Gibson VOS 59 ES 330 is getting some new pickups...

Seegs

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10,169
I really like this guitar and got it to be my #1 ax in my blues trio...I have had it for awhile and really like how it sounds when I plug in and I have had some pretty amazing practice sessions with it...

What I haven't had is that great moment with my band...it sounds very good but something is off...my bass player remarked after rehearsal the other day...it looks like you are working too hard...late he even said it sounds like that guitar doesn't want to play that song...one of our rockier ones...

Sometimes I struggle to find the pickup selector or volume controls which is deadly because I sing as well...other times I plant myself in the middle position and stay there and the fumbling is gone but I miss out on some of the other tones that this guitar has on offer......

The other day at a gig I sound checked it and it was fighting me...was way too warm and didn't sit in the mix well and that was with a pretty bright setup...vox ac15 style amp and a celestion 12" gold...even with my 64 baseman and 2X 10" golds it is just too polite with my band...

I was ready to sell or trade it for a SVL strat which I covet...but my good bud came to the rescue with some sage advice and told me not to give up on it because I would live to regret it...he said he believes the guitar has way more to offer in it...

So...even though I extolled the virtue of the stock pus before...and they do sound good...I broke down and decided to give it one more chance with a set of replacement pickups...I find that these pickups are just too warm...polite and smooth for my needs...

On the way are a set of Throbak Dogear P-90s...the SB special set which is an under wound neck pu 7.6K which is very clear and an overwound 8.8K bridge pu...Jon recommended this set for my 330...I have an 8.4K dogear in an 80 Burny Les Paul Jr. and it has transformed that guitar into a fire breathing monster so I decided to stick with the Throbaks because they are amazing pickups and I know what I am getting...

Hopefully this will be the added kick that my 330 needs for it to work with my band as well as it does otherwise...

If not Emporium here I come...

Chow,
Seegs
 
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Aslan

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2,691
I love my VOS ES330, it just has a singing quality to it that fits in well in my trio.
 

Seegs

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10,169
I sure do hope so Bluesjuke...I love his pickups and have high hopes for this set in my 330...

Chow,
Seegs
 

SPROING!

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8,796
My antiquity runs about 8.4. Very very nasty creature. Something like that ought to breathe some life into it. Good luck.
 

Cottage

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1,490
One of the beauties of the stock p/ups is that they are slightly underwound. To me this adds a sweetness to the sound and also controls some unwanted feedback. If the p/ups you are getting are hotter, feedback could be a problem. Just sayin'.
 

Seegs

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10,169
Haven't looked inside yet but the pots are 500K according to what I have read...

The under wound stock pu's are sweet as can be and therein lies the problem for me...

They work in all situations except with the band...I plug in and play and through both of my amps the tone is exceptional just not edgy enough for the band...very tame and polite and well behaved...if I was in a Jazz trio they would be perfect but I am not...we are a high energy funky blues and RnB trio that rocks out occasionally...we cover from the 3 Kings to the Stones and I need edge...

This is a characteristic of every A2 magnet pickup I have ever used...sweet rolls of the top end...nice and round tones that I love when playing alone but have never cut with my band!!

Also rolling the volume control down is a given with P-90s which makes them even more polite...

I am hoping the Throbaks will give me more edge and attitude...especially when I roll down the volume controls...

Feedback has thus far not been a problem...I play clean 95% of the time and I find I am able to control feedback with a fuzz or rat by muting or rolling the volume controls down...time will tell if the hotter Throbaks will make fb an issue...

If my Throbak Dogear P-90 in my Jr. is any indication these should do the trick...that is an amazing pu and these are even a touch hotter...

Chow,
Seegs
 
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feet

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,329
some shims saved me from having to swap pups in my casino, especially at the bridge. for now, anyway. try them with your new pickups. i went with the lollar shims, but anything will do.
 

Seegs

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Messages
10,169
some shims saved me from having to swap pups in my casino, especially at the bridge. for now, anyway. try them with your new pickups. i went with the lollar shims, but anything will do.
I know what you mean and have a set of the Lollar shims but was not able to get where I wanted to go with them...plus shimming too high creates a clicking problem with the bridge pu as that is where I anchor my hand...

Chow,
Seegs
 

Seegs

Member
Messages
10,169
Got the Throbak SB specials built into my guitar today and the difference is stunning...

Recap...

Without a reference to compare to the stock low wind Gibson P90s are indeed fine pickups...I loved them and heard no reason to swap them out and even sang their praises on this forum...that was until I put them in a live band situation...after that gig it made me stand up and take notice and it was only then that I started listening more critically to them...

The stock pus just sound a bit cloudy in comparison....fine and even pretty good on their own but with the Throbaks as a reference not even close...

I found that I always had to run my guitars volume control between 7-9 to get the clarity...volume and tonal balance I desired...full out would get ratty and indistinct/bloated and my Rat sounded harsh...

I had mega trouble trying to balance volume and tone...the tones I liked best were with the volume control rolled down and I was either too quiet...too loud...too bloated and the worst thing sizzle/fizz with the volume on 10...I keep twisting and searching for that balance which would allow me to be satisfied and concentrate on playing...never quite got there...

Enter the Throbaks...after quickly dialing in the pole piece heights I was treated to clarity on 10...no bloat...no sizzle/fizz and the most amazing beautiful lush tones no matter where the volume control was set...

The neck is warm and clear and the bridge is absolutely amazing...the Rat now sounds sweet without being harsh or too bright...both pus balance incredibly well both volume wise and tonally...

I feel like the guitar is livelier and more responsive and has more depth and just more harmonic content...

