I am verbose. If you don't want to rifle through a bunch of words, there's a quick rundown at the bottom. Thanks.

I picked up an '01 Epi LP Custom over the weekend. From what I can tell, it's NOS. The pickups, pick guard, and back plates all have the plastic still on them, and the only wear seems to be some extremely light belt buckle scratches. Hell, taking the back plates off revealed a fair amount of wood shavings, implying that nobody had so much as touched the pots. The binding has light yellowing. My guess is that it was maybe B-stock as the 16th fret by high E is damaged and needs minor work (playing the 15th fret causes a buzz/dead note with some fingerings).

Also worth noting is that I work in South Corea, so finding someone knowledgeable to talk to about this and has access to an appreciable stockpile of gear is all but impossible. I'd be purchasing from my old workplace and have them do the installation when I get back to the states.

My amp's a Fender Blues Junior, but since it's been at my brother's for the past year, I forget what tubes are in it. My main guitar's a '69 Tele Thinline (MIM?) reissue with fender Noiseless pups and a Frankensteined 50's Strat reissue neck. Good, but lacks humbucking balls. Distortion is mostly through a Boss MT-2, but I use an NYC Big Muff Pi or MXR Blue Box sometimes.

Anyway, I know from working at a rinky-dink strip mall music shop throughout college that the stock pickups are mediocre and need upgrading. Before stupidly selling it to a friend, I had another Epi LP Custom on which I put Gibson 490R and 498T pickups. I remember being more satisfied with them than the stock ones, and my friend says he's still happy with them (5 years after the fact).

My question is if the 490R & 498T really good pickups, or is my memory faulty? Would Burstbuckers be a more viable option? I like my cleans to be minimally muddy on the bridge and mellow on the neck (the best neck pup I've played was a mini humbucker on a '98 Gibson Nighthawk). If I could have Elliott Smith cleans and Replacements distortions, that'd be great as long as there's clear definition. I don't want to spend much more than I would with the Gibsons if there's a better option. Also, keeping the aesthetic is important, so open coils aren't preferred.

Again, a Replacements/Elliott Smith range would be nice. The hardest stuff I play is Deftones or Glassjaw once in a while. No Sunn O))) or DT here.

EDIT: I mostly do chord work, but arpeggios and solos are in my repertoire, so again, minimal muddiness.

'01 Epi LP Custom
Price range: Not much more than $150.
Music styles: Indie/Rock (Elliott Smith, Replacements, old Weezer, Brand New)
Primary amp and distortion: Fender Blues Junior, Boss MT-2/EHX Big Muff Pi/MXR Blue Box
Ideas: 490R/498T, Burstbuckers (Pro or otherwise)

Much obliged if anyone can help/bothered reading.
Last edited by DanTheHobbit at Mar 16, 2011,
Dirty Figers on bridge. Paf´s on neck.

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You can't find someone who knows about the guitar in the country it was built in? :/

Gibson pickups are overpriced and for that reason overrated...I doubt I'd swap them if they came stock but they're poor value as an aftermarket purchase. Get some duncans, custom 5 in the bridge, pearly gates or 59 in the neck, that thing will scream and sing in equal measures.
Actually called Mark!

Quote by TNfootballfan62
People with a duck for their avatar always give good advice.

...it's a seagull

Quote by Dave_Mc
i wanna see a clip of a recto buying some groceries.

The 498T/490R set are meant to be a little hotter than the Burstbucker series, but either set is capable of doing the type of music you're into. Getting a heavy sound (Deftones, Glassjaw, etc) is more about EQ settings than having super high output pickups, you the pickups you are considering will work fine. Gibson pickups are good, but way over priced. Check out some of the stuff made by Seymour Duncan or Dimarzio. You can't go wrong with the Hot Rodded Humbucker set that Seymour Duncan makes. That set can do pretty much any humbucker sound you want and both pickups have 4 conductor cable if you are into any wiring mods.
Why would you want to buy Gibsons aftermarket? They're really not that good compared to what you could get instead. steven seagull knows what's up.
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Man, this got buried fast.

Ignorance. My old shop mainly dealt with band instrument rentals for the high school down the street. Once in a while, we'd get a kid asking why we didn't sell EMG's because he wanted them on his Bronze series Bich, but almost nobody stuck with guitar long enough to want to upgrade pickups. I mostly cleaned/tuned/restrung guitars and kept the high school kids from stealing

As for not finding anyone in the country it was made, I don't really speak Korean. Definitely not enough to talk about guitars. And as nice as Koreans are, the majority aren't confident/learned enough with English to strike up conversation. Getting the guitar was only easy because I knew what I wanted.

Thanks a million, though. The 59 sounds right up my alley. I'll check out more on the site at work in a bit. Someone suggested I replace the pots and electronics. Worth it for $20-$30? Seems like it. But thank you. Ace advice.
True, you'd have no problem if you needed Starcraft tips though...

The stock electronics in the Epis aren't terrible but if you're doing the pickups you might as well swap out the pots and caps and especially the switch The Custom 5 should cover everything you want in the bridge, it's not super-high output but it's a little hotter than a PAF and is a little better suited to heavier tones for those times you need them.
Actually called Mark!

Quote by TNfootballfan62
People with a duck for their avatar always give good advice.

...it's a seagull

Quote by Dave_Mc
i wanna see a clip of a recto buying some groceries.

Starcraft is the sole reason why South Corea has the highest broadband per capita in the world. You can't accomplish a proper retort to a Zerg rush if you're lagging.

Sorry to dog you (speaking of Korea) about all this, but I honestly appreciate all your advice and help. If I could, I'd PayPal you a Guinness. I've been out of the loop for too long, and you're doing wonders to stave off my ignorance.

Possibly my last question is if coil tapping would be a good idea. Does it affect the tone of the pickup in its straight humbucker configurations? How much does the mod usually run? I figure this will round out my mainstays with my Tele and Martin acoustic (hooray for living close to the factory), so I want to do this right, getting as much improvement work done as possible.
Turns out the guy who took over my old shop is now a SD dealer. Good times. Still, coil taps a good idea or bad idea? My Tele just has Fender Noiseless p'ups. Sound fine, but I might change them one of these days.
I am a fake mountain.
Splitting the coils won't change anything about the normal sound no, you might as well do it seeing as most SDs already have 4 conductor wiring. I personally prefer a series/parallel split though as I think it sounds a little better. If either of those things are done when the pickups are installed it barely classes as a mod, it's the same amount of soldering, things just need soldering in different places so nobody should charge significantly more for it. The only difference is you need to get a push/pull pot which will just cost a little more than the standard ones that you were thinking of changing anyway.
Actually called Mark!

Quote by TNfootballfan62
People with a duck for their avatar always give good advice.

...it's a seagull

Quote by Dave_Mc
i wanna see a clip of a recto buying some groceries.