Gibson is a brand that is very familiar and popular among many guitar players. It’s a brand that is linked with quality, tradition and many legendary musicians. The Gibson brand is undisputed when it comes to pickups and have been known to be a revolutionary brand to that end. Back in 1955, Gibson developed the first two-coil pickups known as the PAF (Patent Applied For) which became a gamechanger in the music industry forever.
Gibson pickups come in different shapes, tones and sizes. Picking the right one can be a bit of a hassle for a newbie. As such, we’ve put together a review of some of the best Gibson pickups that you can find in the market today. Let’s dive in.
1. Gibson ’57 Classic Plus Humbucker Pickup
The Gibson ’57 Classic pickup is quite similar to the actual PAF specs. The only difference is that the coils for this pickup have been nicely wound to provide a balanced and rich tonal output that the original ones couldn’t achieve.
- Well-balanced and rich tonal output
- Enjoy absolute vintage sweetness given the balance and the even distribution of the EQ spectrum
- Provides great guitar tones thanks to how simple and versatile it is
- Considered a legend among the Gibson pickups
- Has been used by most famous guitar players meaning you can have all the confidence when buying it
- Designed to produce sounds that are true to the time
- Regardless of your amp settings, you get to enjoy a smooth sound whether you play it on high gain or cleanly
- Comes in a nickel cover
- They are quite easy to replace on a guitar
- Ability to play a variety of music genres using this Gibson ’57 Classic pickup
- Quite expensive
2. Gibson Dirty Finger Humbucker
If you are looking for the perfect Gibson pickup for your electric guitar, then no doubt the Gibson Dirty Finger pickup is the right choice for you. With this pickup, you get to enjoy the good sound that is wide, clear and has more volume.
- Produces sound that is clear and wide with more volume than other pickups
- Suitable for electric guitars and tuned down nu-metal players
- Given the 20-year hiatus this pickup took, it has come back with a bang given the improved features
- Has an overwound ceramic magnet that provides extreme results
- In order to limit squeal, the pickup is wax-potted
- Has a limited lifetime warranty
- Suitable for playing, rock, metal, and punk
- Works pretty well with most guitar models
- Easy to install on your guitar
- Ability to reduce and increase the sound using the volume knobs in order to get a variety of tones
- Some users report that on high-gain the pickup produces a squealing sound and lacks depth
3. Gibson Mini-Humbucker
The Gibson Mini-Humbucker is also considered to one of the best pickups that Gibson has ever made. And while some may be deceived by the name, be rest assured that there is nothing minimum or mini about the sound this pickup produces.
- Produces a huge sound that is clear, bright and happy
- More suitable for blues and country music but can still be used to play other genres of music
- Has a nice design that was engineered to fit in smaller standard pickup slots
- Its sound range makes it sit firmly between humbuckers and classic single coils
- Perfect for giving your guitar a vintage tone
- Has a coated enamel wire while the braided lead wire is vintage
- Has adjustable pole pieces and maple spacers
- Its design has two strings and six conductors for the perfect sound
- Easy to install in most guitars
- Very expensive
4. Gibson IM57B-NH BurstBucker Type 2
What Gibson wanted to achieve with their BurstBucker series was to carry along the PAF to the modern day. With the Gibson BurstBucker Type 2, you still get to enjoy most of the same traits with the humbuckers that were originally made.
- Brings the original PAF to the modern day
- Built with modern materials that make the pickup operate with a lot more efficiency both mechanically and tonally
- Designed with the Alnico II magnet instead o the commonly used Alnico V magnet
- Given the design, this pickup has that extra oomph as well as a sound that is very distinct from most Gibson competitors
- Produces a tone that is considered airy thanks to its clarity and preciseness on clean channels
- Impressive sound even when the gains are flipped on high
- Suitable for jazz music given that it drops chunky rhythms
- Capable of vocalizing every note even that of a solo high-note
- Produces an organic and responsive sound that makes it comfortable in any range and style
- Enjoy better sound compared to the BurstBucker Type 1
- Versatile tone controls
- Some users say that the Gibson BurstBucker Type 2 sounds great only on the bridge position hence may not be ideal for those who want a pickup for the neck position
5. Gibson Type 3 Burstbucker
The Gibson Type 3 Burstbucker shares similar features with the Gibson Type 1 and 2 Burstbucker only that this one is more advanced given modern technology. Similar to other Burstbucker types, this pickup brings the PAF to the current day.
- Has an overwound and hot design making it suitable for the bridge position
- Features a vintage braided two-conductor wiring
- Has a great output and tone
- Designed using modern material that makes it easy to operate
- Features the Alnico II magnet and has the historically unmatched bobbin windings
- Produces a full tone that is airy given the preciseness and clarity
- Ability to enunciate every note even high notes
- Comfortable to play in any style or range
- Enjoy a distinct sound that you wouldn’t ordinarily get in other pickup brands
- Well-priced making it affordable
- Given that it is an improved model from the Type 1 and Type 2, you are guaranteed that sound quality is a little better given the enhancements it has undergone
- When flipped on high, it’s able to achieve a magical distortion that makes it as famous as the original used to be
- Comes with a variety of tone controls
- Suitable for the bridge position only
While there is so much praise for Gibson pickups in the market, there is no one Gibson pickup that is similar to another. They may have similar features and design, but each pickup is unique in its own given way. In fact, Gibson pickups can be categorized into four different categories – P-90, PAF Style, Mini Humbuckers and Modern Humbuckers.
And even at that, they didn’t stop and went on to create humbuckers of all tones, shapes, and sizes. And so, while Fender’s symbolic Stratocaster and Telecaster are well-known with single-coils, Gibson are the absolute pickup kings. To date, there are plenty of guitarists who have played not just the Gibson guitars but their great pickups as well.
This is because Gibson produces pickups that can be used in different genres and are highly-regarded. In addition, some of their pickups have also been used to create new music genres such as jazz and rock. As such, it’s only right to say that Gibson provided guitarists with an outlet for new music movements by inventing pickups that gave a voice to a new era of music.
While most professional guitar players can afford to buy a high-end Gibson and not see the need to get a pickup given how awesome they are, newbies and intermediate players may actually need to get a Gibson pickup to bring their guitar to life.
Gibson pickups are used not only for Gibson guitar series but are also an excellent fit for other brands of guitars. This is thanks to how versatile they are making them available in almost every corner of music from heavy metal and classic rock to blues and jazz. That said, it’s important to note that there is no one Gibson pickup that is a one-size-fits-all as they are broad and cover both humbucker and single-coil, high and medium output as well as modern and vintage tones.
While choosing a pickup can be an arduous task especially if you are a beginner, it doesn’t mean it’s impossible. You can still get a quality Gibson pickup within your budget. When looking to buy a pickup, there are a few factors that you need to consider. One of such as mentioned already is your budget. As you will see from our review above, all Gibson pickups are priced differently.
While there are some that can be purchased below 100 dollars, others cost more. When looking to buy one, ensure that it suits your needs. Secondly, consider how your guitar has been constructed and what tone you want to achieve then find a pickup that gives you just that. Given that there are different types of Gibson pickups, reading a lot of reviews and watching some videos of your top picks before you make the final decision can go a long way in ensuring you get the right pickup as they’ll help give you clarity.
With that, we hope that our guide above acts as an excellent guide when you start searching for a pickup for your guitar whether you are buying a new one or are looking to upgrade.