Guitar Pickup Review

Seymour Duncan ‘The JB Model’

“The JB Model” can mean different things to different people.  We are going to talk about the JB model that is literally “The JB Model”.  Go back almost 40 years to 1977, when documentation reflects Seymour introduced his first humbucking pickups: the Jazz and the JB.

Seymour Duncan JBJ
Seymour Duncan JBJ

The progenitor of this late-70s to early-80s The JB Model was a pickup that Seymour was making in London, which was reissued around 2011 as part of the JB/Jazz Concept Set (Stay tuned!  A review of that will be forthwith!).  The successor to The JB Model would be the JB with 3-digit shorthand code on a smaller label, such as JBJ (see photo).  And yes, you can bet you’ll see a review of that one as well.  I’ve had plans for quite a few years now to run through the different iterations of the JB, ranging from what Seymour was first making to what the Duncan company is producing today.  At the end of the series, I’ll run through a bit of a comparison.

At the outset, let me clarify that my research has indicated that the wind of the JB has remained consistent.  The materials are a bit of a different story, and I promise we will cover all that before we complete this series on the JB.

Seymour and his Tele-Gib
Seymour and his Tele-Gib

Let’s take a peek at The JB Model that I have on hand.  Double cream (sorry, Larry).  Nylon bobbins.  Long legs.  Wood spacers.  Alnico 5 magnet.  Four conductor lead wire, although they can be found with single conductor as well.  This example has been confirmed by Seymour to be one that he made.

For this evaluation, I installed The JB Model in to the same guitar that had been testing the 59 Model Set, so I left the 59 Model neck humbucker in place.  The JB/59 configuration is more common with Jackson Guitars, for example.

Looking down the barrel of an almost 40 year old humbucker, it can be hard to know what to expect.  This pickup still has the mojo going on.  Part of it could be that it’s wound to a little lower resistance than the other versions of the JB model that I have on hand.

Something else interesting is that there is almost a 17% coil offset in this one, where as all those other JB models that I just mentioned are much more symmetrical.

Offset coils?
Offset coils?

Hard to pin that one down.  Outside of the hybrid model that appears to come from an end user’s idea, the Duncan company humbuckers are known for having pretty well matched coils.

In conclusion, it’s a great sounding pickup.  A little more balanced across the EQ than the current production model version.  Where as many people complain about the thick lows and ice pick highs of the JB model that’s fresh of the CNC these days, this old The JB Model is a cure for those ills.  There is more control on the lows, which can keep your 80s pedal tones from getting too thumpy.  The high end has all the bite and presence, but with more sweetness to keep you out of that ice pick territory.  And yeah, it’s a JB, so you get the mid-range roar.  It’s the sound that launched a thousand hair bands.  Ha!

Series Resistance – 15.659 K
Series Inductance – 7.924 H
Slug Coil – 7.138 K
Screw Coil – 8.551 K
Parallel – 3.889 K
Magnet – Alnico 5

Definitely grab one if you can.  Keep an eye on eBay and Reverb and just be patient.

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