Choosing the best jazz pickups follows a different set of rules than selecting the best pickups for other genres. Jazz guitarists are less concerned with output and the distinctive voice pickups that may be added to their instruments. Jazz performers, on the other hand, frequently place a premium on tone purity and accurately interpreting their guitar’s inherent sound.
Today, there are a plethora of pickups to choose from. It’s worth noting, though, that the first humbucking pickups were all jazz guitar pickups. They were made at a time when the rock guitar was just getting started. The majority of the musicians were performing electric jazz and western swing music. They also required hum-canceling pickups that were clear, warm, and detailed.
The greatest Jazz Pickups are ones that are more responsive to the dynamics requirements of jazz artists. I chose four of them out of all of them that you’ve most likely come across while looking for the one jazz legends used to establish the genre’s sound. Whatever option you choose, the most important thing is to know exactly what tone you want.
Table of Contents
Seymour Duncan Seth Lover SH-55
- Vintage Blues, Jazz, and Classic Rock Sound - Transform your guitar into a singing classic rock machine with Seth Lover Humbuckers - warm, full...
- Smooth and Articulate Tone - The Seth Lover neck model delivers a smooth piano-like tone with rich harmonics. The Seth Lover bridge model gives you...
- Vintage-Correct Wiring - Features vintage-correct single conductor push-back braided lead wires, a trademark of timeless craftsmanship.
The Seth Lover SH-55 Humbucker Neck/Bridge pickup set from Seymour Duncan provides the goods. They’re used by everyone from Joe Perry and Steve Stevens to Dweezil Zappa and Blues Saraceno. And why is that? They’re the closest thing you’ll ever get to Seth Lover’s original humbucking pickup for Gibson, which he designed in 1955. These pickups aren’t wax potted to stay faithful to the original design. What about the tone? PAF at its prime! Get ready to rock with a set of Seymour Duncan’s Seth Lover Humbuckers in your favourite axe.
These jazz players pickups have a lot of mids and are sweet and smooth. The clean tone of these pickups is particularly clean and crisp, and they withstand moderate distortion without becoming muddy. Even when the tone knob is turned down, the notes have a distinct definition and a modest attack.
Because the jazz pickup are unpotted, their humbucker pickups tone differs slightly from that of modern pickups. Some players think that the treble and overall sparkle are better. On a technical level, not applying wax on the pickups results in increased feedback. If you mostly use a clean jazz tone, you won’t have to worry about it. This is the Best Jazz Pickup in 2023.
Gibson ’57 Classic Plus Humbucker Pickup, Nickel
- Special Alnico II magnet
- Vintage enamel-coated wire
- Nickel-plated pole pieces
If you have a vintage Les Paul, you almost certainly have a gibson classic 57 or a version influenced by it. These pickups are why you can pickups for jazz up most Les Pauls from the era, plug them in, and get a fantastic jazz tone with just a few changes of the volume and tone knobs.
These pickups and their contribution to the jazz sound of the 1960s define the term “creamy” guitar tone. This pickup set is extremely adaptable, making it an excellent choice for merging jazz, rock, and blues. These pickups have been utilised by a number of jazz, blues, and rock musicians, including Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, and others, on their Les Pauls. The nicest feature of these pickups is their distinct warm tone, which can be transformed into a lovely dark, mellow Jazz tone. If you’ve ever tried to learn Jazz guitar, you know how difficult it is.
The biggest disadvantage of these pickups is that they have a tendency to scream and muddy up when the gain is turned up. Although you should not use much distortion in a Jazz context, the low mids can sound bummy if you use them on a jazz guitar tone with a lot of low end, such as a Les Paul Custom. Because the SG is tighter, they should sound more balanced for jazz. This is the Best Jazz Guitar Pickup in 2023.
