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Best Les Paul Pickups 2024

The Gibson Les Paul is regarded as one of the first solid-body electric guitars, as well as one of the most legendary. They were developed in response to Fender’s Telecaster in 1952. In one of the most commercially successful collaborations in history, Gibson teamed up with guitarist and inventor Les Paul. The original Les Paul had a gold top, pickguard, trapeze tailpiece, four knobs, and their characteristic toggle switch from the 1950s.

The initial designs, unlike Fender’s Telecaster and Stratocaster models, were far from ideal. Gibson finally settled on a sunburst top, stopbar tailpiece with a Tune-o-Matic bridge, and Seth Lover humbuckers in the late 1950s, after numerous revisions in the 1950s. This design is still the gold standard for all Les Paul guitars today, and Gibson’s continued use of the same production technique demonstrates how timeless it is.

Fishman Fluence Modern Humbucker Alnico & Ceramic Pickups Set

Fishman Fluence Modern Humbucker Alnico & Ceramic...
  • All the musicality, power and explosiveness of alnico. Full chords and...
  • Cutting Ceramic attack. Brutal Active aggression and passive punch in the...
  • Are multi-voice. Set and forget, or wire-up to toggle between two musically...

Fishman took their time entering the congested electric guitar pickup market, but once they did – in 2013 – they made the competition sit up and take notice.

The Fluence Modern and Classic pickup combination is the first major advancement in pickup design in a long time. Instead of traditional wrapped copper coils, these “game-changers” use interconnected stacks of printed coils. In other words, rather than being coiled, the coils are ‘applied.’ This results in a contemporary, multi-voice pickup configuration that eliminates any traces of hum, noise, or inductance in a way that wire-wound setups can never hope to achieve. They’re powered by a USB back plate or a 9V lithium battery that can last up to 200 hours of playtime.

In terms of sound, this cutting-edge set has risen to prominence thanks to its pinpoint precision, outstanding clarity, and massive volume. It has an awe-inspiring balance across the tonal spectrum and sounds energetic, strong, and constant.
The Fluence Classic is an older, more traditional model that works well with the fluency of contemporary music. It features a coil-splitting system that can be used to produce two distinct sounds in one guitar. This produces a distinctive, unique tone when combined with the modern element of the Fluence Modern.

The Fluence core features two voices that can be used as active or passive sets. It becomes even more versatile as a result of this. Due to their tremendous production, they automatically cater to the needs of current and heavier metal guitarists. Modified variants of the Fluence Modern have been utilized as signature guitars for bands like Animals as Leaders, Killswitch Engage, and Lamb of God, demonstrating this. This is the Best Les Paul Pickup in 2023.

EMG ZW Zakk Wylde Signature Humbucker Guitar Pickup Set

EMG ZW Zakk Wylde Signature Humbucker Guitar...
  • Zakk Wylde Signature Pickup Set
  • Includes both EMG 81 & 85 active pickups
  • Long shaft volume and tone controls

It didn’t take me long to notice that EMG’s Zakk Wylde Signature pickups aren’t like the vast majority of humbuckers designed for use on a Gibson Les Paul. They provide a more balanced tone than your normal humbucker, which is especially noticeable on the bridge pickup.

These pickups added to the Les Paul’s lengthy sustain, allowing me to ring out chords for longer periods of time than usual. Playing lead guitar with this quality is also a plus. When I increased the gain on the signal, the Zakk Wylde Signature pickups sounded more consistent and strong. The EMG Zakk Wylde Signature humbuckers are a terrific choice to explore if you’re happy with the sound of your Les Paul but just want to add a pair of pickups that boost sustain and tonal strength.

The Zakk Wylde Signature pickup set is an exact replica of the legendary guitarist’s favourite humbuckers. Long sustain and warm, rich tones are easily accessible, thanks to Wylde’s assistance in the design process of these pickups.

