I live in India and have been playing guitar for the past two years or so.

I have an Epiphone Les Paul Special II connected to a Marshall MG10CF. So its a very simple and a basic rig. I wont be buying a new guitar for a few years as I want to be good with my playing as well sounding good tonally and technically. Hence I need to upgrade my pickups and I have a small budget of about 200 dollars.

I like to play metal, blues, funk and acoustic/pop songs. I love the Stratocaster's bright neck sound and want a similar feel for the les Paul or close to it as much as possible and a very heavy sounding fat bridge like a regular les Paul. I have shortlisted emg hz h4 and h4a and Seymour Duncan JB sh4 and Jazz neck sh2n.

I don't want to put active pickups as my guitar doesn't have space to put a battery in the cavity.

So guys should I keep it stock or research for alternative brands or any other suggestions.

I will be grateful for your inputs and advice.


  • 3
    This is more of an opinion question, but honestly: spend the money on a single simple gain booster set to maybe +10db and then a wah pedal, and never turn off the wah (leave it at 75%). For the btight-neck sound, you can add a simple toggle to "coil tap" or split the coils. This is a 5 minute job that requires a toggle, a drill, a soldering iron, and 4 inches of wire. Super simple and you can then toggle between humbucker and single-coil mode. I did this with my HSS strat.
    – Yorik
    Sep 7, 2016 at 21:31

4 Answers 4


Why don't you just buy a Strat? It's much simpler. It might be equal to the cost of buying new pickups and getting them installed on your Les Paul. Buying an affordable guitar will allow you to experiment with the sonic possibilities of each instrument and have a spare guitar when strings break.


Strats and Les Pauls have 2 different scale lengths. The Fender gets a lot of it's "bright neck sound" from it's longer scale length (25.5 inch). The Les Paul has a shorter scale length (24.75 inches) and will sound "warmer". The scale length also dictates the string tension, which, for me, has a huge impact on my playing.


Yorik's comment has hit this squarely on the head. There is absolutely no need to upgrade the pickups from stock on that guitar. It is just fine for beginners, and fine for experienced players.

Get a gain booster and some form of tone shaper - a wah is simple and cheap, as Yorik mentioned, or you could go with any form of graphic or parametric EQ. These will give you the ability to lift and shape your tone to fit what you want per song.


You will get MUCH better results with a new $200 amp instead of new pickups. For $200 you can get a very good modeling amp that will be loud enough to gig with. If you don't want to get a new amp you could pick up some pedals instead. Like a nice overdrive or EQ pedal would be good. I don't know if you can get them in India but Tone City pedals are very well priced and they have lots of options, look around!

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