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Best Pickups For "Classic" Tone


robertscott

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Hi all,

 

So I realise this sort of question has a huge amount of personal preference involved, but I'm wondering what are regarded as the best pickups to recreate the classic tone from the 70s? AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, etc.

 

I play a 1998 Les Paul Standard DC through a Marshal JCM 2000.

 

Thanks

If you are looking strictly at Gibson pickups, you can't go wrong with a set of 57 Classics. What pickups do you currently have?

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If you are looking strictly at Gibson pickups, you can't go wrong with a set of 57 Classics. What pickups do you currently have?

 

 

Agreed, 57 classics ...I've tried other pickup's but have always come back to these.

 

I wasn't actually thinking strictly Gibson, but I'll definitely consider the 57s. Currently I have the 490/498

 

From what I've been reading/listening to, it seems like Seymour Duncan Seth Lovers are a good choice too

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What IS "Classic" tone? Who's "classic tone?" [biggrin]

 

That's just so subjective, and not limited to pickups!

Amplifiers, had a huge influence, on "classic" tone(s).

 

But, for Gibson, it would have been PAF's, and P-90's!

All the pickup choices, we have now, simply didn't exist

back then. Some may have had their PAF's rewound, or

"customized" back then. But, most were pretty 'stock,"

in my experience.

 

Today, I'd pick '57's, or the lower output versions, of

"Burstbuckers!" P-90's, too...if you love their particular

tone/characteristics.

 

By the way, a lot of Led Zeppelin's "classic" (recorded) tone, was via a Telecaster,

and various (Vox, Supro, and Marshall, etc.) amps. Never mind, what "coloring" was

done, in the board!

 

Cheers,

CB

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What IS "Classic" tone? Who's "classic tone?" [biggrin]

 

That's just so subjective, and not limited to pickups!

Amplifiers, had a huge influence, on "classic" tone(s).

 

But, for Gibson, it would have been PAF's, and P-90's!

All the pickup choices, we have now, simply didn't exist

back then. Some may have had their PAF's rewound, or

"customized" back then. But, most were pretty 'stock,"

in my experience.

 

Today, I'd pick '57's, or the lower output versions, of

"Burstbuckers!" P-90's, too...if you love their particular

tone/characteristics.

 

By the way, a lot of Led Zeppelin's "classic" (recorded) tone, was via a Telecaster,

and various (Vox, Supro, and Marshall, etc.) amps. Never mind, what "coloring" was

done, in the board!

 

Cheers,

CB

 

you'd know it if you heard it ;)

 

I've listened to a few demos but it's hard to say what the difference between 57s and the 490/498 really are as I've not seen a comparison using all the same gear except pickups.

 

Hmmm. It'd be nice if some friendly guitar shop would put some 57s in my LP DC, then take them out and let me hear the 490/498s, then change back and forth again a few times so I could hear the difference...

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I like the 59s and 57s also. That said the Seths and Dimarzio anniversaries are alright also. Subjective to personal preference not so much a right or wrong. As far as the 490-498 I like the 490s but not so much the 498 as I like the 500T better so its really what works for you.

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you'd know it if you heard it ;)

 

:rolleyes: Well, what/which "Classic" tone(s), are you referring to? [tongue]

 

Beatles

Stones

Yardbirds

Animals

Byrds

Buffalo Sprinfield

Cream

Hendrix

Jefferson Airplane

The Band

Grateful Dead

Allman Brothers

Jethro Tull

Led Zeppelin

Arrowsmith

Mike Bloomfield

BB King

Albert King

Freddy King

Albert Collins...Etc., etc., etc.!

 

All of which, by the way, were/are the "Classic" (now), but Current (then)) sounds/tones, that I grew up with!

 

Point is, "Classic" tone is/was as varied as "Modern" tone tends to be.

And, has a LOT more variables, than just pickup type(s).

 

CB

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:rolleyes: Well, what/which "Classic" tone(s), are you referring to? [tongue]

 

Beatles

Stones

Yardbirds

Animals

Byrds

Buffalo Sprinfield

Cream

Hendrix

Jefferson Airplane

The Band

Grateful Dead

Allman Brothers

Jethro Tull

Led Zeppelin

Arrowsmith

Mike Bloomfield

BB King

Albert King

Freddy King

Albert Collins...Etc., etc., etc.!