Seymour Duncan Mark Holcomb Alpha & Omega Humbucker Set Black

Seymour Duncan Mark Holcomb Signature Pickup -...
  • 2 Humbucking Pickup Set with Omega Bridge Humbucker Alpha Neck Humbucker

The sleek, understated looks of the Alpha & Omega Mark Holcomb trademark pickups were the first thing that attracted my eye. Regardless of the colour of the Les Paul’s body, the matte black finish will fit. The powerful chugging tones created by the Mark Holcomb Alpha & Omega humbuckers will appeal to metal and hard rock guitarists. They bring out the Les Paul’s rough, gritty qualities while also evoking some significant gain from the guitar.

Seymour Duncan and Mark Holcomb set out to build a bridge and neck humbucker combination that interact musically to form the sound of the instrument when inventing these pickups. They were able to create a high-octane pickup set that is ideal for a Les Paul using ceramic magnets and high output.

Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates Set Zebra Electric Guitar Electronics

Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates Humbucker Pickup Set -...
  • Electric Guitar Humbucking Neck/Bridge Pickup Set - Uncovered
  • Zebra Bobbins

This model was designed to replicate the sound of Billy Gibbons’ renowned Pearly Gates guitar, a 1959 Les Paul. These pickups are included in Gibson’s Pearly Gates replica, although they may be be purchased individually.

While the Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates pickups are powerful, they aren’t as powerful as contemporary humbucker pickups such as Burstbuckers. When you dig into the strings with a tube amp, the Pearly Gates pickups have a distinctive Texas growl, and the tone is typically warm and pleasant. The sound boasts distinct harmonics, and the tone has slamming mids and soaring highs. They’re also spongy and rich in the bottom register, making them ideal for both lead and rhythm playing.

This pickup may also be used with coil-tapping guitars, letting you to play through both single-coil and humbucker tones. All-mahogany instruments, such as SGs and Les Paul guitars, benefit from Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates pickups. They’re also ideal for hollow-body and semi-hollow guitars, such as the Gibson ES-335.

These pickups, like the SH-55 pickups, are excellent for blues, jazz, and classic rock. While these pickups may produce high-quality rock tones, newer humbuckers may be a better choice for hard rock and metal.

The Seymour Duncan set is a great choice for the player who wants to get more out of their guitar. The pickups are designed with an open coil-to-coil sound that allows you to play in any position and still have plenty of sustain, while also providing excellent tone control options.Overall, they are an excellent clone of the pickups found on the original Pearly Gates guitar, as well as an excellent pickup for achieving that vintage and iconic Les Paul sound. This is the Best Les Paul Pickup for Metal in 2023.

DiMarzio DP100 Super Distortion Pickup Black and Cream Regular

The DiMarzio Super Distortion pickups have a long and illustrious history, and were one of DiMarzio’s original sets of pickups. They’re recognized for having extremely high output and are unquestionably one of the “hottest” pickups on the market. You may anticipate some big pyrotechnics if you plug these into a good Marshall valve amp.

The use of ceramic magnets rather than Alnico magnets is one of the main distinctions between the DP100 and other pickups. Although ceramic magnet pickups are less expensive than Alnico magnet pickups, this does not imply that they are inferior. For their hotter, treble-rich tones, ceramic magnets are preferred in metal and hard rock scenes.

The DC resistance is about 13.68k, which is significantly greater than that of Alnico pickups. Most people use the Super Distortions in the bridge position because of the pickup’s extremely high output. But don’t take our word for it; if you’re a distortion fiend, they can certainly be utilized as a neck pickup.

The tone from the Super Distortion is strong and has a big presence, as you’d expect from the name. The single notes as well as the chords will snarl and be right in your face. The mid-range is rich and boosted, with big highs and open-sounding lows.

If you want something that sounds just like the originals but at a lower price point, then look no further than the DiMarzio Superdistortion pickups. These pickups offer all the same features as the originals, including the ability to switch between different configurations. Overall, they provide a very authentic sounding alternative to the originals.

