Guitar Pickup Reviews:
WB Custom Pickups
Heaven & Hell Matched Hand-Wound Pickup Set
I have to start this review with a special thanks to Will Boggs of WB pickups, for his generosity, along with his great service and follow-up he provided. I don’t think I’ve met anyone as enthusiastic about guitar tone, and making sure everyone is more than happy with his pickups!
When the pickups first arrived, I was quite excited as I have never tried a custom hand-wound pickup set in my years of using aftermarket pickups. I’ve heard many great things about how they can really enhance your tone, and and bring the guitar they’re used in. This turned out to be true.
I initially used them in my black Epiphone Elitist Les Paul Standard which was in need of a new tone. The Epiphone 60R set is a big improvement for Epiphone and their pickups, but it still needed more of a Les Paul tone. During the installation I noticed the materials used and the craftsmanship were all top notch. Not even tiny amounts of wax remained, showing quite a bit of attention to detail. My first run of the pickups was through a Fender solid state Stage 112 amp. I generally use this amp for testing guitars and practicing at bedroom levels, and much can be said for a pickup set that can make this amp sound good. I found myself playing for almost an hour when my original intention was to make sure I hadn’t screwed up the wiring process! They really brought a new life to this guitar, especially when I ran it through my Mesa Rectifier and my Marshall DSL100.
The WB Custom Pickups Hell bridge pickup was most impressive. I usually prefer ceramic magnets in guitar pickups that have an output comparable to an Alnico V magnet because the highs tend to get shrill, or the low end gets too muddy from the extra gain. This was certainly not the case. The overall balance of this pickup was nothing short of amazing. The midrange and the highs were very controlled, and had a certain warmth to them that really makes a guitar sing. The low end was fairly compressed, and never muddied up on me. It should be obvious at this point that the clarity of this pickup was the most impressive part. I can mix leads with chordings using this pickup, and never really feel like I have to change the settings, or tweak the gain knob any. The attack and response from it were equally as impressive, and the output seemed to be right where I needed it.
The WB Custom Pickups Heaven neck pickup was the most surprising to me. I do most of my playing through the bridge pickup as most of my material calls for it. But the Heaven neck pickup opened a lot of new options for me. The versatility of this pickup wasn’t really apparent at first, as I started off through the clean channel. Like the Hell pickup, the noticeable warmth was very apparent, and the clarity was even better. As I switched over to a saturated gain setting, all of the strong points above were just as true. This pickup sounded better as a lead pickup than some of the stock bridge pickups my other guitars had come with. It really sang with sustained notes, and power-chords were powerful and still clear. When I backed the gain on the amp down to a normal level, it brought the pickup to it’s full potential. A strong Les Paul guitar tone was apparent, and it was delivering the best sensitivity and response I’ve heard from a neck pickup.
It’s been quite a while since I’ve felt like I discovered the next step in finding my signature tone. The Heaven & Hell pickup set has done it for me again. For the serious tone freaks out there, hand wound pickups are the way to go. Most major pickup makers have a great product, but can’t compete with a custom tuned, hand-wound pickup. To make the deal even sweeter, WB Pickups will work with you to obtain your perfect tone. What more can you ask for?
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