what pups are as clean sounding as 490s?

Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by sazista, Jun 14, 2018.

  1. sazista

    sazista Active Member

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    I have thought about 57s or Pearly Gates. Anyone compared them with 490s on your SG?. The JB/Jazz combo sounds great on my Epi with 500k pots, but not as clear sounding as the 490s of the Gibson. The Duncans are higher output and i think lower output pups are what yield the clarity. There is also a difference in other electronics compents between the two. I don't want to spend on pups that will be muddy. Opinions?
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2018
  2. Semla

    Semla Member

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    Clarity usually equals treble and low output. A good A5-pickup with a low wind would probably do it. Lots of those out there.

    Edit: Oh, also, go for two leads instead of four leads. The long extra cable adds inductance, something that you really notice when you turn your volume knob down.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2018
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  3. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    When Humbucking pickups were designed (in the 1950s)
    Distortion and signal breakup were regarded as amp malfunction, by the engineers
    who designed the pickups, also by the engineers who designed the amps, and
    also by many of the guitar players of the time. Blues players were overdriving their
    amps, but they didn't get much airplay. The Les Paul Guitar and the ES-335 design
    were aimed at Jazz musicians, who mostly played clean. The Telecaster was aimed
    at Country and Western Swing players (by Leo Fender) and they mostly played clean
    also. The Strat was a rocker from day one, as was the SG.

    What that means is that any of the modern pickups designed to sound like the early
    ones ought to give you what you're asking about: Excellent musical clean tones.
    I recommend the Gibson '57 classic and '57 Classic plus. Anyone who thinks those
    sound muddy needs to look carefully at their signal chain. The only way those could sound muddy is if someone plays them through a muddy amp or pedals.

    Other makers offer so-called "PAF" voiced pickups, and those ought to do what you want
    as well. Output should be in the 8 Ohm range, or a bit less. The '57 Classic plus is a
    little hotter than that, but only a little. The clean sounds of the '57s are awesome in my
    SG, and in Les Pauls and ES type guitars as well.

    Hotter pickups came into vogue in the '70s, when players began modding their guitars
    with aftermarket equipment that wasn't available to the musicians of the '60s. The clean
    sound was considered passe, so the hotter p'ups were intended to overdrive the amps
    of the day and cause signal breakup at less than ear busting levels. Players have been
    demanding hotter and hotter pickups ever since, except that some of us still like to play
    clean.

    Your 490R pickup sounds similar to the '57 Classic. Output is about the same, Gibson claims
    that 490s are voiced to bring out more midrange and give a more modern sound. I don't
    hear it, but I had 490s in my SG special for about a year and got along with them well.

    The difference between the 490T and the '57 Classic plus is more dramatic. The Classic plus
    is a hotter sound, and a better balance in the bridge position, but it isn't considered a high
    output pickup. So the clean sound is stunning IMHO.

    Others will chime in describing pickups they are familiar with. I spoke about the '57s because
    I bought a set when M/F marked them down to $100 each, and have them in my SG special,
    and love the tone.
     
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  4. 67King

    67King Member

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    I had 490R/498T in my Les Paul and HATED them. The 490 was incredibly muddy. Obviously the guitar affects it, but when I put in a set of SD 59's, it completely transformed teh guitar. I am waffling on putting in a set of Pearly Gates I picked up on Craigslist a few months ago. Have thought about putting them in one of my SG's, as well.

    But to the OP, I wouldn't rule out the SD 59's. I assure you they are less muddy than the 490.
     
  5. sazista

    sazista Active Member

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    Hmm, lots to think about. Just to clarify, I'm not intending to change the sound of the Epi. It went from dark, to much less dark. I was set to go, because I like the look and overall feel of my Epi 310 over my Special Faded, but when I compared them: recording different styles and amp sounds into Logic Pro X, I was astounded that the Gibson's 490s were just brighter (though a bit much, I could tame it with the tone control), whereas with the Epi's new SD Jazz/JB combo, it was just that, "brighter than it's original pups, but still lacked definition in the notes. Soooo, I decided to stick with the Gibson, to my dismay, due to the sound. Even my band told me, "the Gibson SOUNDS better than the Epi with. I am very curious how this Faded would sound with 57s or SD 59s. I'll roll it around it a bit. Though, imagining what Col Mustard's usual sound advice would be, maybe I shouldn't fix what ain't broken! Here is a good one that I just found:
     
  6. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    That video is a good example of how I feel about Gibson pickups.
    The tones are similar, but the 498T is hotter and many say more harsh
    than the '57 Classic plus. It's a more modern pickup intended to satisfy
    more modern players. But the classic tones of the '57s are just what lots
    of us want also.

