New Gibson Zebra Pickups

Discussion in 'Pickups' started by Huntroll, Nov 22, 2014.

  1. Huntroll

    Huntroll Active Member

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    I was wondering if anyone else has taken the time to determine the basic magnectic properties - ( POLE PIECE MAGNETIC POLARITY ) , of the newer Gibson ZEBRA pickups that come installed in SGJs, Les Pauls etc. VS the older stock Gibson pickups found in Les Pauls etc.

    I'm hoping to compare my initial findings as well as results found if you made any changes.

    I changed a few of my newer Zebra's to match what appeared to be the configuration standard of the older units - ( standard Gibson Humbuckers ), with good results.

    Stock, the Zebra's that I tested - (4 sets), all had the same magnetic configuration.

    I'm looking for any info on pickup magnetics and electrical - ( differences observed when pickup coil phasing and/or magnet polarity is manipulated ).

    Anybody got some inside information on what Gibson is up to with these changes to the Zebra's ????

    I have a hunch or two ...

    TIA, Huntron
     
  2. flyswatter

    flyswatter Member

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    I don't have any technical specs or readings to offer, but I when I tried out a couple of new Gibsons (LP Traditional and a lower end Tribute) the dealer told me the zebras were voiced like PAFs. Having owned and played many variations on the PAF tone, my ears also told me that that's pretty much what they are.
     
  3. LeadFinger

    LeadFinger Well-Known Member

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    They're slightly overwound, with Alnico 5 magnets, according to Gibson. I don't think they're a radical departure construction-wise vs. the '57s or the BBs. I've got an SGJ and I wouldn't change anything about those pickups, but I would be interested to hear what your experiments yield. They're great pickups, and a bit different in voicing from the others, so there must have been some tweaking going on.
     
  4. Huntroll

    Huntroll Active Member

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    Determining magnetic polarity - if you dare ...

    Here is step ONE in deciphering the OPTIMUM PICKUP CONFIGUATION for your/our guitars.

    DETERMINING YOUR PICKUPS MAGNETIC POLARITY - IF YOU DARE ...

    In order to determine a PICKUP'S MAGNETIC POLARITY you will need:

    A SMALL BAR MAGNET WITH NORTH AND/OR SOUTH POLES INDICATED ON ONE OR BOTH ENDS.

    REMEMBER, WITH MAGNETS, OPPOSITE POLES ATTRACT.

    CAREFULLY HOLD THE BAR MAGNET CLOSE TO EACH PICKUPS ADJUSTABLE POLE PIECES, (THE SIX ADJUSTING SCREWS).
    AND DENOTE OUTCOME:

    GUITAR =
    PICKUPS =
    NECK/BRIDGE THE SAME = YES/NO
    NECK POLARITY = NORTH/SOUTH
    BRIDGE POLARITY = NORTH/SOUTH


    TEST AND RECORD FINDINGS ON AS MANY GUTARS AS POSSIBLE.

    NEW, OLD, VINTAGE, HUMBUCKER, P90 - WHATEVER!

    REPORT FINDINGS BACK TO THIS THREAD -

    THE INFORMATION GATHERED WILL BE HELPFUL TO ALL !
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2014
  5. Huntroll

    Huntroll Active Member

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    Copy, edit and paste as needed.

    GUITAR = 1990 Gibson Les Paul
    PICKUPS = Stock chrome humbuckers
    NECK/BRIDGE THE SAME = YES
    NECK POLARITY = SOUTH
    BRIDGE POLARITY = SOUTH


    GUITAR = 1985 Gibson SG STANDARD
    PICKUPS = Stock chrome humbuckers
    NECK/BRIDGE THE SAME = YES
    NECK POLARITY = SOUTH
    BRIDGE POLARITY = SOUTH


    GUITAR = 2013 Gibson SGJ
    PICKUPS = Stock ZEBRA humbuckers
    NECK/BRIDGE THE SAME = NO
    NECK POLARITY = SOUTH
    BRIDGE POLARITY = NORTH
     
  6. gball

    gball Well-Known Member

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    Gibson has put up a ton of information on the new (2015) models, including the SG Special that has the Zebras. Assuming the pickups are the same as those in the 2014's, some of this data might be helpful:
    Gibson.com: SG Special 2015
    Just scroll a little more than halfway down.

    I actually took the 61 Zebra out of the bridge of my SGJ and have been using it with a Dirty Fingers but I am going to be putting the Zebra back in at the next string change. They are great sounding, very "PAF"-ish, pickups and I want something a little more mellow than the DF for what I have been messing around with lately.
     
  7. Huntroll

    Huntroll Active Member

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    More Zebra info ...

    Thanks for the link to the Gibson 2015 guitar specification chart.


    I was stunned to see the magnetic polarity data of the adjustable pole pieces included.


    According to the chart, both pickups are now confirmed SOUTH, which reflects my research of older Gibson's.


    To reinterate my findings to the contrary, all the Zebra's that I checked, (2013 and 2014 models), the NECK and the BRIDGE pickups were magnetically different from each other.


    The NECK units were SOUTH and the BRIDGE units were NORTH.


    I carefully rotated the BRIDGE pickup's internal magnet 180 degrees so ALL my Gibson humbuckers would now have the same magnetic polarity insuring future pickup swapping with predictable and optimal results.


    It should also be noted that on the 2013 and 2014 SGJs that I analyzed, ONE of the BRIDGE's individual coils was terminated differently in the tiny MOLEX connector, ( its PHASE REVERSED - possibly to compensate for the magnetic change ), so once I made the magnetic polarity match the older Gibson standard, I standardized its wiring too.


    I suppose this chart that Gibson has released is a solid indication that they "TOOK THE BULL BY THE HORNS" and made it right - BRAVO !!!


    If other techs discover discrepancies or errors in my findings, please post the information to this thread!


    I love Gibson and would never discredit them in any way !

    Thanks.
     
  8. Huntroll

    Huntroll Active Member

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    It should be noted,

    To date, not a single person helped me with this.
     
  9. drown

    drown Well-Known Member

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    Warning I'm resurrecting a zombie thread, but only because i know gball is an active member and I'm hoping he can fill in some details on his experiment mixing a DF with a 61 zebra in his SGJ.

    I was planning on trying this same combination: DF for a bridge pickup and a 61 zebra in the neck. Can you provide some insight on your impressions of this combination in your SGJ? Personally I'm going to put these in my Faded for not so mellow applications. I think it might be a good pairing.

    Second question: Was there much difference between the neck and bridge '61 pickups? Can a bridge 61 go into the neck position without any problems?
     

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