Burstbucker Vs Humbucker Pickup [Difference & Which is Better]

If you have an electric guitar, its pickup will control the sound. The pickup comes built-in. So, you need to be careful while choosing the pickup to get the sound you want from your guitar. And in this regard, Burstbucker and Humbucker pickups become crucial. These two are the most popular built-in pickups for guitars. You can choose between them when you purchase your guitar for practicing or live music.

And it brings us to an important comparison, “Burstbucker vs Humbucker, which is better for your guitar?” The comparison is important because you will need to choose one that best fits your music genre. Also, not every guitar model will support all pickups.

Gibson created both of these pickups for electric guitars. The Burstbucker pickups will feature an unbalanced coil, whereas Humbucker features a more balanced coiling. Burstbucker uses the conventional Alnico V magnet, and Humbucker pickups have Alnico II magnets. Next up, you will get four versions for Burstbucker pickup compared to three versions of the Humbucker series.

So, let’s jump into the discussion to elaborate on these points to know which pickup you should choose.

Burstbucker Vs Humbucker
Burstbucker Vs. Humbucker Pickup

What Is Burstbucker Pickups?

Generally, Burstbucker pickups will replicate Gibson’s PAF pickups. Gibson’s PAF pickups changed modern-day music. They were and still are popular among youngsters and every guitar lover. When people start learning their guitar, they want to mimic the PAF sound of Gibson’s.

Also, these pickups help in creating awesome sounds for different combinations. Thus, the Burstbucker pickups were created to mimic the PAF pickups of Gibson’s original creation. The pickups offer you four different variations, each having different but awesome tonal quality.

If you want to create a vintage sound, these four versions of Burstbucker will be useful. They help you mimic the classic vintage sound of original Rock n’ Roll and blues musicians. So, if you are a rock n’ roll music lover, you may choose Burstbucker pickups for your electric guitar.

What Is Humbucker Pickups?

Compared to Burstbucker pickups, Humbucker pickups have long been in the musical arena. The original Humbucker pickup combines two magnets and two wires coiling. Gibson Company created this pickup to mimic the actual PAF sounds too.

However, Humbucker pickups are more specific. Yes, it will only replicate the sound from 1957 to 1960 of the popular Custom Les Paul and Goldtop guitars. Basically, Humbucker 57 classic has the Standard and the Plus versions.

Surprisingly, these two options mimic almost a similar sound and tonal quality. Also, you will find three various sound versions for Humbucker pickups.

You may choose the Humbucker pickups if you love a slightly soothing sound like Rock n’ Roll music. It offers a less noisy sound with almost similar tonal qualities to Burstbucker. In fact, Burstbucker 2 and 3 pickups are so similar to Humbucker pickups that most people would fail to differentiate.

Burstbucker and Humbucker Comparison Table:

Point of Comparison



Maximum Output

8.3 ohms

8.5 ohms

Suitable position

Neck and bridges

Neck and bridges


Alnico II

Alnico II and Alnico V


Balanced and 2-conductor

Unbalanced and 2-conductor

Universal dimension

2.75 x 1.5 x 1.06 inches

2.75 x 1.5 x 1.06 inches


Limited lifetime warranty

Limited lifetime warranty

Difference Between Burstbucker Vs Humbucker Pickups: Which One is Better?

We have described the 57 classic Humbuckers and Burstbucker pickup systems for electric guitar. So, it’s time to know the actual difference between them. It will help you decide which pickup you should choose, given that your guitar supports the system.

Details of Burstbucker:

Now, it’s time to see the details of the Burstbucker pickups review. We will talk about its key feature, overall design, sound quality, and reliability. So, let’s check the nook and crannies of Burstbucker pickups.

Overall design:

Burstbucker Pickups Design
Burstbucker Pickups Design

Burstbucker from Gibson company comes with 1, 2, and 3 pickups. The pickups will fit all Les Paul Guitar with traditional and modern designs. Also, all three pickups have almost similar dimensions. Their construction pattern is identical as well.

The design features a two-coil setup. It, therefore, removes the electromagnetic interface when you play the guitar. So, there will be no humming or buzzing noise with the Burstbucker pickup mechanism.

If you want better quality and have skilled advanced guitar techniques, you may choose the Burstbucker Pro option. It suits hard rock and metal rock musicians better with a higher output. There’re four different color versions for all these four variations of Burstbucker pickups. The color options include the following ones:

  • Nickel
  • Gold
  • Double Black
  • Zebra

Sound and tonal quality:

The Difference between Humbucker and Burstbucker will mostly depend on the sound and tonal expression it produces. So, you must understand what type of sound Humbucker pickups will deliver through your guitar.

There are two determining factors for the sound properties of any guitar pickup. These are:

  • How many coil windings are there in the guitar
  • The type of magnet the pickup is using

So, which magnet the Burstbucker pickup uses? Its 1, 2, and 3 series use the conventional Alnico II magnets. Thus, it delivers warm tones for the guitar. Also, the highs are smooth, which gives a soothing experience to your ears.

On the contrary, Burstbucker Pro comes with an Alnico V magnet. It delivers a bright tone. Also, it keeps the sound clean and noise-free with the added treble. However, the coil’s winding number isn’t similar for all four versions.

Burstbucker 1, 2, 3, and Pro have an unbalanced coiling design for their conductor. Thus, the winding number on every coil is unbalanced. You can find the difference with the following two short examples.

