for various reasons I recently started to use more the magnetic pickups in my JTVs as I have done in the past. And I think the following can be some kind of interest to user which have the same "Modeling approach".
Although the stock bridge pickup in the JTV69 is very well balanced with the two single coil pickups, I always felt the need for more balls, punch and higher output to make that guitar even more versatile for heavier rock rhythm and lead tones.
So I replaced the stock JTV69 humbucker (I read somewhere in these forums that it is a modification of a James Tyler Studebaker with 8,8 kohm) with a Seymour Duncan JB-TB4. More details can be found here:
I searched quite a bit to find one humbucker which fits to my personal needs and taste (classic rock, pop, funk, hard rock - no metal). It is a very well known standard bridge humbucker.
The JB-TB4 is a high output pickup (16,4 kohm) compared to the JTV69 stock bridge pickup. It is not too hot and therefore retains the typical Strat position 2 tone which is important to me.
In position 1, this pickup rocks !!! It has rich harmonics and is great for all Gibson Les Paul type of Rhythm and Lead sounds which I was looking for.
I have to say that I am not a technical person. So I did some research on the web to find the right tools (soldering iron, soldering tin, etc.).
All in all the replacement was not complicated although my last soldering exercise was approx. 30 years ago
As this was just a "simple" replacement of an existing humbucker with a new one, I have to mention that of course it should be done carefully. And it is also important to mention Line6 official policy:
"Any customization/modification performed will void the warranty if it results in damage to the guitar. "
The Line6 wiring diagram for the JTV69 can be found here:
I also did not split the humbucker coils. I just did the wiring as the stock bridge humbucker is wired.
The Seymour Duncan JB-TB4 has a standard 5 wiring as the stock humbucker in the JTV69. The red/white wire is not used. They are soldered together and taped (no coil splitting). The ground wire needs to be winded with black wire. So all in all: there are just two wires to solder: the black (hot signal with ground) and the green wire. For further illustration please have a look a the attached pictures:
JTV69-01.jpg 131.15KB 12 downloads
JTV69-02.jpg 58.2KB 9 downloads
JTV69-03.jpg 48.01KB 9 downloads
Once the new humbucker is installed the JTV69 with a Warmoth Vintage Stratocaster type neck looks like this:
DSC_0240.jpg 157.28KB 11 downloads
DSC_0241.jpg 129.42KB 8 downloads
I also made a quick recording with by HD500 and a BF Double to demonstrate the position 2 sound and with the Treadplate to demonstrate the position 1 sound:
The first 2 licks are on position 2: This humbucker retains the typical Strat position 2 very well.
The last two licks are the same. But the first is played with the Gibson bridge pickup JTV-modeling. And the last licks is played with new Seymour Duncan JB-TB4 in position 1. It goes pretty much in the direction of a Gibson Les Paul sound to me. It has very good harmonics. I tested it with my tube amp in the rehearsal room as well and the punch and harmonics are even more shining with a tube amp.
Please forgive my sloppy playing; it is really quick+dirty and just to demonstrate the overall sound:
Now the flipside of the medal: how to balance the JB-TB4 (if so) with the other pickups ???
By the nature of the specs: this humbucker is louder than the two single coils. I therefore have adapted the two single coils in their height to the string to a maximum level which does not generate negative strings waves.
But there is still a noticeable volume difference. This is not necessarily negative. It depends on how the position 1 is used. I have not made my final opinion on that. But the humbucker needs to be pretty close to the string (2-3 mm on the bass side) to get that humbucker sound I am looking for. So just to increase the string distance is not an option a want to go.
I love the two single coil pickups. They sound great to me (with the exception of the hum in pos. 5 + 3). So I tend to keep them. Not shure, if there are other single coil pickups in the market which will minimize this volume gap to the JB-TB4. Any recommendations from users here to help me on that would be great and much appreciated. In case of replacing the existing single coils, the new ones should not only balance better with the JB-TB4 volume wise. They also need to keep the classic Strat type of sound.
Thoughts / comments much appreciated.