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what pup to pair with a Seymour Duncan HB-103?

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I'm gonna mod my Melody Maker Flying V by adding an adjustable bridge and a neck pup. The current bridge pup is a Seymour Duncan HB-103 ceramic humbucker, so the question is what should I pair it with?

The obvious answer may be a Seymour Duncan HB-103n which is the neck pup, but this is a cheaper 'Duncan Designed'. I'm assuming the original pup is an original Seymour Duncan, as the Gibson page with the Flying V blurb states it's a 'Seymour Duncan HB-103 ceramic humbucker', no mention of Duncan Designed and there is no lettering on it like what the Design ones have. Could be wrong though.

I'm doing it because I love the V, and hate having to swap guitars during gigs. The sounds it's currently lacking are bluesy and Santana lead type sounds.

Any thoughts?


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You could try a '59 in the neck if you like Duncan PUs, but IMO they are rather thin. If the 103 is fairly hot then maybe a custom custom - they often get paired with a hot bridge PU.

Personally if I were going to spend real money on a guitar I loved then I'd get Bryan Gunsher to wind me a set. Bryan is a Harmony Central regular, great guy and makes some of the best PUs around at good prices. I'd email him, tell him what sounds you want and the guitar you've got and replace both pickups - for very little more than the cost of a new Duncan in the UK. [url="http://www.bg-pups.com/"]http://www.bg-pups.com/[/url]

Edited by Ancient Mariner

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hello, i think the pickup you have is actually a Duncan designed one rather than USA Seymour Duncan, the model number only brings up Duncan designed on the website


they say that i's patterned after the duncan distortion which they suggest either using in pair or with a Jazz in the bridge


the Jazz one looks like a good partner as it should give you those bluesy tones.

for a cheaper alternative you could go for the hb-102n which is modelled after the jazz. the 102 set has a JB style bridge pickup and as the JB is my favorite pickup i'd go for the 102 set (i've got the USA JB fitted to my main guitar and a spare on in a drawer waiting for a suitable guitar to fit it to)


of course if you're not totally wedded to Seymour Duncan pickups there are loads of great options available (including the custom route noted above) for a budget option i'm a massive fan of the Wilkinson pickups which can be picked up for under 30 quid a pair i've fitted a few sets to friends guitars and they have yet to disappoint me.

a totally off the wall idea might be a p90 type pickup, a you are having a rout added to fit the pickup you don't have to have another full size humbucker, my favorite guitar pairs a JB humbucker at the bridge with a custom wound single coil at the bridge and that combo gives me loads of different tone options.


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The Duncan Designed neck pickup to go with the HB-103 (the Asian version of their "Distortion" pickup) is the HB-101, which is the Asian version of their '59 neck pickup.

Edited by iiipopes

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and so, I finally decided not to add a second pup, but I have got a black Tonepros AVT2 bridge to replace the none adjustable wraparound which is on it.

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