    I've read other posts from players who said the Gibson pickups are muddy...
    and to tell you the truth, I don't understand how that happens. Gibson has installed the
    490R/498T pickup set on Les Paul Standards, SG Standards, Vees, likely many ES series guitars
    literally for decades. So there are thousands and thousands of Gibson guitars out there
    playing away with their stock pickups still in. Thousands and thousands of Gibson players
    making music with them. *shrugs ...No mud.

    BB King, The Allman Bros, Alabama, Derek Trucks, Mark Knoffler, Angus Young, the list goes on and on
    and lots of these players used (or still use) stock Gibson guitars. Lots of them don't of course, and players
    on this level can afford whatever they desire... Look at Billy Gibbons and his collection.

    But I don't think Gibson guitars have a reputation for muddy pickups. Some players say this,
    but many many more just play them. That's why I suggested that anyone who hears muddy tone
    from his Gibson ought to look critically at the signal chain.

    IMHO, if you hear muddy tone, it ain't your pickups. It's somewhere forward of that.

    Having said these choice words, I will now shut up and let others who want to recommend other pickups
    take over.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2018
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  7. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    this forum has a whole section dedicated to pickups...
    where these issues are discussed over and over.
     
  8. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    I have a few SG Specials with the stock 490T/490R configuration. They get played through a Kemper and recorded into Logic Pro. But my favorite pickups are P-90's. They sound very clear to my ears. I recently installed a Kinman zero-hum P-90 in the bridge and it now renders all my other SG Specials with humbuckers obsolete.

    [​IMG]
     
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  9. sazista

    sazista Active Member

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    Thanks for the input.
     
  10. bwotw

    bwotw Well-Known Member

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    Duncan Antiquities are lower output and sound very clear.
     
  11. VetPsychWars

    VetPsychWars Active Member

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    DiMarzio 36 Anniversary in my main SG.

    Tom
     
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  12. Susihukkanen

    Susihukkanen Well-Known Member

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    My personal selection, maybe totally incorrect in someone elses hands. I take:
    - SG with 57 Classics for that rocknroll sound,
    - SG with T-tops for that vintage sound,
    - SG with PG/AY for clean sound, and
    - SG with 490R/490T for something in between sound.

    That is my very subjective choice with my guitars.
     
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  13. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    Yep.
    Also check the height adjustment. It took me several hours of tinkering to get the 490/498 combo on my LPJ to the sweet spot.
    If I decide to do some pickup mods to one of my SGs, it will very likely be Dirty Fingers in both pickup slots or Dirty Fingers bridge and P90S neck. The volume knob is my friend.
     
  14. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    SGclsc.jpg LPLE.jpg lpmmsm.jpg 1wkt.jpg N-225.jpg
    They might be mine, as well.
     
  15. GrumpyOldDBA

    GrumpyOldDBA Active Member

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    Are there any specifics reviews or comparisons of the 2017 sg std with the 57s and the 2018 sg std ( that has something different )? Gibson has 57s in both 2017 std and hp but for 2018 only hp has the 57s ...
     
  16. gball

    gball Well-Known Member

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    I'm just gonna add that the Dirty Fingers is probably the worst-named pickup ever. They are the cleanest, brightest, loudest pickups I have ever used. IMO, not a "distortion" pickup at all. Very hi-fi, very balanced and extremely articulate.
     
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  17. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely agree.
     
  18. Clifdawg

    Clifdawg Well-Known Member

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    One thing you could try for the low, low price of free before you splurge on new pups is a pickup adjustment. My preference is adjusting the pup to where I get the output level I want, then backing it off somewhat and raising the adjustable pole pieces up to where I had the pickup before. That gives slightly more output to one of the coils, and with the output of the JB/Jazz models being so high, it should still sound pretty thick and creamy. It just adds a touch of single coil clarity to an otherwise honky humbucker. :thumb:
     
  19. VetPsychWars

    VetPsychWars Active Member

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    I like what Clif said. I like to take a radius gauge and bring up the pole pieces to match the radius gauge as a good starting point.

    Also muddy sound can easily be attributed to the mechanical parts vibrating all over the place! Consider locking stoptail and locking bridge if you don't already have those parts. Plenty of alternatives: Gibson HP takeoffs, a complete Faber kit, a complete Tonepros kit... these are in order of my preference.

    None of my pickups are "muddy" and all of my mechanical parts are locked down tight... perhaps this is why. At a minimum, I recommend the Faber collars to get the stoptail off the deck and the posts locked tight!

    Tom
     
  20. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    All pickups are clean sounding. The difference between pickups is that some are low output and others are high output. If your pickups are high output, and they are sounding dirty, turn down the volume on the guitar a bit. Voila - clean.
     

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