57's VS BurstBuckers

Discussion in 'Pickups' started by lineboat, Dec 10, 2015.

  1. bwotw

    bwotw Well-Known Member

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    I never had them in the same guitar, so it's hard to compare. I think 57s are muddier (but fatter) and the BBs clearer (but harsher). I think I prefer the BBs.

    I have an SG that came with '57s and a LP that came with BB Pros. I've changed them for Antiquities in the SG and DiMarzio 36th Ann PAFs in the LP and both have been for the better. Other than being both lower output (a fair amount, actually), they're clearer, sweeter and ruder. Neck pickups are usable now, not a muddy, bassy mess like before.

    That said, I played a LP with a BB3 in the bridge and LOVED it. Might be too hot for what you're looking for, though. But it was beefy and clear at the same time and drove the amp really good.
     
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  2. frankd

    frankd Well-Known Member

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    Well that makes me wonder because I have had a pair of burstbuckers that didn't sound as good
    as these others and I have experience with the dimarzio 36th. So its making me wonder
    if these pickups being a asymmetrical wound isn't more of a art than science and some turning out
    with less or more not being as good?
     
  3. lineboat

    lineboat Well-Known Member

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    Here's where I'm at with the 490 set; the bridge is too trebly, too much in the highs. The tone knob helps, but it's not a "cure". If you set the amp to make it sound right, then the neck pickup is muddy as hell. I've played through a Mustang III, a Roland Cube, an AC15, an AC30 and a Super Reverb. It actually sounded good through the SR....

    I'm not looking for super hot; the 59's were too much for me. P90's, a Strat or Tele is what I usually use on harder stuff. HBs I use just into crunchy territory. Does that make sense?

    I think I need to test drive some and get a feel for the tones. Otherwise it's an expensive guessing game, and I've been up and down that road with the Tele stuff.
     
  4. frankd

    frankd Well-Known Member

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    As you said it would be a guess from what you said the di marzio 36th anniversarys would be my guess as to
    close to what your looking for BB p are a lil hotter im my opinion or one more guess the pearly gates
     
  5. Westernrider

    Westernrider Well-Known Member

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    +1 for another 36 Anniversary set vote. As I'm a Duncan user, these pickups took a little while for my amp tweaking and ears to get used to. With the honeymoon well over, I really have to recommend them.

    Have three SG with these pickups and all three are great in their own way - 36 Anniversary set, SD WLH set, and Jazz - 59/Custom hybrid. My preference is the WLH set and then the other SG's depending upon my mood, the position of the moon, and other intangible factors.
     
  6. lineboat

    lineboat Well-Known Member

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    I had a JB/Jazz set once I really liked.... May hafta give those a listen again. And check out the 36th Anniversary set.

    Thanks for the input fellas!
     
  7. Bettyboo

    Bettyboo Well-Known Member

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    Nice reply, thanks. I have a p94 on the way to put into Betty's neck - nothing wrong with the 36 anni, just want a p90.
     
  8. mdubya

    mdubya Well-Known Member

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    I don't think it is possible to say one pick up is "better" than another. Different? Yes. Do I like one and not like another? Yes. But as shown in this thread, different people prefer different sounds. There is no wrong, no right, IMHO.

    To answer the BB vs 57 Classic question; BB coils are unbalanced and give an edgy, less smooth sound. They also come in a few varieties: BB Pros with A5 magnets are stronger and even edgier. BB 1, 2, 3 have A2 magnets which make them mellower and a bit warmer.

    57 Classics have balanced coils which produce a smooth sound. They have A2 magnets which make them even warmer and smoother.

    Personally, I love the warm, smooth sound of 57's and have since I put an early 57 Classic plus in my SG way back in 1992. It replaced a Duncan '59 which i found transparent and positively lacking any character. Others may find the '59 to be perfect for them. Both had replaced the original 500T which was way too hot and too modern for the sound I wanted. Others would have loved that hot modern sound.

    My 1991 SG has 300K pots and I would never change them because that adds to the dark warm sound I like, and I believe 57's were developed for 300K pots.

    I have a 57/57 + combo in an Epi Sheraton with 500K pots. The neck pickup is perfect in the Sheraton. The bridge is OK, but I think I would prefer a 300K pot in the bridge.

    I have a standard set of 57's in an ES 335 which has 550K pots. I think they sound terrible with the tones on 10. They sound decent with the tones on 5 or 6, but I think I am going for some lower pot values in that guitar to get that fat, warm tone I love. I am tempted to go with a 57 + in the bridge at the same time, though the regular 57 is OK.

    None of the bridge pickups top the 57 Classic + with the 300K pot in my SG.

    I would admit that I have played a Wolftone Marshallhead and a Duncan 1978 Custom Shop in a couple of Les Pauls which make the 57 + in my SG sound a bit ordinary, back to back. But within 5 minutes of playing the SG, that difference is forgotten.
     
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  9. RVA

    RVA Well-Known Member

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    So, as I was reading this thread, I was playing a semi-hollow Gibson with '57 Classics. I decided to put it down to grab an LP with Burst Buckers so I could play them back to back. This confirmed my long standing opinion that Burst Buckers are the warmer and more balanced pup. I also have '57 Classics in my SG and I have always found them difficult to dial in with both guitars. I always found them a bit bright and harsh, despite much fiddling with the pup height and tone knob. I thought about changing them many times but stuck with them because I knew I was supposed to like them and because I try to keep my guitars stock where I can. I am only now just getting the hang of them.

