Gibson’s Les Paul solid body electric guitar has been used by some of the greatest guitar players of all time, and that list includes people like Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Freddie King, and Mike Bloomfield. This guitar is recognized alongside the Fender Stratocaster as one of the most influential solid electric guitar designs ever, and it has been copied by several other manufacturers over the years.
Gibson has introduced many models of the Les Paul since the last 60 years, and all of them have the following things in common- an ash or sunburst finish, a single cutaway, contoured solid body, and dual humbucker style passive pickups.There are many versions of the Les Paul- Studio, Standard, Classic, Les Paul Special, as well as a multitude of artist-specific Les Paul’s such as the Slash Signature Les Paul Standard, the Goldtop Classic Premium, etc.
How to Pick the Best Humbucker Pickups for Les Paul Guitars?
Which humbucker you need for your Les Paul will vary depending on the version of your Les Paul, as well as playing style. Which music do you play on your Les Paul? Is it Jazz, Blues, Rock, Metal, or something else? If you want to select a humbucker for metal and rock, get a model with Alnico 3 or 5 magnets, and a well-bladed design.
You will need that extra power and crunch on the low ends, as well as more sustain on the midranges and after notes. Take note of the noise shielding on your humbucker, and the overall build quality. More windings are suited for bridge placement, while lesser windings (lesser resistance) is more suited to neck placement. Four chord pickups allow you to split the pickup.
Below, we have listed some of the most amazing humbuckers currently available for Les Paul guitars. They are listed in the order of cheapest to costliest.
IOTMUSIC ZXUY Humbucker-PickupPro: Compatible with Gibson LP EPIPHONE guitars, pickup comes with height adjusting springs and screws
Con: Don’t deliver the cleanest tones, may carry some distortion
If you want a legitimately good pickup that delivers great value for money, then this humbucker might interest you. The IOTMUSIC ZXUY is not at all special in terms of audio quality, however the lows are clean and punchy, while the mids are full and warm. Highs tend to get a little distorted, but you should know that the frequency range at which these tend to break is way beyond what you would normally achieve with a typical metal or rock song. Unless you’re really into bright and percussive sounds, these should work just fine for you, also the construction is pretty solid too.
IOTMUSIC 1set Humbucker Pickup BlackPro: Bridge pickup is extremely hot, triple wax dipped and vacuum sealed
Con: Bridge pickup does not have the best bass, no wiring diagram is provided
The IOTMUSIC 1set is one of the most famous humbucker pickups in the industry, and even though this is a relatively new brand, it has been pumping out some really quality products recently. The 1set is designed with a vacuum sealed shell and a triple wax dipped pot to completely isolate the dual coils from any form of external interference. You will notice that these pickups do tend to play really hot, meaning that they will deliver plenty of output and growl, and can send your amp into overdrive with some tweaking. The mids are slightly dark and not as full as the other similarly priced pickups, but the lows and highs sound really clean.
IOTMUSIC 1set Humbucker Pickup GoldPro: 16K bridge pickup, gold cover, more crunch on low ends
Con: No wiring diagram is provided
Actually, the IOTMUSIC 1set comes in two separate versions- GOLD and BLACK. Is there any difference between the two other than the fact that the GOLD edition comes with a gold covered base? Well, to be honest, they don’t really sound all that different at first and are even priced quite close to each other, with the GOLD edition obviously costing that slight bit more. Aside from its flashy looks though, this passive pickup does an excellent job of delivering that extra crunch on lows, while the mids are definitely a slight bit fuller than they were on the BLACKS. Whether this is because of the change in shielding or different winding patterns, we don’t know.
Foxnovo Professional Sealed Humbucker Pickups for Les PaulsPro: Made of copper and thick plastic, more crunch for the punch, warm lows
Con: No markings to differentiate between the bridge pickup, and the neck pickup
These humbuckers carry a “PROFESSIONAL” tag in their name, however do these really sound all that professional? Well, the answer is both yes and no. Here’s why- The lows are VERY warm and carry tons of crunch that is absolutely amazing for rock and metal. You can easily play around with the pickup switches and add tons of distortion to them, and they can also sound clean if you want. So why don’t they qualify for an actual “professional” grade experience? Well to begin with, the output on the bridge pickup just feels lacking. Maybe it is the magnets, maybe it is the coils. Also, the highs tend to distort and the mids seem a little flat on certain types of guitars. But hey, as long as you use Les Paul’s you should be fine.
DiMarzio PAF DP103 HumbuckerPro: Balanced warmth and clarity, capable of playing both clean as well as distorted
Con: Not recommended for mahogany guitars
Do you love warm and full sounds? Want something that is slightly dark, but not too flat? Then get the DiMarzio PAF DP103 humbucker. These complement the natural resonance characteristics of a Les Paul guitar perfectly, and they are more than capable of playing both types of sound- clean as well as distorted. However, we definitely wouldn’t recommend these for mahogany guitars since the inherently flat and dark nature of mahogany guitars will make these humbuckers sound really suppressed and damp.
Seymour Duncan SH1n ’59 Model Electric GuitarPro: Vintage sound and design, single-conductor thickly braided wire, standard spacing
Con: May not be the best choice for guitars that use lightweight and highly resonant wood
Seymour Duncan has never disappointed and no matter what pickup they make, it just sounds exactly the way it was intended to. The SH1n’59 passive pickup packs some of the thickest and most immaculately wound coil stacks that we have ever seen, and the pole pieces are optimized for delivering tons of grunge and distortion which is perfect for playing rock and metal. The wire is thickly braided and the overall tone of these humbuckers is geared towards the classic 50’s sounds which were a lot more natural, fuller, and full of dark, distorted tunes.
Gibson 57 Classic Plus HumbuckerPro: Solid all-metal construction, braided wire, solid punch in low-mid ranges
Con: We expected slightly more output from a pickup of this price
Gibson’s Classic 57 requires no introduction as it is one of the industry mainstays as far as humbuckers are concerned. It has been around since ages and the sound it makes is reminiscent of the good old 50’s and early 60’s, when British rock was really popular and people were drifting towards darker, more distorted notes. The output seems slightly gimped, since the superb magnets and heavy winding on this beast is definitely capable of pumping out more than it does by default. However the mids and lows are very balanced with lots of depth and you can even add in distortion with some fiddling.
Gibson Gear Angus Young Signature PickupPro: Designed in collaboration with Angus Young, Enamel coated wire, Alnico V magnets, deliver vintage punch
Con: Wiring pattern is a little confusing
Okay, there is a whole cult following for this particular pickup, the Gibson Gear Angus Young Signature pickup. Said to be designed by Gibson in collaboration with the great Angus Young himself, this humbucker packs tremendous power in the lows and mids, lots of crunch, and a vintage feel that just seems…natural. Alnico V magnets help create a really strong field for the strings to shine bright, while the thickly wound coils deliver plentiful output. On this list of best humbucker pickups for Les Pauls guitars we are giving our vote for this beauty!
Wolfetone Dr. Vintage Humbucker PickupsPro: Polished nickel covers, vintage braided conductor, powerful magnets
Con: The bridge pickup could definitely use some more turns
Wolfetone Dr. Vintage Humbuckers are some of the finest passive pickups out there, and they boast features such as triple wax dipped pots, vacuum sealing, a braided conductor, and Alnico magnets. With the polished nickel covers on these pickups you will never run into any sort of distortion problems ever again, and the shell is completely vibration as well as resonance proof. Vintage sound is obtained by implementing excellent noise shielding and pole pieces. The lows and mids sound crunchy with lots of room for expansion, while the highs seem clean and free from coloration.