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.

nickname009 04/05/2011

Seymour Duncan SH-4 JB Model : nickname009's user review


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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.