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

SH-4 JB Model, Humbucker guitar pickup from Seymour Duncan belonging to the SH-4 / TB-4 JB Model model.

King Loudness 04/28/2011

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

"A great sounding, but choosy pickup."

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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.