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Easy Gibson/Epi Pick Up Question...


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Here's a silly Question:


What makes up the Gibson sound? Is it a combo of the Wood

and the Burst Buckers they install? I mean I see that some famous Guitar

players will change out the Burst Bucker Humbuckers...


Is it common to replace the Pick-Ups that The Epiphone LP Standards

come with? They come with Alnicos, right? What about Burst Buckers

installed in an Epi? would it matter?


I mean couldn't you just buy some distortion pedals? does it cancel

out the true tones the guitar is capable of?


Or is it ALL personal preference?

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Not a silly question at all. Gibson wood and pickups (not all Gibsons have Burstbuckers) are certainly main ingredients of the sound. Pickup choices are very subjective but it seems that a pretty large number of Epi owners (me included) find the stock pickups lacking. And many of us have been very pleased with aftermarket pickups costing way less than Gibson OEM.

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there are companys that copy the PAF gibsons down to the wire size, type, bobbins, magnet type, base plate and cover material, slug materal, sloppy windings, etc. etc.


there are several companys that use the PAF as pretty much the standard they try to achieve.


Your basic tone is the guitar, you, and the pickups.. what you are sending to the amp.


however happy you might be with pedals... changing your pickups could make you happier.


Your questions are basic enough, that I would say.. keep your epis. play them a while. get to really know them..

and if you want something more out of your pups.. know what it is! that is, compare to others.. and listen to clips.. and read about

the choices others make long before you buy anything.


alnico IV or alnico V? magnet material changes.. some love ceramic magnets, too..

Brand name manus abound. and choices are plentiful.. knowing what you guitar itself can and can't do..

it may be treble heavy.. it may have a very warm sound... it may emphasize mids..

it's pretty important to NOT waste your money..


so get a really good grip on what you are playing, how you are playing it. through what amp..

you can swap pups all day long but if the pedals are sucking your tone out.. or the amp.. not much good will happen.


I've only played the epis standards in GC, etc.. and not long enough to really make a commitment to their tone pro or con.

but those are pretty nice pups.. far superior to the past ones epi had..


certainly it's the wood.. and also it can be the set up.. bad set up, bad tone.. clumsy string paths don't help anything.

a simple swap of tuners or nut or controls, caps.. these things can actually take a not so hot pickup right to happy.

so know you're gear as well as you can..

and remember.. it's easy to talk about gibson tone.. it's another thing to see who has modified their gibson.. which one they use.. why they use it.. even les paul users find completely different reasons to keep/change their pups.

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Well I'll be getting a Plain Top Epi LP Standard, next week.


I play guitar very well, but I've just always ever had whatever

guitar i could find, a plug in and play hack. never been a true tone

chaser, now I want to find a nice sound and use invest some

time and money in an Epi.


I don't plan to make any changes right away because

as you said, i really want to get to know the guitar and see

what it's capable of and what it's not. All i know right now is that

i LOVE the Les Paul sound and I LOVE the feel of a Les Paul in my



right now it'll be thru

a small Fender 15 watt Amp i've had for 20 years. I've played an old crappy

Single pick-up Ibanez thru it for years and it gave a real dirty sound that

i loved. I'll eventually upgrade my amp for stage, but not right

now. I'm hoping when i plug in the new Epi into my amp, it'll

sing the way i want it to but was curious about new pick ups versus



Thanks for the help

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Well, That's why I asked...Because You use the stock pups

but you go thru a Pod.


I know some pedals work wonders like the Rat 2 and other

Distortion pedals...and if the epi covered Humbuckers are

decent, why not go the pedal route first. That's one of the

things i was curious about.


I tend to lean towards the rough, garage, dirty fuzz kinda sound

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IMO you can't really fix the dull pickups by adding a pedal or a POD.


I play mostly through a 5W tube combo with a POD and/or pedals. You can make your overall sound a bit different with gadgets but you can't get the definition, clarity and harmonic complexity you get from good pickups. The POD's amp and cab emulation with effects will still make your gear sound like Epiphone stock pickups.

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I have 5 Epi's (Sheraton, Joe Pass, Special, 56 Gold Top with P90's and Lp Ultra I). No two sound alike even through the same amp. I also have a Gibby LP Studio, two Strats, a 65 original Tele and a bunch more. I gig with all of them.

They are all original and I wouldn't think if swapping pickups on any of them.

I had to learn how to play them all to bring out the best sound each one has to offer.

Someone challenged me to play an old Buck Owens song Buckeroo. I played it on my Tele then picked upy Joe Pass and played it again. The audience loved it while the guys in my group busted a gut laughing.

You can change out the hardware all you want but it is you behind the wheel when you are playing. Learn what your guitar can do and push it to sound it's best.

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