Gibson SG Special: better humbuckers with the character of the factory 490 pickups?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by echo unit, Feb 28, 2006.


  1. echo unit

    echo unit Member

    Messages:
    1,049
    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2005
    Hello,

    I really like the the way my SG Special sounds with the 490 humbucker pickups. I like the tonal character they provide. A bit more in the mids and a nice rounded top end like P-90's and less scooped out the way Duncan '59's sound. Those are sterile compared to the Gibson 490's which sound very interesting and complex with a ton of rich harmonic overtones.

    The only things that I don't like are that the bridge pickup loses a lot of the low end compared to the neck pickup and it sounds quite a bit thinner. I realize that this problem may come from the fact that the bridge pickup is on a different angle to the strings than the neck pickup. The Bridge pickup polepeices are much closer to the string near the bridge.

    The Bridge pickup could sound fatter, thicker and the neck pickup could be a little less murky and muddy but still have the big fat tone that it has.

    Is there either a modification to these pickups that would really change them to fix the above mentioned problems or is a Pickup set change the answer?

    What is the best bridge and neck humbucker pickups to put in this guitar that will retain the character that the 490's have but also fix the above mentioned problems?
     
  2. enharmonic

    enharmonic Old Growth Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    7,911
    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    Location:
    NoVA
    Adjust either the pickup height, pole piece height, or both. Should be an easy fix.
     
  3. Roe

    Roe Member

    Messages:
    6,860
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2005
    Location:
    tromsoe, norway
  4. echo unit

    echo unit Member

    Messages:
    1,049
    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2005
    Thank you for the advice guys. But,

    What would be the best single replacement neck hunbucker and bridge humbucker for the Gibson SG Special to repalce the 490's that would keep the guitar souonding like it does but even out the tonal and volume problems between the neck and bridge pickups?
     
  5. supergenius365

    supergenius365 Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    8,229
    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2005
    Location:
    Clemmons, NC
    I absolutely love the Fralin humbucker I have in the bridge of my 1973 SG - well balanced and gives a range of clean to crunch.

    I had a similar problem on another guitar. The repair guy said bridge humbuckers should be the width of a dime away from the strings i.e. you should just be able to slide a dime between the pick up and strings w/out touching either. That really warmed up a pick up I was going to blow $120 on a new Fralin to replace it!

    Good luck.
    Peace
     
  6. echo unit

    echo unit Member

    Messages:
    1,049
    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2005
    I have tried moving the pickup closer but it doesn't quite makde the pickup have much more low end compared tot he neck pickup.

    WCR pickups seem to be getting a lot of Hype around the forums as being the best replacement humbuckers.

    1. Do they live up to the hype of are hype or are they not going to blow me away compared to my Gibson 490's that are in my SG?

    2. What WCR pickups would sound the most like the Gibson 490's that are in my SG Special but be an improvement?

    3. What combination of WCR pickups will sound the best in my SG Special regardless of how much they sound like the 490's? I love warm fat tone and i always play clean through a VOX AC30, never with overdrive or distortion tones.

    Thanks for any suggestions of help.
     
  7. tjs

    tjs Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,259
    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2004
    They definitely live up to the hype. I can't recall how the 490s sound, but a Crossroads in the neck and a Darkburst in the bridge should get you some great tones. I'm not sure how the Goodwoods would sound in an SG, but that might be interesting as well. And I'm sure the Black Magics would be perfect in an SG (they were made to cop early Santana tones).
     
  8. Patrick Ginnaty

    Patrick Ginnaty Member

    Messages:
    1,000
    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2003
    Location:
    Maine
    I have a nice set of Classic 57s that I pulled from my R8 f/s.
     
  9. riffpowers

    riffpowers Member

    Messages:
    545
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2005
    I prefer 57 classics.
     
  10. Ponec

    Ponec Member

    Messages:
    113
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2005
    See above - The '57 Classics are very similar to the 490s but warmer and clearer in tone. It would be my suggestion for a replacement. There is also the '57 Classic + that has slightly higher output.

    -Ron
     
  11. echo unit

    echo unit Member

    Messages:
    1,049
    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2005
    Thanks a ton guys!

    Is there a Gibson SG model Guitar that has the '57 Classics in it that i could play at a store to see if I like them better than the 490's?

    Those of you who are saying that the '57 classics are the way to go, have you tried any of the WCR pickups.

    How would the combination of a WCR Crossrods neck and a Goodwood bridge compare to the Gibson 490's or '57 classics?
     
  12. Blueser

    Blueser Member

    Messages:
    6,677
    Joined:
    May 21, 2002
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Yes. The 61 RI SG comes standard with 57 Classics.
     
  13. echo unit

    echo unit Member

    Messages:
    1,049
    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2005
    How would the combination of a WCR Crossrods neck and a Goodwood bridge compare to the Gibson 490's or '57 classics?

    Is there a better combo of the WCR's for a Gibson SG?
     
  14. tjs

    tjs Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,259
    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2004
    I don't know, but I know who would:

    mailto:jim@crcoils.com
     
  15. echo unit

    echo unit Member

    Messages:
    1,049
    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2005
    What are the best WCR humbuckers for playing clean only?
     
  16. tjs

    tjs Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,259
    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2004
    Well, the clearest, lowest output WCR pickups are the Crossroads. Whether or not that translates into the "best" cleans depends on your personal taste in clean tones.

    I strongly suggest emailing Jim and telling him what you're looking for. He hasn't steered me wrong yet.
     

Share This Page