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ES-333 Pickup Question

#1 User is offline   Retroversion 

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Posted 15 February 2019 - 12:07 PM

Hi everyone! I'm new to this forum and am actually new to Gibson guitars. Anyway, I recently bought a used 2004 ES-333 and am wondering if the pickups are legit. I know that the 333 originally came with 490 pickups, but my guitar has Classic 57s. So, at some point, the previous owner must have switched them out. But I want to make sure that these are Gibson pickups because I know that there is a lot of counterfeit Gibson stuff out there. Anyway, here are pictures of each pickup as well as close-ups of the labels on them. Any info anyone could provide would be much appreciated since I still haven't decided if I want to keep this guitar. Thanks.

Attached File  Pickup Picture 1.jpg (32.84K)
Number of downloads: 20
Attached File  Pickup Picture 2.jpg (40.67K)
Number of downloads: 23
Attached File  Pickup Closeup 1.jpg (48.23K)
Number of downloads: 20
Attached File  Pickup Closeup 2.jpg (27.77K)
Number of downloads: 18
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#2 User is offline   Twang Gang 

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Posted 15 February 2019 - 06:25 PM

Look like real '57 classics, but you never know.

The important thing is how they sound? You must have liked the sound or you probably would not have bought it. 490s are pretty hot pickups and will drive an amp and make it break up quicker. '57 Classics are mellower and give a more old school "traditional" Gibson tone in my opinion. Better suited for the model you have.

As long as they sound good to you, that's all that matters. [thumbup]
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#3 User is online   gnappi 

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Posted 15 February 2019 - 11:52 PM

I have "the" 335 sound covered in a 2000 model with 57's. My 333 and its 490 set make a good enough sonic difference to leave them. As far as them being "hot" at the volumes I play at I never hear that come through. If I only had one Gibson semi it would have 57's.




Regards,

Gary
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#4 User is offline   Retroversion 

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Posted 17 February 2019 - 08:32 PM

Thanks to you, Twang Gang and gnappi, for your replies. Unfortunately, I've decided not to keep the guitar. After a week of playing it, I've discovered a couple of problems like a slightly bent tuner, a crack under one of the tone controls, a selector switch that doesn't work reliably, and a bad saddle on the bridge. The funny thing, too, is that while I liked the tone of the pickups when I was playing the guitar at my local GC, when I got home, I realized that the pickups didn't sound nearly as good when played at a lower volume. I guess all in all, I'm just not blown away by the tone, and really, for guitars that cost as much as Gibsons do, I need the tone to be strikingly good at lower volumes. I may start saving up for a Memphis ES-335 Studio, though, and that leads me to another question: is my experience of needing to turn up the volume to really get a good tone out of the pickups characteristic of Classic 57s? If it is, they may well just not be pickups for me. What has your experience with Classic 57s at lower volumes been?
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#5 User is online   gnappi 

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Posted 18 February 2019 - 03:00 AM

Bummer there. The little nits can be dealt with but the sound not hitting your target is the deal breaker.

I don't think a 335 will hit your target either though since the 333 and 335 studio are not going to be much (if at all) different.

I'm saying this an an owner of the following brands also...

If you are determined to get a semi maybe (if they are available locally to you) an Epi Sheraton, Ibanez AS 100 120 153, or Eastman 386/486 may hit your target? For sure they are all worthy gits, at a much better price, most are better appointed than the 333 or 335 studio and make an inexpensive starter for mods.


Regards,

Gary
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#6 User is offline   Larsongs 

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Posted 18 February 2019 - 11:18 AM

Tone is subjective. What you want to hear may be entirely different than what someone else wants to hear..

You really need to go to a big Store & try out the types of Guitars & Amps whose sound you're trying to achieve.....
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#7 User is offline   Retroversion 

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Posted 18 February 2019 - 09:07 PM

View PostLarsongs, on 18 February 2019 - 11:18 AM, said:

Tone is subjective. What you want to hear may be entirely different than what someone else wants to hear..

You really need to go to a big Store & try out the types of Guitars & Amps whose sound you're trying to achieve.....


I've already spent about half my life doing that! [biggrin] It's actually one of my favorite hobbies. As I said above, I'm new to Gibsons. I'm not new to guitars. But you're right--going out and listening to different guitars and amps is the way to go. Unfortunately, it's not always that easy to hear a higher end guitar like a Gibson where I live because most of the guitars stores around here don't stock them. If you want to hear 'em, you have to buy 'em first.
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#8 User is offline   Retroversion 

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Posted 19 February 2019 - 04:29 AM

Thanks to everyone who replied to my post. As it turns out, this story has a happy ending...

I read Gary's post this morning, and I started thinking that he was right--it really was a bummer that this guitar hadn't had the tone I was looking for. But then again, Twang Gang was right in that there was something I liked about the tone when I first heard the guitar or I wouldn't have bought it. When I first played the guitar at my local GC, we set things up for distortion, and it was this really ragged-edged, nasty, mean kind of sound that I really liked. I mean, my other guitars will do that kind of thick, smooth distortion that is good for some things but isn't really snarly. But the Gibson distortion was major in-your-face snarl that didn't compress and disappear into the back of the amp. It was striking, and that's why I bought the guitar.

When I got the guitar home, though, I couldn't reproduce that tone. I tried it though both of my main amps ('82 Fender Concert and Marshall 2525C), and I just could not get that snarl. So, I figured that what I'd heard at the store was largely the effect of having been able to play the guitar pretty loud at GC (through a Fender Deville) and having played it right after playing for a while on an Ibanez with flatwounds on it. So, given that there were a few other issues with the Gibson, I had decided not to keep it.

But I'd gone back and forth about this guitar for a week, and even though I had decided to return it, there was still a part of me that didn't want to give up on it. Yeah, it has its issues, but they can all be dealt with at some point since none of them really affect the the guitar's playability. So, I was thinking about the only two Gibsons I've ever played, and I realized that not only had I played them both at GC but also that in both cases, the same sales guy had dialed in the distortion. I never really thought to pay that much attention to what he was doing. So this morning, I just called the guy up and asked him how the heck he had set those amps up. He gave me his formula, I got out the Marshall and set it up, tweaked it a little, and voila! There was the tone that I bought the guitar for. There was that snarl.

So, a few years ago, I picked up a Fender California Series Strat that I put Vintage '62 pickups into and strung up with Blue Steels, and it has one of the best clean sounds I've ever heard. Lots of airy chime. I've never done much with distortion until recently, though, but I'm glad I finally got it figured out and am happy that I decided to work with the Gibson a little more. Needless to say, I'm keeping it. Now I have a Fender that plays like butter and sounds like heaven and a Gibson that plays like butter and sounds like hell. I love it.

Thanks to everyone for their replies. I appreciate it.
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