25 Best Les Paul Pickups For Blues, Rock, Metal, Country, Jazz


Pickups are one of the most important parts of the guitar when it comes to creating the sound. And besides the amplifier, they will have the most impact on the tone. Now, I am not saying that other parts of the instrument like wood, potentiometers, and other parts won’t have an impact, but the difference is quite small.

For many people, it will be insignificant. Especially when you play with the band. Upgrading pickups is one of the most common upgrades since it will allow you to get the desired sound even on a cheaper instrument. So, the only thing left for you to do is find a model you like. 

When buying new pickups, the most important question is whether your guitar has single-coil or humbucker pickups. Based on that, you will proceed to look for the model of your dreams. Here, I will go through some of the best options for Les Paul, meaning I will cover the best humbuckers you can find on the market. 

Seymour Duncan Hot Rodded SH-4/SH-2n Set

  • Number of pickups: Two
  • Type: humbuckers
  • Color: Black
  • Model: SH-4 and SH-2n
  • Screws and springs
  • High output (bridge) and moderate output (neck)
  • Passive
  • Material: Alnico
  • Design: Uncovered

Seymour Duncan is one of the biggest names when it comes to pickups, and most players will go for this brand. The company designs both humbuckers and single-coil pickups, and you will easily find a perfect model for you. The set here is a combination of SH-4 and SH-2n humbuckers, and they work well for any type of guitar as long as there is enough space for humbuckers. 

The SH-4 is a JB pickup for the bridge position, and it is a high output model. For the neck, you will get an SH-2n, which is a HJazz humbucker. This will give you plenty of options when creating the sound, and the pickups are quite versatile. The only thing I should mention is that this Seymour Duncan set is uncovered, which might be a downside for some players. 

Lollar Imperial Set

  • Number of pickups: Two
  • Type: humbuckers
  • Color: Chrome
  • Model: Lollar
  • Screws and springs
  • Fuller bridge and clean and bright neck
  • Passive
  • Material: Alnico
  • Design: Covered

Lollar is a company from the United States, and it designs custom pickups for electric guitars. Each pickup is handmade, and there is a wide variety of models you can find and check out. This also means that you are likely to find a model suitable for your taste. When it comes to humbuckers, you can check out the Imperial set. 

The set comes with all screws and springs, so you won’t need anything else to install them. Furthermore, they have a chrome cover that goes well with most Les Paul models, and you can replace it with the existing one if you feel like it. The vintage output makes it perfect for blues and rock, and the sound will be incredible. 

EMG ZW Zakk Wylde Active Signature Set

  • Number of pickups: Two
  • Type: humbuckers
  • Color: Black
  • Model: EMG-81 and EMG-85
  • Screws, springs, cables, pots
  • High output
  • Active
  • Material: 
  • Design: Covered

If you are a fan of Zakk Wylde, you probably already know how these pickups sound. The set is made by EMG, which is a company known for high-end pickups. More importantly, this is an active set, which means that you will need a power source for the guitar to work. If you are wondering about additional parts, everything you will need for the pickups to work is included in the package. 

You will get all the springs and screws, but also additional potentiometers, cables, battery contacts, and so on. As with other pickups, these use a 9V power source, and the only thing you will need to figure out is where to place the battery. EMG pickups are a great combination for those that want a heavier sound, and what active electronics has to offer. 

Seymour Duncan APH-2s Alnico II Pro Slash Set

  • Number of pickups: Two
  • Type: Humbuckers
  • Color: Black
  • Model: APH-2
  • Screws and springs
  • Fuller bridge and clean and bright neck
  • Passive
  • Material: Alnico
  • Design: Uncovered

If you want a more traditional rock sound for your Les Paul, you can always go for Slash’s signature pickup set. It is designed by Seymour Duncan, which means that you will get excellent quality. The pickups are passive, meaning you’ll only need a couple of screws and springs that are included in the package. 

For those that are fans of Guns ‘n’ Roses, this is an obvious choice. But even if you are not a huge fan of the band, there is no denying that Slash had an excellent sound. The guitar is powerful and versatile, and it works great for any type of music. Moreover, it is exactly how almost everyone imagines Les Paul’s sound. 

Bare Knuckle The Mule Set

  • Number of pickups: Two
  • Type: Humbuckers
  • Color: Nickel
  • Model: The Mule 
  • Screws and springs
  • Vintage sound
  • Passive
  • Material: Alnico
  • Design: Covered

Bare Knuckle Pickups is a new company. At least new compared to others. It was founded in 2003 by Tim Mills, and it was based in England. Each pickup you can find in the store is hand-wound, and the quality is exceptional. The company uses only the best available materials and parts, which is one of the reasons why you will get a lifetime warranty. 