EMG 81 Active Guitar Humbucker Bridge/Neck Pickup

EMG 81 Active Guitar Humbucker Bridge/Neck Pickup,...
  • Utilizes powerful ceramic magnets and close aperture coils
  • The tone was designed with detailed intensity, incredible amounts of high...
  • In the bridge position of your guitar, it will make your leads slice right...

For professional hard rock and metal guitarists, the EMG 81 & 85 pickup combo is one of the most well-known and sought-after pickup combinations. EMG pickups are popular among prominent metal and hard rock guitarists like James Hetfield for a reason: they deliver all the power needed for shredding.

The EMG 81 is an active ceramic bridge pickup that is most commonly utilized. Because it’s both active and ceramic, it’ll have far more firepower. It’s one of the best humbucker pickups for metal and hard rock because of its characteristic “super-fat” distortion and overdrive tone.

The EMG 85 is a neck pickup that is constructed of Alnico V magnets rather than ceramic magnets. Because of this, the 85 is suitable for a wide range of musical styles, from blues to extreme metal and all in between. This pickup may be used to create smoother lead tones and rhythm playing. I recommend the EMG 81/85 combo if you want to play primarily metal and hard rock on your Les Paul.

Both pickups feature a chrome finish and come equipped with a 3-conductor cable. If you prefer using only 1 conductor, simply purchase the 2-conductor version instead. Both versions also include a set screw so you can adjust the height of the saddle.

Overall, the EMG 81/85 combo offers great versatility and sound quality. While many players choose to stick with the standard configuration, there are plenty of options available when purchasing the EMG 81/85 combo. This combination works particularly well for heavy metal and hard rock guitar players who require lots of gain and volume. With the addition of the EMG 85, you get even better sustain and clarity while maintaining the aggressive tone that makes them famous.

Seymour Duncan SPH90 Phat Cat P90 Electric Guitar Pickup

Seymour Duncan SPH90-1b Phat Cat Pickup - Bridge
  • P-90 Pickup f Humbucker-equipped Guitars - Bridge

P90 pickups were the original pickups used on Les Paul guitars in the 1950s, before humbuckers were invented. They feature a distinct tone that sets them apart from humbuckers and Fender-style single-coil pickups. In comparison to other single-coil pickups, P90s offer a significantly warmer tone. They’re a cross between single-coil and humbucker pickups. For further information, see our comparison of single-coil vs. P90 vs. humbucker pickups.

The Seymour Duncan SPH90 Phat Cat is a renowned and historic pickup, and any real P90 fan will know what the Phat Cat P90s can do. The Phat Cat is available in both neck and bridge versions, and it offers a warm but sharp tone. As a result, the tone is ideal for blues, fingerpicking, funk-style playing, and even country.

Overdrive sounds great on Phat Cats, and you can easily get that vintage P90 tone (less mids and highs than humbuckers). These pickups have a lot of attack as well.

This best pickups for les paul can replace either the neck or bridge pickups, but not both. The goal is to have a guitar with both a P90 and a humbucker sound. If you use a P90 for the neck and a humbucker for the bridge, you can get warm and sweet tones in the neck and wilder and fatter overdrive tones in the bridge.

Seymour Duncan Dave Mustaine Thrash Factor Pickup Set

Seymour Duncan Dave Mustaine Thrash Factor Pickup...
  • Demo Dave Mustaine Thrash Fact 2-pc Set
  • B/N - Blk
  • HB PU

You’ll be hard pressed to find a metal guitarist who doesn’t admire Dave Mustaine’s tone during the Rust in Peace era. Breakneck riffs, complicated arrangements, fluid time signatures, and blazing-fast leads were powered by myths and legends thanks to the album’s tight lows, scooped mids, and ferocious highs. Now, due to Seymour Duncan, you can get your hands on that sound. The Seymour Duncan ’59 Model SH-1 neck pickup nicely complements the Dave Mustaine Thrash Factor bridge pickup. Put the Dave Mustaine Thrash Factor Pickup Set in your axe and crank up a British stack to re-create one of metal’s most recognizable tones.

