Jump to content
Gibson Brands Forums

Should I upgrade to Gibson 57 classic pickups?


oldrocker

Recommended Posts

Greetings all !

 

I bought an Epiphone "BB King-Lucille" guitar 2 months ago, and I am generally pleased with it, considering it is a chinese guitar.

 

I am thinking I would like to upgrade the pickups to the Gibson "57 classic" pickups, but before I do, I am trying to determine whether or not it would make "$250 worth of difference" on this $700 guitar.

 

I don't have access to a Gibson with 57 classics on it, so that I can compare them.

 

Everyone I ask, doesn't seem to know for sure, so I can't get a definitive answer.

 

A pickup is a pickup, right?? Just a few windings of copper strand around a magnet??

 

Or is there an appreciable difference in the materials used, and the technique used to assemble them?

 

Are the chinese Epiphone pickup specs EXACTLY the same, or just real close??

 

Will the Gibson 57 classic pickups be an EXACT replacement, in terms of dimensions??

 

Are the Gibson 57 classic Bridge and Neck pickups identical to each other, except for the lead lengths and wire color??

 

Are the Gibson pickups made in the USA??

 

I appreciate any constructive input from you more knowledgeable than I on the subject, and besides, I'm just a newb on this forum.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome to the forum! 57s seem to be a popular upgrade on the semi hollows. As far as I know they are a direct replacement and are made in the USA but it might be worth upgrading your electrics before your pick ups.

 

Most importantly, only you can decide if your guitar needs upgraded. If you're happy with the sound then leave it be.

 

However, there are plenty of people on here who have used these. Here are a couple of threads I found on the subject.

 

Enjoy the forum! And more pics please!!

 

Best pick ups for a 335 - http://forums.epiphone.com/Default.aspx?g=posts&t=9781

Pick up advice - http://forums.epiphone.com/Default.aspx?g=posts&t=9675

Link to comment
Share on other sites

PAF's or '57's, were the original pickups on BB's ES-335, ES-345, and ES-355, that he used for decades, prior to

his signature "Lucille" models. Can't argue with those sounds/tones. '57's are a great choice, for an

upgrade/mod, if you choose to do one...IMHO! IF you do that, I'd invest in new (USA) pots and switches, too.

But, that's just me....

 

CB

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would definitely recommend the 57 Classic or Classic Plus pickups. I have a 57 Classic (in bridge) that I installed in a cheap Aslin Dane SG knock off guitar and it made a huge difference in the sound. Really sings now. Also have a stock Epi Les Paul that had generic pickups and replaced the bridge with a 57 Classic Plus and you would not believe how it shines. Not all pickups are created equal. You will never go wrong with a setup that includes these pickups.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A pickup is a pickup, right?? Just a few windings of copper strand around a magnet??

No.

 

Or is there an appreciable difference in the materials used, and the technique used to assemble them?

Yes. I made bass pickups for Ernie Ball in the 1989. The ratio when I took over was like one good pickup for every 12 that didn't make the grade. I was using a machine that was ancient. My finger guided the ever so thin wire. Most of the QC rejects were from the copper catching on the edge of the bobbin and breaking.

 

I'm sure there are cheaper ways to make pickups. Mr. Ball however was going for quality above all else. You get what you pay for.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Gibson 57's are nice pickups and are worth the money for your guitar. however, you should check out Dimarzio and Seymour Duncan. Dimarzio makes a nice P.A.F. pickup for less money than the Gibson 57's. also I have the Seymour Duncan SH-2n Jazz in the neck of my Les Paul and with the simple turn of the tone and volume knob i have a sweet warm sound that is great for blues and jazz tones. My advice is to check out the hot rodded humbucker set from Seymour Duncan they will only set you back $130. I did it and it opened up a whole new world from my LP.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Epiphone pickups use cheaper wire, magnet, metal chassis, plastic spacer bar instead of wood...need I go on?

 

In their defence, they are fairly good cheap pickups. However, there is definitely an appreciable difference when you upgrade. The bigger question for me is whether top price pickups like Gibson or Seymour Duncan are worth the money compared to GFS, Kent Armstrong, and other good lower cost brands. (In the UK the list price for one Gibson Burstbucker is about £120 / $240). If you can afford Gibson or SD, go for it. And while you're doing it, it makes sense to spend another $50 upgrading pots, caps, switch, socket at the same time.

 

It's also a waste of money buying expensive pickups if you're going to sit playing through a cheap solid state amp. If cash is limited, a better amp may be a better investment.