 

All of which, by the way, were/are the "Classic" (now), but Current (then)) sounds/tones, that I grew up with!

 

Point is, "Classic" tone is/was as varied as "Modern" tone tends to be.

And, has a LOT more variables, than just pickup type(s).

 

CB

 

Which ever ...the 57 classics could who a decent job of covering all of these tones pretty well.

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Hello!

 

I prefer the 57s too. The P90s are excellent too for old-fashioned rock.

 

But, still I say get a nice amp first. I am quite sure that the current pickups would sound classic through an SLP100 head a 1960 cabinet.

 

Good luck... Bence

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Which ever ...the 57 classics could who a decent job of covering all of these tones pretty well.

 

I'd never argue with that! [biggrin] But "Classic Tone," for me, is just too ambiguous a term,

to be relegated to any one type, or model, of pickup(s). There are just too many variables.

It's a bit like "what is Good/Great tone?" To me, that would be whatever "tone" works best,

for the song! [tongue] There is no particular "Classic" tone, really. The term "Classic"

is just thrown around too much, IMHO. All the bands I mentioned, had their own very distinct

"Sound." Were they "Classic"...as in "of the highest order?" Of course, but quite different

in their overall sound, and in their various approaches, as well! That was, and still is, a

GREAT thing, too!

 

So again, IMHO, whatever works, works...That's all. [biggrin]

 

And, I totally agree, with Bence...a Great Amp is critical! More so, to me, than any particular

guitar type, or pickup model(s). What IS a Great Amp? One, that gives you the variety of sounds

you want, or need! Valve(tube), Solid State, or Modeling. That's it. After all, Electric guitars,

with the "Best" pickups, whatever you deem that to be, have no voice, without an amp! [biggrin]

 

OK, enough tail-chase.jpg [flapper][biggrin]

 

CB

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...a Great Amp is critical!...Electric guitars with the "Best" pickups, whatever you deem that to be, have no voice, without an amp!...

Happily for us on that point the OP set the record straight in his very first post;

 

...I play a 1998 Les Paul Standard DC through a Marshal JCM 2000...

Tail-chasing is obviously not an issue here...

 

[wink]

 

Pip.

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Outside of the Gibson branded pups I recommend Sandford Magnetics. This guy does great stuff. I just ordered some of the 9022 p-90's for my 50's Tribute.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YV2ExW6yy1E

 

Depending on where you are, his prices are in CAN $'s and can be real affordable even taking in to account VAT.

 

Strongly recommend getting in touch and seeing what he can recommend for that classic 70's rock tone.

 

They do a fantastic selection of vintage voiced PAF styles and more modern alnico v iterations.

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IMHO, the best pick ups for the 70's "classic tone" would the pick ups that were for the most part in the LP's at that time: T-Tops. [thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

 

T-top pick ups are my absolute favorite pick ups. Sadly, these pick ups have not been made for about 35 years. You can find them available on auction sites, and they are pricey.

 

As far as pick ups that are currently in production, IMHO, Classic 57's are your best bet.

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When it comes to Gibson pickups... their 59 Tributes are my personal favorite (have them in my 2014 Trad and they are just awesome). They only made them in 2014 & 2015 though, so finding a used set can be tough. I sincerely hope they make them available for sale new sometime soon.

 

57 Classics (and/or 57 Classic Plus) though are a very close second favorite and you can't really go wrong with them

 

Once you open up your choices beyond Gibson though there is an absolute plethora of options. The big names like DiMarzio and Duncan have lots of good stuff--everything from PAF sounding pickups to high output ones. Then you have the boutique makers (far too many to list) and your options are so plentiful that it may actually give you vapor lock trying to wade through all the possibilities. [flapper]

 

Myself, I'm getting ready to pull the 57/57+ combo out of my 2016 Trad and swap in some Tyson Tone Lab TTL-1 PAF style pickups. It was a hard decision to make (both in trying to pick a new set of pickups and in just deciding to replace the 57s in the first place)... but I decided to try something new and chose the Tysons for a variety of reasons. They should be here in a couple weeks (hand made to order by Bobby Tyson)... so I'll know soon enough, I guess. If I don't like them I can always just throw the 57s back in and I know I'll be good. [biggrin] But I really think/hope these Tysons are gonna be the ticket for me and my 2016 Trad.

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