Replacing pickups in SG Classic

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by the tahuna, Feb 7, 2012.

  1. the tahuna

    the tahuna Member

    Jun 3, 2010
    denton, tx
    I have been toying with the idea that I want to change the pickups in my SG Classic. I love the guitar but just dont use it. Who replaced the p-90s and with what? I was looking into getting some bright and very HOT pickups like the GFS Surf 90's, but i didnt know if I would have to route (which i would rather not do.)

    I currently use a avri jazzmaster >> orange ad30 w/ vox 4x12. It sounds PERFECT for what i do, just wished that the sg felt more usable. To me it sounds too muddy unless its plugged into anything but a fender amp (which is what I was using when i bought it.) Overall, I like big bell tones with clarity due to my playing style.
  2. Clump

    Clump Member

    Mar 19, 2011
    Frederick, MD
    I have the 60s Tribute SG with P-90s and was quite happy with the stock tone. More or less on a whim I replaced the factory tiny caps with USA paper in oil caps and the improvement was quite noticeable. I hate flowery tone terms, but I'll try. The biggest improvement was in note definition. The notes in chords became much clearer. It seems like the sound "opened up" a good bit too.

    You can DIY this for under $20, so it's worth a try.

    Here's a pic showing a stock cap vs what I put in
  3. Franklin

    Franklin Member

    Jul 1, 2005
    Check out Vintage Vibe pickups. Great product and great customer service. Just ask Pete for a suggestion regarding what you are looking for. I have a dark (sounding) mahogany strat and added 3 P90s from him and it really brightened up the guitar. I love them!
  4. Deathmonkey

    Deathmonkey Member

    Oct 15, 2009 Wolfe winds a mean P90. And a Meaner, and a Meanest :aok He's putting a set in an SG for me as we speak.
  5. mullytron

    mullytron Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2009
    right behind you
    I tried Lollars, older Bareknuckles, and the Kent Armstrong Noiseless P90s. All of them were awesome. I feel like stock has the most grind, BKP had the hottest output. I think if the guitar is right, they all work. For the bell/clarity tones, you might try some less-hot wound ones...
  6. analogsystem

    analogsystem Member

    Mar 26, 2010
    For clarity look at some of the alnico pole P90s.

    They will be more in the jazzmaster pickup range. I think Fralin makes some.
  7. cvansickle

    cvansickle Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2004
    Atlanta, GA USA
    Like Clump, I replaced the pots and caps in mine with parts from RS Guitarworks. BIG improvement on the stock sound, and the stock pickups really sound great now, no need to change anything else.
  8. adrian

    adrian Member

    Jan 30, 2012
    Just as a thought: I had a really hard time with my SG for a while until I tried a treble booster (especially into a brit amp). Really made a huge difference and brightened up the sound in a huge way.
  9. rmconner80

    rmconner80 Cantankerous Luddite Silver Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2005
    Clifton, VA
    500K CTS pots, decent caps, 50s wiring, and if you really want to spend money then get some aftermarket P90s as above (the stock Gibson ones are not too bad).

    Once you get good pots in there and the 50s wiring, you will be in a position to learn the secret to Gibsons: tweaking the volume knobs.

    Your stock / standard setting may not be volume on 10. You'll find that those P90s clean up amazingly when you roll the volume back to 7 or 8. And there will be absolutely no mud. When you are ready for the big wall of sound, then you roll up to 9 or 10 on the volume. If you have a decent tube amp, you'll find that the actual volume difference in terms of SPL is not that great between these settings, but that the tone / texture is completely different.

    Go listen to Pete Townsend on Live at Leeds and you'll get it.
  10. VHS analog

    VHS analog Member

    Jun 7, 2008
    The Mid-West
    I'll second this. A set of all 500K pots will brighten the sound and increase the output slightly. Maybe add a treble bleed cap for additional versatility. I like the sound of Gibson P90s.
  11. Zounds Perspex

    Zounds Perspex Silver Supporting Member

    Oct 30, 2010
    Beaumont, TX
    ditto. RS "Vintage SG" wiring kit opened up my old Classic tremendously. Try that first.
  12. MCG

    MCG Member

    Jan 10, 2002
    Oklahoma City
    I have a SG Classic also, and just had the pickups changed with a set of WolfeTone P90's. The WolfeTones are an improvement over the stock pickups for sure. I submitted a review on the upgrade a few weeks ago so do a search for WolfeTone and you read my post for additional detail.

  13. Waxhead

    Waxhead Member

    Sep 9, 2007
    Surfin at Merewether Point, NSW Australia
    hehehee the only SGs I ever heard that were muddy are on one's where either the PUPs weren't adjusted right, or the amp/pedal was muddy.

    An SG without either P-90's or humbuckers is no longer an SG imo.
    I've never plugged my SG into a Fender but there's been no mud even on high gain on every amp I've tried :huh

    I use my SG only as a mid to high gain hard rock & drivin blues guitar.
    They are not super versatile but articulate & fantastic in their preferred area imo.
    That's why I never bothered to plug it into a Fender - they don't do distortion.

    If your PUPs are adjusted right I'd look at your amps.
    If they're ok too - maybe you just don't like SGs :)

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