Gibson Pickup Comparison


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MrWannabe
03-03-2008, 09:46 AM
Hey folks...

I am looking to trade up from my Les Paul Studio Faded to a Standard, Custom or Supreme - whatever is available and tickles my fancy when I have the $$$ put together.

My current axe has the Alnico V BurstBucker Pro pickups. A lot of the Standards have the same pickup so if I end up with a Standard, there shouldn't be much change from my current guitar.

Depending on what guitar I end up with, I could end up with one of the following pickup combinations: 496R Neck / 500T Bridge
57 Classic Humbuckers Neck & Bridge
57 Classic Neck / 57 Classic Plus Bridge
Alnico V Standard Neck & Bridge
I really like the Burstbuckers. The neck pickup is nice and warm for the jazz I play and the bridge pickup with the amp overdrive channel sounds great for hard rock / metal stuff.

Out of the pickup combinations above, which will be as good as or better than the Burstbuckers? Are there any I should avoid due to a lack of quality or tone?

When I do this upgrade, I am looking for a 'forever' guitar so I want to get one with the right pieces.

Thanks!

The_Last_J
03-03-2008, 10:38 AM
496r/////500t

acdcrocks0323
03-03-2008, 10:49 AM
Burstbuckers are the best you can get from Gibson IMO. Try to get some really high quality pups from a boutique pickup maker.

CorduroyEW on this forum makes some really nice pups from what I hear. PM him to see what he can do for you. UG members get a 10% discount too.

Kendall
03-03-2008, 10:52 AM
The 496/500 pickups will be hotter, but they lack a lot of the depth that the Burstbucker Pro's have. Personally I'd keep the Pro's over any other Gibson pickup. The 57 Classics aren't as hot as the Pro's, and sound a bit subdued in comparison.

H4T3BR33D3R
03-03-2008, 10:53 AM
I'd go with a '57 or a Dirty Fingers in the bridge and a Burstbucker in the Neck. The '57 and the Dirty Fingers have more bite. The Burstbucker is a bit docile for my taste in the bridge.

Any reason as to why you want Gibson pickups?

Roc8995
03-03-2008, 11:28 AM
The burstbuckers are the best gibson pickups, but they're still just ok. Get some nice handwound ones and have the electronics upgraded if you're going to spend that much on a guitar.

PaulTheVillan
03-03-2008, 11:30 AM
Dirty Fingers all the way

MrWannabe
03-03-2008, 11:37 AM
H4T3BR33D3R asked why I want Gibson pickups and Roc8995 suggested upgrading the pickups and electronics if I'm going to be spending that much.

If I'm going to shell out the $$$ for a high-end Les Paul, don't I want something that is awesome as-is? If I switch out the pickups for something else, even if they're better, haven't I created something that is no longer really a Les Paul? If I'm gonna do that, why no just buy any old plank of wood and throw in some DiMarzio, EMG, etc. pickups?

Thanks for the continued input...

Roc8995
03-03-2008, 11:40 AM
H4T3BR33D3R asked why I want Gibson pickups and Roc8995 suggested upgrading the pickups and electronics if I'm going to be spending that much.

If I'm going to shell out the $$$ for a high-end Les Paul, don't I want something that is awesome as-is? If I switch out the pickups for something else, even if they're better, haven't I created something that is no longer really a Les Paul? If I'm gonna do that, why no just buy any old plank of wood and throw in some DiMarzio, EMG, etc. pickups?

Thanks for the continued input...

Er...you're not making it not a les paul. It's not like you're installing a floyd rose and shaving the neck down to Ibanez specs.
You're getting a great guitar with decent pickups. What I'm saying is, maximize the tone you get from the guitar, get some better pickups.
Any old plank of wood with the same pickups will sound vastly inferior to a good LP with the same pickups. They're just part of the equation.

acdcrocks0323
03-03-2008, 11:42 AM
H4T3BR33D3R asked why I want Gibson pickups and Roc8995 suggested upgrading the pickups and electronics if I'm going to be spending that much.

If I'm going to shell out the $$$ for a high-end Les Paul, don't I want something that is awesome as-is? If I switch out the pickups for something else, even if they're better, haven't I created something that is no longer really a Les Paul? If I'm gonna do that, why no just buy any old plank of wood and throw in some DiMarzio, EMG, etc. pickups?

Thanks for the continued input...
With that attitude, I can assume you think Gibson is the best. It isn't. The electronics in them aren't top notch and the quality isn't what it used to be. THe price you are paying is because of the Gibson name.

ANd you can't just take any plank of wood because wood has a large impact on your tone. Plus, DiMarzio and EMG are not high end. It sounds like you just want a Gibson. THats fine if you want to pay top dollar for not top quality stuff.

Roc8995
03-03-2008, 11:45 AM
With that attitude, I can assume you think Gibson is the best. It isn't. The electronics in them aren't top notch and the quality isn't what it used to be. THe price you are paying is because of the Gibson name.


With that attitude, I can tell you haven't had a chance to play any of the new ones outside of a guitar center yet. ;)

MrWannabe
03-03-2008, 11:45 AM
With that attitude, I can assume you think Gibson is the best. It isn't. The electronics in them aren't top notch and the quality isn't what it used to be. THe price you are paying is because of the Gibson name.

ANd you can't just take any plank of wood because wood has a large impact on your tone. Plus, DiMarzio and EMG are not high end. It sounds like you just want a Gibson. THats fine if you want to pay top dollar for not top quality stuff.
No attitude - just asking so I have as much info as possible. Although rereading my post, I can see why you might think there is attitude. I was simply asking if a high-end LP shouldn't be kept as-is...

