es-335 pickups

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by thebrownguitar, Feb 27, 2005.

  1. thebrownguitar

    thebrownguitar Member

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    I've got an early 80's es-335 with its original pickups. They sound boomy and muddy to me. Can anyone suggest a good replacement? I'm interested in a clean sound, with some texture - lower output is okay, and probably better. My favorite sound is my P-90 ES-175. I know there are humbucker-sized P-90's, but I thought I keep some variety in the line up. Does anyone know anything about the stock pickups Gibson was using in the early 80's? It'd be nice to have perspective on what's in there, so I can contrast...

    Thanks,
    matt
     
  2. Tom CT

    Tom CT Old Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Before you yank those pickups out, check to see if they're "Shaw" pickups (you can a search on the Les Paul Forum for lots of info on identifying them). If they are in fact Shaws, I'd be surprised that you're not getting a great sound from them. They're held in very high regard by many players.

    Jim Rolph does make excellent pickups (my first choice for PAF-style replacments), but don't throw those old ones out. They may actually be worth something.
     
  3. righthandman

    righthandman Member

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    I've got an '82 335, I've always loved the way it played but thought the pickups sounded unusually flat and muddy. I put in a set of Duncan 59's, now it sounds great, very much improved.
     
  4. Laroosco!

    Laroosco! Member

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    Duncan 59's solved the problem in my Dot
     
  5. alderbody

    alderbody Member

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  6. Scott Cioe

    Scott Cioe Member

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    I have an '03 ES-335 which comes stock with Gibson '57 Classics. I love the sound. In fact, every hollow/semi-hollowbody guitar I've heard with the classics have sounded great.
     
  7. GuitarG

    GuitarG Member

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    A Seth Lover sounds great in the neck position of a 335.
     
  8. roknfnrol

    roknfnrol Silver Supporting Member

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    +1. I am really digging the Seth Lovers in my Hamer Monaco Superpro right now.
     
  9. jreardon

    jreardon Member

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    57's in my 2000 model as well. Great sound.
     
  10. Marty s Horne

    Marty s Horne Member

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    Another fan of Gibson's 57 Classics
     
  11. thebrownguitar

    thebrownguitar Member

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    Thanks everyone for your replies.

    I never had any idea about the Shaw thing - it looks like that may be what I have (ink stamped number over the engraved pat # - the guitar's an 83 made in Nashville). Do they actually sell for something? As much as some folks over on the Les Paul Forum seem to like them, I'm not that crazy about them. I'm probably looking for something different than they are.

    For the folks that suggested the Gibson 57's, Seth Lovers (Seymour Duncan?), or 59's, what do you like about them - especially in comparison to the others you've tried?

    Thanks, I appreciate the input.

    m
     
  12. Marty s Horne

    Marty s Horne Member

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    Matt,
    I've had 3 Custom Shop semi-hollow Gibsons with 57 Classics. I like them because in all 3 guitars, the tone was warm, fat, and balanced. No muddiness, no midrange scoop or spike, and some nice chime in the high end; a very smooth sounding pickup.
     
  13. Greggy

    Greggy Member

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    Marty,

    I'm looking to replace the stock pups in my 335 copy. Leaning towards Classsic 57s. Do you recommend the Classic Plus for the bridge? Is that what you use? Apparently wound hotter than the regular Classic 57.
     
  14. peacock72

    peacock72 Guest

    I've had '57 classics and a SD '59 and thought they were too muddy in the neck position. I'm waiting on a couple of sets of pickups from www.highorderpickups.com The alnico III is supposed to be a great, open sounding neck pickup with no hint of mud, but less compressed than a alnico II at higher volumes. Shoot Jeff an e-mail describing what you're looking for.
     
  15. jreardon

    jreardon Member

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    I don't find the 57's too muddy at all, in fact quite the opposite. The 490/498 combination in my Les Paul were muddy, but not the 57's
     
  16. Scott Cioe

    Scott Cioe Member

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    I agree. The classics seem to compliment the semi-hollow-body tone as well as the thin Mahagony body tone of SG's and the like.

    IMO you can't beat them in either style above, although, I prefer the brigter tone of a Burstbucker in LPs.
     
  17. roknfnrol

    roknfnrol Silver Supporting Member

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    What I like about the Seth Lovers is that they are softer sounding and feeling. They are low-powered and have a compressed sound... I also like the fact that they aren't wax-potted, they sound more open, like they are breathing. The high end is sparkley and the mids are killer. I really like the Alnico II magnets. Burstbuckers also have Alnico II magnets...
     
  18. thebrownguitar

    thebrownguitar Member

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    "...they sound more open, like they are breathing. The high end is sparkley and the mids are killer."

    That sounds like just what I'm looking for. Have you compared those the the '59's?

    Thanks.

    m
     
  19. Marty s Horne

    Marty s Horne Member

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    Greg,
    All 3 of my guitars had 57 Classics in both positions so I can't comment on the 57 Classic +.
     
  20. Ayan

    Ayan Member

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    The thing is that Classic 57s are all over the map. In the early days, they had a lower DC resistance (the set that came out of my 93 335 measured 7.4K) and sounded fine for the neck position, but very thin and weak for the bridge position. I replaced mine with a set of Fralins, 7.5K neck and 8.5K bridge. The bridge pickup sounded great, kind of bright in a good "PAF way." The neck pickup was too dark and compressed sounding, but I lived with it.

    Now, Classic 57s seem to be around 8.0K or higher. A friend of mine gave me the set that came out of his late 90s 335, and it measured around 8.4K. I guess Gibson decided to compromse a little here, and the end result is a pickups that sound OK in both neck and bridge positions, but excel in neither.

    Anyway, eventually I did rewire the guitar by putting in 500K audio volume pots (instead of the stock 300K linear pots). That opened up the sound a lot, but the neck Fralin was still too dark. I experimented a lot and this is what I ended up with: a Classic 57 in the neck, but one that I underwound myself. I also tried a Seth Lover, which I wax potted, and the sound was pretty much the same.

    So, having come full circle on the 335 pickup thing, this is what I would suggest:

    1. Consider replacing the volume pots on the 335 with 500K audio ones, you may like the sound of these better.

    2. Get a low value Classic 57, or a Lover (you don't have to pot it if you can live with the "knocking" sound they make whe you tap on them), or get some of the more expensive PAF types... I would recommend you think twice before putting a Fralin in the neck, let alone a Duncan 59 or Jazz pickups (which I think sound generic, maybe due to the Alnico V Duncan uses in them? -- sorry, I don't mean to offend anyone).

    3. You have a number of options for the bridge pickup. Seth Lovers are a bit too thin sounding in the bridge, for my taste. Some 57s sound pretty good, and the Duncan 59s sound good too here. Of course, you can also go the boutique route which will set you back a lot of money, but it may be worthwhile to you. Or, you can go with a more modern sounding pickup for the bridge to get a fatter sound.

    Cheers,

    Gil
     

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