    I know this is against popular opinion and I only have experience with Burstbuckers in this one guitar. Maybe these pups or this guitar is special, but based my limited experience, give me Burst Buckers any day.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2015
  10. ScottMarlowe

    ScottMarlowe Well-Known Member

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    My feelings are quite similar, except that I like the tone of the 57s more. But honestly I've got a lot of other pickups I like btter than ether BB, ProBucker, C57, or Alnico Classic Pros.
     
  11. lineboat

    lineboat Well-Known Member

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    Alrighty, I had the opportunity to play some BurstBuckers today. I'm not sure which ones; it was an 09 LP. It sounded good, but not what I'm after. (I can't quit thinking about the feel of that guitar. It was amazing!) It's narrowed down to the Pearly Gates or Seth Lovers. Time will tell!
     
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  12. mdubya

    mdubya Well-Known Member

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    It is tough to find really good Seth Lover demos out there. This guy does a bunch of demos with this guitar with Seth's. Search his channel for more examples. :thumb:

     
  13. lineboat

    lineboat Well-Known Member

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    I'll check him out. Thanks man.
    I'm in Strat mode right now, two humbuckers. And the fever to get this LP right is getting high!
     
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  14. mdubya

    mdubya Well-Known Member

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    You playing a lot of Dead Kennedys with that Strat? That was East Bay Ray's set up; a Strat with a pair of humbuckers. :D
     
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  15. lineboat

    lineboat Well-Known Member

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    No sir, not quite. Actually never tried. Might be something to try!
    I saw part of that bunch one night in Nashville with Reverend Horton Heat. Heck of a good show.
     
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  16. lineboat

    lineboat Well-Known Member

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    Well, I have done some horse trading, and have a new set of Seth Lovers coming for my LP. After discussing what I have, and what I know I like and don't like with a nice feller at Seymour Duncan, I decided those would be closest to the tone I was after. I also have all new pots and everything coming to wire it 50's style and just pull the old pickups, circuit board and all at once. So.... Once it's all in..... I'll give a review!
     
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  17. sazista

    sazista Active Member

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    Very poignant observation. I have been going back and forth between my Epi with The 650R and 700T and my Gibson Special with its stock 490 set. Though i didn't expect it, the Epis have more tonal variation and go from cold to hot and have a really cool mix for the middle position, something i have never found in other guitars. The Gibs are good, But IMO, are a litle Peavy-ish (in the 80s in Calofornia, we used that expression to describe thin, weak, or cheap sounding amps or guitars). Try em out and see what you like.
     
  18. oldrockfan

    oldrockfan Well-Known Member

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    I've found that pickups are one of those things that it just comes down to personal preference. I know players that swear by burstbuckers, others that think aftermarkets are the only way to go. I also know players that are very happy with the stock Gibson 490s. the cool thing about pickups is they are not terribly expensive and easy to swap out so just about anyone can save up and change what they have to something else. Also keep in mind that the amp and pedals make a huge difference in the way a pickup sounds. For example, you might love a really punchy pickups tone but when you run it thru a distortion pedal and thru a high gain amp... it turns to garbage. On the other hand, that less aggressive pickup when sent thru the same setup might sound fantastic. Also have to factor in what style music you are into. What works with classic rock might not be the best choice for death metal. When people ask... I always say that for my 2c, Gibson 57/57+ are the goto for an SG. I've owned and played SGs with 490, burstbuckers and the 57s and without any hesitation... I like the 57s best. But keep in mind I am an old guy and love classic rock from the 60s-80s.

    My suggestion is to try out a bunch of pickups thru your guitar type and your pedal/amp setup and then you will get a much better idea of how a pickup will sound in your guitar.
     
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  19. ivan H

    ivan H Well-Known Member

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    I'm with oldrockfan on the 57/57+ in an SG. Mine came with burstbucker 1 & 2, my LP with the 57/57+, but I swapped them over & much prefer it this way. 57/57+ just seem to suit the SG really well & the burstbuckers are better in the LP. That said, have you given any thought to a magnet change. I was reading on Manlius pickups site the other day & (on a link under the vinyl pickup) I read that a Gibby 490r with the magnet changed to a short A5 = T top. Much cheaper than a pickup swap & could possibly give what you're looking for. Cheers
     
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  20. CosmicSG

    CosmicSG New Member

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    I have BB Pros in a Les Paul, BB1 and 2 in another Les Paul and 57s in my SG

    The best way to described the difference between them is:

    BB Pros seem to be the most aggressive with the most bite. This is 100% due to the Alnico V magnet. They still have a sweet voice, but compared to the other two, they are the rocker of the trio.

    BB1 and 2 have an Alnico II magnet and are un-potted. They are a bit tamer than the Pros, but have a bit more chime or woody sound to them. They are still a bit aggressive.

    The 57 classics also have an Alnico II magnet and are potted. They are kind of like a smoother, more mannered version of the BB1 and 2. They still have a chime and woodiness to them, but are not as edgy or aggressive.
     
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