Out with the 490's

Discussion in 'Pickups' started by Flyfish-mt, Feb 5, 2020.

  1. Flyfish-mt

    Flyfish-mt Member

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    I'm a LP guy but have owned a handful of SG's over the past 35 years. Just picked up a used '19 SG Tribute that was too cheap to pass up. After setting it up and reworking and polishing the nut that Gibson failed to do, I decided I really didn't care much for the stock 490's as they were a bit to mid-heavy and lacked articulation. So, I bought a slightly used set of Gibson '61 zebras that sound really nice! Has anybody tried these in their SG's? If so, what are your thoughts?
     
  2. Huckleberry

    Huckleberry Member

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    Never heard of those pickups. Are they just 57s?
     
  3. skelt101

    skelt101 Active Member

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  4. papagayo

    papagayo Well-Known Member

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    Like you said the 490T is not fantastic. The 490R is fine to me.
     
  5. Worblehat

    Worblehat Well-Known Member

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    I just got an SG Standard with chrome covered 61s. I guess they are the same as the 61 zebras...?
    I have nothing to complain about so far. Fantastic pickups. On the other hand I must admit I haven't played a lot of different pickups and am not very picky about them. I would probably be happy with 490s, too.

    But if the 490s are to mid-heavy for you and the zebras are the same pickups as mine, you might be pleased with them. I have read that 61s have a kinda 'scooped' sound compared to other Gibson pickups. Compared to my Gibson Iommis they have less mids and also less bottom end as far as I can tell.
     
  6. Flyfish-mt

    Flyfish-mt Member

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    Don’t get me wrong, the 490’s didn’t sound bad and make a great set for hard rock which I would of liked 20 years ago. Nowadays, I’m into a cleanish, bit of drive for my tone and the ‘61’s really perform well in this regard. The ‘61 neck is absolutely wonderful! The bridge can get a bit bright at times but I just use the tone knob.

    I’ve never been a huge pickup swapper, just the typical stupid stuff I did back in the late 70’s by ripping out T-tops for Super Distortions......I think you can find very good tones in stock Gibson pickups with proper height and pole adjustments.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2020
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  7. skelt101

    skelt101 Active Member

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    It’s been said that with a magnet swap to short Alnico V, the 490s can get in the ballpark of those T-Tops you mentioned.
     
  8. Flyfish-mt

    Flyfish-mt Member

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    Interesting. Magnet swapping seems like an easy and inexpensive modification. I’ll keep that in mind for any future modifications. Can I ask where to buy pickup magnets?
     
  9. skelt101

    skelt101 Active Member

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  10. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    61s might be just what you're looking for. I find them just a bit more aggressive than 57s which is a good thing imo. 57s in an SG sound mellow and sweet. Too mellow in an LP or for "heavy metal."
     
  11. Flyfish-mt

    Flyfish-mt Member

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    It seems like the 61’s are very sensitive to height adjustments, more so than other pickups I’ve used in the past. Definitely getting a very nice tone in the middle position.
     
  12. garybaldy

    garybaldy New Member

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    My SGJ 2013 Model has the 490s (you know - the ones that Gibson made to look like EMGs!). They are perfect in that guitar - my go to gigging instrument. It must be the 24 fret maple neck that helps with the mids. They seem very balanced and versatile pups.
     
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  13. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    22 and 24 fret Humbucker equipped SG have the pickups located at the same position in relation to the bridge regardless of number of frets.

    [​IMG]

    490's sound fine to my ears.
    P-90's sound the best IMO.
     
  14. garybaldy

    garybaldy New Member

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    In terms of the mids, I was referring more to the fact that the neck was maple rather than the extra frets.
     
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  15. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    Mine too, because of the incredible neck and fret board. Easily the "fastest" guitar in my remuda! I think the 490s have just enough bite for this guitar. I don't put much stock in the effect of the maple neck on tone, but it sure is a lot more stable.
     
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  16. Flyfish-mt

    Flyfish-mt Member

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    I had to completely rework and polish the nut on my SG Tribute as it was poorly cut at the factory. After setting the relief, bridge and intonation, the guitar plays really well with a nice soft feel when bending strings. Here’s a pic;
    7DF2E6B5-6921-4ADE-BC42-11A6F2F12E2C.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2020
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