DiMarzio Bluesbucker Humbucker
- Output: 224
- Treble 5.5 / High Mid 4.5 / Low Mid 5.5 / Base 4.5
- Magnet: Ceramic
The Dimarzio Bluesbucker looks like a regular humbucker but sounds like a P-90 while effectively suppressing 60-cycle hum. The Bluesbreaker is a terrific budget alternative for musicians who want an edge bluesy sound that’s based in heritage but updated. The Bluesbucker is an excellent choice for players on a low budget who want to add some excitement to their game. The Bluesbucker is equipped with the proprietary Virtual Vintage and Airbucker technology, which makes it extremely sensitive to playing dynamics while yet producing a big tone.
They produce an open, slightly hollow sound when utilised in the bridge and neck positions, similar to two single-coil pickups on a strat. They’re an excellent choice for musicians who wish to replace their humbuckers with P-90-style pickups that fit in the same space. This alone makes it a wonderful choice if you’re seeking for a Gibson-style guitar body with that specific sound.
All of this is accomplished without surrendering the benefits of a humbucker, as the Bluesbucker effectively suppresses 60-cycle hum. At an amazing price, this offers the finest of the P-90 sound with the best of a humbucker.
Lindy Fralin Pure PAF Humbucker Set
Lindy Fralin has been a pioneer and developer in the guitar and bass pickup market for more than 30 years, and is now regarded as one of the most renowned boutique pickup designers in the world. Jeff Beck, Bill Frisell, Neil Young, David Gilmour, and Carlos Santana, to mention a few, have all used Fralin pickups. It’s a high-end pickup kit for those who want something truly unique.
Lindy Fralin’s favourite humbucker pickup is the Pure PAF, a 50s PAF clone. It has a lovely clear tone and is really versatile. With a smooth grind and a quick attack, it features a modest output for a classic tone.
This pickup features Lindy Fralin’s “Sectioning” approach for distinctive, dynamic playing and sound, as well as Alnico 2 magnets made in the United States for classic tonal balance and output. It was created according to the original Gibson PAF specs, which feature low volume and modern clarity. The Pure PAF produces outstanding results for blues and jazz artists, even those who dabble in rock. It has a ten-year warranty against manufacture defects. This is a high-end pickup with a rich, “musical” tone that jazz and blues musicians will appreciate.
Seymour Duncan Benedetto S6 Floating Pickup
- Floating Jazz/Archtop Humbucker Pickup
- Black Ebonova Cover
- Alnico 5 Bar Magnet
Traditional jazz musicians are enthusiastic about gear that transmits a pure sound from their fingers to their amplifier’s speaker. That’s why Benedettos are regarded as among the best jazz humbuckers ever made. It’s also why we had to include the Benedetto S6 on our top jazz pickups list.
The purist will appreciate these humbucking pickups. They’re for guitarists who wish to hear the acoustic voice of their archtop amplified. The only way to properly achieve this is to accept the floating architecture of the Benedetto S6.
The S6’s low-profile installation, which is hidden beneath your pickguard, locks the pickup in mid-air between your strings and the top of your instrument. There will be no unnecessary routing into your prized instrument as a result. It also allows your archtop to sing with a pure, acoustic sound, free of the limitations of a typical pickup and pickup ring.
The Benedetto S6 jazz humbuckers aren’t just appealing because of their clear tone and streamlined form. They also have a gorgeous Ebonova pickup cover that improves the attractiveness of your guitar while never detracting from its distinct characteristics.
Seymour Duncan SH-2 Jazz Model Neck Humbucker Pickup
- Neck Humbucking Pickup with Alnico V Magnet - Reverse Zebra
The SH-2 Jazz Model is ideal for cleaner, more articulate tones. When a humbucker is put in the neck position of a guitar, it produces typical humbucker tones that cover a wide range of genres, including country, blues, funk, and heavy rock. The SH-2 Jazz Model is great for quick runs up and down the neck, and its natural tone pairs well with almost any bridge pickup. Guitarists of all types will find the SH-2 beneficial due to the sheer number of tones available.
