ES 347 -- Replacing Pickups

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by FiveG, Feb 26, 2006.


  1. FiveG

    FiveG Gold Supporting Member

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    I have a 1981 ES-347 which is not giving me the tone I want. Stock pickups are too dark and indistinct, and when I'm trying to use it for more jazz tones, it really gets fuzzy, especially with chords. So, I'm considering swapping out the pickups.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for good replacement pickups for this guitar? And, does anyone have any soundclips of those pickups in a 347 (or failing that, in a 335 or similar Gibbie)?

    FiveG
     
  2. FiveG

    FiveG Gold Supporting Member

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    Yep -- it's true with a Fender Blues Jr, and its true with my modelling amp played through my Atomic Amp (which means I can try a bunch of different amps). From what I've read, this vintage of Gibbie PUs were the "dirty fingers" period, and a bunch of folks think they are muddy and nondistinct. I've tried playing with amp settings, etc., but it seems this may be a vintage of Gibson PU that doesn't appeal to me, anyway.

    FiveG
     
  3. mbratch

    mbratch Member

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    I have a 1981 ES-347. Hated the original pickups. Very lack-luster, no character, dull, and the coil tapped mode was anemic. I didn't want to play the guitar. I quizzed Gibson support about what the pickups might be (they had no distinct markings other than being "Gibson"). They said they were probably "Gibson Original Humbuckers".

    I replaced them with Harmonic-Design Classic humbuckers. What a difference. Awesome tone now, even coil-tapped.

    HD's aren't the only great choice, I'm sure. I also looked at Duncan '59s which were highly recommended by several players. I went with the HDs I suppose because I felt like spending more money. ;) But I haven't been sorry. Awesome tone.

    I'll see if I can dig up some sound bites I've recorded live recently.
     
  4. Mark Kane

    Mark Kane Silver Supporting Member

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    That guitar may have 300k pots in it too which will make it sound darker and dull as well.
     
  5. FiveG

    FiveG Gold Supporting Member

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    I've never really understood the way that different pots affect the tone on these beasts, candidly.

    FiveG
     
  6. mbratch

    mbratch Member

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    Excellent point about the pot values. When I got my HD pickups, they recommended (outright) that I change to 500K pots which I'm sure contributed to the improved sound.
     
  7. FiveG

    FiveG Gold Supporting Member

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    So it it worthy trying changing the pots first, before changing the pickups, or would it make sense just to bite the whole bullet at once?

    Also, any thought on Lollar Imperials as replacements?

    FiveG
     
  8. mbratch

    mbratch Member

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    I suppose if it were me, I'd determine what candidates I was looking at for pickups. Determine what pots are suggested for those. If they suggest 500K pots, then do the pots first. Then if you like the results, stop there. If you don't you could move on to the pickups. The only down side is getting inside that beast twice to do the wiring. I was going to try to figure out a wiring terminal method on mine if I ever wanted to change pickups again, just to keep from having to get inside of it. ;)

    FiveG, I sent you a Private Message.
     
  9. littlemoon

    littlemoon Member

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    My main guitar is a 1980 blonde Gibson ES347. I replaced the stock "dirty fingers" pups with Gibson 490s, both bridge and neck, and I couldn't be more pleased with them. The clarity and sustain are a marked improvement over the stock pups. Sorry, no sound clips.

    littlemoon
     
  10. mbratch

    mbratch Member

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    Mine's in this motley looking crowd:

    [​IMG]

    They didn't start making ES-347's until about 1978 or '79 I think. Mine's a 1981 or '82 (I forget - and I'm too lazy to go check).
     
  11. mbratch

    mbratch Member

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    Is that a '68 super reverb I see in the pic, too? Did you also *used* to own that? That would be a bummer.
     

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