Sunday, April 15, 2012

How to Make a JB8 Guitar Pickup

Well it's time I put my money where my mouth is. I have talked about replacing bar magnets in pickups, and I wanted to show how I do that.

We'll start with a Seymour Duncan JB. It's a great pickup for one particular reason. It's the most sold Duncan pickup, so there's a lot avalible on the market. What's funny is all the negative comments I hear about it. I've never heard a pickup called both muddy by some, and too thin by others. I'm not crazy about them since I find them too compressed.

However, there is a way to take care of that, and get an awesome pickup out of an average one. Namely, replacing the Alnico 5 magnet with an Alnico 8 magnet.

Here's a picture of the pickup, an Alnico 8 magnet, and a compass:

The compass is for telling which end of the magnet is which. Notice I have marked the magnet as an A8, and which end is North or South.

First I undo the four screws on the bottom:

I then pull back the tape on one end:

Depending upon the pickup, you may or may not have to pull out the adjustable pole pieces.

You may have to push on the back side of the magnet, and/or grab the front with tiny tools. I did both. Either way, get it to slide out like a stick of gum.

Here I am sliding the new Alnico 8 magnet in. Remember kids, on Seymour Duncan pickups, the adjustible pole piece side is South. I used my compass to double check my work.

 Here's the final product:

So the big question is, what does it sound like? I have a slight inclination that it sounds like Seymour Duncan's Alternative 8. The T/M/B EQ for that pickup is this: 9/8/7. I would say that this is spot on this. It doesn't have near the compression that the regular JB has. The presence of this pickup leans toward the brighter side.

It is loud. This is a pickup that you don't have to put too close to the strings since it is so fire-breathing hot. But unlike a lot of hot pickups it is pretty open sounding due to the lack of compression.  

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