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Discussion in 'The Tone Zone' started by axe4me, Jul 15, 2019.
My favorite ones are the Burstbucker and the Angus Young.
I still think Gibson pickups sound better than most other ones but Lollar , JBE are formidable adversaries.
@OP: no offense, but at lease for me it's tough to simply say "rate them" without any useful criteria/qualifying guidelines/etc. Additionally, the designs and specs of the pickup models you selected are a little far apart: some are what I describe as very hot while others are kinda low output and still others are kinda in the middle. A hot pickup versus a low output is going to get a huge range of opinions, but hot versus hot or low output versus low output makes the comparisons seems a little more relevant.
But not to make your efforts a waste, I honestly think all the models you chose for rating are very useful in a variety of settings, guitars, etc. I really think Gibson makes something for everyone, and their quality is usually very good. The only thing I personally ever bitch about regarding Gibson pickups is their prices (and the prices set by the dealers who sell them).
If I gotta pick a favorite among Gibson pickups, it would have to be their Burstbucke pickups. The Burstbuckers are hot enough for heavy distortion tones and high gain amps, yet these pickups do not sacrifice tone (to my ears they have a nice balance of low, mid, and high frequencies. My second favorite are the Burstbucker Pro. The BB Pro are a great choice for high gain amps and/or heavy distorted tones, but they do sacrifice a little on low end and sound a little thin when used with clean tones. Still, BB Pro low end is tight and defined, which makes it good for riffs and chords using high gain amps and lots of distortion.
As far as Gibson pickups I'm gonna have to go with Burstbucker 1 and 2 and a close runner up 57 Classic Plus and 57 Classic.
Actually just got an SG with a pair of 57 Classics, they sound really good in the bridge
Burstbuckers. I like those a lot. My P-90 urban assault force of Juniors and a Special outnumbers the buckers at my house though. Kinda like those even more. And of those, I like the hard mounted 90's better than the adjustable ones on the special. They snarl just wee bit more.
in their individual way...
But for me, it's their early P90's.
And that, my friend, is all I am going to say.
Without the diatribe, this is a start.
The sound is based on the recipe, each has its uses and some high output ceramics are (typically) not hooked up in the same wiring harnesses as the original PAF design (LP Classic is a completely different harness from a historic). Any player can make any of them sound awesome or horrible. I've got one Gibson that's physically just larger than the PAF construction. Plus the magnet charging really makes a difference as well, Duncan Antiquity magnets have about half the strength of 57 Classics. The Burstbuckers I measured had a much higher charge than a Classic.
Gibson Pickup specs
Model Magnet DCR
490T Alnico V 8.5k
490R Alnico V 8.5k
496R Ceramic 8.6k
498T Alnico V 13.8k
500T Ceramic 14.8k
57 Classic Alnico II 8.5k PAF sticker
57 Classic Plus Alnico II 8.7k PAF sticker
Burstbucker #1 Alnico II 7.5k PAF sticker
BurstBucker #2 Alnico II 8.5k PAF sticker
Burstbucker #3 Alnico II 8.8k PAF sticker
Burstbucker Pro (#5) Alnico V 802k neck and 8.7k bridge PAF sticker
What's strange is that for all the worship of authentic vintage gear, Gibson didn't make bridge pickups in the old days. They just made the one pickup. When the first historic 59 reissues came out, that's what the brochure said and there was just one classic 57 model pickup. But the market expects hot overwound bridge pickups, so that's what Gibson puts in "true authentic" historics now. They still sound good, but they do sound different.
Hmm, I thought it was a pretty well thought out answer to a pretty aimless question...
+1 for this and I'll add the 498T for metal tones.
I really love the Bill Lawrence Gibson pickups, always on the hunt for more of them.
All are nice. Generally, I like the Gibson 490R neck, 498T bridge combo and BB1 & BB2 combo for Customs and Standards.
I have an Epi LPC with a single SD P90 pre-ordered and will arrive in several weeks! woo! :-D
Yes, good pickups. While attending M.I. in the '80's I used to frequent his shop in L.A. for his guitar strings. They were my favorites!
I'd never played those pickups until last year when I picked up a Melody Maker with a HB-L in it. Its an amazing pickup, Ive been looking for a HB-L and HB-R set to put in a les paul since.
The question was specific and on target.
I would be bias but I would like T Tops.
Not shure about rating them.
The Custombucker (Alnico III) pups are the best I've owned by far. Though, I should point out that I believe all Custombucker pups are a specific recipe, so they can vary depending on what you get. Specifically, I'm talking about the ones in my Clapton "Beano" LP.
Hard to get a good feel of what they are capable of from a Youtube video, but here's a snippet ...
So, you use the same pickup in the bridge of your superstrat that you use in a VH cover band that you do in the neck position of an Epiphone Emperor that you play Joe Pass tunes on?
I like the 498T/490R combo for hotter stuff and 57 Classic/ Classic Plus for a little more vintage stuff.
IMO the Burstbuckers are a little less clear than the 57s.
The Iommi is another really good pickup that is clear but somewhat smooth.
IMO the Angus Young Signature is the worst Gibson pickup I've played.
The overall best/most versatile Gibson pickup I've ever played is the Gibson 84T-LMTM found in the Lee Malia signature Epiphones. It's like a 498T but more full and smooth.
ones i have
mini/hum 93 Nighthawk(out of this world versatility)
61 zebra- 14 SGJ
490/490-11 SG faded
T-top-78 -The Paul
496/500- 17 Firebird
490/498 98 LP
I would not get rid of any..they are all chosen with guitar body to do their thing-they do it well. As my tone journey evolves..gain is coming down & the true nature of the pups is revealed even more. All these work well into Marshall & Fender amps. Comparing.they each have a unique tone & really cant rate them..but do depend on what they do.
T-top on your list would be my fav.It seems to have the best PAF openness i have come across & basically use it for PAF needs..looks like i avoided the others..Not too fond of the 496r in the Firebird.