April 26

9 Best Les Paul Pickups of 2024

Who doesn’t admire the iconic Les Paul guitar? If you’re looking to enhance its sound, finding the best Les Paul pickups is key. Known for its deep, rich tones and smooth playability, the Les Paul has been a favorite in the music world for years. The pickups are critical because they really shape the guitar’s tone and performance.

When it comes to electric guitars, the right pickups can make a huge difference. They affect everything from the sound to the feel of playing. As guitar enthusiasts ourselves, we get why it’s important to find the best guitar pickups for Les Paul.

In this blog post, we’ll help you figure out which pickups are right for you. You’ll find reviews of top picks, insights into different types of pickups, and tips on what to consider before you buy. Let’s dive into finding the best Les Paul pickups for your guitar!

Best Les Paul Pickups

We’ve compiled our top picks for the best Les Paul pickups. Check them out below!

EMG 81 Active Guitar Humbucker Pickup

You won’t be disappointed with the EMG 81 for powerful, versatile tones and easy installation.


  • Powerful ceramic magnets and close aperture coils
  • Incredibly detailed intensity and sustain
  • Versatile – works well in bridge and neck positions


  • Requires 9V battery
  • May be less suited for mellower genres
  • Solderless installation might not suit all guitar types

If you’re looking for a pickup that can truly transform your Les Paul’s sound, the EMG 81 is an amazing option. Often found in the bridge position, this pickup has a tone that will slice through even the densest mix. Be prepared for unbelievably high end cut and fluid sustain.

The EMG 81 isn’t just for the bridge position, though. When used in both neck and bridge positions, this awesome pickup delivers a blistering sound unlike anything you’ve experienced before. Highly recommended pairings include the classic 81/85 setup and the versatile 81/60 combo. There’s really no wrong way to utilize this powerful piece of hardware.

A word of caution: the EMG 81 is an active pickup, which means it requires a 9V battery. While this could be a drawback for some, it’s a relatively small price to pay for such an outstanding addition to your guitar. So if you’re ready to take your Les Paul’s sound to the next level, give the EMG 81 a try. We’re sure you’ll love it as much as we do.

Bare Knuckle The Mule Humbucker Set Nickel 50mm

You should definitely get this pickup set for its authentic tone and high quality.


  • Impressive tonal balance
  • Alnico 4 magnets for smooth sound
  • Calibrated bridge and neck set


  • A bit pricey
  • May not suit those who prefer higher output
  • Limited color and finish options

We recently tried out the Bare Knuckle The Mule Humbucker Set, and we just loved it. The sound of these pickups is rich, versatile, and offers a beautiful tonal balance. It feels like your Les Paul achieves its full potential with this set.

Alnico 4 magnets give a smooth, vintage vibe making them suitable for various music styles. The calibrated bridge and neck set also make these pickups a breeze to install and blend. We’re confident that guitarists from different genres and skill levels will appreciate the quality and performance of these pickups.

On the downside, the cost might be an issue for some musicians, but we believe the exceptional tone and build quality more than justify the price tag. In conclusion, the Bare Knuckle Mule Humbucker set is an excellent investment for any Les Paul owner looking to upgrade their pickups.

Fishman Fluence Modern Active Humbucker Set

You’ll love this pickup set for its diverse sound options and easy installation.


  • Six tonal voicings
  • Easy to install
  • Long runtime


  • May require slight modifications
  • Relatively pricey
  • Limited color options

The Fishman Fluence Modern Active Humbucker pickups are designed to impress any guitarist with their cool features.

What’s awesome about this set is that it includes both a Fluence Modern Humbucker Alnico and a Fluence Modern Humbucker Ceramic. Each one offers two classic humbucker tones plus an extra single-coil tone. That gives you six different sound options to play around with, which is definitely a big plus for experimenting with your sound.

Installing these pickups is pretty straightforward, too. The Fishman Fluence Modern pickup set comes with everything you need. The size is identical to most humbucker pickups, though you might need to make minimal modifications, depending on your guitar. It’s usually not a big deal, though.

These pickups can go for about 200 hours on one charge, so you won’t need to worry about changing batteries all the time. Just keep in mind that they’re a bit on the expensive side, and there aren’t many color options.

Overall, the Fishman Fluence Modern Active Humbucker set offers a wide range of tonal possibilities and requires minimal changes to your guitar. It’s a solid investment if you’re looking to broaden your sound choices.

Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates Nickel Set

Grab these pickups if you want Billy Gibbons’ classic ’59 Les Paul sound with added growl and drive.


  • Rich, throaty neck humbucker
  • Tight, creamy bridge pickup
  • Unique midrange focus


  • Not suitable for very high-gain settings
  • Limited versatility for other genres
  • Higher price range

Let’s talk about the Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates set – a fantastic option for fans of vintage P.A.F. sound. As we experienced firsthand, these pickups offer a unique tonal character. The result? A captivating mix of warm lows, tailored midrange, and airy treble.

