70's Gibson Super Humbucker (Tarback)

JakeusUrungus

Member
Messages
101
Hey all,

I recently purchased a 70's SG Custom and I know that the Gibson Super Humbuckers (Tarbacks) aren't for everyone, but I think they sound incredible.

The issue here is that the previous owner changed the neck pickup to a 70's Schaller and it isn't exactly doing the guitar any justice.

My question is this: if I am unable to find an original neck version of the Tarbacks, what do you think would be the best replacement for the Schaller that could put me in the ballpark of the original tone?

I know that the Super Humbuckers use ceramic magnets and that they are would for a medium-ish output.

Possible options that I've come across so far are the Gibson 490R and the Seymour Duncan Custom.

Also, feel free to give an opinion on the Tarback tone!

Thanks,
Jake
 

AL30

Member
Messages
3,001
I have an early 70's SG with Super Humbuckers (1st year I think) and they are not high output pickups. Mine measured right around PAF values. If I recall the bridge is about 7.5K and the neck is a little less.

The bridge is one of the best sounding humbuckers I've heard. Unfortunately it was so microphonic I had to have it potted. The neck never compared to the bridge. I ended up taking it out and putting in another pickup.

I think the later Super Humbuckers may have a higher output. But the ones in my SG sound nothing like the 490 series.

AL
 

Gally99

Member
Messages
178
My tarbacks don't measure as "high output" but they hit an amp noticeably harder than the 490/498s in my 04.

Lace's Dirty Heshers are based off a pair of tarbacks (from what year I don't know) but they are significantly hotter and have a deeper mid scoop.
 

JakeusUrungus

Member
Messages
101
Yeah, I have a pair of SD Seth Lovers in my Les Paul and they are marginally lower in output than the Tarbacks.

It seems that many people aren't a fan of the neck pickup.

Another option would be to put the middle Tarback in the neck position and replace the middle pickup with something different to improve the middle position (middle + bridge pickup) sound... the neck and middle position tarbacks on the older models are identical right?
 

treeofpain

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
7,112
I think they sound fine but not any better than a modern replacement. You should be able to find one on the used market for a fair price.
 

AL30

Member
Messages
3,001
Yeah, I have a pair of SD Seth Lovers in my Les Paul and they are marginally lower in output than the Tarbacks.

It seems that many people aren't a fan of the neck pickup.

Another option would be to put the middle Tarback in the neck position and replace the middle pickup with something different to improve the middle position (middle + bridge pickup) sound... the neck and middle position tarbacks on the older models are identical right?
Not sure, I have an SG Standard so I don't have the middle pickup. I would assume that all of the pickups are identical. I'm not sure when Gibson started designating neck and bridge pickups.

AL
 

JakeusUrungus

Member
Messages
101
I know that there was a neck version and a bridge version. I'll just have to check it with a meter to find out for sure.
 




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