The model here is The Mule, and it is a set of two humbuckers. The design of the pickups is standard, and you can use it on any Les Paul you want. As for the sound, the Mule set is inspired by vintage instruments, and it is perfect for blues and rock. The set is available with different covers, and the model here is with a nickel cover. So, you can find what suits you best. 

Lace Pickups Alumitone Fusion Jazz Set

  • Number of pickups: Two
  • Type: Humbuckers
  • Color: Chrome
  • Model: 251 
  • Screws and springs
  • Medium output
  • Passive
  • Material: Alnico
  • Design: Covered

Lace is an incredible brand. If you are wondering why the name sounds familiar, the most popular pickup designed by this brand is Lace Sensor. It is the pickup used by Eric Clapton in the nineties, and the sound is amazing. The set here, of course, is humbuckers with a chrome cover. It is a set of two pickups, and it works great for any type of guitar. As long as there is enough space for them. 

And the versatility of pickups is shown in the fact that you can use them on solid-body, hollow, and semi-hollow instruments without any problems. With the medium output, you’ll be able to play rock and blues without any problems. Additionally, you will get all the screws and springs required to mount pickups properly. 

Fishman Fluence Classic Humbucker Set

  • Number of pickups: Two
  • Type: Humbuckers
  • Color: Nickel
  • Model: 251 
  • Screws, spring, pots, cables
  • Medium output
  • Active
  • Material: Alnico
  • Design: Covered

Fishman was established in 1981, and the company took the market by storm. It offers great equipment for guitars, and one of the most iconic models is Fishman Fluence. This is a classic humbucker set with a medium output, and it is made of alnico. The first thing I should mention about Fishman Fluence is that it is an active set, meaning that you will need an external power supply to use it. 

The set is quite versatile, and it works great on various levels of gain. And you can push them quite a lot if you feel like it. One of the most important elements is that you can change the “voice” of pickups, and each has three different levels. This also means that you will get all the potentiometers, cables, and everything else you will need. 

MojoTone ’59 Clone Humbucker Set

  • Number of pickups: Two
  • Type: Humbuckers
  • Color: Nickel
  • Model: 59 Clone
  • Screws and springs
  • Vintage output
  • Passive
  • Material: Alnico
  • Design: Covered

MojoTone ‘59 Clone set is perfect for those looking for a vintage sound for their Les Paul. The pickups have a standard design, and nickel cover, and the tone is inspired by vintage instruments. Specifically, from the end of the fifties. The model is passive, which means that you won’t need to drill a hole for a battery. 

Based on the pedals and effects you use, the sound can be quite heavy, but not too heavy. You will still get the traditional sound of humbuckers, with a standard design. The pickups are made in the United States, and the price is in the mid-range. You won’t need to spend a ton of money to get the set, and it is worth the price. 

Seymour Duncan Antiquity Humbucker Set

  • Number of pickups: Two
  • Type: Humbuckers
  • Color: Nickel
  • Model: ANT-HN and ANT-HB
  • Screws, springs, and cover
  • Medium output
  • Passive
  • Material: Alnico
  • Design: Covered

As I mentioned earlier, Seymour Duncan is one of the most popular options. And the reason behind that is versatility. The company offers so many different models that it would be nearly impossible to have problems with finding a model just for you. The set here is Antiquity and it is designed for vintage lovers. 

Firstly, the pickups themselves look aged, and they will be a perfect addition to a worn-out guitar. When it comes to the sound, the set has a medium output, and the vintage sound of the instrument will be perfect for rock and blues. The set comes with mounting accessories and even pickup guards for Les Paul guitars. The models in the set are ANT-HN and ANT-HB, which shows you which one is designed for the bridge and which one is for the neck. 

DiMarzio PAF 36th Anniversary

  • Number of pickups: One
  • Type: Humbuckers
  • Color: Black
  • Model: DP103
  • Screws, springs, and cover
  • Medium output
  • Passive
  • Material: Alnico
  • Design: Uncovered

In some cases, players would love to change a single pickup. And instead of getting a full set, you can buy an individual model and replace them one by one. It is cheaper, and it allows you to combine different models and brands to get the sound you like. The 36th Anniversary works great in any position, which means that you can place it either in the bridge or neck positions. 

