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Unread 06-25-2013, 06:58 AM   #1 (permalink)
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SG Special Faded - looking for brighter pickups

I've been using my SG Faded with stock 490 pups for a couple of years and while I'm reasonably happy with the bridge sound I rarely find the neck to be pleasing. It always sounds too round and tubby, I can compensate with tons of treble boost but ultimately I'm never satisfied.

I recently installed some Fender Custom Shop Nocasters into my Tele and I could immediately feel the improvement, I'm looking for a similar revelation from my SG. On the whole I want a more articulate sound from both pups, the 490s feel compressed and blunt, I want more dynamic range, can anyone give me some recommendations?

Many thanks
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Unread 06-25-2013, 08:14 AM   #2 (permalink)
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P-94's... That's what you're asking.

Single coils with lots of beef.
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Unread 06-25-2013, 01:56 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I agree with Mr Happy. If you're playing a lot of super-high gain stuff you may want to stick with a humbucker, but for anything else a humbucker-sized P90 should tickle your fancy.
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Unread 06-25-2013, 01:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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57 classics are brighter, at least they don't have as much midrange.
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Unread 06-25-2013, 07:48 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for the replies, I'm not opposed to going with a P-94 (sounds great) for the neck but I've got a Strat and Tele for single coil tones and I really do love the Gibson neck tone that I've heard since forever, it's just really hard to achieve with my SG.

With the 490r in the neck it seems like I'm always having to run and tweak something, I can get a passable clean sound but overdrive sucks the life out of it, it's really hard to get any bite and I just get these big fat notes with no definition. The 490t in the bridge is way easier to dial in, I do sometimes think it sounds a bit honky and nasal but at least I can tweak it.

When it comes to the SG I repeatedly see people recommending the 57 Classic so they're pretty high on my list but I've also heard the Burstbuckers are bright, does anyone know how they compare?

Last edited by WDeranged; 06-25-2013 at 08:28 PM.
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Unread 06-25-2013, 07:48 PM   #6 (permalink)
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tell us what guitarist tone or what song tone you are after and it will help us nail down what you are looking for. Even though I am a huge fan of Gibson pups, there are a lot of good pickups out there so if you want something really, really bright... might have to look at some other brands. I've played a buddies guitar with duncans and those things were crazy bright pups! Don't remember which exact pups they were but I can say without reservation Duncan makes at least one pup that is very bright.

My favorite pups are the Gibson classic 57 for humbuckers and P90s for just fat chunky classic rock tone.
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Unread 06-26-2013, 12:48 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I'm aiming for something in the ballpark of Gary Moore or Slash's neck tone, fatness but with clear definition.

The impatience got to me and I've pulled the trigger on a set of 57 classics, after months of searching they're by far the most recommended for the SG so we shall see

Last edited by WDeranged; 06-26-2013 at 04:53 PM.
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Unread 06-27-2013, 02:07 PM   #8 (permalink)
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*soldering*
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Unread 06-27-2013, 03:01 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Keep me posted, im in the same boat about pickup swap
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Unread 06-28-2013, 08:12 AM   #10 (permalink)
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It's always hard to judge pickups immediately after installing them but my first impressions are that the 57s are not as bright as the 490s. They do have other interesting characteristics, the sound is more balanced and feels closer to what I hear unplugged, there's also a nasal growl to bridge pup power chords that wasn't there before.

I won't know for sure whether these are keepers until I've spent a few days learning my way around them. I'm a bit bummed about the loss of sparkle on the neck pup but there's a character about the 57s that the 490s didn't have
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Unread 06-28-2013, 08:45 AM   #11 (permalink)
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At its maximum limit, the 57 neck pu will not clean up as brightly as the 490 before it distorts . Try using 1-2 numbers lower on the guitar volume than you did with the 490 to achieve the same cleanliness.
Biddlin ;>)/
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Unread 06-28-2013, 07:21 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I'm still tweaking pickup heights but I'm warming to the neck pup now it's a bit closer to the strings, it's not going to give me the sound in my head but it's very sweet and possibly a bit more natural sounding than the 490r.

The 57 in the bridge seems to have a similar authenticity, it's less icepicky than the 490t and a bit less chunky but it certainly doesn't lack character. Switching between pickups seems to give a more balanced sound than with the 490s, though I need to tweak the heights some more.

I feel as though I could get used to these pickups but it'll take me weeks to decide.

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Originally Posted by Biddlin View Post
At its maximum limit, the 57 neck pu will not clean up as brightly as the 490 before it distorts . Try using 1-2 numbers lower on the guitar volume than you did with the 490 to achieve the same cleanliness.
Biddlin ;>)/
Thanks for the tip
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Unread 06-28-2013, 09:31 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Yeah I hate the 490's in my faded SG. I was thinking of going with a 57 in the neck. I put a 57+ in the bridge already which is a very nice classic tone.
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Unread 06-29-2013, 03:38 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I did go 50ys wiring with my SG, using all 500 pots, and that made a big difference in how bright my pups were. Now the 490 neck, i really dig it, and usable middle position for sure.
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Unread 06-29-2013, 07:04 AM   #15 (permalink)
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What are the pots in the faded SG? For some reason I thought all Gibsons had 500 pots, I don't know...
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Unread 06-29-2013, 08:25 AM   #16 (permalink)
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P-94's... And I'll say it again... P-94's!!
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Unread 06-29-2013, 09:23 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pedecamp View Post
What are the pots in the faded SG? For some reason I thought all Gibsons had 500 pots, I don't know...
There were 300k pots inside my faded, I changed the PCB for a 50's wiring kit last year, it certainly brightened up the 490s.
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Unread 06-29-2013, 05:36 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Oh yeah, I've got 3 pcb Sg's and they are considerably darker than my other 2 with standard wiring harness.
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Unread 07-06-2013, 05:58 AM   #19 (permalink)
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I've spent over week with the pups so I thought I'd give a quick update. A 57 in the neck is similar to the 490r, there does seem to be more definition and "sweetness" but it's a subtle thing. The 57 in the bridge sounds quite different to the 490t, it's thinner and less spikey but way more authentic to my ears, more like what I've heard from vintage Gibsons.
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Unread 07-06-2013, 08:28 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Have you looked into Bare Knuckles pickups?
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Unread 07-06-2013, 04:02 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gemini75 View Post
Have you looked into Bare Knuckles pickups?
They're all out of my price range at the moment but from what I've heard they make world class pups, one day I'll pick some up.
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Unread 07-06-2013, 06:14 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WDeranged View Post
They're all out of my price range at the moment but from what I've heard they make world class pups, one day I'll pick some up.
Have you looked into Dimario's line of mid and vintage output pups?
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Unread 07-07-2013, 05:01 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Are you liking the 57?
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Unread 07-08-2013, 09:20 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Here are some good comparison clips,
Good Tone Hunting: The Gibson Pickup Guide (Now with Audio Clips!)
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