 

I've bought a couple of pairs of Burstbuckers, but I wouldn't pay UK retail prices. I got both pairs secondhand from e-bay sellers in the USA, paid about $120 a pair.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

PAF's or '57's' date=' were the original pickups on BB's ES-335, ES-345, and ES-355, that he used for decades, prior to

his signature "Lucille" models. Can't argue with those sounds/tones. '57's are a great choice, for an

upgrade/mod, if you choose to do one...IMHO! IF you do that, I'd invest in new (USA) pots and switches, too.

But, that's just me....

 

CB[/quote']

 

Definitely change the wiring while you're at it.

USA pots, new caps (Orange Drops or whatever), selector switch, braided wire, etc.

No point in having nice pickups go through crappy wiring.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

PAF's or '57's' date=' were the original pickups on BB's ES-335, ES-345, and ES-355, that he used for decades, prior to

his signature "Lucille" models. Can't argue with those sounds/tones. '57's are a great choice, for an

upgrade/mod, if you choose to do one...IMHO! IF you do that, I'd invest in new (USA) pots and switches, too.

But, that's just me....

 

CB[/quote']

 

Definitely change the wiring while you're at it.

USA pots, new caps (Orange Drops or whatever), selector switch, braided wire, etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks all, for the valuable input.

K.E.B...thanks for sharing your experience with winding pickups.

 

I just received an email from Gibson answering the same questions I posed here, and here is their answer:

Me:

Hello,

I bought an Epiphone "BB King-Lucille" guitar 2 months ago, and I am generally pleased with it, considering it is a chinese guitar. I am thinking I would like to upgrade the pickups to the Gibson "57 classic" pickups, but before I do, I am trying to determine whether or not it would make much difference.

A pickup is a pickup, right?? Just a few windings of copper strand around a magnet??

Or is there an appreciable difference in the materials used, and the technique used to assemble them?

Is the chinese Epiphone pickup copy an EXACT copy, or just real close??

Will the Gibson 57 classic pickups be an EXACT replacement, in terms of dimensions??

Are the Gibson 57 classic Bridge and Neck pickups identical, except for the lead lengths and wire color??

Are the Gibson pickups made in the USA??

 

Them:

Hello Scott,

Thanks for contacting Gibson. The Alnico Classic humbucking pick-ups used in the Epiphone Lucille are sonically on a par with the USA built Gibson '57 Classic humbucking pick-ups. They both use Alnico II magnets and share the same Gibson humbucking pick-up design. The Epiphone pick-up components are sourced in Asia. The Gibson pick-ups are fabricated in the US. They fit in either position. Thanks.

 

Interesting perspective...they don't seem to think there's much difference...but I tend to agree with the consensus here...an upgrade will make a sonic and tonal difference. Perhaps it's more a matter of taste.

 

Would it be possible to unsolder my covers from my Epi pups, and re-solder them over other humbucker pups with a metal base?? I would think so...has anyone tried it? Or do you just toss your covers? I prefer to keep the covers, to keep'er pretty..

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...The Alnico Classic humbucking pick-ups used in the Epiphone Lucille are sonically on a par with the USA built Gibson '57 Classic humbucking pick-ups...

 

Their noses must have grown several feet when they said that!!! :^o :^o

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The neck and bridge pups ARE NOT the same. They have different outputs and are optimised for either bridge or neck and labelled as such.

There is no theoretical difference between the GIbson USA and Epiphone Asia pups but thats just theory. If Gibson genuinely believed what they told you do you honestly think they would still be putting USA made pups in their own lower priced guitars?

 

DO NOT attempt to unsolder the covers. Get new covered pups if you like the covered look, dont try to recycle the covers on your old pups. Seriously you will just end up in a mess and with ruined pups.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh and as for fit, pretty much any standard size humbucker will fit any standard humbucker size hole! From that very simplistic viewpoint a neck pickup can be used in the bridge position. It will fit and it will work. It just wont be "optimised". Same is true in reverse.

 

You can also mix pickup types if you feel you must although the results might be less than ideal when you set your selector switch to "both".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am thinking I would like to upgrade the pickups to the Gibson "57 classic" pickups' date=' but before I do, I am trying to determine whether or not it would make "$250 worth of difference" on this $700 guitar.

[/quote']

Abso-frigging-lutely. Gibson '57s are really nice pickups and will do wonders for your Lucille.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

Hey I just wanted to chime in with my experience, I upgraded my pickups to '57 classics and my switches to switchcraft switches and pots to american pots and it was a great upgrade, it definatly improved the tone and response of the guitar. But what really sent the guitar over the top was a change to Oil Filled Caps, this is by far the best bang for your buck upgrade on these guitars.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I upgraded the p/u's, wiring, switches, pot's etc. on my Dot and it became a totally different guitar. Personal opinion, given Epi's rep for cheap wiring etc. is to go all out. I couldn't be happier with the changes I made to mine. :- YMMV.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...