The Seymour Duncan JB has become one of the most iconic bridge pickups in rock and metal music. Although created nearly 40 years ago, the JB humbucker still stands today.

The Alnico-5 based JB was created in the late 70’s when high-gain guitar first began finding it’s footing. It became the standard for huge bands such as Metallica, Aerosmith, and Megadeth which has helped earn it’s title as one of the most popular pickups of all time. 

Is the JB the right pickup choice for you? Let’s find out!


Alnico-5 Bar Magnet

Available Covered or Uncovered

4 Conductor Shielded Cabling

Vacuum Wax Potted

Available in F-Spacing or Standard Spacing


Crafted with an Alnico-5 magnet, the JB uses a fairly hot wind to achieve the right balance of distortion, clarity, and sustain. The low end is powerful and thick, and the highs are absolutely crisp. Leads have a vocal-like quality when playing single notes due to the pronounced upper-mids.

The Alnico-5 magnet found in this humbucker is the go-to standard for metal music. It offers a huge range in the frequencies from high to low, making it a perfect choice for high-gain without sacrificing clarity.

(For more info on pickup magnets, check out our article, Alnico vs Ceramic Pickup Magnets).

It pairs quite well with a Seymour Duncan Jazz or ’59 pickup in the neck position. Although players some prefer the 250k volume pots for a smoother, jazzy sound, I’d recommend using it with a 500k pot if you are looking for a tone that really cuts through the mix.

If you’re wondering if this pickup would sound good in your guitar, it pairs particularly well with warmer sounding woods to help balance the low-end a bit. Mahogany or Korina (Black/White Limba) are some really good options to pair with this pickup. (I have mine paired with a mahogany body/quilted maple top and it sounds wonderful).

(For more recommendations on guitar wood options, we have a pretty useful guide to tonewoods as well).

Final Verdict:

Hand crafted in Santa Barbara, CA, the JB model is a legendary pickup known for it’s punch, clarity, and singing mid-range.

The JB is offered in plenty of different flavors; F-spaced, standard spaced, covered, uncovered, and 7 different colors options. At the street price of $79, it’s really hard to beat for a metal tone. Although it excels in the rock/metal genres, it is also well suited towards jazz and blues styles as well.

Overall, this is a well-crafted, affordable, and evenly balanced pickup well suited for most applications. If you are looking for a high-output pickup with loads of clarity at a really good price, the JB will get the job done. It’s no wonder that it has earned the title as the ultimate “hot-rodded” humbucker.

Tone – 5/5

Build Quality – 4.5/5

Features – 4.5/5

Don’t forget we are Seymour Duncan authorized dealers. If you need our guidance in finding the right pickup from you, check out our custom order option, and we can get you the tone you’re after!

If you liked this article, check out our other reviews here!

This article was written by Zac Buras, our editor located in Louisiana.

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