Humbuckers for Blues – FAQ & Buyer’s Guide!

Getting the right sound from your guitar means that you need to know what you’re even looking for. It depends on the type of music that you’re planning to play. For some people, you might want to get as much brightness and energy as possible, but that’s not the case for everyone.

Best Choice
Seymour Duncan Vintage Blues Humbucker Pickup Set
Seymour Duncan Vintage Blues Humbucker Pickup Set
Best Humbucker Pickup Set for Blues
Blues, jazz, and classic rock humbucker set with neck and bridge units. It uses an Alnico V magnet to get the right sound and includes everything you need to get it attached and ready to go. The vintage sound here creates a unique, Les Paul aspect, that’s possibly the best humbucker for blues.
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If you’re looking to get a warmer and louder sound without all that snap, then you may want to look at humbuckers1. Those who want to play blues or jazz, for example, will want to look at these to help get the right tone. The best humbuckers for blues are ones that will give you the right balance of everything that you need when it comes to tonality in your guitar.

List of Top-Rated Humbuckers for Blues

ImageProduct 
best humbucker pickup for blues
Seymour Duncan Vintage Blues Humbucker Pickup Set review
Seymour Duncan Vintage Blues Humbucker Pickup Set
  • Ideal for jazz, blues & classic rock
  • Includes mounting hardware
  • Vintage style
  • Compressed sound
  • Alnico V magnet

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blues pickup
Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates Set review
Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates Set
  • More output than standard PAF’s
  • Built for Les Paul style guitars
  • Focused midrange
  • Extra drive

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great for blues
Gibson Gear BurstBucker Type 2 Pickup review
Gibson Gear BurstBucker Type 2 Pickup
  • Bridge position
  • Pairs with BurstBucker T
  • Mismatched coil windings

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Best choice
Bare Knuckle Bootcamp TeleTrue Grit Neck Pickup review
Bare Knuckle Bootcamp TeleTrue Grit Neck Pickup
  • Alnico V magnets
  • 6 string tele spec
  • Hand-wound

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Also great
Seymour Duncan APH-2s Pro Slash Set Humbucker Pickups review
Seymour Duncan APH-2s Pro Slash Set Humbucker Pickups
  • Neck and bridge included
  • Hand built in California
  • Alnico II magnets

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Best value
Rio Grande BBQ Humbucker Bridge Pickup review
Rio Grande BBQ Humbucker Bridge Pickup
  • Bridge position
  • 2 conductor
  • Strong horsepower

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guitar pickup for blues
DiMarzio DP223 PAF Bridge Humbucker review
DiMarzio DP223 PAF Bridge Humbucker
  • Balanced treble, mid & bass
  • Fits trem-equipped bolt-ons
  • 36th anniversary edition

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Review of the Best Humbuckers for Blues

1. Seymour Duncan Vintage Blues Humbucker Pickup Set – Best Humbucker Pickup for Blues

Features

  • Ideal for jazz, blues & classic rock
  • Includes mounting hardware
  • Vintage style

The Seymour Duncan Vintage Blues Humbucker Set offers vintage style coils to create an airy sound. The use of Alnico V bar magnets means that the sound you’re going to end up with is more bluesy in sound. It also means that the sound is truly unique with a modern sound, but not a hard one. In fact, it’s designed to balance what you would find with modern and 50’s units. 

You’ll have the nickel-silver bottom plates and you’re going to have a vintage feeling. What’s even more important is the single conductor that really directs the sound the way you expect for this type of guitar setup. 


Is There a logo on These Humbuckers?

Because they’re made the way the original humbuckers are they actually don’t have the logo for Seymour Duncan on them. 

Can These Humbuckers Be Coil Tapped?

These humbuckers are not designed to be coil tapped. While these specs are not included on the website or in the company information, they are not built for this purpose. 

Can Right-Handed and Left-Handed Guitars Use These Humbuckers? 

You are able to install these humbuckers with both types of guitars. They are able to be adjusted however you need them. 

Who is this for?

Someone who wants a vintage feel to a modern guitar. 

Why I like it?

Made in Michigan in the old style. 

2. Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates Set – Best Blues Pickup

Features

  • Three color options
  • More output than standard PAF’s
  • Built for Les Paul style guitars

Available in three colors, these Pearly Gates Humbuckers provide more output than standard PAF’s. This offers extra drive and a focused midrange. The raw sound is a typical Texas sound that makes a good tone for classic rock. 

The Pearly Gates1 Humbuckers fit Les Paul style guitars and provide a unique character to the tone. You get Alnico 2 bar magnets that create an airiness to the treble level. The low end creates a spongy but warm sound. 

What Type of Music Are These Humbuckers Designed For?

These humbuckers are designed for hard rock, southern rock, classic rock, jam, and blues.

