The Best Pickups for Les Paul Guitars: Elevate Your Guitar Tone

Upgrade the sound of your Les Paul guitar with the best pickups for les pauls. Find out which pickups will enhance your tone and take your playing to the next level.

Are you a Les Paul guitar owner looking to upgrade your tone? Look no further than pickups. Pickups are the heart and soul of any electric guitar, and upgrading them can make a significant difference in the overall sound of your instrument. In this article, we’ll cover the six main headings that will help you find the best pickups for your Les Paul guitar.

When it comes to guitar tone, pickups play an essential role. They convert the string’s vibrations into an electrical signal that gets sent to your amplifier. The type of pickup you choose can drastically alter your guitar’s sound, making it brighter, warmer, or more versatile. Les Paul owners may want to upgrade their stock pickups to achieve a more personalized sound that suits their playing style and musical genre.

In this article, we’ll delve into the world of pickups and provide you with the information you need to choose the best pickups for your Les Paul guitar. We’ll discuss the different types of pickups, factors to consider when choosing pickups, and the top five best pickups for Les Paul guitars. We’ll also provide tips on how to install and maintain your new pickups to ensure they sound their best.

Are you ready to elevate your Les Paul’s tone? Let’s dive in!

What Are Pickups?

Defining Pickups

Pickups are the magnetic devices that sit under the strings of an electric guitar, responsible for converting the string vibrations into an electrical signal. They are essentially microphones that capture the sound of your guitar and send it to your amplifier. Without pickups, an electric guitar would not produce any sound.

Types of Pickups

There are several types of pickups available in the market, each with its unique tonal characteristics. The three most common types of pickups are single-coil, humbucker, and P-90.

Single-Coil Pickups

Single-coil pickups are the most common type of pickup and are known for their bright, clear, and twangy sound. They have a single magnetic coil that picks up the string vibrations and can be found in guitars such as Fender Stratocasters and Telecasters.

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Humbucker Pickups

Humbucker pickups, as the name suggests, “buck the hum” caused by single-coil pickups. Humbuckers have two coils that are wired in opposite directions, canceling out the hum and producing a thicker, warmer sound. They are frequently found in guitars such as Gibson Les Pauls and SGs.

P-90 Pickups

P-90 pickups are a cross between single-coil and humbucker pickups. They have a single coil like a single-coil pickup but are slightly wider and produce a thicker, warmer sound similar to a humbucker. They are a popular choice for players who want a versatile tone.

How Pickups Affect Les Paul Guitar Sound

Pickups play a crucial role in shaping the sound of a Les Paul guitar. The type of pickup you choose can affect the guitar’s overall tone, making it brighter, warmer, or more versatile. Les Paul guitars are traditionally equipped with humbucker pickups, which produce a thick, warm sound that is ideal for rock and blues music. However, some players may prefer a brighter sound, which can be achieved by using single-coil pickups or P-90 pickups.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Pickups for Les Paul Guitars

When it comes to choosing the best pickups for your Les Paul guitar, there are several factors you should consider. Here are some of the most important factors to keep in mind:

Guitar’s Body Wood

The type of wood used in your Les Paul’s body can affect the overall tone of your guitar. For example, mahogany is a popular body wood for Les Pauls and is known for its warm and rich tone. On the other hand, maple is a brighter and more articulate wood that can provide more definition to your sound. Consider the type of wood used in your guitar’s body when selecting pickups.

Playing Style

Your playing style can impact the type of pickups you need. If you play mostly clean or jazz, you may want pickups that are more articulate and clear. If you play rock or metal, you may want pickups that are hotter and can handle high-gain tones. Consider your playing style when choosing pickups to ensure they can keep up with your playing.

Musical Genre

The type of music you play can also impact your pickup selection. Different genres require different tonal characteristics, and pickups can help achieve those sounds. For example, if you play blues, you may want pickups that are warm and have a lot of mid-range. If you play country, you may want pickups that are twangy and have a lot of treble.

Amp and Effects

Your amplifier and effects can also impact your pickup selection. Some pickups may sound great on their own but may not pair well with certain amps or effects. Consider your gear when selecting pickups to ensure they work well together and provide the desired tone.

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It’s essential to choose pickups that complement your guitar and your playing style. By considering these factors, you can select pickups that bring out the best in your Les Paul and elevate your overall sound.

Top 5 Best Pickups for Les Paul Guitars

Are you ready to upgrade your Les Paul’s tone? Here are the top five best pickups for Les Paul guitars:

1. Seymour Duncan SH-1 ’59 Model Humbucker Pickup

The Seymour Duncan SH-1 ’59 Model is a classic humbucker pickup that delivers warm, vintage-style tones. It has a balanced output and a versatile sound that works well with a variety of musical genres. The SH-1 is also wax-potted to reduce feedback and noise. Price range: $85-$130.

