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What's different about Pickups?

#1 User is offline   Larsongs 

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Posted 28 July 2017 - 07:00 PM

I own a 2013 Gibson Memphis ES335 Dot reissue. I believe they all came with 57 Classics. Is that correct?

I also have a 2002 LP Std Plus with 490R & 490T Pickups.

I just got a new ES Les Paul with MHS Pickups.

Does anyone know the difference between the 57 Classics, 490R, 490T & the MHS HB's? Please explain.

Thanks,

Lars
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#2 User is offline   Twang Gang 

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Posted 03 August 2017 - 04:49 PM

I'm not an electronics guy and there are many here that can tell you specs and such about these different pups, hopefully they will chime in.

But here is my understanding. For a long time the '57 Classics were supposed to be as close as Gibson could come to the original PAF humbuckers from the 50s. The '57 referring to the year 1957.

The 490R (Rhythm/Neck) and 490 T(Treble/Bridge) are hotter, brighter sounding.

The MHS (Memphis Historic Spec) is the latest attempt at recreating the PAF tone.

So the '57 Classics in your 335 and the MHS in your ES LP are trying to recreate the sound of original humbuckers.
The 490s are just a more "modern" sounding pickup.
2017 Custom Shop 356 Mahogany/Maple Antique Natural
2017 Les Paul Standard T Honeyburst
2013 L5-CES Natural (Maple/Spruce)
2013 Les Paul Custom Lite (Mahogany/Maple) Ebony
2007 Taylor Solid Body Custom (Sapele/Walnut)
2010 Fender Telecaster (Ash)
2006 Taylor Grand Symphony (Rosewood/Spruce)
1981 Ovation Balladeer
1963 Walthari Mittenwald Classical
Rivera Venus 6 (1 X 12)Combo
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#3 User is offline   Pesh 

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Posted 28 August 2017 - 04:01 AM

View PostLarsongs, on 28 July 2017 - 07:00 PM, said:

I own a 2013 Gibson Memphis ES335 Dot reissue. I believe they all came with 57 Classics. Is that correct?

I also have a 2002 LP Std Plus with 490R & 490T Pickups.

I just got a new ES Les Paul with MHS Pickups.

Does anyone know the difference between the 57 Classics, 490R, 490T & the MHS HB's? Please explain.

Thanks,

Lars



View PostTwang Gang, on 03 August 2017 - 04:49 PM, said:

I'm not an electronics guy and there are many here that can tell you specs and such about these different pups, hopefully they will chime in.

But here is my understanding. For a long time the '57 Classics were supposed to be as close as Gibson could come to the original PAF humbuckers from the 50s. The '57 referring to the year 1957.

The 490R (Rhythm/Neck) and 490 T(Treble/Bridge) are hotter, brighter sounding.

The MHS (Memphis Historic Spec) is the latest attempt at recreating the PAF tone.

So the '57 Classics in your 335 and the MHS in your ES LP are trying to recreate the sound of original humbuckers.
The 490s are just a more "modern" sounding pickup.




TG's reply is good way of looking at it.

In terms of the electronics side of things; each of them will have a unique method of construction.
The magnets that are used can be AlNiCo or Ceramic. On the AlNiCo side alone, to my knowledge pickups can use AlNiCo II, AlNiCo III, AlNiCo IV, AlNiCo V and AlNiCo VIII. Each one of these will have a different effect on the electromagnetic field produced by the pickup, and therefore the character changes can be huge.


On top of that there is the wire that is used. Again to my knowledge, the most common wires used are 42 and 43 AWG (American Wire Gauge). To complicate things further; when this wire is wrapped around a bobbin, to create the 'coil' of a pickup - it can be done in varying amounts of turns. More turns equals more output. An average hum bucker has two coils of about 5000-6000 windings each.

In terms of humbuckers, you can also look at coil matching as a way that things differ between models. A '57 Classic has two matched coils, meaning both coils have the same windings; this is called symmetrical coiling.
The opposite of this, being asymmetrical coiling, is used on BurstBuckers, where one coil has slightly more / less windings than its' partner. This is the more vintage-correct method, as PAF's were made asymmetrically. This was accidental; they were aiming for a ballpark amount of winds in the pickup coils back then, and not being precise, which is why no '50s burst sounds like another.
Pesh, also known by some as Tom; an English bloke living in Spain, who likes sending all kinds of well-intentioned sonic shrapnel careening through the air. (Twitter = @TM_Fisher).

Things with Strings...
2002 Fender Squier Affinity Stratocaster - "Janus".

2013 Gibson USA Limited Les Paul Traditional Pro II - "Negroni".
2014 Gibson USA 120th Anniversary Les Paul Studio - "Jupiter".
2015 Epiphone Limited EJ-200 Artist - "Nightmaiden".
2016 Stagg M20 Mandolin - "Octavia".

Things I've Built...
First build; cross between a '57 Goldtop & the Lou Pallo Signature Les Paul; thread here [in progress and sadly on hold]

Things without strings...
Marshall MG15DFX.
Orange OR15.
Boss DS-1 Distortion pedal.
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