490 Pickups in my Special T...blah.

Col Mustard

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Here's a recommendation from someone who has experience with 490s, and ended up swapping them for '57 Classic and '57 Classic plus after about a year.

The 490s are fine pickups that do what Gibson designed them to do. IMHO the objections that I
have read from Gibson bashers don't have much to do with the pickups, but are EQ problems
easily overcome without surgery. Try an EQ pedal and see. Or use your amp controls.
Some guys would rather buy new pickups than try to use the controls they were given on their
guitars and on their amps. I don't understand that.

I ended up playing my SG with the neck 490 volume at about 7 and the bridge p'up dimed.
I ran the neck 490's tone control at about three and the bridge 490's tone control at about 8.
That gave me good tone, highs mids and lows from each pickup and a volume boost when I
flipped to the bridge. I played mostly in the middle position, mixing them both.
My SG sounded great like that. I used a volume pedal, and a blues driver for solos.

But the more I read on this forum, the more I tended to agree with players who said that
Gibson '57 Classic p'ups and SGs are made for each other. I listened a lot, and finally bought
a set when M/F put them on sale. No regrets. The tones from the '57s are clear and musical....
You can take that tone anywhere... add f/x judiciously... spin it, echo it, delay it, overdrive it
and end up with great rock tone.

If you decide to do this, I'd suggest you replace only the bridge p'up. The Gibson '57 Classic
plus is my favorite pickup, and is ideal in the bridge position. It would also work fine in the
neck position if you wanted a hotter guitar signal. Add a 498 or a Dirty Fingers in the bridge
and drive into breakup zone faster.

IMHO the neck 490 sounds great there, as any PAF would. So does the '57 Classic, or any
other PAF imitation. But a 490 in the neck has plenty of everything, and this was the Standard
Gibson neck pickup in SGs and Les Pauls for decades.

Plenty of other recommendations on this forum as well... SD, Bare Knuckles, Rio Grande,
Lollars, etc etc. Go to our pickup section and read. But I recommend you master your 490
set before you change anything. I ended up putting my 490s from my SG into my step daughter's
Epiphone Les Paul. They sound better in that Les Paul than they did in the SG... *laughs
 

MR D

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I just didn’t know what the abbreviation meant.

My Bad, 'I Could Not F^%^&% Believe' is what I was aiming at...in the way that Gibson will sell a Standard model guitar with a Soft-Shell Case and its cheapest Hum-Bucking Pickup's...I get it: that GIBSON just emerged from bankruptcy so its actually a shrewd business move in that most players are at least going to shell out $$$ for a Gibson USA line Hard-Shell Case.......And Curleigh knows an SG Standard deserves it.
 

Rich Cuellar

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Here's a recommendation from someone who has experience with 490s, and ended up swapping them for '57 Classic and '57 Classic plus after about a year.

The 490s are fine pickups that do what Gibson designed them to do. IMHO the objections that I
have read from Gibson bashers don't have much to do with the pickups, but are EQ problems
easily overcome without surgery. Try an EQ pedal and see. Or use your amp controls.
Some guys would rather buy new pickups than try to use the controls they were given on their
guitars and on their amps. I don't understand that.

I ended up playing my SG with the neck 490 volume at about 7 and the bridge p'up dimed.
I ran the neck 490's tone control at about three and the bridge 490's tone control at about 8.
That gave me good tone, highs mids and lows from each pickup and a volume boost when I
flipped to the bridge. I played mostly in the middle position, mixing them both.
My SG sounded great like that. I used a volume pedal, and a blues driver for solos.

But the more I read on this forum, the more I tended to agree with players who said that
Gibson '57 Classic p'ups and SGs are made for each other. I listened a lot, and finally bought
a set when M/F put them on sale. No regrets. The tones from the '57s are clear and musical....
You can take that tone anywhere... add f/x judiciously... spin it, echo it, delay it, overdrive it
and end up with great rock tone.

If you decide to do this, I'd suggest you replace only the bridge p'up. The Gibson '57 Classic
plus is my favorite pickup, and is ideal in the bridge position. It would also work fine in the
neck position if you wanted a hotter guitar signal. Add a 498 or a Dirty Fingers in the bridge
and drive into breakup zone faster.

