490R/498T vs. '57 Classic pups in SG Standard?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Burstbucker, Dec 21, 2009.

  1. Burstbucker

    Burstbucker Member

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    I recently scored a 2007 Gibson SG Standard. I'd like to get some of your thoughts on the stock 490R/498T pups vs. '57 Classics.

    I actually like the stock 490R and 498T pickups in this guitar but I've got a '57 Classic and '57 Classic+ on my Epiphone Dot Deluxe, I'm kind of half toying with the idea of putting those pickups on my SG, what do you guys think?

    In the past, I had removed the 490R and 498T pups in my Les Paul Standard and put in some Seymour Duncans, a Jazz in the neck and a JB in the bridge but in the end I actually prefered the stock Gibson pickups, call me crazy but it's true. I really missed the chime/cluck of the 490R & 498T when the pickup selector switch was in the middle position. These two stock pickups seem to go well together IMHO.

    Any love out there for the 490R/498T pickups?

    Knowing how much I can't leave well enough alone, I bet it won't be long before I rip those '57 Classic pups out of my Epiphone Dot Deluxe and try them out in my SG Standard, I'm just too curious I guess.:D
     
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  2. jpage

    jpage Silver Supporting Member

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    I have always loved the 490/498 combo. And Gibby 'buckers in general actually. But the '57 Classics are my second least favorite set (BB 1 & 2 are my least favorite).

    Compared to the 490/498s, the Classics will have less 'body'--or be more 'airy' if you are a glass full type. You hit the nail on the head with the 'cluck' comment--the in between (middle) tone with the 490/498s is the best out there IMO. The Classics don't compare in that regard, and are straight up thin sounding when played clean in comparison.

    All my opinion of course, but I've tried a lot of humbucker sets, and just about everything Gibson has put out. You didn't mention what amp/tone/style of music you are aiming for though, so YMMV.
     
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  3. ivegotwood

    ivegotwood Member

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    I guess it depends on whether you like high or low output pickups. I like the 498T, great for hard rock and blues etc. Not big on the 490 personally. 57's are more classic style as you know. That said, if it was me, I would put in the 57's
     
  4. Burstbucker

    Burstbucker Member

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    Well, I'm basically a 70s Rock/Blues kinda guy I guess.

    I use either a 50W Traynor YBA-1 Bass Master head and 1x12 closed back cab or a Fender Twin Reverb with a Fulltone OCD pedal and a Maxon OD808 in front of that.

    I've heard comments saying that the clean tone from the 490R/498T sucks but I can't say that I agree with that view. And yes, that funky twang-tone with both the 490R & 498T on together is hard to get with other combos of pickups, to me it gives it a bit of a Gretsch Rockabilly flavour.
     
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  5. jpage

    jpage Silver Supporting Member

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    I wouldn't listen to any of those people.
     
  6. jeffwith1f

    jeffwith1f Member

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    personally I like Gibson stock pickups more than aftermarket pickups, but I believe I'd be in the minority.

    assuming you can do the sodering yourself, why not swap them around and try it. I love the 490R/498T set, but Classiv 57's are awesome as well.
     
  7. Whiskeyrebel

    Whiskeyrebel Member

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    The Classics have been the stock pickup in SG 61 reissues from the late 90s on, so if you have a chance to try one of those it will give you an idea how that pickup responds in an SG body without doing any soldering.

    I liked the small pickguard look of the 61RI better but bought a Standard because the 490/498 pickups were hotter and better matched to the music I play.
     
  8. sixty2strat

    sixty2strat Member

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    Had them in a standard LP and HATED the GD things. Now my EDS1275 (an sg of a sort) has them and they sound really sweet. I have a V with them and oddly the clean tone is killer, but the neck on a cranked plexi 50 watt is muddy. So seem that a whole lot of things will affect the tone.
     
  9. Nuclearfishin

    Nuclearfishin Supporting Member

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    I have an R8 with 490R/498T and an R9 with 57 classics, and I must be going deaf because I can't hear a difference. If I closed my eyes, I couldn't tell that you were even playing different guitars. And it's not like I don't have a good ear, I've been building classical guitars for 10+ years and can hear the difference between many subtle building choices, but I don't hear it in those pickups. FWIW I'm playing through a Matchless amp so I don't think it's that either.
     