Installation was a breeze, and our Les Paul guitar truly came to life with this upgrade! Playing through the Pearly Gates neck pickup, we found the iconic ’59 Les Paul tone with stronger midrange. The alnico 2 bar magnet gives focus and life to the highs, while still adding that classic growl and Texas sizzle.

The bridge position brought even more excitement. Discovering Billy’s higher output P.A.F., Seymour Duncan managed to unlock extra drive for this special pickup. The blend of harmonics and note definition made us feel like we were rocking out with ZZ Top!

Now, they aren’t perfect. The price might be a bit steep for some, and the tonality may not be suited for very high-gain settings or varied genres. But if you’re seeking that sweet vintage Les Paul sound with a twist, the Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates set is definitely worth considering for your guitar.

Gibson Burstbucker Type 3 Humbucker Pickup

This pickup is great for fans of classic humbucker tone with a hotter output.


  • Authentic PAF replica with airy tone
  • Medium output suits any position
  • Double Black with Nickel Cover


  • Not wax potted
  • Two-conductor wiring only
  • Could be too hot for some

You’ve got to try Gibson’s Burstbucker Type 3 Humbucker Pickup. One of its strengths is the historically accurate PAF replica design. It’s got an airy tone that sounds fantastic, and the unbalanced coils bring a unique character.

This Type 3 model features a slightly overwound design that provides a hotter output. We think it’s perfect for those who want a powerful sound with extra bite. However, we should note it’s not wax potted, so keep that in mind if you’re worried about feedback issues.

Its Double Black and Nickel cover design looks excellent on any Les Paul. The two-conductor wiring gives your guitar a vintage feel. However, the pickup might be too hot for some players, depending on personal preferences. Give it a go and see if the Gibson Burstbucker Type 3 Humbucker Pickup can bring new life to your Les Paul!

Seymour Duncan Seth Lover Nickel Humbucker Set

Get your hands on these excellent pickups for that smooth, classic sound in your Les Paul.


  • Vintage Classic Rock sound
  • Smooth and articulate tone
  • Quality craftsmanship with vintage wiring


  • Pricey compared to alternatives
  • Might not suit all music genres
  • May require additional setup/adjustment

We tried out the Seymour Duncan Seth Lover Nickel Humbucker Set on our Les Paul, and folks, we were seriously impressed. These pickups deliver that vintage Blues, Jazz, and Classic Rock sound many of us crave.

Featuring a smooth and articulate tone, this set strikes great balance between warmth, treble, and sound clarity. Chords are full and open, and single notes have that soft, yet precise touch. The construction and craftsmanship are top-notch, with vintage-correct wiring and an alnico 2 bar magnet for a rich harmonic response.

We do have some minor gripes. These pickups are on the more expensive side, so they might not fit everyone’s budget. Also, while perfect for classic rock fans, those who prefer different styles might need to look elsewhere. Lastly, to get the best out of these beauties, you may need to invest a bit of time in adjusting and setting them up.

But overall, if you’re looking for that smooth, classic sound and have some extra budget to spare, you can’t go wrong with the Seymour Duncan Seth Lover Humbucker Set. Trust us, your Les Paul will thank you!

Seymour Duncan Slash Signature Humbucker Set

Get that legendary Slash tone with these Seymour Duncan Alnico II Pro humbuckers.


  • Iconic Slash-approved sound
  • Excellent sustain and crunch
  • Handcrafted quality and authenticity


  • Pricey compared to other pickups
  • Specifically designed for Les Pauls
  • May not suit all musical styles

First, let’s talk about what makes these pickups stand out. Handcrafted with alnico II magnets, they were designed to match the signature sound of Slash’s original Derrig Les Paul. You’ll get the sustain, crunch, and midrange that made the Guns N’ Roses guitarist a legend.

Installing these in your Les Paul will take your sound to new heights. With a 4.7 out of 5 stars rating on Amazon, we know these pickups deliver on their promise. Many users report phenomenal results when swapping out their stock pickups.

A word of caution: These pickups are specifically tailored for Les Paul guitars. While they might work with other models, the tonal changes may vary. So, if you’re seeking to replicate Slash’s sound accurately, stick to a Les Paul.

In conclusion, the Seymour Duncan Slash Signature Humbucker Set is a fantastic choice for Les Paul players who want that classic AFD tone. Just weigh the pros and cons to see if they’re the right fit for your guitar.

DiMarzio Super Distortion Pickup

Get ready for huge tones with the high-output DiMarzio Super Distortion!


