine and your ears may just like it much more than mine.