It is a great option for a single humbucker, and it is worth the price. As you can probably guess from the name, the pickup is inspired by vintage sound, and it will work for classic rock, blues, and similar genres. And you have enough freedom to explore how the pickup will sound in different positions, or just place it where you originally meant to. 

Gibson 490R Modern Classic Neck

  • Number of pickups: One
  • Type: Humbuckers
  • Color: Chrome
  • Model: 490R
  • Screws and springs
  • Medium output
  • Passive
  • Material: 
  • Design: Covered

If you want a Gibson sound, the simplest way is to go for a Gibson pickup. The Modern Classic pickup is designed for a neck, and you won’t be able to get the same results from the bridge position. This means that it is not as versatile an upgrade as some others on the list, but it is such a great option for the neck position. It will give you that famous Gibson sound, and it is a perfect choice for those with cheaper guitars. 

If you’ve already upgraded your bridge pickup, or if you don’t care about it, this can be a good upgrade for your instrument. Needless to say, the 490R is perfect for blues and rock, and it can be quite versatile with pedals. 

Bare Knuckle The Juggernaut Set

  • Number of pickups: Two
  • Type: Humbuckers
  • Color: Black
  • Model: OB
  • Screws and springs
  • Medium output
  • Passive
  • Material: Alnico/ceramic
  • Design: Uncovered

If you are looking for something a bit different, Bare Knuckle got your back. The Juggernaut set packs quite a punch. It is a bit heavier than what you’d expect from a Gibson pickup, but it is still not too heavy. It is perfect for those that want a heavier sound, and it comes with two pickups. This means that you can upgrade the electronics at once, and you will get both pickups for your Les Paul.

The set is still versatile enough, and you don’t even need to turn the gain all the way up. At the same time, the pickups are good for heavier genres like metal, which will give you enough space to experiment with the sound. Keep in mind that the majority of players will use it for thrash metal and similar genres, but you can play whatever you like with them. 

SoloDallas Solo71 T-Top Set 

  • Number of pickups: Two
  • Type: Humbuckers
  • Color: Chrome
  • Model: T-Top Set C
  • Screws and springs
  • Vintage output
  • Passive
  • Material: Alnico
  • Design: Covered

SoloDallas is one of many options you can check out. The brand might not be as famous as some others on the list, but the quality is still on par with the most popular names. Here, you can find a Solo71 T-Top set, which is inspired by vintage pickups. The founder of the company said that he was inspired by Angus Young from AC/DC and that famous classic sound. And if you are looking for something similar, you’re in the right place. 

The pickups also work great with pedals, and you can explore different sounds and possibilities. The idea behind pickups is to create vintage-sounding pickups, and SoloDallas did an incredible job with them. 

Suhr Aldrich Bridge 53 BK

  • Number of pickups: One
  • Type: Humbuckers
  • Color: Black
  • Model: 53
  • Screws and springs
  • High output
  • Passive
  • Material: Alnico
  • Design: Uncovered

Suhr is a company that was founded in 1997, and it quickly gained popularity. And it wasn’t long before legendary guitarists started using guitars and gear designed by this brand. Knopfler had his own signature model of the guitar, which was a collaboration known as Pensa-Suhr. This model here is a signature pickup designed for Doug Aldrich, who is another iconic guitarist. If you are familiar with his career, you know that these are high output pickups. 

It is a nice way to beef up the sound and explore heavier genres. But at the same time, Doug Aldrich is known for his versatile tone, and you’ll get a chance to play with it as well. Bear in mind that this is a bridge pickup, which means that you might want to upgrade the neck at one point as well. 

Seymour Duncan Custom Shop Greenie Set

  • Number of pickups: One
  • Type: Humbuckers
  • Color: Black
  • Model: Greenie
  • Screws and springs
  • Medium output
  • Passive
  • Material: Alnico
  • Design: Uncovered

Seymour Duncan offers a variety of models you can try out, and another great option is the Custom Shop Greenie set. It has a modern design, which means that it doesn’t come with a cover. It comes with all the springs and screws you will need for the installation, and it is a passive set. When it comes to the sound, it is incredible. Your Les Paul will sound like a dream with lower gain and with reverb. Of course, you can play it any way you like, but this is the way to make the pickups truly shine. 

This also means that it is an excellent option for blues and rock. Since we are talking about humbuckers, you can easily push them even further without any problems. 

