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Help in distinguishing authenticity of humbuckers of 1997 Gibson Les Paul Standard.

Rand Blade

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Dear Friends,#-o


I'm a self-confessed Gibson Les Paul fanatic and nothing else comes close to my preferences.

Gibson has and always will be the best to which others are judged.


I'd greatly appreciate your help in distinguishing the authenticity of the two humbucker pick-ups of my 1997 Gibson Les Paul Standard Honeyburst Serial 91707557 please.


I bought this LP privately about a year ago and only recently had to replace a crackly sounding input jack.

While doing so my tech friend became suspicious about the pick-ups' authenticity, hence my checking with you.


Despite everything else about this lovely guitar appearing and sounding genuine, the pick-ups don't have anything printed underneath them, yet still sound as great as they should.


*Do some Les Paul's have humbuckers installed that actually have nothing printed on them, re: a Patent number, a serial number, Gibson, or Gibson USA?


*Can you tell which particular pick-ups these are (490's or ...)?


Here is a link to where you can see photos of this LP:



Many thanks for your time, consideration and help with this,




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Doesn't look like it; the most tell tale sign is the brass or copper plate used on the bottom of your pickups. Here is the underside of a Burstbucker:




I would look at it this way: If whoever you bought the guitar from made no claims about the pickups then don't feel like you got scammed. We get PLENTY of posts here from people looking to replace stock pickups so it's pretty common and, with all the aftermarket pickup companies out there, somebody must be buying all of those things.


If you like the sound of the pickups in the guitar, then that's all that really matters unless you're into collecting or just feel like you must have the guitar be all original. If you bought it as a player, enjoy!

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Sounds like you just want to know, not that you're horrified at the idea of having the pickups swapped - somebody presumably did it for a change in the sound so if you like the axe then you're all set.


Now to answer your question, there are a few signs that these are not OE pickups. Rich pointed out the color of the baseplate (and it seems curiously worn where the brass tarnished as if somebody scraped off another decal or logo).


I noticed that the adjustable polepiece screws do not thread into the baseplate like they do on Gibsons; it appears as if they thread into something else and then just come out a larger clearance hole on the back.


Also, the baseplates are missing the four little screws that would hold Gibson bobbins in place.


Yours have two holes in the corners for the wire to exit the pickup; Gibsons only have one.


Your mounting legs/ears have triangular ends on them; Gibsons are square.


The red and blue plastic insulated wires are also a giveaway; Gibsons use exposed tinned braid wire on factory installed pickups (some models of Gibson pickups, sold as replacement parts, have multi conductor wiring, but I don't believe they're red or blue).


Also the wire running to the toggle switch, visible in the corner of the neck pickup rout, looks like it's white plastic insulation instead of silver tinned braid on the outside.


The picture of the bottom of the pickups appears as though somebody used silicone sealant to get the cover back on (or maybe they got some shiny new covers?); they should be tacked with a blob of solder otherwise they won't have a good connection for purposes of shielding.

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Many thanks amigos for your excellent opinions and time involved here. You've all answered the burning question perfectly and confirmed any doubts.


It's funny though. Whatever brand they are, these alien PUPs still sound pretty sweet, and I think bobv is also spot on with the previous owner(s?) swapping the PUPs. But it seems contradictory they'd waste time and effort removing the decal or logo if they preferred these to the originals.


Unless someone's tried to pull a fast one and sell a genuine LP but swap the PUPs right before ownership changed hands. O:) Tsk tsk tsk... O:)


Whatever the case, problem easily solved - replace the replacements with Gibson's.


We play them because we love them, right? If your Honey's been violated, it'll never feel right again.

Life's too short not to have peace of mind.


Anyway, thanks again my friends.


Les Paul's forever,





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