School me on Gibson humbuckers?

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Wallaby, Dec 9, 2019.

  1. Wallaby

    Wallaby Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Hello,

    I'll soon receive a guitar, and I'm trying to learn all about Gibson humbuckers as a consequence.

    I spent some time yesterday reviewing and searching on other sites and realized that I don't know as much about humbuckers and Gibsons in general as I do about Fenders and their single coils!

    So I have learned a bit about current pickups from Gibson

    - Burstbuckers I, II, III
    - '57 Classics & Classics Plus
    - MHS


    And also that Seymour Duncan Seth Lovers and Antiquities are well-regarded, as well as "Timbuckers" and "Custombuckers" which apparently aren't available or are expensive.

    I *think* my guitar will arrive with '57 Classics.

    So, are there Gibson pickups you like and ones you don't?

    I plan on using the method of lowering the pole-pieces completely, then raising the pickups to around 2-1/2 mm from the strings, and going from there, and also experimenting with pole-pieces.

    The guitar is a 2014 ES-339.

    I appreciate your guidances!
     
  2. Vfc13

    Vfc13 Tele-Meister

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    I
     
  3. Danb541

    Danb541 Tele-Meister

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    I'm not a huge fan of the 490 pickups. I'm not familiar with the 57's. I really like all the burstbuckers.
     
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  4. naveed211

    naveed211 Tele-Holic

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    Won’t know til you try.

    I prefer Burstbuckers, 1&2 to be precise. Perfect amount of warmth and bite, to me.

    BB Pros are too brash. MHS sound kind of bland to me. 57 Classics sound good, but better with the covers off, less polite that way.

    Wolfetone Legends are my favorite boutique PAF type, and Duncan 59/A2P is my favorite “poor man’s” combo in that ballpark.
     
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  5. Wallaby

    Wallaby Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Thank you for the advice so far.

    Naveed, do you think a Burstbucker I neck and II bridge is a good combination?
     
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  6. naveed211

    naveed211 Tele-Holic

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    That’s my favorite Gibson combination by far. It’s got good balance, it can do pretty, it can do rock. Sounds good clean and driven. An old school sound but not overly polite, a bit of rawness which I like.

    The boutique PAFs I’ve tried are not way better than that combo, in my opinion.

    Everything tends to sound more mellow in a semi hollow, so I go for more bite in pickups particularly in those types of guitars.
     
  7. Northern Tele

    Northern Tele Tele-Meister

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    I have an SG Standard 2017 T with the 57s. I am really starting to dig them. I usually stay on Bridge pickup use a rat distortion pedal/delay into Bassman Ri...great tone really simple.

    I find Gibson guitars in general and humbucking pickups don't take modulating effects as well as single coils or fuzz pedals for that matter.

    You have twice the output as a single coil guitar so a simple distortion pedal onto a nice tube amp you are on your way.
     
  8. stratoman1

    stratoman1 Friend of Leo's

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    I have a 2014 339 Studio with 57 Classics. I love those. I have a set in my LP as well
     
  9. IronSchef

    IronSchef Tele-Holic

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    I have the 57 Classic/Classic Plus set in my LP - absolutely fantastic pickups (IMHO)!
     
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  10. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    The 57's are good.
    I like the Seth Lovers a bit better, but not sure that's valid in a blind test!
    But really, other than going to super hot or unusual HB's, I have found they make very little difference. I've done way too much switching of HB's in my life only to realize they are not incredibly different.
     
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  11. bftfender

    bftfender Friend of Leo's

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    have
    490/490
    57
    496/500
    61 Tuckers
    490/498
    p90
    hum/mini hum

    i like em all..
     
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  12. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    All the ones you list are variations on a theme (unless the Burstbucker III are wound really hot, I can't recall).

    Even within a particular line they will vary.

    '57 Classics are good pickups.

    You'll get the most mileage out of making sure you have good 500k pots and then mucking around with pickup height, tilt and pole piece changes.

    For me:

    - lower neck pickup to flush with surround. Raise treble side slightly. Set polepieces in kind of a Strat stagger
    - Same stagger on bridge polepieces. Set height to balance output of neck. probably bass side slightly lower.


    From there I tweak slightly to balance ouptut string to string and across the pickups.

    YMMV. I like a bright, low output vintage humbucker sound.
     
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  13. Jerry_Mountains

    Jerry_Mountains Tele-Meister

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    I have BB I and II in my ES335, they can do anything really, with the right setup the bridge pickup it's almost nocaster-like.
     
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  14. Chicago Matt

    Chicago Matt Friend of Leo's

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    The only modern ones I can comment on are the '57 Classics and the Duncan Seth Lovers. I have two Epi Dots, same model, same factory. Both have Mojotone 50s-style wiring harnesses and the same upgraded Gotoh Bridge. One guitar has 57/57+ and the other, Seth Lovers. It's subjective, but I prefer the guitar with the Seth Lovers - by a pretty big margin. The Seth Lovers have more clarity than the '57 Classics, which seem overly thick sounding to me for a lower-wind pickup. Maybe it's that the '57 Classics are wax potted where the Seth Lovers, true to PAF specs, are not. Again, totally subjective.
     
  15. Wallaby

    Wallaby Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Wow, this is great - thank you all so far, I really appreciate it!

    I *think* there might be a "Memphis Tone Circuit" involved in this guitar, too, which I've seen described variously as a) treble bleed, b) 50's wiring or c) 550k Audio taper pots.
     
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  16. Wallaby

    Wallaby Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    This is interesting, I see Burstbuckers are unpotted and also unbalanced coils.

    I already know how much I like unpotted ( or almost completely unpotted ) - which is really well :) - and I understand the effect that will have.

    I'm not sure I understand what the unbalanced coils are all about.
     
  17. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Friend of Leo's

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    It’ll make your tone fall over if you drink too much...:D

    I don’t know, either...I hope somebody can enlighten us!
     
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  18. clayville

    clayville TDPRI Member

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    My CS-356 has '57 Classics in it and I love them.

    The small-bodied Gibsons are extraordinarily versatile guitars in my view, capable of everything I need in between an LP and a 335. I use mine for everything from blues to funk to rock to jazz. To my ear the 339s lean a little closer to prototypical mids-heavy 335 sound, while the 336/356 leans a little more towards LP - but both designs are somewhere in the middle. They can both be a little brighter on the bridge pickup than a 335 player or an LP player might expect - almost Tele-like sometimes, but both REALLY respond to very small screwdriver adjustments in pickup height, pole piece height, bridge thumbwheels and tailpiece height. Spend some time with it, get to know what it can do and how you can use it. Then by all means tweak away - especially before you even consider modding it.
     
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  19. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Re: unbalanced coils
    I recently read about a pickup with different amounts of winding on the 2 bobbins. Maybe this is "unbalanced coils."
    The idea being, if you split a 13ohm (for instance) humbucker for a single coil sound, not only is it not really a single coil, but you're down to 6.5ohm, which ain't much.
    If one coil is 8.5 and the other 4.5, you use the 8.5 for your single coil tap.
    I don't know if there would be a difference when both coils are activated.
     
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  20. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Tele-Holic

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    I remember reading that unbalanced humbuckers tend to have more high end clarity.
     
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