How should I think about pickup “hotness” vs dialing in amp gain; 490T/498T

Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by Mike CT, Sep 15, 2019.

  1. slowhand

    slowhand New Member

    Jan 13, 2020
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    i think many people over think the differences between 490 and a 57/BB. 490 is about right at a BB3 but has 4 conductors. Good pickup. Slightly overwound PAF.
    The 498t is a ceramic magnet and more winds and 4 conductors. Like the Paf to 490 the 498t is an updated Dirty Fingers with 4 conductors and some really small differences. otherwise.

    498t is the custom shop favorite. All I can say is a clean sound on a Blues Jr with my BB pros, is breaking up with JP Crunchlab. One must simply turn the gain down to rematch to the amount of break up you want.
    Like some one else said, overwound pickups are a thing of the past when a VOX and Marshall super lead wrre the highest gain amps around. Since the 80s when Mesa and others started adding gain channels to the preamp and Boss came out with the distortion pedal and overdrive pedal overwound pickups became the least practical way overdrice an amp.

    My advice is to not fall into the false web of pick ups. There is the Leo fender single coil. There is the Seth Lover PAF, Aka one of the BB family, or 57. All those have nuanced differences. The 490 is the Seth Lover with 4 conductors. Great pick up.

    Seymour Duncan and DiMArzio make good products but totally totally unnecessary hair splitting.
  2. Bettyboo

    Bettyboo Well-Known Member

    Jan 25, 2015
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    ^ respectfully, I'm not sure that your explanation of a 498T is accurate at all. Here's some info from the Gibson site:

    Screenshot 2020-01-20 at 18.58.00.png
    slowhand likes this.
  3. slowhand

    slowhand New Member

    Jan 13, 2020
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    You are correct, I made a mistake, i had thought both 500 and 498 were ceramic.
  4. Kazik Walusiak

    Kazik Walusiak New Member

    Jul 17, 2016
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    OTE="Col Mustard, post: 526479, member: 2032"]Welcome to ETSG, and let's give you a round of applause
    for finding a guitar you can bond with. If you already have a fine Les Paul, all the better. For many years, the SG Standard (and the Les Paul Standard) came equipped with 490R and 498T.

    I think your question is a really good one, and you aren't the only one who asks... we see this question over and over.

    First let me say that you can discount a lot of what is written on guitar fora about pickups. Most of it is just blowing smoke. The only one whose opinion is important is you, in your house... and me in mine. And maybe your band mates and your audience. I've seen posts that describe the 498T as "shrill" and also seen the 498T described as "muddy..." To me, all that sounds like EQ and nothing to do with pickups at all. Turn yer knob man, then get it polished.

    On this forum, we usually temper our normal tendencies to over simplify discussions, by using the IMHO letters.
    These four letters encourage the reader to make up their own mind, which I personally think is important.

    So +1 on the post by Arctic, where he says play it for a while and listen.

    To answer your question: I did just this and played my new SG special with 490T for about a year before deciding
    that I would swap it for something a little hotter. What I chose was the Gibson '57 Classic plus, which is NOT as
    hot as a 498, but has more output than the 490T.

    The reason I did it (and the reason that bridge pickups like the 498 have more output) is that the placement of the pickup near the bridge saddles means that the strings themselves have less travel when you pick them,
    and a higher output pickup makes up for this.

    Whether or not you find this useful depends on your style. After playing my new SG for a good long time, I
    decided that a bit more output in the bridge pickup would be useful to me, and besides: by this time I was so head over heels for my SG that I wanted nothing but the best for my baby. *grins

    Like a man buying a lovely dress for a beautiful woman... She doesn't really need it, but he likes the way
    she behaves when she's wearing it. And after.

    I don't think you need another 498T... because you've got a fine Lester with this p'up. So IMHO if you replace. your 490T, get something else. I highly recommend the '57 Classic plus, which is now my favorite pickup, but SD and Bare Knuckles, and Rio Grande and Lollar all make excellent contenders. One of my other faves is the "Golden Age Overwound" hum bucker from StewMac, which costs about half what the rest of them do. I put one of these in the bridge position of my Epiphone Wilshire and loved the tone. I sold that guitar to a friend and he says the same.

    On this forum, we have a whole section on pickups, and you can read till the cows come home on these issues...
    but in the end, it's mostly your style, and the pick you choose (or no pick) and your signal chain that will determine your tone IMHO... the pickups are all accurate. Play clean for country, and stomp a pedal for the metal...[/QUOTE]

    I totally agree with you. I have a 2006 Ebony with 490/490T, and the amp I use is a Marshall DSL401 (not 401C or CR0. I pitch the gain at 1/4 and use a Fulltone OCD, and the tone on both pups is outstanding. At band rehearsals you find all about your guitar, and this one is a belter.
  5. S.Ustain

    S.Ustain Active Member

    Jan 28, 2018
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    Well, I just hate hot pickups. It is easy to increase signal strength elsewhere in the signal chain. With a hot pickup, the most you can do is lower it away from the strings (most are too close anyway), but it will never have the clean qualities of a moderate output PU. If you play overdriven, distorted tones all the time, no sweat, but for some sounds, hot pickups... suck.

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