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scottffitch

490R & 498T

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I had a Les Paul Smartwood that I bought new in 2003. Had 490/498s in it, with 300K pots. I never really loved that combination tonally. It sounded kind of dull and lifeless to me. But, the guitar developed a serious neck twist over the years, and ended up being replaced with a 2016 SG Standard T, also with 490/498s, but 500K pots. The SG sounds terrific. Utterly different than the LP.

 

It's all about how all the parts work together. The LP may have sounded better if I'd changed the pots to 500K (at least with my amps, and my playing style), but we'll never know.

 

As it turns out, when I opened the control cavity on the SG, I discovered that those pickups are 4 wire, with quick connectors plugged into a PCB. Meaning it would be easy to wire them up in the same sort of circuit as a new Studio, with the "tuned coil tap" option. If I can find a set of connectors that fit the ones on the ends of the pickup wires, I can just drop the PCB out and save it, with no permanent change to the guitar.

 

I could also try putting my set of 54 wire 57/57+ pickups that I pulled from a different guitar, just to see how they compare to the 490/498s.

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I had a Les Paul Smartwood that I bought new in 2003. Had 490/498s in it, with 300K pots. I never really loved that combination tonally. It sounded kind of dull and lifeless to me. But, the guitar developed a serious neck twist over the years, and ended up being replaced with a 2016 SG Standard T, also with 490/498s, but 500K pots. The SG sounds terrific. Utterly different than the LP.

 

It's all about how all the parts work together. The LP may have sounded better if I'd changed the pots to 500K (at least with my amps, and my playing style), but we'll never know.

 

As it turns out, when I opened the control cavity on the SG, I discovered that those pickups are 4 wire, with quick connectors plugged into a PCB. Meaning it would be easy to wire them up in the same sort of circuit as a new Studio, with the "tuned coil tap" option. If I can find a set of connectors that fit the ones on the ends of the pickup wires, I can just drop the PCB out and save it, with no permanent change to the guitar.

 

I could also try putting my set of 54 wire 57/57+ pickups that I pulled from a different guitar, just to see how they compare to the 490/498s.

 

do you still have the 490/498 from the les paul?

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I have been playing guitar since 1979. I own and have owned plenty of Gibson instruments over the years. In my opinion the Gibson 490R & 498T are the best set of pickups offered by Gibson. The 490R has Alnico II magnets and the 498T has Alnico V magnets. So, if you want less out put in the bridge position the 490T may work as it too has Alnico II magnets. The Gibson SG Faded series has the 490R & 490T pickups. The Gibson SG Standard has the 490R & 498T pickups. One more thing is Gibson also makes really good ceramic magnet pickups. Generally found in the Gibson Explorer and Gibson Flying V are the 496R & 500T Super Ceramics which I also love. Being made with ceramic magnets you can't use covers but that's just a trivial cosmetic feature. I have Burstbucker Pro #1 & Burstbucker Pro #2 in my 2013 Gibson Les Paul Standard. I wasn't too sure if I liked them or not. I had been playing at living room volumes. As soon as I plugged into my Marshall Head the Burstbucker Pro's just devastated. They sound GREAT at higher volumes with gain.

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I just swapped the bridge pickup in my Les Paul from a 498T to a 490T. Then swapped both the neck and bridge magnets to Alnico 5's. Waaaayyy better with those magnets!

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i still need a 498t for cheap loved the 490r/498t in my 2000 lp special but the 498t went bad like a year after i got it and i never have got another 498t. Im using a 400 now, but miss that sound of the 498t.

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I feel like the Gibson 490R & 498T pickup combo in the right guitar is highly overrated. Does anyone else feel like they get a bad rap..?

 

It's been my experience that many players who buy a new LP Studio, or SG Standard (two of the more affordable Gibson USA models..) often times blindly replace one, or both of these pickups immediately after getting their guitar home. This seems a travesty to me! It's my opinion that the 490, and 498 are some of Gibsons best pickups when in an all mahogany guitar..

 

Any thoughts?

 

-scott

 

I really like them in my studio. Usually it's my nature to want to upgrade or change things on my guitars. I thought about it but I then thought no I will keep them as they are.

 

I'd only switch them out if I bought another guitar with the same configuration like an SG.

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The 490R and 498T are great pickups for rock as they have more output than the Burstbuckers.

 

Having said that, never having tried the burstbuckers, but my old Gibson Les Paul Studio (with 490R/498T) could always do with a more pristine clean tone and more versatility.

 

Overall 490R/498T, great for power, but less versatile.

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