Lindy Fralin Pure PAF Set

  • Number of pickups: Two
  • Type: Humbuckers
  • Color: Black and white
  • Model: PAF
  • Screws and springs
  • Medium output
  • Passive
  • Material: Alnico
  • Design: Uncovered

Lindy Fralin is a company from the United States, and it started working in the nineties. The story of the company started because Lindy Fralin, the founder, wasn’t satisfied with the quality of pickups. So, he decided to hand-wind them. He used a homemade machine to start experimenting with the process, and he eventually mastered the formula. Today, you can find Lindy Fralin pickups, and they are quite good. 

One of the examples you can check out is the Pure PAF set, and the color is zebra. This means that one coil is white, while the other one is black. The sound of the pickups is inspired by vintage instruments, and it is perfect for old-school styles. But you can push them a bit further as well. 

Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates Set

  • Number of pickups: Two
  • Type: Humbuckers
  • Color: Nickel
  • Model: SH-PG 1N and SH-PG 1B
  • Screws and springs
  • Medium output
  • Passive
  • Material: Alnico
  • Design: Covered

As you can probably guess from the name, Pearly Gates is designed based on the original 1959 Les Paul that Billy Gibbons used to play. If you like the sound of ZZ Top, this is an excellent opportunity to upgrade your Les Paul. Those that love listening to ZZ Top are well aware of the tone these pickups have, and they are quite powerful. 

Naturally, you can use them for blues, but you can push them even further without any problems. The pickups sound great for hard rock and even heavier genres. They are quite versatile. The Pearly Gates set has SH-PG 1N in the neck and SH-PG 1B in the bridge position. 

Lace Pickups Finger Burners Set

Lace 33062 Finger Burners Humbucker Set - Burnt Chrome Covers
  • Custom Burnt Chrome Covers
  • Neck Resistance: 9.5k
  • Bridge Resistance: 11.3k
  • Number of pickups: Two
  • Type: Humbuckers
  • Color: Burnt Chrome
  • Model: Finger Burners
  • Screws and springs
  • High output
  • Passive
  • Material: Alnico
  • Design: Covered

Those that are interested in getting even more power from their Les Paul should check out Finger Burners set by Lace Sensor. The sound on this one is quite heavy, and they have high output. If you are looking for versatile pickups that will allow you to play both blues and metal, this set is one of the best possible options. 

As with any other pickups, you can play anything you like with them. But keep in mind that these are high output pickups and that they might be best with heavier genres. The versatility of Lace will still give you plenty of options to try out different things. 

Seymour Duncan Nazgul/Sentient Set

  • Number of pickups: Two
  • Type: Humbuckers
  • Color: Black
  • Model: Nazgul and Sentient
  • Screws and springs
  • High output
  • Passive
  • Material: Alnico/ceramic
  • Design: Uncovered

Nazgul and Sentient is a combination designed for metal. The Nazgul pickup is in the bridge, and it is a high output humbucker, while the Sentinel is in the neck, and it is a medium output pickup. This will give you plenty of different options for creating a sound but bear in mind that these can be quite heavy. 

If you plan on playing on the clean channel, these might not be the best option. They are still passive pickups, and they sound amazing. Another thing I should mention is that the Nazgul pickup is ceramic, while the Sentinel is alnico. 

DiMarzio DP100 Humbucker

  • Number of pickups: Two
  • Type: Humbuckers
  • Color: Cream
  • Model: DP100
  • Screws and springs
  • High output
  • Passive
  • Material: Alnico
  • Design: Uncovered

DiMarzio is known for its high output pickups, and DP100 is no different. The humbucker is inspired by the seventies and eighties rock music, and it can sound quite good on Les Paul. This is a pickup for the bridge position, and you won’t be able to use it on the neck. This can be an excellent option for someone who just wants to upgrade the bridge pickup and keep the existing one in the neck. 

The name of the humbucker is Super Distortion, which gives you the idea of how it sounds. It works best for heavier rock and other genres that use a lot of distortion. 

PRS m (Metal) Bridge Pickup

  • Number of pickups: One
  • Type: Humbuckers
  • Color: Nickel
  • Model: m
  • Screws and springs
  • High output
  • Passive
  • Material: Ceramic
  • Design: Covered

No one could have predicted what kind of impact Paul Reed Smith would have when he made his first guitar. And now, many years later, PRS is one of the biggest names in the business. And it is only natural that the company offers pickups. This model here is named simply m, which stands for metal. 

