Seymour Duncan SH-4 JB Model
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Seymour Duncan SH-4 JB Model

SH-4 JB Model, Humbucker guitar pickup from Seymour Duncan in the High Output Humbuckers series.

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All user reviews for the Seymour Duncan SH-4 JB Model

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tjon90107/16/2011

tjon901's review"One of the most popular aftermarket pickups"

Seymour Duncan SH-4 JB Model
Seymour Ducan is probably the most popular aftermarket pickup maker in the industry and this is probably their most popular model. The JB is pretty much the standard when it comes to hot rodded humbuckers. Put this in just about anything and it will really wake it up. There is no wonder why so many guitar makers put these pickups in their guitars. From ESP to Jackson you can find models that use the Seymour Duncan JB usually paired up with its buddy the Jazz in the neck. These pickups can make just about any guitar sing. This pickup is more eq'd on the high end for clarity. Because of this these pickups work best in guitars with darker woods. The output is about 16k so this pickup will drive just about any amp. You see these pickups in a lot of Les Paul style guitars because they can add some crispness to the naturally dark sound of those guitars. Seymour Duncan even goes as far as to say mahogany guitars with rosewood fretboards. I dont think I would go this far but a darker wood like mahogany is really the best pairing of wood with this pickup. You also see these pickups in shred guitars like Jacksons because with their high end bite and tight low end you can get a metal chug yet still have singing high end with the pickup. Even with this, this is not the first pickup I would recommend for a bright guitar. A bright guitar with a bright pickup can equal painful ears when played out. It doesnt have a huge amount of bottom end but what it has its really tight. The high end is nice and crisp and you can get it to scream if you want. If you are looking for a good all around humbucker replacement for the bridge of your guitar this is what everyone else is using.
wwhhhaatt05/18/2011

wwhhhaatt's review"Maybe just not for me"

Seymour Duncan SH-4 JB Model
This pickup came stock in my ESP Stephen Carpenter 6 string which has an alder/maple body with a maple neck and ebony fret board and my ESP Eclipse which has a Mahogany body, maple neck, and rosewood fret board. My main amp is a framus cobra 100 watt tube amp and I also used a peavey 5150 and hughes & kettner triamp. I mainly play a mix of rock, metal, and very pedal effected looping.

When I first plugged in my SC6 I thought there was something wrong with it. The sound was just thin with tons of irritating treble and no real meat to the sound. The attack is great for cutting in a mix but the lack of fullness behind it just makes it sound like a stuck wah pedal to me. I tried a lot of different EQ settings on my amp to compensate but never really got a sound I liked. The wood combination of alder and ebony is a bit bright so I figured maybe it just wasn't a good match for this guitar. Using lower tunings made the pickup sound a little better to me but I never go below a c# so it had to go.

I replaced it with an Anderson H3

A few years later I bought the eclipse. The eclipse having the standard LP woods I figured the pickup would sound much better than my experience with the sc6. It was slightly better but still not for me. Fast leads sound good and it had a bit more low end compared to the SC but I still found it overly bright with a kind of stuck wah "quack" sound and not very full. Also as with the SC6 I thought the pickup sounded pretty good with real low tunings.

I replaced it with a Duncan Distortion
King Loudness04/28/2011

King Loudness's review"A great sounding, but choosy pickup."

Seymour Duncan SH-4 JB Model
The Seymour Duncan JB (JB standing for Jazz/Blues, NOT Jeff Beck as many people think!) has been a mainstay in the Seymour Duncan line of pickups along with the '59 and Jazz. It's a very good sounding pickup overall and that's the reason you can find it stock in a lot of guitars today. However, it is my opinion (and apparently many others' opinion as well) that this pickup is very picky/choosy when it comes to the wood it's being mated with. I'd take that one step further and say it's not just the wood being used, but it's also got something to do with the body shape and quality of the wood being used. In some guitars it has a great L.A rock type sound with a round bass, nice biting top end and scads of gain. However, in other guitars it can sound thin, weak and have no definition with higher gain settings.

