Gibson Classic 57s on the neck

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Subro, Jun 19, 2019.

  1. Subro

    Subro Member

    Jul 4, 2018
    I have a Gibson ES355 that comes with a set of the Classic 57. I like the bridge pickup quite a lot, it’s very bright but I found that with the tone on 8 it does exactly what I want and expect from an ES bridge pickup.
    The neck one, on the other hand, it’s pretty dark and muddy and I can’t seem to make it work for me. Today I played mine side by side with a Dave Grohl signature that comes with the Burstbuckers to compare and it made my neck pickup sound like there was a towel over the speaker.

    My questions are:
    Is that a problem with my neck pickup or every Classic 57 is that dark and muddy?
    Any suggestions on what I can do to help with that?
    And if changing that pickup is my best option, what low output PAF style neck pickup would you recommend?
  2. SingleMalt

    SingleMalt Member

    Sep 16, 2012
    Have you tried lowering the neck pickup to flush with the mounting ring?
    PaulS60 likes this.
  3. nailthesnail

    nailthesnail Member

    May 25, 2019
    that’s Classic 57’s in a nutshell. the neck is very dark compared to an unpotted PAF... couldn’t get it out fast enough
  4. rwijaya

    rwijaya Member

    Aug 18, 2006
    the 57' classic neck are really dark and Full sounding, the way i balance it to my bridge pickup is by raising the treble side to get the most treble i can possibly without making the string rattles and lowering the bass side until the bass is at minimal while still being optimal.
  5. Jason_77

    Jason_77 Member

    Jul 2, 2013
    Philadelphia, PA
    Short of adding a cap in line with the pickup’s wire, I’ve never been able to dial the mud out of a 57 in the neck. If you want to stay with the 57, I’d suggest that and also a bright cap to bring back some highs.

    It sounds like you’d be happier with the pickup in the Dave Grohl model, though. I’d check to see if that’s also got a bright cap.
  6. PixMix

    PixMix Member

    Mar 20, 2008
    I had a an ES 135 that had '57s and did the same. I have '57s on an SG '61 RI and they seem so much more balanced, with the neck being so much clearer than the one on the ES 135. I actually like them over Burstbuckers I have on an LP Standard.
  7. PartoftheDark

    PartoftheDark Member

    Aug 27, 2015
    The Greater DC Zone
    Raise the pole pieces a lot and lower it a little. It should get a little more snappy. If you give up, I'm a big fan of the Humbucker From Hell though. It's way snappy for a humbucker.
  8. qblue

    qblue Member

    Mar 18, 2014
    NE Pennsylvania, Scranton
    I replaced the neck pickup in my ES-347 (see avatar image) with a Classic '57, as an upgrade from a Dirty fingers ( after I pulled it , I found a circuit board attached to the back). The DF had really high output of 14kHz as opposed to the Classic '57 output of 7.5-8.0 kHz. Both pickups did not sound muddy and the Classic '57 sounds really complex in midrange and very clear in the treble range. I changed because the DF had a spiky attack noise that was literally driving me nuts, after 20 years. I have been surprised by the CL57 because it is not so hot, and the treble is just cleaner, and not as compressed sounding. It has better headroom so I'm not on the edge of feedback everytime I get loud. The bridge is the same DF as the neck, but it sounds spiky like a Tele bridge, but it is still a humbucker. Together, the pickups are simpatico.

    I found the CL57 to be a vast improvement over a Series 7(=Dirty Fingers + a gold cover). I really hate Burstbuckers because of the unpotted nature and even lower output which tends to make them sound tinny and even whiny sounding to my ears. So Burstbuckers, despite the vintage mojo, are not on my list. My Les Paul Tribute '60's has P90's (Older ones from 2012 when the outputs were 8 kHz) and they are so unique in sound, just midrange with a nice clean treble, and are a bit noisy. I don't miss humbuckers in my LP, despite the noise, which I only hear after the performance, solved by a volume knob turn to 0.

    The CL57 was inserted into my ES-347 in an attempt to make it sound jazzier. That means to me to become more midrange and not losing the treble end of the spectrum. So I really like my choice of the CL57 and thought about putting a Classic 57+ in the bridge, but I use that pickup only a 20% of the time, so it's not a necessity.
  9. FLYING V 83

    FLYING V 83 Gibson Geezer Silver Supporting Member

    Mar 7, 2007
    NJ, land of perpetual roadwork
    Rotate it 180, put it just below flush and raise the poles.
  10. Bossanova

    Bossanova Silver Supporting Member

    Sep 29, 2014
    Washington, DC
    It’s not you, it’s the ‘57. Get it out.

    Antiquities, Bare knuckle, etc will get you sorted.
  11. zombiwoof

    zombiwoof Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2008
    Before you change out the '57, lower the pickup and raise the poles. Make sure you have 500k volume pots in there (tone pots too), many Gibsons shipped with 300k linear volume pots in the past which will make any pickup darker. Also lower the bass side of the pickup more than the treble side if necessary. If those tweaks don't do it, go on to other options.
  12. stratzrus

    stratzrus Philadelphia Jazz, Funk, and R&B Supporting Member

    May 16, 2006
    Philadelphia, PA
    The neck 57 Classic in my 335 sound great. Maybe because my tech is really meticulous about adjusting pickup height and pole piece height.

    However that same pickup in my Les Paul Classic sounded like there was a blanket over the amp. My tech swapped in some A3 magnets and that really cleared up the bottom end. It sounds great now.
  13. Axis29

    Axis29 Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2007
    La Quinta, CA
    /\ /\ THIS /\ /\

    I had a set in an '08 Traditional. When I first tired the guitar, I was struck with how incredible the guitar sounded. I had been (very casually) looking at Les Pauls for 20 or so years... seeking 'the one' that matched up with the '57 I had tried back in the day. That '08 Traditional sounded, and felt, just like that old '57 refin.

    When I got it home, I did fiddle with the pickups, just a bit. I lowered the neck and raised the pole pieces and the guitar was just spectacular! I did eventually let the guitar go... But missed those '57/57+ pickups. So, I scored another set and popped them into my vintage SG. They were awesome and when the SG got sold last year, I kept the pickups. I am getting ready to shove them into a PRS and see how they do in that guitar.

    I love the 57/57+ set.

    But, I admit, the neck pickup can be dark-ish, or I might describe it as creamy. I think 500k pots are a must, as mentioned earlier. I also think they need to go lower than you might otherwise go with humbuckers.

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