MrWannabe
03-03-2008, 11:47 AM
Er...you're not making it not a les paul. It's not like you're installing a floyd rose and shaving the neck down to Ibanez specs.
You're getting a great guitar with decent pickups. What I'm saying is, maximize the tone you get from the guitar, get some better pickups.
Any old plank of wood with the same pickups will sound vastly inferior to a good LP with the same pickups. They're just part of the equation.
Thanks for understanding the question. You said 'electronic upgrades.' Are you suggesting anything other than the pickups?

acdcrocks0323
03-03-2008, 11:50 AM
^Probably just the pickups, pots and caps.

Roc8995
03-03-2008, 11:52 AM
Thanks for understanding the question. You said 'electronic upgrades.' Are you suggesting anything other than the pickups?

Yes. The first thing you'll notice when you play any stock guitar is that the tone control has a limited usable range and almost never sounds good at anything but 10. This is due to the tone capacitor. Get a pair of .022 sprague orange drop caps and have those put in. They cost about a dollar apiece and sound awesome.
If the guitar is too dark or bassy, you can change out the pots for higher values. Many gibson pots are 300K, a "better" (for most people) option is 500K ohm. Those are also inexpensive to replace, but you may not need it, so it's not a necessary immediate upgrade.

MrWannabe
03-03-2008, 12:02 PM
Yes. The first thing you'll notice when you play any stock guitar is that the tone control has a limited usable range and almost never sounds good at anything but 10.
I know EXACTLY what you're talking about. My neck pickup sounds great for the jazz stuff I study with my instructore but with the tone on anything but 10, it sounds like the pickup is in a bowl of pudding! :) Of course, I always have the bridge pickup on 9 or 10 cuz that's the way I like it, but I'm sure the issue is the same on that one...

-MintSauce-
03-03-2008, 12:07 PM
Get some Bareknuckles, a few push-pull pots of coil splitting, and some new caps and resistors for treble bleeds on the tone knobs.

MrWannabe
03-03-2008, 12:13 PM
Get some Bareknuckles, a few push-pull pots of coil splitting, and some new caps and resistors for treble bleeds on the tone knobs.
I've heard of coil splitting but I've never had a guitar that does that. What does it do?

acdcrocks0323
03-03-2008, 12:27 PM
Coil splitting takes the humbucker and only uses one of the coils. It makes it sound kind of like a single coil although it isn't all that convincing because the output is so low with only one coil.

uldhppi
03-03-2008, 12:40 PM
I guess I am one of the few that prefer the 490R and 498T over the Burstbuckers. To me the Burstbuckers tend to get a little muddy with high gain, but the 490's stay clear and responsive/articulate.

H4T3BR33D3R
03-03-2008, 10:22 PM
I guess I am one of the few that prefer the 490R and 498T over the Burstbuckers. To me the Burstbuckers tend to get a little muddy with high gain, but the 490's stay clear and responsive/articulate.

Even so, I find the 498/490 set a bit bland sounding. The 490 in the neck is pretty murky too. I have a set in the 'Paul and it'll probably be swapped soon.

uldhppi
03-03-2008, 10:29 PM
For the LP that 500T would be pretty tempting.

H4T3BR33D3R
03-03-2008, 10:35 PM
For the LP that 500T would be pretty tempting.

Well if the TS is going high output, I think the Dirty Fingers would do it better. Or the Iommi.

MrWannabe
03-04-2008, 01:31 PM
I just did a side-by-side comparison...

As you know, my LP Studio Faded has Burstbuckers. I also have a Gibson USA SG Faded. This guitar has the 490R and 490T pickups.

For the comparison, all I did was move my cable from one guitar to the other. No changes were made on the amp.

I like the Burstbucker tone better. It's much brighter and crisper. Also, the Burstbuckers are louder. With the volume knobs on both guitars set to 10, the LP was louder than the SG. I also found that the SG had a LOT of line noise - even when grounding it by putting my hand on the strings. However, it may be that this poor-man's SG has wiring that is inferior to the LP.

Either way the Burstbuckers win.

steven seagull
03-04-2008, 01:51 PM
H4T3BR33D3R asked why I want Gibson pickups and Roc8995 suggested upgrading the pickups and electronics if I'm going to be spending that much.

If I'm going to shell out the $$$ for a high-end Les Paul, don't I want something that is awesome as-is? If I switch out the pickups for something else, even if they're better, haven't I created something that is no longer really a Les Paul? If I'm gonna do that, why no just buy any old plank of wood and throw in some DiMarzio, EMG, etc. pickups?

Thanks for the continued input...

Have you not noticed the amount of high-end guitars that come with pickups made by specialized pickup manufacturers?

You choose pickups for your guitar based on what's best for you tone-wise, not who made them. A Duncan Custom 5/ Pearly Gates comnination sounds great in a Les Paul-type guitar.

ECwomantoneman
03-04-2008, 02:11 PM
From that list, the '57 classic/classic plus combo is the best ones, but I would say that as they came stock in my guitar so I didn't have to shell out an arm and a leg for them ;)


But you can get similar PUs to Gibsons in terms of quality and tone for a helluva lot less - check up Bareknuckle handwound PUs, I've heard they're amazing, and theyre fairly cheap too in comparison (but only in the UK, where they're made)