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498T and a 490R vs classic 57's


glider

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I had a Les Paul studio with the 498 and 490s and I didn't like them. I ended up getting rid of the Guitar. I found that they were good for overdriven stuff but poor for clean sounds. I now have a 2009 Gibson Custom ES-335 with the classic 57s installed and it's the most versatile Gibson I've ever owned. I would highly recommend that you make this change.

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Lower "Gain," mostly, with a bit less upper mid-range, with the '57's. The pickups you have

are based on PAF's, as are the '57's, but yours are a bit higher output, so they distort a bit

earlier. '57's will capture the "old school" tone, from the later '50's and '60's a bit more

accurately. More "clean" headroom, before distortion. So, it really depends on what you're

after, tone wise. I changed my Les Paul Classic, from the stock (Very Hot) Ceramic's, to Classic

57, 57+, and never looked back. They (finally) gave me the old "Les Paul tone," that I remembered,

from guitars I owned, in the 60's. I can't recommend them highly enough. BUT...that's because I

love that old school tone. [thumbup][biggrin]

 

Other's may/will differ.

 

CB

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Lower "Gain," mostly, with a bit less upper mid-range, with the '57's. The pickups you have

are based on PAF's, as are the '57's, but yours are a bit higher output, so they distort a bit

earlier. '57's will capture the "old school" tone, from the later '50's and '60's a bit more

accurately. More "clean" headroom, before distortion. So, it really depends on what you're

after, tone wise. I changed my Les Paul Classic, from the stock (Very Hot) Ceramic's, to Classic

57, 57+, and never looked back. They (finally) gave me the old "Les Paul tone," that I remembered,

from guitars I owned, in the 60's. I can't recommend them highly enough. BUT...that's because I

love that old school tone. [thumbup][biggrin]

 

Other's may/will differ.

 

CB

 

+1 [thumbup]

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I have the 490, 498's on my LP Robot and love them there. I tend to play that guitar more overdriven and crunchy.

The 57's came with the ES-339 and they sound fantastic on that guitar. Really versatile as previously mentioned and warmer.

I don't have any Gibsons that share the same pickups. Intentionally.

To each his own of course.

 

Dave

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I usually don't care for 498Ts, but for some reason, when I had my 333 they were perfect for that guitar- I've tried them on many different guitars, and I really don't like them, but, as I said, they sounded great on my ES333, never had a reason to change them.

Now, I've replaced all the A5 mags in my 498Ts with A2 mags, and I like them much better that way.

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Just to keep it simple you should at least try the 490 R and T set.

Its a proven formula that has a lot going for it.

Ditch the high out put bridge and get a 490 T in there.

It might be exactly what you are looking for.

I know that set sounds good directly into an amp.

Personal exp.

 

Cheers

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If you don't like the way your 490r neck sounds in the 333, you won't like the way it sounds with the 57 classic either... If you think the 498T is too twangy/hot, and you want a Gibson pickup for the bridge, I would recommend a 490R or 57 classic (neck version) in the bridge...

 

I have done a ton of pickup swaps in my time, I have worked on the side as a guitar tech also... I cannot hear the difference (in the same guitar) between a 57 classic and a 490r, or the difference between a 490t and 498t... I have a 57 classic (neck) in the bridge of my 137 and it still provides enough of the bridge sound with a bit of warmth also...

 

my advice would be leave your 333 alone, you have great pickups in there... if you don't like the sound of your guitar, you probably would be better off with another guitar...

 

I know it sounds impossible, but certain guitars (looking within the same make and model) will sound different... I cannot explain it... It may be the cut of wood they used... who knows...

 

I am also a believer that guitars start sounding better as they age... Again, this will cause a bit of debate/controversy, but I really like the sound of guitars at least 20 years old... Is it because they made guitars with better wood in the past... I don't know the answer to that question... [confused]

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thanks for all the info... i actually am really happy with the sound of my 333 with the stock pups. I was just curious if swapping out for the classic '57 would make a dramatic change to the sound....

 

Oh i see, to address your question, for the neck, no difference imho, and for the bridge a very small difference ... It will be a mellower sound with the 57 classic +

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thanks for all the info... i actually am really happy with the sound of my 333 with the stock pups. I was just curious if swapping out for the classic '57 would make a dramatic change to the sound....

 

The high out put pickup you have in there now will have the most midrange and output of the pickups mentioned, the '57 will be lower output and less mids than a 490T 490's are medium out put.