On Rust in Peace, Dave Mustaine’s guitar tone epitomizes thrash metal. He typically used a guitar with a Seymour Duncan SH-4 JB bridge pickup to get this sound. The sound of the JB in this guitar, according to Dave, was significantly different from that of an off-the-shelf pickup. Seymour Duncan collaborated closely with Dave Mustaine to create the Dave Mustaine Thrash Factor, using a revised winding method to replicate the tone of his JB. The sound is comparable to an SH-4 JB, but with tighter lows, scooped mids, and forceful highs. This is the way to hot rod your axe if you’ve been looking for a means to do it.

Seymour Duncan Slash Humbucker Set Black Electric Guitar Electronics

Seymour Duncan APH-2s Alnico II Pro Slash Pickup...
  • Humbucking Pickups with Alnico II Magnets
  • Neck Bridge Positions - Black

The Slash Signature pickups are so good that even if you have an original Gibson Les Paul, these pickups will serve as a superb upgrade. This humbucker set has only one goal: to recreate the sound of the original AFD Les Paul. It has a strong midrange, a lot of crunch, and a long sustain, just like Slash’s guitar tone. The Alnico 2 Pro magnets are the identical in both pickups, however the winding and mag wire are considerably different. A maple spacer, wax potting, long mounting legs, a nickel silver plate, and braided lead wire are all used in the build (single conductor).

While you won’t be able to separate the Slash Signature set, it would be a waste to do so anyhow. It would reduce the pickup’s interference rejection properties, resulting in a change in the iconic GNR tone.

This is one of the nicest combos you can get without spending a fortune, given the tone you can achieve with the Slash Signature Model humbucker set even on a stock Epiphone Les Paul guitar. It’s also a given that you’ll get that gritty hard rock tone, complete with enough of clarity for intricate solos.

Seymour Duncan Jeff Loomis Blackouts 6-String Humbucker Guitar Pickup Set Black

Seymour Duncan Jeff Loomis Blackout Pickups - Set
  • Active Humbucking Pickups f Electric Guitar - Set

The Seymour Duncan Jeff Loomis Blackouts are a great pickup set for those looking to create their own signature tone. Their tightness and clarity make them excellent pickups for fast arpeggios, while the high output means that they will be ideal for overdrive pedals. The Alnico V magnets are also excellent for guitarists looking to get a really big sound, especially in the higher registers.

The Seymour Duncan Jeff Loomis Blackouts are great pickups for heavy metal and hard rock guitarists who want an aggressive tone that is still clear enough to be used on clean or distorted channels. The perfect clarity of the sound created by these pickups with the Les Paul was the first thing that struck me about it. The pickups on the Les Paul provide excellent note separation across the fretboard, which I found very handy when playing arpeggios or other fast picking methods.

Some of the most inventive guitar work in the metal and heavy rock genres can be found in Jeff Loomis’ discography. The dynamic range of his unique pickups impressed me, that combining them with high-gain pedals like distortion or fuzz produces a massive and powerful Les Paul tone. Seymour Duncan’s Jeff Loomis Blackouts are great for technical Les Paul guitarists. When plenty of amplification is applied to the signal, they sound amazing, and their attention to detail guarantees that even the fastest riffs are presented with clarity.

Jeff Loomis is known for his incredibly accurate guitar tone. It’s no wonder, then, that his distinctive humbuckers sound rather different from the majority of Les Paul compatible pickups. The Alnico V magnets provide extra tightness and control, while the high-output design assures a big sound.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are Les Paul pickups?

Les Paul pickups refer to the magnetic pickups used in Gibson Les Paul electric guitars. These pickups are integral to the guitar’s tone and sound.

How many pickups do most Les Paul guitars have?

Most Les Paul guitars have two pickups: a bridge pickup and a neck pickup. These pickups can be configured and used together in various ways to achieve different tones.

How can I adjust the pickup height on my Les Paul guitar?

Pickup height adjustments can be made using screws near the pickups. Experiment with different heights to find the right balance between output, tone, and sustain.