The natural sound of the SH-2 Jazz Model makes it an excellent choice for quick runs. The brighter tone has a lower output and works well with most bridge pickups. The tone is rich and bright when distorted, with a smooth sustain. The Jazz features a somewhat lower power and a more detailed treble response than the SH-1 ’59 Model. To make complex pickup switching configurations easier, the SH-2 comes with a four-conductor hookup wire.
A SH-2 Jazz is frequently combined with an SH-4 JB at the neck (Seymour’s favourite combination, and he knows a thing or two about pickups!) For a variety of tones, use the SH-5 Duncan Custom in the bridge position. The SH-2 Jazz Model works well in instruments that are well-balanced and warm, and it performs particularly well with mahogany bodies and rosewood fingerboards. This pickup is also suitable for hollow and semi-hollowbody guitars.
SUHR Thornbucker PAF SET Bridge & Neck Humbucker Pickups 50mm
- Thornbucker pickups are born out of a desire to give guitarists a humbucking pickup set that has all of the best attributes of the coveted 50's...
- Raw Nickel Covers
- Alnico IV Magnets / 7.3k ohm (neck) / 8.4k (bridge)
Jazz is music for sophisticated tastes, thus it is pricy, like the Gibson Classic 57, but you should absolutely take these pickups into consideration because they sound fantastic. They have an authentically low output and are constructed with Alnico V magnets.
Everything you would need for a clean jazz tone is there in the sound. The highs are really sweet and the bass is present but never muddy. This pickup has a high harmonic complexity and is very balanced and natural sounding.
The bridge pickup features a similar level of sophistication. Even during the tougher jam sessions, you’ll want to use it. The Suhr Thornbucker are incredibly adaptable but also just naturally fit in a jazz setting. The fact that you can use a single guitar to perform anything from ragtime to heavy metal when you put them in a Les Paul is extremely astounding.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the PAF sound?
P.A.F is a tonal nuance that encompasses a wide range of guitar sounds with a similar character, rather than a single tone. The term means for ‘Patent Applied For,’ and it is the nickname given to Seth Lover’s humbucker pickup.
The PAF style uses an old-fashioned Alnico magnet instead of a ceramic magnet. Between 1957 and July 1961, the best time for Gibson PAF pickups was. Each pair of pickups sounded slightly different due to modest variations in the winding machines and human error. There are a variety of P90 pickups to choose from if you don’t like one.
When cracking up the touch, the main characteristic of the PAF sound is the clarity and note separations. They’re quite dynamic and touch-sensitive, and you can get a clear tone simply by lighting up the touch. The neck is warm, but not too so, as to detract from the clarity.
Why Do You Need Specific Pickups For Jazz?
Jazz is a fairly diverse genre, and jazz guitar’s tone ranges from warm to snappy and lively. Dynamics and note clarity are the defining characteristics of any excellent jazz guitar tone. Good jazz pickups are flexible enough to cover the entire frequency range while maintaining note clarity. Bass and midrange are typically emphasized in jazz music. Not only should a decent jazz pickup provide you with those frequencies, but it should also do so without diluting the sound to the point that the notes lose their distinctness.
The differences in the guitars and signal chains are yet another significant factor why a good rock or metal pickup might not be suitable for jazz. Despite being the preferred pickup for jazz, not all humbuckers are cut-worthy. Semi-hollow and hollowbody guitars have various acoustic characteristics and tones, which are typically warmer and bassier. If not specifically designed for that guitar, a random high gain humbucker would sound excessively muddy on a hollow body.
You might merely be utilizing your guitar and a tube amp with a few simple pedals, depending on the Jazz subgenre. With such a basic setup, a sensitive pickup is necessary to shape your sound.
What is the difference between Alnico 2 and Alnico 5 magnets?
Alnico 2 magnets produce less output than Alnico 5 magnets. The Alnico 5 offers more treble and bass, while the Alnico 2 contributes to a pleasant mid-range tone.