Gibson Burstbucker Guide (Type 1 vs 2 vs 3 vs Pro)

Gibson make 4 main types of their iconic Burstbucker electric guitar pickups:

  • Burstbucker Type 1
  • Burstbucker Type 2
  • Burstbucker Type 3
  • Burstbucker Pro (neck and bridge)

In this article I’ll be directly comparing these 5 pickups so you know exactly which type of Burstbucker is the best for your electric guitar.

Quick Comparison

Here is a quick comparison table to get us started.

BurstbuckerPositionMagnetOutputDC ResistanceWax-Potted
Type 1NeckAlnico II6.57.8KUnpotted
Type 2AnyAlnico II7.48.4KUnpotted
Type 3BridgeAlnico II8.48.7KUnpotted
Pro (Neck)NeckAlnico V7.47.8KPotted
Pro (Bridge)BridgeAlnico V8.38.3KPotted

Pickup Tone

There are two main features which differ in the Burstbucker range: the magnets and the output.

  • The Burstbucker Type 1/ Type 2/ Type 3 pickups use alnico II magnets
  • The Burstbucker Pro pickups use alnico V magnets

Alnico V magnets have a stronger pull compared to alnico II. In terms of the impact this has on the sound, alnico II pickups (Type 1/2/3) have a warmer and smoother tone, whereas alnico V pickups (Pros) sound more aggressive and bright.

In terms of the pickup output, the Burstbucker Type 3 is the highest. This means it will distort more easily compared to the other pickups which sound cleaner at higher volumes.

Check out my comparison between low and high output pickups to learn more.

Here’s the order of pickups by output:

Note that DC resistance and output are not the same thing. Output is affected by other factors, hence why the order of the pickups by output is different to the order of pickups by DC resistance.

In addition to the different magnets and outputs of the pickups, it’s also important to note that the Burstbucker Pros are wax-potted, whereas the Type 1/2/3 are unpotted. This means that you can play louder with more distortion and get less feedback with the Pros compared to the Type 1/2/3.

Check out these YouTube videos to hear a comparison of the Burstbucker pickup range.

Pickup Position

Different versions of the Burstbucker pickup are designed for either the neck position, bridge position, or can work in any position on the guitar.

There are two versions of the Burstbucker Pro, one that is designed for the neck position (lower output) and another which is designed for the bridge position. The Type 2 and 60s Burstbucker pickups work in either position.

  • Neck Pickups: Type 1, Type 2, Pro (neck version)
  • Bridge Pickups: Type 2, Type 3, Pro (bridge version)

This means there are loads of potential combinations that you can go for with a two humbucker pickup configuration.

Some of the most popular combinations are…

Burstbucker Type 1Burstbucker Type 2
Burstbucker Type 2Burstbucker Type 3
Burstbucker Pro (Neck) Burstbucker Pro (Bridge) 

Which Pickups Should You Get ?

It’s hard not to give an “in depends” answer to this question. Pickups are a personal preference, however, I will point out that the different Burstbucker versions will generally lend themselves more towards different types of players.

If you want a smooth and cleaner sounded PAF humbucker, then consider the Burstbucker Type 1 in the neck position and the Burstbucker Type 2 in the bridge. These are pretty low output so won’t distort as easily as the Type 3/ Pros and use alnico II magnets which sound full and warm.

If you want hotter and dirtier sounding pickups, then either go for the Burstbucker Type 2 in the neck and Type 3 in the bridge, or a set of Burstbucker Pros. These combos are both fairly high output (for PAFs not in general) so will distort reasonably easily. The Pros sound brighter, whereas the Type 2/3 sound richer and fuller with more mid-range response.

Here’s a link to each of these pickups so you can check the current prices:

Check out these comparison guides:
Burstbucker vs ’57 Classic
Burstbucker vs 490R/498T Pickups.


Hey, I'm Heather. I started playing an electric guitar when I was given a Squier Strat for my birthday around 15 years ago. I now own an acoustic guitar and several electric guitars including my personal favourite, a PRS SE Custom 24.

Recent Posts