  • Burstbucker Pro features over-wound properties. It retains the original PAF sound. But, it increases the output considerably.
  • Burstbucker 1 features under-wound properties. It affects the sound delivery slightly. Yet, it manages to hold the actual PAF sound quite successfully.

Reliability & Performance Consistency:

Burstbucker Performance

Burstbucker pickup is famous for its consistency and reliability in performance. Plus, it is durable too. You won’t need to replace the different pickups of Burstbucker for years. On top of it, a limited warranty ensures that you get a free replacement for any manufacturing defects or malfunctions.

Nonetheless, you should only choose the Burstbucker pickups when you have a low-quality guitar, and you want to upgrade it.

Key Features of Burstbucker:

  • The 2-conductor wiring is unbalanced for each four versions
  • It uses either Alnico V or Alnico II magnets, depending on pickup options
  • There’re screws for height adjustments
  • The output of the four pickups will vary from 6.5 to 8.4 ohms
  • You can choose it from four different color finishes
  • The universal dimension for the pickup is 2.75 x 1.5 x 1.06 inches

Things we liked about / Pros:

  • Available in both under and over-wound models
  • Will replicate the original PAF sounds perfectly
  • Ideal for a variety of music genres
  • Moderate pricing

Things we didn’t like about / Cons:

  • The installation process is complex
  • Not enlisted in Gibson’s official website

Who Should Choose It?

If you have a low-quality guitar and want to upgrade it, you should choose Burstbucker pickups. Also, it is suitable for the neck position and, additionally, bridges.

Details of Humbucker Pickups:

Humbucker and classic 57 pickups came into the guitar world during the 1960s. Gibson introduced these pickups to help guitarist mimic their classic PAF sounds.

Overall design:

Humbucker Pickups Design
Humbucker Pickups Design

The Humbucker pickups will replicate Gibson’s actual PAFs introduced in the 1950s. When you observe them closely, you will find their similarities with Burstbucker pickups. Even their key features are almost identical.

To begin with, all versions of Gibson Humbucker pickups use only an Alnico II magnet. Unlike the Gibson Burstbucker pickups that use both Alnico II and V magnets in different versions. The design for these pickups is available both in 4-coil and 2-coil versions.

Last but not least, the universal dimension and color options are similar for Humbucker and Burstbucker pickups. But, they won’t fit the similar guitar.

Sound and tonal quality:

Humbucker Sound and Tonal Quality

During the Humbucker pickup review, the sound and tonal properties will be a crucial consideration. If you observe the sound properties of Humbucker classic 57, you will find its similarities with Burstbucker 2 series.

The similarity of sound characteristics comes from the similar coil winding numbers. Also, all the versions of Humbucker have similar coil winding numbers, unlike Burstbucker, which has different coiling for various models.

You will also find the following variations of Humbucker pickups:

  • Nickel-plated pole pieces
  • Nickel slugs
  • Maple spacers

These pickups have wax potting to eliminate air and, consequently, feedback. The outputs will vary mostly from 7.5 to 8.3 ohms. Also, the sound property is rich and warm. It fits mostly blues and jazz music.

Reliability & Performance Consistency:

Humbucker Performance

Gibson offers the same performance consistency for Humbucker pickups for all its products. Thanks to their high-quality design and construction, you can confidently use the pickups for professional instruments.

You may even use them for live performances and studio jamming sessions. Like the Burstbucker pickups, you will also get a limited lifetime warranty for the Humbucker series. So, you can replace them for any defects or malfunctions.

Key Features of Humbucker:

  • 4-coil or 2-coil design with balanced coiling
  • Uses only Alnico II magnet in all versions
  • The output of these pickups varies from 7.4 to 8.3 ohms
  • The universal dimension is around 2.75 x 1.5 x 1.06 inches
  • Suitable for both positions of neck and bridges

Things we liked about / Pros:

  • Available in 4-coiling and 2-coiling versions
  • The sound is richer and warmer
  • Less feedback and noise from the magnetic interface

Things we didn’t like about / Pros:

  • Suitable for only a few music genres
  • Not compatible with too many guitar models

Who Should Choose It?

If you mainly want to play Jazz or blues music, you may choose Humbucker pickups. Plus, you can replicate the actual PAF of Gibson’s 1950 sound properties with these pickups.


Question: Are Burstbucker pickups good?

Answer: The Burstbucker series from Gibson is truly worth it with a mellow sound. You can push the pickups with high gain to get a beautiful and aggressive sound.

Question: What is special about Humbucker pickups?

Answer: The specialty of Humbucker pickup is its incredible noise cancelation ability. Also, it delivers a loud and warmer sound without any noise effect.

Question: What magnets are in Burstbucker pickups?

Answer: Burstbucker pickups use Alnico II and Alnico V magnets. It will depend on the type of version you use.

Question: Which One is Better: Burstbucker Vs Humbucker?

Answer: Humbucker and Burstbucker are two independent pickups designed to mimic Gibson’s original PAF (Patent Applied For). If you want to perform various music genres, you should choose Burstbucker pickups. Also, it comes at reasonable pricing and is suitable for beginners.

On the contrary, Humbucker Classic 57 is designed mainly for professionals. It has limited music genres but comes with richer sound with better noise cancellation.

Last Updated on July 21, 2022 by Perry Garner

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