Case in point, I've owned two guitars in the last year that have come with the JB stock as a bridge pickup. One was a 2010 USA made Charvel San Dimas with an alder body, quartersawn maple neck, and an Original Floyd Rose tremolo. The other was a 2009 USA made Jackson King V Select with an alder body, maple neck with ebony fretboard, and an Original Floyd Rose tremolo. I would have definitely thought that guitars with such similar specs would sound very similar and hopefully have that biting top end and thick low end that I really like from this pickup. The Charvel hit home on all fronts... it was to me a prime example of a great sounding L.A rock machine, and the JB in the bridge just had this beautiful, snarling attack. The Jackson, by comparison, was a complete and utter letdown. For a guitar that had such similar specs, I was absolutely shocked at how thin, weak and lifeless the JB sounded. It had none of the aggression that the Charvel did, and there was a serious lack of sustain as well... definitely confusing.

All in all, I would say if you are looking to buy this pickup, tread with caution. Though it CAN sound great, it really does depend on the guitar you are using, and as my experience shows, similar specs doesn't mean a similar tone.
nickname00904/05/2011

nickname009's review

Seymour Duncan SH-4 JB Model
The JB pickup! One of the most standardized duncan pickups on the market today! Comes stock in the bridge in almost every decently made guitar. Let me just clarify one thing before I go on, JB doesn't stand for jeff beck. It does NOT. A lot of people have confused this for some reason, I don't even know how it began but it's not for jeff beck. Jeff beck doesn't even use this pickup as far as I can remember! It stands for jazz/blues.

Ok back to the pickup review. It's a decent pickup, and can be used for many applications. This review will be one for the JB as a bridge pickup, which is what it's famous for. A lot of artists used the JB pickup for a lot of their recordings, so many I can't even begin to name them it'll just take forever!

Cleans: As a bridge pickup it's not bad, it's nothing to write home about either, it's relatively clean, doesn't break up and is definitely a usable clean. But the distortion is where it's at.

Dirty: This is what made it WORLD famous. It's sharp but not too sharp, and clear, I'd say it's high output, though it's not as high output as other pickups out there today. Depending on the amp you can get some very tight metal sounds out of this pickup. Again it is tight, and sharp, not flubby. Which, for some people is or isn't good. It depends on the guitar, I think for the majority, most players prefer it in a mahogany-bodied guitar to balance out the bright/sharpness that the JB offers. This is highly famous due to it being a rock or heavier tastes of music type of pickup. I don't personally know anybody that uses the JB for anything else. Andy Timmons used to use this pickup for years and his tones have always been great, and yes I would consider him rock.

I've also owned a guitar that had the JB coil tapped, and was not impressed with the tones either. I don't know what it is but it wasn't very musical to me, sort of just flat and lifeless.

Overall as i've stated it's a decent pickup, the cleans are good and the distortion is tight and sharp. The harmonics don't fly out compared to other guitars as the gain structure of this pickup seems to be a little different it seems. When I palm mute, the mutes don't come out as strong as if i strummed chords even with the same amount of strength put into it. I noticed this over years of playing different guitars with different pickups. I don't know what it is about the dynamics of this pickup that makes it so, but that's what I disliked about it. But then again it's in almost every guitar from the factory now so it must've worked for a lot of other players before me! It cleaned ok decently with the volume rolled down but of course you'd need to do the treble-bleed mod, I do it on all my guitars now just out of principle. I give it a 7. It's good but it's not perfect, but it's very usable and versatile for rock and heavier music, but not for anything else, even though it's labeled as a jazz/blues pickup.

Hatsubai03/29/2011

Hatsubai's review"Picky when it comes to woods"

Seymour Duncan SH-4 JB Model
The Seymour Duncan JB is, without a doubt, the most popular pickup in the Seymour Duncan lineup. It has been one of the pinnacle pickups in the ‘80s, and it’s still extremely popular today. It features slugs on one coil, adjustable screw heads on another, four conductor wiring and an Alnico 5 magnet.