How Are the Labels and Logos Attached to These Humbuckers?

The logos are screened directly onto the humbuckers. This means they do not peel off and will be visible directly on the unit. 

Are New Pots Included With This Set?

This set does not include new pots for your system. 

Who is this for?

Someone who wants to play any form of rock and really jam out on their guitar. 

Why I like it?

Create a tighter low end and a balanced upper end for better tone. 

3. Gibson Gear BurstBucker Type 2 Pickup

Features

  • Bridge position
  • Articulate sound
  • Bright & clean

The BurstBucker #2 is made for the bridge position, and especially if you pair it with a BurstBucker #1 in the neck position. Together, the two humbuckers create a bright, articulate sound. This is an authentic Gibson modeled after the ’57 classic. 

The mismatched coil windings are reminiscent of the old style. The installation is simple and provides an excellent definition on overdrive or a gain amp. There is no split-coil option, but the sound is very similar to that of a 50’s PAF.

Is This a Bridge or Neck Humbucker?

The BurstBucker #2 is designed for the bridge position; however, the BurstBucker #1 is designed to pair with it in the neck position.

What Type of Sound Will I Get With This Humbucker?

The sound can be bright and clean or crunchy, depending on how you play and the electronics you pair it with. 

Are the Coil Windings Matched?

The coil windings are not matched, which creates a more authentic 50’s style.

Who is this for?

Someone who wants a bridge humbucker with authentic Gibson sound. 

Why I like it?

Affordable for the qualities that are offered. 

4. Bare Knuckle Bootcamp TeleTrue Grit Neck Pickup

Features

  • Designed for music from hot blues and grunge to punk and old-school metal
  • Medium output range
  • Affordable

The Bare Knuckle Bootcamp Pickup is built for the neck and hand-wound to get the ideal tone balance. It uses Alnico V magnets to create the bluesy sound you’re looking for but also works for other styles of music. You can play just about any style of music from hard rock to old-school metal, grunge to punk, and more. 

The six-string tele spec uses a flat magnet as well as a chrome neck cover and a cloth hookup. It is stripped back to be affordable and work for those playing at any level of proficiency. It has a medium output range and a fat tone. 

What Kind of Magnets Are in This Humbucker?

This humbucker uses Alnico V magnets that create the bluesy sound you’re looking for. 

What Type of Tone Will I Get?

The tone here is a fat, rich tone in a medium output range. 

Is This Good for Beginners?

This humbucker is designed for beginners and more experienced guitar players alike. 

Who is this for?

Someone who is getting into playing but doesn’t want to spend too much on gear. 

Why I like it?

The introductory product that works for those with more advanced skills. 

5. Seymour Duncan APH-2S Pro Slash Set Humbucker Pickups

Features

  • Two-color options
  • Neck and bridge included
  • Hand-built in California

The Slash Humbucker Set uses Alnico II magnets create a crunch and midrange that’s synonymous with the Les Paul, even from a standard guitar. Built entirely in Santa Barbara, these pickups have long-mounted legs as well as nickel-silver bottom plates. All of this is done in the same way since the 1980’s. They are built by hand and come in two different color/style options to match the look of your setup.

These humbuckers include both the neck and bridge unit and everything you need to install them. They are an upgrade over the old Gibson Les Paul humbuckers, providing a unique tone and experience to the old. 

What Style Magnets Are in These Humbuckers?

These humbuckers use Alnico II magnets to create an authentic sound. 

Are These Neck or Bridge Humbuckers?

This set includes both a neck and bridge humbucker to complete the set and get you ready to start immediately. 

Where Are These Made?

These humbuckers are handmade in Santa Barbara, California, the way they have been since the ’80s. 

Who is this for?

Someone who wants an authentic Les Paul sound. 

Why I like it?

Hand-built in California within the United States. 

6. Rio Grande BBQ Humbucker Bridge Pickup

Features

  • Bridge position
  • Two conductor
  • Strong horsepower

Designed to offer power rather than distortion, the Rio Grande Humbucker features a classic 50’s style. They focus on the areas where it’s most essential and skip over the areas where you don’t need as much attention to get the sound you’re after. That includes a potent punch when you need it rather than the standard gain. 

These humbuckers fit on the bridge of the guitar and are the most popular produced by the company. They come in a range of styles and use a two-conductor cable. Rio Grande BBQ Humbucker Bridge Pickups are made in Texas2 and create a balanced but loud sound. They create a heavy, round tone when solo or otherwise. 

Are These Neck or Bridge Humbuckers?

These humbuckers are made for use on the bridge though they can be used on the neck if necessary. 

Is a Cover Included on These Humbuckers?

These humbuckers have a nickel cover that can be removed if you choose to upgrade the style to your own. 

Where Are These Humbuckers Made?