  • Massive output for overdrive
  • Versatile for bridge or neck position
  • Fat, powerful sound


  • Might be too powerful for some styles
  • Can overpower lighter guitar setups
  • Not ideal for clean tones

Ah, the DiMarzio Super Distortion! This beast of a pickup has been around for a long time, and for good reason. Its ultra-high output sends your tube amp into overdrive, making your chords and single notes sound huge. You’ll feel like you’ve unlocked a new dimension of power in your Les Paul.

The Super Distortion is generally meant for the bridge position, though it can also work in the neck slot with lower-gain guitar amps. With its ceramic magnets and 4-conductor wiring, this pickup delivers thick mids, fat highs, and killer lows. You’ll be surprised at how well it brings out the best in your solidbody guitar.

Keep in mind that this pickup isn’t for everyone. If you’re looking for clean tones or play a style that doesn’t need a high-output pickup, this might not be the best fit for your Les Paul. But if you want a pickup that can deliver a huge, fat sound that’ll send your guitar soaring, the DiMarzio Super Distortion is definitely worth checking out. Rock on!

Seymour Duncan SH-1b 59 Model Pickup

Upgrade your Les Paul with this authentic, vintage-sounding pickup for a warmer and clearer tone.


  • Vintage-correct, late-’50s sound
  • Warm, clean tones and bright distortion
  • Smooth sustain


  • Slightly scooped mids
  • Not as aggressive as some may prefer
  • Limited to 6-string guitars

The Seymour Duncan SH-1b 59 Model Pickup is a fantastic choice if you’re looking to give your Les Paul guitar an authentic, vintage upgrade. This pickup produces warm and crystalline clean tones, full and bright distorted tones, and smooth sustain. It’s perfect for those who love the classic sound of late-’50s humbuckers.

One downside to this pickup is its slightly scooped mids. Some may prefer a pickup with more midrange for certain styles of music. Additionally, while it does have a full and bright distortion, it may not have enough bite for those who prefer more aggressive tones. Lastly, this pickup is designed for use with 6-string guitars, so it may not work well with other configurations.

Overall, the Seymour Duncan SH-1b 59 Model Pickup is a great option for Les Paul guitar enthusiasts looking to capture that classic, vintage sound. Its warm clean tones, bright distortion, and smooth sustain make it an excellent choice for various genres. Give it a try and experience the difference it can make in your sound.

Best Les Paul Guitar Pickups Buyer’s Guide

Musical Style

Different pickups suit different styles. For rock, try high-output humbuckers. Prefer blues or jazz? Go for PAF-style pickups.

Playing Style

Your playing technique impacts your choice as well. If you play aggressively, high-output pickups are ideal. For a lighter touch, consider vintage-voiced humbuckers.

Pickup Type

There are two main types: passive and active. Passive pickups are more traditional, while active ones offer extra gain and pure signal. It’s a matter of taste!

Tonal Characteristics

Pickups vary in tonal flavors. Look for ones with deep lows, crisp highs, or warm mids, depending on your taste. Don’t be afraid to experiment.

Output Level

Choose high-output pickups for a punchy, powerful tone. On the other hand, low-output ones can help achieve a delicate, detailed sound. Find your perfect balance.

Final Thoughts

Alright, let’s quickly go over what we’ve talked about. Different pickups suit various music styles, and there are a lot of things that can affect which ones you might want to choose.

Changing the pickups on your Les Paul can really amp up its performance. It’s pretty cool how the right set can open up new possibilities for your sound across various music styles!

Now it’s your turn. Try out different pickups and find the perfect combination that fits your sound and suits your playing style. Remember, experimenting on your own is the best way to discover the sound that’s right for you.

When you’re picking out pickups, remember that it’s all about what feels right for you. Think about your musical needs, your style, and what sets you apart. Let your own playing situation lead the way.

If you’ve got thoughts or experiences with Les Paul pickups, why not share them in the comments? And if you found this helpful, feel free to share this post with your musician friends!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I mix different types of pickups in my Les Paul?

Yes, you can mix different types of pickups in your Les Paul. We recommend experimenting to find your preferred sound. Just ensure compatibility with your guitar’s wiring and electronics.

What are the differences between bridge and neck pickups?

Bridge pickups produce a brighter, more trebly sound due to their position closer to the bridge. Neck pickups, on the other hand, deliver a warmer, bassier tone because they’re near the neck.

What are the differences between active and passive Les Paul pickups?

Active pickups have a built-in preamp, offering more control over your sound. They need a battery for power. Passive pickups don’t require a battery and provide a more traditional, natural sound.

Can I install Les Paul pickups myself?

If you’re comfortable with soldering and wiring, you can install Les Paul pickups yourself. It’s crucial to follow instructions and exercise caution. For those less experienced, we suggest consulting a professional.


best guitar pickups for les paul, best les paul pickups, good les paul pickups, good pickups for les paul, les paul best pickups

You may also like

Leave a Reply
{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Join the Newsletter and I'll email you my 10-step Release Plan.