IMHO the neck 490 sounds great there, as any PAF would. So does the '57 Classic, or any
other PAF imitation. But a 490 in the neck has plenty of everything, and this was the Standard
Gibson neck pickup in SGs and Les Pauls for decades.

Plenty of other recommendations on this forum as well... SD, Bare Knuckles, Rio Grande,
Lollars, etc etc. Go to our pickup section and read. But I recommend you master your 490
set before you change anything. I ended up putting my 490s from my SG into my step daughter's
Epiphone Les Paul. They sound better in that Les Paul than they did in the SG... *laughs
Thanks for the informative reply! I bought a Burstbucker Pro bridge pup for $90 to try out. Its a quick connect so i should be able to install it within a half hour. Ill report back here after it arrives and its installed. Im hoping it will play well with the 490 neck pup I have in it.
 

MR D

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IDK what makes you do that, I dont ...GIBSON.com has the info I stated right here.
https://www.gibson.com/en-US/Gear/Pickups-and-Electronics
@ $130, 490 R&T's are GIBSON USA's cheapest Humbucking pickup's, by a wide margin too...and Since I've had enough of the $#!T I've taken from people around here...... I'm going to come right out and say it..... IMO, 490's ? they suck, that is compared to '57 Classics(especially), 'Burtsbucker 1/2/3 BB Pro's(especially), Dirty Fingers, '61R/T's and every other GIBSON Pickup I have ever had on a GIBSON Guitar. The 490 series are the only GIBSON Pickups I do not like .....and you probably thought I was going to say 'Luck too', huh ?
 
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MR D

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For the longest time Gibson only made 2 pickups, the P90 and the Humbucker. Boy, they must have been real cheapskates then.

That is correct.
GIBSON has been pulling cheapskate moves since long before I started buying their guitars, and GIBSON USA is well-known for doing exactly that....need a recent example?Soft-Shell case and their cheeepest HB pickups (490's) as factory stock equipment on a STANDARD model guitar in 2022.
 

Ryan Everling

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A lot of players like the 490's and they do what they are supposed to do. They're just not my cup o' Whiskey, and IMO GIBSON makes better pickup's for sure ('57's).....I took the 490's out of my 2020 SG Standard as soon as I got it on my bench....ICNFB GIBSON USA put its cheapest hum-bucking pick-up in a Standard model guitar, WTF ? GIBSON was even putting the 490's in Lester Customs from 2012 to 2019, maybe still are ? not for my CUSTOM Shop $$$$, no ! This is one of my one or two minor problems w/GIBSON..

Selling those 490’s?
 

jtcnj

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What is that much different in the actual 490 construction that makes them cheap or inferior?

I dont have a side here, btw.
Either I like the sound of a particular pickup in the application I am trying to use it in, or I dont.
Thats purely subjective.

From the Gibson site it looks like just one of several PAF-ish "recipes" they offer.
 

Decadent Dan

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Thanks for the informative reply! I bought a Burstbucker Pro bridge pup for $90 to try out. Its a quick connect so i should be able to install it within a half hour. Ill report back here after it arrives and its installed. Im hoping it will play well with the 490 neck pup I have in it.
Those sound great in LP’s with 300k pots. They might be bright in an SG and 500k pots. At least you will have a comparison and no solder!
 
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skelt101

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What is that much different in the actual 490 construction that makes them cheap or inferior?
There is nothing in the construction that makes them cheap or inferior.

IDK what makes you do that, I dont ...GIBSON.com has the info I stated right here.
https://www.gibson.com/en-US/Gear/Pickups-and-Electronics
@ $130, 490 R&T's are GIBSON USA's cheapest Humbucking pickup's, by a wide margin too...and Since I've had enough of the $#!T I've taken from people around here...... I'm going to come right out and say it..... IMO, 490's ? they suck, that is compared to '57 Classics(especially), 'Burtsbucker 1/2/3 BB Pro's(especially), Dirty Fingers, '61R/T's and every other GIBSON Pickup I have ever had on a GIBSON Guitar. The 490 series are the only GIBSON Pickups I do not like .....and you probably thought I was going to say 'Luck too', huh ?
The MSRP of Gibson's pickups is not in dispute. That is plain for anyone to see. What makes me shake my emoji head is the implication in your "argument" that, because the 490's MSRP is the lowest, it is somehow cheap or inferior.
That is quite simply not the case. The 490 is made from the same basic materials and standards as the 57 Classic and Burstbuckers that you like so much. The differences are the wire insulation, how it is wound on the bobbins, and what Gibson thinks it can charge for the product.
You probably would've taken much less "$#!T" if you'd said something like: "No matter how I adjust them, I just don't care for the tone of the 490 pickups." Personally, I think the MSRP of Gibson's pickups is laughable (especially the higher priced ones), considering what is available from other companies, e.g. Seymour Duncan. Lastly, I will not pretend to know what you are going to say. (What does "luck too" mean?) Skelt101 out.
 