These humbuckers are made in Texas, in the United States. 

Who is this for?

Someone who wants simplicity paired with sparkle and plenty of tones. 

Why I like it?

Made in the USA and provide high quality with a vintage look and feel. 

7. DiMarzio DP223 PAF Bridge Humbucker – Best Guitar Pickup for Blues

Features

  • Balanced treble, mid & bass
  • Fits trem-equipped bolt-ons
  • Vintage style

The affordable price is one thing that makes the DiMarzio a more popular option. But the best part of it is the bold sound it gives your guitar. You’ll be able to attach it to any trem-equipped bolt-ons, which means you’re going to have more freedom to work with the guitar you want or already have.

This is a 36th-anniversary edition, which is designed to play just like the older PAF. On top of that, you’re getting a balanced sound across all areas of highs, mids, and lows. You can place it on the neck or the bridge, though it’s intended for the bridge position. 

It plays loud like a VHPAF and has loud harmonics a quality tone. Creates depth and the Les Paul sound. 

What Type of Magnets Are In These Humbuckers?

These humbuckers use Alnico V magnets to create a more bluesy sound. 

Are These Neck or Bridge Humbuckers?

These are designed as bridge humbuckers but can still be used as neck humbuckers as well. 

Does This Offer the Vintage Les Paul Sound?

These humbuckers are designed to give you a balanced, vintage sound similar to that of a Les Paul. 

Who is this for?

Someone who wants vintage sound with a balanced tone. 

Why I like it?

It offers versatility as neck or bridge humbuckers. 

Best Humbuckers for Blues — Buyer’s Guide

Humbuckers for Blues

Humbuckers for Blues Infographic

Humbucker Pickups Explained

Humbucker pickups are a type of pickup that attaches to an electric guitar and helps to get rid of the humming sound that you would get through regular use. The term comes from the purpose of the humbucker, which is to ‘buck the hum.’ In canceling out this interference from the guitar strings, you’re going to get a much clearer sound that gives the guitar a warmer aspect rather than the sharpness you get without one.

How to Get a Blues Tone?

If you’re looking to get started playing blues, you need to know how to get the right type of tone. The truth is that there are several different ways that you can get the right blues tone out of your guitar. For the most part, it’s going to be based on the way that you play and the type of guitar that you have. It’s also based on your setup. But there are a few things you can do:

  1. Set your bass, middle, treble, and presence to level 5.
  2. Plug into a clean channel on your amp and don’t activate the overdrive button.
  3. If you have a low wattage amp you’ll want to set the volume to somewhere between 3 and 4.
  4. You can play around a bit with the different levels and each of your settings to get something that works well. An E major chord will help you determine the best levels. If that doesn’t get you quite there you can use a G barre chord to assist. This will tell you the best bass level.
  5. Set the guitar to 10 and play some licks using the higher strings. Too thin means to turn your amp up and your volume down. A too-sharp tone means turn down the treble while too-muted means boost up the treble.
  6. Sit next to the amp or near it to get the best sound instead of directly in front.

How to Make Humbuckers Brighter?

There are a few different options when it comes to brightening up your humbuckers. The most important thing is to try out each and see which one gives you the best possible balance for your sound.

  1. Change the tone pots to 500k or 1 meg to get a brighter sound.
  2. Swap your Alnico magnets for Alnico V magnets to brighten the tone.
  3. Use a single-coil pickup that uses a humbucker casing.
  4. Don't forget about using humbucker-sized pickup rings.
  5. Also, use coil-splits to monitor the push and pull tone pots.

How to Tell if Pickups Are Out of Phase

In order to check your pickups, you want to connect the negative and positive wires to a voltmeter and check the voltage. You will do this with a piece of metal, testing to see if the voltage goes up or down when you apply the metal. If you apply the metal and the voltage goes down, it means the pickups are out of phase with the humbuckers.

If you do not see the voltage go down with the metal, it means that the pickups are in phase. Also, if you use a pickup alone, you don’t have to worry about being out of phase because there’s no such thing. Your pickups will work the way they’re supposed to, and there’s nothing for them to match with.

Conclusion

When it comes to choosing the right humbuckers, you want to make sure you look at all of the options that we’ve discussed above. Each will provide you with the type of sound you’re looking for and will also make sure you can play the music that you enjoy. Whether you always want to play blues3 or not, you can use humbuckers to help you get the right music style. 

  1. https://www.seymourduncan.com/blog/the-tone-garage/guitar-pickups-for-blues
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robin_Guitars
  3. https://academicworks.cuny.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1484&context=hc_sas_etds

About the author

John Tschop

John Tschop

I am a music fan who is fond of different instruments and genres. The member of Klinger-McFry Band. We launched StereoShore to discuss proven tips, tutorials, and insights.

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