The JB is an extremely love or hate pickup. It has such polarizing opinions that it’s crazy. The biggest reason is that it’s very picky when it comes to what guitar it mates to. It’s also very picky when it comes to pickup height. Both of these can lead to either an amazing sound or an awful sound, depending on what it was mated with.

The low end on this is fairly vintage sounding. It’s not terribly tight, but it’s just tight enough to work for metal. The midrange is a bit “stringy” at times, and the treble has a bite to it. This helps it really cut through the mix, and it generally doesn’t get too harsh. Split coil and parallel tones are great, too.

I find this pickup to sound best in mahogany. Most of the time, when I try it in alder, it sounds a bit too bright. However, it totally depends on the guitar in question. In my alder bodied Strat, this pickup just screams like crazy. The same went for my alder bodied ESP M-II. It’s really a pickup you have to try for yourself to see if you like it, and be sure to spend some time with it adjusting the pickup height. Some people use the JB in the neck, and while it does work, I find there are better pickups out there for the neck.

Given how popular the JB is, it’s worth at least trying one time in your life. They’re so plentiful that they’re very cheap on the used market, so there’s no reason to avoid it. If you don’t like it, just sell it or maybe swap in a ceramic magnet to have a baby Duncan Distortion.
glassjaw703/21/2011

glassjaw7's review"A mainstay in my arsenal for years"

Seymour Duncan SH-4 JB Model
Seymour Duncan's JB pickup has been burning up stages, studios and bedrooms for over 30 years now. It has become one of the most popular all-around blues/rock/metal pickups in existence. Many guitar companies such as Schecter and ESP install the JB in the bridge position of many of their upper level guitars stock.

The JB is built around an Alnico V pickup which delivers exceptional harmonics and overtones, as well as juicy overdrive and chimey clean tones. The strong point of this bucker is its versatility. It is literally equally at home playing blues, classic rock, modern hard rock or heavy metal. It may not be the best choice for modern, ultra aggressive metal tones, where a ceramic pup with an extreme tight low end is preferred, but plenty of modern bands use the JB for aggressive metal tones.

I currently have the JB in two of my guitars; a Schecter C-1 Classic and a G&L Invader. The Schecter has a mahogany body with a maple top and a neck thru design with rosewood board. This is a very dense and warm guitar, and the JB sounds very good in it. It may not be the absolute best choice for this guitar, but it delivers good note separation and an addictive airy quality that I love. At first I felt that the high end was too shrill in this guitar, but I've grown to like the detail in the highs.

In the Alder bodied G&L, the pickup delivers perfect rock distortion sounds. The G&Ls are known for their "snappy" response and tone, and the fact that it has a bolt-on maple neck adds to this spanky, snappy sound. The JB is a near-perfect fit in this guitar, producing rich and warm overdrive, that cuts through with a nice airy sizzle, but doesn't get harsh.

As great as these pickups are, I am always searching for something better. I've recently spent a fair amount of time on the phone with several custom pickup builders and when they ask what I'm looking for, I catch myself saying "something like a JB, but better". After several years of tone searching, I'm beginning to wonder if there really is a better pickup for rock. I still want to try some of the boutique pickups that are becoming popular, like Motor City and Bare Knuckles, but I don't have several hundred dollars to drop for a set of pickups.

The JB is a time tested workhorse that suits most styles of electric guitar playing. If you haven't yet, check one out.
Audiofanzine FR12/15/2008

Audiofanzine FR's review

Seymour Duncan SH-4 JB Model
(Originally written by lemondedejef/translated from Audiofanzine FR)
Originally mounted on a Fernandes Monterey Elite (Les Paul-like) with mahogany body, set mahogany neck, maple top.

I added a pickup housing connected to the shield so I have no noise problems. No need for "wax potter" with modern pickups.