2. Gibson Burstbucker Pro Humbucker Pickup

The Gibson Burstbucker Pro is a modern, high-output humbucker pickup that provides a powerful sound. It has a tight bass response and a bright top end that cuts through the mThe Burstbucker Pro is also wax-potted to reduce feedback and noise. Price range: $145-$200.

3. DiMarzio DP103 PAF Humbucker Pickup

The DiMarzio DP103 PAF is a versatile humbucker pickup that delivers a clear, clean sound. It has a moderate output and a balanced tone that works well for both rhythm and lead playing. The DP103 PAF is also wax-potted to reduce feedback and noise. Price range: $70-$100.

4. Seymour Duncan Antiquity Humbucker Pickup

The Seymour Duncan Antiquity is a vintage-style humbucker pickup that replicates the sound of classic ’50s pickups. It has a warm, woody tone with a slightly scooped midrange. The Antiquity is also hand-wound and aged to give it an authentic vintage look and sound. Price range: $145-$200.

5. Lollar Imperial Humbucker Pickup

The Lollar Imperial is a boutique humbucker pickup that provides a rich, complex sound. It has a balanced output and a smooth top end that works well for jazz and blues playing. The Imperial is also hand-wound and made with high-quality materials. Price range: $200-$250.

Whether you’re looking for a vintage-style pickup or a modern high-output pickup, there’s a Les Paul pickup on this list for you. Choose the one that best suits your playing style and musical preferences, and take your Les Paul’s tone to the next level!

Installation and Maintenance Tips

Installing Pickups

Installing pickups in a Les Paul guitar can seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools and a little bit of know-how, it’s a straightforward process. Here are a few tips to help you install your new pickups:

Soldering Pickups

When you’re installing new pickups, you’ll need to solder them to the guitar’s electronics. If you’re new to soldering, it’s essential to take your time and follow the instructions carefully. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Use a high-quality soldering iron with a temperature-controlled tip.
  • Use rosin-core solder to ensure a solid connection.
  • Heat the wire and the terminal simultaneously to create a strong bond.
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Adjusting Pickup Height

Once your new pickups are installed, you’ll need to adjust their height to achieve the best sound possible. Here’s how to do it:

  • Use a screwdriver to adjust the pickup height screws.
  • Start with the pickups close to the strings and gradually raise them until you find the sweet spot.
  • Use your ears to determine the best height for your pickups.

Balancing Pickup Output

When you install new pickups, you may notice that they have different output levels. To balance the output of your pickups, follow these steps:

  • Use a multimeter to measure the output of each pickup.
  • Adjust the height of the pickups to achieve a balanced output.
  • If necessary, you can also adjust the pickup’s pole pieces to balance the output further.

Maintaining Pickups

To ensure that your new pickups sound their best for years to come, it’s essential to take good care of them. Here are a few tips to help you maintain your pickups:

Cleaning Pickups

Regular cleaning can help keep your pickups sounding their best. Here’s how to clean your pickups:

  • Use a soft cloth to wipe down the pickups regularly.
  • If there’s dirt or grime on the pickups, use a mild soap and water solution to clean them.
  • Make sure to dry the pickups thoroughly before playing your guitar.


When you’re not playing your guitar, it’s essential to store it properly to avoid damage to the pickups. Here are a few tips:

  • Keep your guitar in a cool, dry place.
  • Use a guitar case to protect your guitar from dust and moisture.
  • Avoid storing your guitar near windows or in direct sunlight.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Even with the best care, pickups can develop problems over time. Here are a few common issues and how to troubleshoot them:

  • Hum or noise: Check the ground wire and shielding in your guitar’s electronics.
  • Low output: Check the pickup’s height and adjust if necessary.
  • Dead spot: Check the wiring and connections to the pickup.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to install and maintain your new pickups like a pro.


In conclusion, upgrading your Les Paul’s pickups can be a game-changer for your guitar tone. With so many options available on the market, it can be overwhelming to choose the right pickups for your guitar. However, with the right knowledge, you can find the perfect pickups that suit your playing style, musical genre, and personal preferences.

In this article, we covered the six main headings that will help you find the best pickups for your Les Paul guitar. We discussed what pickups are, factors to consider when choosing pickups, and the top five best pickups for Les Paul guitars. Additionally, we provided installation and maintenance tips to ensure your new pickups sound their best.

Remember, choosing the right pickups can make a massive difference in your guitar tone. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different pickups and find the perfect fit for your guitar and playing style.

At Luv68, we strive to provide our readers with useful and informative articles on a wide range of topics. We hope this article has helped you on your journey to finding the best pickups for your Les Paul guitar. Thank you for reading!

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