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  10. Guitar Dave T

    Guitar Dave T Member

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    Depends on if you play right handed or wrong-handed, too.

    :D:D:D
     
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  11. Guitar Dave T

    Guitar Dave T Member

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    The 57 Classics are going to have a sweeter tone than the 490R/498T combo, but in my experience, they can sound muddy on thicker guitars like a Les Paul. On my 61 SG RI, they really sound great.
     
  12. romo

    romo Supporting Member

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    I guess you shouldn't listen to me then. It sounds like you like the 490/498 combo. Since you already have both sets of pickups you might as well just swap them and see what you think.

    I had the 490/498's in my Les Paul Standard, back when they were the stock pickups. Guitar played great but I thought the pickups were awful. Too much mid range mud, especially clean, and with any gain they were too compressed sounding. Swapped them for low output PAF style and the guitar sounded much better.
     
  13. zombiwoof

    zombiwoof Supporting Member

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    I think the 498/490 combo sounds OK if you change the pots to the correct value (500k for vol/tone). The 300k linear volume pots that Gibson puts on the production guitars IMO dull the sound of any pickups. I also have read some guys who changed them out for the 57's and noticed that the 490 in the neck sounded just like the '57. The 498 is another matter, since it is a around a 13.7k pickup (pretty hot), so changing that out to a '57 will make a difference.

    Al
     
  14. papersoul

    papersoul Member

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    I think the 498T/490R blows away the 57 Classics. I also prefer all of these pickups with 300K pots because they are warmer and more rich sounidng, thicker.
     
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  15. DonP

    DonP Member

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    Why are you replying to a 5 year old thread?
     
  16. Hawking

    Hawking Member

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    Because the 498/490 combo sounds great clean, dirty, whatever. Although I got my standard used and I haven't looked inside, so who knows what the hell I've been playing with :)
     
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  17. johnh

    johnh Silver Supporting Member

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    I'm afraid I sound like the minority on this thread, but I own both sets and as soon as I can afford to, I will be selling the 498/490 and buying a second set of Classic 57's which are fantastic sounding pickups IMO.
     
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  18. papersoul

    papersoul Member

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    The 57 classics remind me too much of single coils.
     
  19. itstooloudMike

    itstooloudMike Member

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    I own a 2003 SG Standard with 490/498 pickups, and I have a close friend who picked up a 2013 SG Standard in November when they were blowing them out for cheap. His 2013 has '57 Classics in it. We've played together on several occasions, and swapped guitars/rigs while doing so. I love the tone of my 2003, and so does my buddy. I'm not sure what all differences there are in our guitars, but the obvious difference is the pickups. The 490/498 set in mine just sounds like an SG should. The bridge pickup has a snarl to it that the '57 Classic can't duplicate. I don't hear that much difference between the 490 and the '57 neck pickup, but neither is too muddy. But there is a big difference in the middle position. My 2003 sounds lively and somewhat airy, while my buddy's 2013 sounds dull, dark, and boring. With his guitar ('57 Classics), I would never use the middle position. With my guitar, all three positions are very useful and musical. I can cover a lot more musical styles with the 490/498 pickups than what the '57 Classic set seems to provide. My buddy called me a few days ago and told me that he is dumping the '57 Classics from his SG, and wants to replace them with something that sounds as good as my SG. I told him the good news is that people tend to sell used 490/498 sets for pretty cheap. But I will say that I don't really like 490/498 in a Les Paul. Not sure why, but they don't sound nearly as good in a LP as they do in an SG. I think the 490/498 just nails the best SG sounds.
     
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  20. zombiwoof

    zombiwoof Supporting Member

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    The main complaint about the 490/490 combo is that the neck pickup can sound a bit muddy, which can be fixed by replacing the 300k neck volume pot with a 500k. I have also read that with 500k pots, the 490 and the 57 Classic sounds pretty much the same. The 498 is of course hotter (more like a JB, around 13.7k), not a PAF sound but I like it fine in my SG Standard. Some like the 300k volume pot with those, some change it to a 500k also (whatever, I don't like the linear volume pots Gibson uses, so I'd change to a good vintage taper audio pot even if I kept it 300k).

    Al
     

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