Rich Cuellar

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Those sound great in LP’s with 300k pots. They might be bright in an SG and 500k pots. At least you will have a comparison and no solder!
Thats interesting. I always assumed LPs had the same guts as the SG. I wonder why they have 300 pots and SGs 500?
 

sazista

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I find them to be very versatile. I can play blues, to punk and they do everything in between too. I don't know what it is that isn't working for you. If you need more gain, you get that from an amp and effects. The 490s are crystal clear, so that helps in making your chords defined. But, many of us have bought into the concept of "stock pickups - bad! - must change". I used to be that way until I took time to really listen. I will not remove the 490s from my 2002, which you see in my avatar. They were made by Gibson, therefore I give them credit for knowing what they hell they were doing. Either way, good luck with your search for pickups.
 
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Rich Cuellar

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I find them to be very versatile. I can play blues, to punk and they do everything in between too. I don't know what it is that isn't working for you. If you need more gain, you get that from an amp and effects. The 490s are crystal clear, so that helps in making your chords defined. But, some many of us have bought into the concept of "stock pickups - bad! - must change". I used to be that way until I took time to really listen. I will not remove the 490s from my 2002, which you see in my avatar. They were made by Gibson, therefore I give them credit for knowing what they hell they were doing. Either way, good luck with your search for pickups.
I wouldn't go so far as to say they're BAD, but my buddy has some Throbacks in his SG and they blew my mind at how good they sounded, so maybe that tainted my opinion of them. I can definitely live with them, I guess I just want something a teeny bit hotter.
 

Decadent Dan

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Thats interesting. I always assumed LPs had the same guts as the SG. I wonder why they have 300 pots and SGs 500?
Sorry for the confusion, I was referring to early 2000’s LP Volume pots. SG’s might have had them too.
 

papagayo

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The neck 490R is good for me, I like it but the 490T is really weak, not enough output level. The 498T is fine with the 490R.


5Ih0bpg.jpg
 

MR D

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There is nothing in the construction that makes them cheap or inferior.


The MSRP of Gibson's pickups is not in dispute. That is plain for anyone to see. What makes me shake my emoji head is the implication in your "argument" that, because the 490's MSRP is the lowest, it is somehow cheap or inferior.
That is quite simply not the case. The 490 is made from the same basic materials and standards as the 57 Classic and Burstbuckers that you like so much. The differences are the wire insulation, how it is wound on the bobbins, and what Gibson thinks it can charge for the product.
You probably would've taken much less "$#!T" if you'd said something like: "No matter how I adjust them, I just don't care for the tone of the 490 pickups." Personally, I think the MSRP of Gibson's pickups is laughable (especially the higher priced ones), considering what is available from other companies, e.g. Seymour Duncan. Lastly, I will not pretend to know what you are going to say. (What does "luck too" mean?) Skelt101 out.

The 490's are GIBSON cheapest pickups for a reason, ask GIBSON if you want to know definitively what that is....BUT, for me, put the 490's in a guitar that used to have '57's, or any other GIBSON Hum-Bucking pickup, and you should know why......and for GIBSON USA to put them in a Standard model guitar, to me, is a cheepskate move...I dont like cheeep, never have, probably never will....but thats just me.
GIBSON pulls this sort of cheeeepskate move all the time, been doin it for decades i.e. on the 2020 SG Standard' Modern you get 490's and...TADA...a Hag-Bag too ! IMO, thats the epitome of CHEAP !Buying a GIBSON STANDARD used to mean getting a bit more than that cheeeep $#!T !
 


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