Seymour Duncan is a company founded by the man of the same name and primarily makes high quality guitar pickups. Among his many pickups, he has a favorite set: the Jazz and JB pickups. The JB pickup is intended for the bridge of the guitar and is used for soloing to give those great screaming highs that make it so famous.
What is a pickup?
pickups are the metal objects (often rectangles or rods) below the strings of an electric guitar where the player is strumming. They use an electric current and magnets to “pick up” the vibrations of the the strings and transmit them through wires to an amplifier, which makes the noise. As you can probably already see, pickups are very complicated and can be made a number of different ways. As a result, many companies have all come out with their own different pickups that guitar players have tested and adopted. The JB pickup is an excellent example of this.
What does JB mean?
The JB pickup is one of the few to be actually designed for a specific guitar player. Jeff Beck (JB) came to Seymour Duncan and asked him to create a new high powered pickup for him to use when soloing. This pickup was originally single coil (meaning it was shaped like a rod and not a rectangle; the specifics get complicated). Today, though, JB pickups are made as both single coils and humbuckers (the rectangles). Both styles can get the same great sound the Jeff Beck asked for and that helped him to become such an influential guitarist.
So how is this pickup?
The Seymour Duncan JB pickup is an excellent choice is you want clear, high powered leads. This pickup is great with distortion and allows it to shine while not getting muddied up like some other pickups. This is a bridge pickup, meaning that it is the pickup positioned lower on the guitar. To switch to it, you flip your switch forward, to the “treble” setting if you’re playing with a Gibson model. This pickup is what you need if you want to play lead guitar. It sounds great clean as well and because it is so high powered, it gives a natural increase of volume that you need to help cut through during a solo or riff. The only complaints against this pickup would probably be based on its strengths: if you want a muddy lead sound, then this won’t be able to do it very easily. This pickup has a sharp tone that is great for blues and rock especially. So if you feel like your skills have surpassed your guitar, then consider instead of getting a completely new one, simply replacing the bridge pickup with a JB by Seymour Duncan.