Out with the 490's

Flyfish-mt

Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2012
Messages
58
Reaction score
17
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?
 

papagayo

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2018
Messages
2,240
Reaction score
1,982
Like you said the 490T is not fantastic. The 490R is fine to me.
 

Worblehat

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2018
Messages
506
Reaction score
420
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.
 

Flyfish-mt

Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2012
Messages
58
Reaction score
17
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:

skelt101

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2012
Messages
519
Reaction score
370
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.
 

Flyfish-mt

Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2012
Messages
58
Reaction score
17
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?
 

Biddlin

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2012
Messages
12,063
Reaction score
10,178
Location
-
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."
 

Flyfish-mt

Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2012
Messages
58
Reaction score
17
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.
 

garybaldy

New Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2014
Messages
4
Reaction score
4
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.
 

cerebral gasket

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2017
Messages
4,187
Reaction score
5,107
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.

full


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

Biddlin

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2012
Messages
12,063
Reaction score
10,178
Location
-
my go to gigging instrument.
smsgj.jpg
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.
 

Flyfish-mt

Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2012
Messages
58
Reaction score
17
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:


Latest posts

Top