The '57 seems to be less out put and somewhat less mids , but some folks (myself included) think there are better sounding pickups around than the 57's.

Not everyone is fond of a midrange peak that all the Gibson pickups seem to have. Most of the other builders of pickups seem to favor a flatter EQ . At least thats my impression.

The 57's are Gibsons shot at cloning a vintage PAF.

The 490's were there attempt to modernize their humbucking concept while maintaining the Gibson "sound", which I think they do quite well. The 490R is a great sounding neck pickup.

Not everyone "loves" any of these pickups.

Pickups are just such a personal thing.

I'll bet you would find a half dozen pickups of various manufacturers that would work for you.

I do know that ANY of these pickups with a "great" amp will sound good enough to cut a hit record with.

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I've got a small warehouse of Gibson pickups that have been tried in a variety of guitars. I really like the 490R in every guitar I have every used it. You simply must take the time to adjust poles and pickup height.

 

In the 490T vs. 57 classic debate, I have grown to really like the sound of what a 490T can do in a hollow body or semi-hollow body guitar. That little extra midrange gives you something additional to work with. The hollow body guitar tends to add a nice little bit of warmth to that 490T midrange growl. It is a winning combination.

I have a Washburn HB 30 in which I stuck a 490R/490T set. I have an Epiphone Dot which has a 490R and a 57 classic in the bridge. Neither is in the custom shop league, but each gets plenty of compliments on tone.

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You might check this out; although feedback from guys are more informative. Gibson explains the differences between their pickups with sample clips.

 

 

My link

 

Be better if they took different pickups and played them on the EXACT same guitar with the EXACT same amp/settings... but they don't do that...

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  • 1 year later...

I always like the 57 humbuckers better for some reason, just smoothness and overall tone. As for trees I just read where trees grown on plantation closer to say civilization have more minerals in them, because before guitars were made out of trees growing on a hillside and those have less minerals. Anyway there is a gibson video on utube on how the Les Paul is made (about 56minutes long) and I think that is where I heard that. Because of the environment and all of that stuff, trees on hillsides are not like (plentiful perhaps) as they use to be, and trees grown nowadays on plantations are different that way now.

 

I suppose that makes a difference in the grain of the wood and perhaps in the past more of the tree was wasted whereas nowadays more of the tree is used and in bigger chucks when gotten.

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  • 1 month later...

Every piece of wood is different and will resonate differently. Go and read some posts on the acoustic section to get an idea of just how differently. Clearly on electrics the variance will be less noticeable, but it surely will count.

 

As for different humbuckers, well, it is also possible to modify the sound of hotter pickups by using the volume and tone pots, isn't it? Try turning down the volume on the 498s or 490s a tad, and you might just get the perfect sound.

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I LOVE '57's! My LP Classic, came with the Hot Ceramic pickups, and even

dialing back the volume, still didn't get me the "tone" I wanted. So, I

chose to switch them out, for '57 Classic, and Classic +, in the bridge.

Been in "heaven" ever since. But, that's just ME!

 

However, my Gibson "Lucille" has the 490 pickups, as stock...and I have no

problem with "her" tone! [thumbup] So...???

 

CB

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I usually don't care for 498Ts, but for some reason, when I had my 333 they were perfect for that guitar- I've tried them on many different guitars, and I really don't like them, but, as I said, they sounded great on my ES333, never had a reason to change them.

Now, I've replaced all the A5 mags in my 498Ts with A2 mags, and I like them much better that way.

Interesting observation.

I did purchase a well used ES333 in natural and figured that I would change pickups

as it is so easy with that backplate.

However I just love the tone I get and never thought about it again.

On the other hand I had a 335 with the '57s and always found them a bit too harsh,

ended up selling it and stuck to the 333. My 339 seems to be good with the '57s.

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  • 8 months later...

A late reply to this interesting thread...I really LIKE the 490's. I have a 2010 Epiphone Dot that has a set of Gibson 490's in it, along with a Gotoh TOM bridge and GOTOH aluminum tail piece. To me, it's a first rate guitar, a dream for blues, rock & roll and the little jazzy stuff I am capable of playing. I also have a '99 SG Special that was a road guitar for a rock band for some years and then served in a recording studio for a few years more...the big mod it has is a cover on the neck pup, but both the humbuckers are the original factory 490's.

 

IMO, Gibson got them right.

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