Naturally, it is a high output humbucker, and it is a ceramic model. The design of the pickup is pretty standard, and you can easily use it on your Les Paul. It also has a nickel cover, which is something many players will enjoy. The humbucker is factory-wound, and it can be highly versatile, allowing you to explore different genres and possibilities. It also comes with all the necessary parts needed for the installation, and it is a passive humbucker. 

Fishman Fluence Devin Townsend Set

  • Number of pickups: Two
  • Type: Humbuckers
  • Color: Black
  • Model: Devin Townsend
  • Screws, springs, cables
  • Medium output
  • Active
  • Material: Ceramic
  • Design: Covered

Devin Townsend is a Canadian guitarist who started his career playing with different musicians. He is known for heavy metal, progressive metal, and other heavier genres, which is why Fishman was the brand of choice. The Devin Townsend model is versatile and offers a wide-ranging tone. As with other Fishman pickups, you will get to play with different voices, and this will further increase the versatility of the pickup. 

The set also comes with all the potentiometers, cables, and everything else you will need to install them and get them working. As with other active pickups, you will need a place for the battery, which can be a problem for some models of the guitar. 

Lollar Novel 90 Set

  • Number of pickups: Two
  • Type: Humbuckers
  • Color: Black and white
  • Model: Novel 90
  • Screws and springs
  • Vintage output
  • Passive
  • Material: Alnico
  • Design: Covered

Now, this is an interesting combination for those looking for a more traditional, vintage sound. The Lollar Novel 90 set is a P90 model, but it has the same size as humbuckers. This will allow you to easily install the pickups without having to modify your instrument. They also look quite good with the nickel ring and matte black pickup, adding something special to the overall look of your Les Paul. 

As for the sound, it is rather similar to well-known P-90 pickups, but it has slightly lower mids and it sounds rather open. As with other Lollar pickups, the quality of the sound is amazing, and you’ll be satisfied with the Novel 90 set. As long as you like having something a bit calmer. 

Gibson ’57 Classic Plus Bridge

  • Number of pickups: One
  • Type: Humbuckers
  • Color: Gold 
  • Model: ‘57 Classic Plus
  • Screws and springs
  • Medium output
  • Passive
  • Material: Alnico
  • Design: Covered

Those that are looking to upgrade their Les Paul with Gibson parts, can always check out the 57 Classic Plus pickup. It is a humbucker designed for the bridge position, and the sound is inspired by Gibsons from the late fifties. What is interesting here is that the pickup is slightly overwound, adding more output with the well-known vintage sound. 

It has a nickel-plated cover, alnico magnets, and the pickup is a perfect combination of modern and vintage. It is quite versatile, and you will surely get a beautiful sound for your Les Paul. As for the design, it is the same as with any other Les Paul humbucker, meaning that the pickup is passive, and there are no additional parts you will need to use. 

DiMarzio PAF Master Neck Humbucker

  • Number of pickups: One
  • Type: Humbuckers
  • Color: Nickel
  • Model: PAF Master
  • Screws and springs
  • Medium output
  • Passive
  • Material: Alnico
  • Design: Covered

DiMarzio offers a variety of pickups you can find, including vintage-inspired models. The PAF Master is designed for the neck position, and it is based on the PAF vintage pickups. This means that you will get a similar sound with all the benefits of modern technology. Of course, the pickup is passive, which means that you won’t need to drill a hole for a battery. 

The pickup is quite versatile, and it will work on any guitar with a humbucker slot. For Les Paul, it will give it a beautiful sound you will be able to shape even further using pedals and effects. All things considered, DiMarzio PAF Master is worth the price, and it is one of the best choices when it comes to price and quality. 

Conclusion

Getting a pickup for your guitar will transform your instrument in no time. These upgrades are quite simple, and you’ll be able to breathe a new life into your Les Paul. What is more important is that you will be able to get a real Les Paul sound even if you own a cheaper guitar. And this is one of the main reasons why so many people are interested in upgrading their instruments. 

Of course, the primary question is what you are trying to achieve with the upgrade. What kind of tone are you looking for? Are you interested in replacing both pickups? Or just want to change the neck or middle? 

Regardless of your answer, you will be able to find all of the options and there are so many incredible brands on the market designing pickups for Les Paul and other similar guitars.

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Last update on 2022-06-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Jacob

I have been playing guitar since 2004. As long as I can remember I always had a huge passion for rock music and I extremely enjoy playing it. Helping people on their rock journey is what drives me to keep on playing. Read More About Me

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