I have to wait 10 days before I can test drive it with the band but my first impression is even though the Throbaks were mega expensive it was money well spent...Jon G. hit the nail on the head by recommending this set for my 330...

I'm gonna spend some more time fine tuning and dialing them in but I can't wait to check em out with the band...we are going to be recording a demo in the next few weeks and I can't wait to hear how this guitar sits in the mix...

Chow,
Seegs
 
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FreeBlues

Silver Supporting Member
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844
Jon (ThroBaK) is a great guy, love his stuff.

Please update the tread as time goes on!
 

Seegs

Member
Messages
10,169
Your wish is my command...two different amp heads....the 64 bassman through 2X 10" celestion Golds and the Morgan through 1X 12" Gold...

Putting the pickups through the paces...first clean then thorugh my pedalboard...

To reiterate...the biggest revelation is that all the unpleasantness from bloat to harsh to fizz to sizzle is gone both clean and with pedals...the guitar is now easier to balance from neck to bridge and between volume and tone...I no longer have to roll off the volume control to get great tone...with the stock pus I had to roll down as full was either harsh or bloated depending on whether it was the neck or bridge...I could not find a balance between the tones I liked and the correct volume...either too loud or too soft...drove me to the brink of almost selling this great guitar...I have high hopes now!!!

Next step see how they perform with the band...

So far...grand slam homerun...

Putting my new Throbaks through the paces after installing in my Gibson 59 RI 330 VOS through a Morgan RG15 (same as a Dag15) 1X 12" Celestion Gold

Pedals in order of appearance...
Bassman
Origin Effects cali 76 compressor
1990 Rat II (stock)
Chandler Ltd. Germanium OD
Trombetta mini-bone version 1 set as an OD
Trombetta Rotobone
Mini Vent leslie sim
Casteldine standard drop in wah kit
Maxon AD9 pro is on all the time

Same for the Morgon only the vent and wah are not used...

Chow,
Seegs

64 Bassman



Morgan RG15

 
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mrfett

Member
Messages
1,481
So interesting. Your other thread inspired me to try one of these guitars and then I separately also realized that the stock pups just aren't that great lol. I agree with you that people like them when playing on their own because the guitar does sound awesome. For me though once I played them back to back with a vintage ES-330 the vintage (a '62) guitar's neck tone so completely outclassed mine that there just wasn't any comparison. I went back a week later to try again and realized that my guitar sounded miles better unplugged, which made me think that I am probably not hearing the benefits of "old wood" but the inadequacy of an underwound P-90.

My unscientific guess is that Gibson's solution to artificially aging the pickups was to use the cheapest solution available (don't use as much wire), while experienced winders have much more effective methods of recreating vintage P-90 tones.

Thanks again for your detailed post, I think I'm going to send your description to Bryan Gunsher who is making my replacements.
 

Seegs

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Messages
10,169
So interesting. Your other thread inspired me to try one of these guitars and then I separately also realized that the stock pups just aren't that great lol. I agree with you that people like them when playing on their own because the guitar does sound awesome. For me though once I played them back to back with a vintage ES-330 the vintage (a '62) guitar's neck tone so completely outclassed mine that there just wasn't any comparison. I went back a week later to try again and realized that my guitar sounded miles better unplugged, which made me think that I am probably not hearing the benefits of "old wood" but the inadequacy of an underwound P-90.

My unscientific guess is that Gibson's solution to artificially aging the pickups was to use the cheapest solution available (don't use as much wire), while experienced winders have much more effective methods of recreating vintage P-90 tones.

Thanks again for your detailed post, I think I'm going to send your description to Bryan Gunsher who is making my replacements.
Your more than welcome...I think we have similar findings but in the 62 I tried it was the bridge pu that wowed me...my neck more than held it's own with the 62 and surpassed the other vintage guitars I tried...

There is a YT demo of the exact guitar I tried at guitarpoint.de by Oli Neander and in listening to it the difference is not as great as I thought when I A/B'd them in the room...the 62 was very dry and had this really raw/dry tone and mine was really polite in comparison...turns out the pus were the big culprit as the Throbaks really livened things up and put this guitar over the top...

Off the shelf this guitar is awesome and I picked it out from 3 examples...the other two were not like mine acoustically or amplified...so there is also a variance here as well...

I am able to pull off stuff on this guitar like no other but it did take me awhile to get my head around the stock pus as I have two amazing amps and run everything through Celestions golds which mask some of the stock pus shortcomings...

I think the Throbak bridge pu is just about dialled in and the neck just needs a bit more height adjustment but almost there as well...

These pus have made me excited to play this guitar again...just have to see what it does live and then I'll know...

Chow,
Seegs
 

jlott

Member
Messages
496
So Gibson who have been winding pickups for like 80 years, are not experienced? Wow.
 

mrfett

Member
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1,481
Hmm I'll bite I guess. At least to make it clear to people looking for good information on these guitars.

According to the Gibson guy who was everywhere demoing these guitars when they were first announced, Gibson attempted to mimic the tone of older P-90 pickups by making the P-90s in the ES-330 differently from all the other P-90s they've been making for a long time. For some reason they decided the best way to get a vintage tone was to underwind the pickups. In my (admittedly limited) experience, that method didn't capture the qualities of vintage P-90s very well. Perhaps their employees who are experienced in making pickups could've conceived of a better method and weren't allowed to, I don't know. We do know that Gibson is fond of using techniques that serve the interests of the bottom line and marketing them as innovations however.

I wouldn't be surprised if in the future they came up with some other aging method and trumpeted it as an innovation accompanied by a steep price hike.
 




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