Sound: I had to do lots of tests to find the perfect height. I can't say it enough: height dramatically changes the response of a pickup!

The pickup produces a singing sound with superb overtones. With the housing and an average height it sounds fat and has a wide dynamic range.

Clean sounds are precise and crystal-clear but not sharp or aggressive.

With distortion it's very versatile and it sounds good from light crunch to heavy metal.

The SH-4 is quite unique because it has a strong character but also a great versatility!
Rockmonster04/09/2008

Rockmonster's review

Seymour Duncan SH-4 JB Model
Using this on and off for like... 15 years? I have always had one of these in one guitar or another.. lol. I like this pickup overall. It is pretty balanced.. pretty hot.... but backs off nicely. Not scorching like a Gibson 500T for example, but still has enough gas in the tank to rock.. without the spikey trebles. Things I like least about it..hmmm. Well, it could have a bit more character.. I would not call it a bland pickup per se, nor would I call it a blank canvas. The overall characteristic would be the fact that it is balanced.. probably a good choice for a studio guitarist.. an inoffensive tone that can do heavy or clean. Ultimately, the benefit of this is versatility.
I've had this in basswood, alder, mahogany, alder with maple tops, mahogany with maple tops, etc, etc. guitars. It has a different character with all of them, but you always know it is a JB. There is always speculation, and reference that this is a "Jeff Beck" signature pickup... it has never been. Not sure, but there was some controversy regarding this as to Seymour trying to pass it off as a a signature model.. not sure how the legend goes. LOL! It actually stands for "Jazz Bridge". Hence, the fact that it is very balanced... good for fusion.

As I mentioned.. I have always had this in one or more of my guitars for over a decade. I would say I am fairly sold on this pickup. I think this is a good value given the prices for Gibson pickups for example... which are no better than this. I would make the same choice.... owning this pickup does not stop me from owning other pickups... if I could only own ONE pickup, I might reconsider .. then again.. I might not! It covers a lot of bases.. it could be considered an all-in-one solution.
benoi3108/11/2014

benoi31's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)

Seymour Duncan SH-4 JB Model
I mounted the microphone on my Epiphone Les Paul is a long time (classic little mod, which saves a lot in sound quality given the poor microphones installed at the factory. Everything is mounted with wiring to jimmy page ( ability to split each of the microphones, most in series or in parallel microphones.

With the gain, it is a microphone that is doing very well, you can type in the Led Zep, hard rock 70S easy or hard rock 80s to the gun's & roses this stuff. It's really fun, beauuuucoup mediums that allow out of the mix on big solos quite distorted.

The problem is that these mediums in the clear, bah it gives her a duck which is really not very flattering ... Personally after 3 years of use, I'm really disappointed with the clear sound that really is not top

on the other hand once split is nice, it twang so much TV, with a spring reverb can already be a good laugh to do fun stuff style western.

Difficult to put a note because this mic is not bad in itself, it's just that I do not clean top so it is not suitable for me too ... If you're more hard rock, it is very well!
Qill11/01/2013

Qill's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)

Seymour Duncan SH-4 JB Model
After trying a BC Rich Bich with SH2 and SH4, I'm tempted on my Gibson Flying V was equipped with 57 Classic in bridge and formerly of SH5, SH4 is found on a micro lot Skyscraper as ESP, Jackson ...
Already the sound is present it does not sound hollow, they can swing the Rock, Hard Rock nothing scares him and the worst is that it sounds serious you can even send the big drive ask Mustaine who used Jackson on these ... compared to SH5 it sounds so cold ... and compared to the Classic 57 is nothing to see more open sound that sounds less boxy ... So there it is good for me, completed the changes on this guitar for a long time, the marriage with the Flying V is perfect as the SH2, it was the last change before reselling it so I could not find the sound alchemy on my vintage gear, the reputation of this microphones well worth everything that is told above is not overrated and after the test is not a legend, you can darken