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

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

Hatsubai 03/29/2011

Seymour Duncan SH-4 JB Model : Hatsubai's user review

« Picky when it comes to woods »

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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.