Transparent Humbuckers?

KBN

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1,087
I have an SG with the 498t and 490r. I have struggled with them and have swapped mags and adjusted them every which way. I have unoriented A5 in the 498t and an A4 in the 490r. MUCH better than stock, but they still impart so much of their own sound over the natural sound of the guitar.

I have an Epiphone Dot with Stew Mac golden age humbuckers that aren't anything amazing, but they sound really good, and most importantly, the true sound of the guitar rings through.

Tell me about other pickups that do this. Bonus points if you have experience with them in an SG.
 

ratedepth

Member
Messages
397
I have a ‘96 SG Standard that came stock with those pickups. Hated them. They were fine when i was a kid, playing power chords through a Marshall half stack. But once I got older, it drove me nuts how they would overdrive anything they were in front of. Way too hot. No clarity, no finesse. And the neck pickup was even worse.

Looking for an alternative led me down the path to PAF style pickups. Lower output, brighter, more clarity. All good things. Except they tend to have a quality many players describe as “vowel-y”. Some even talk about it like it’s a good characteristic. I hate it. You’ll have to figure out for yourself how you feel about that.


Ironically, in the end, I settled on a ridiculously cheap set of PAF style humbuckers. The Giovanni GVH-2. I didn’t think I’d ever like the neck pickup on this guitar. I love it now. When I roll the volume off either pickup, it actually does something now. I’ve still got sustain and beef, but there’s string separation when I need it, and the guitar has a lot more utility now.


I’m not sure if they’re still in production? But there’s a few sellers on Amazon and Reverb. Go for the GVH-1 if you want “classic” Alnico V humbucker sound. The GVH-2 are Alnico III (kind of unusual) and they’re a little lower output and just overall a bit more polite. Or try both...hell, they’re cheap enough! Good luck on the hunt.
 
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Ryno1331

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2,457
I enjoy trying different humbuckers in my 2 les pauls (sorry not an sg). I have and use: the original underwound custombuckers that came in each les paul (alnico 3), throbaks, tyson tone precious and grace (alnico 4), seymour duncan joe b skinnerburst pickups (alnico 3).
They are all great in their own way and have slightly different characteristics which in my experience has most to do with how hot their wound and the magnet used (not how "original" they are to a paf - again just my thought).

The alnico 3s all seem to be truest to the guitars characteristics. The seymour duncan joe b bridge is my favorite overall but the underwound custombuckers seem to color a little less simply because they are weaker pickups.

In the end I think pick your favorite winder or brand and get a lower wind than your 498s with alnico 3s. And you don't need to spend a ton of money either. Good luck.
 

kingrazor

Member
Messages
3,704
Don't know how transparent they are but I've really enjoyed the DiMarzio 36th anniversary set. I've tried a few Bare Knuckle sets. They were nice but not worth the price for me.
 

Jabby92

Member
Messages
3,681
Those pickups are overwound and compressed from my experience, sort of muddy. You can try lowering them down some. Alternatively, go for a low output PAF style pickup with alnico 5 magnets like the Burstbucker Pro or Seymour Duncan 59' set.
 

KBN

Member
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1,087
How can you tell? Not being a smartass, I am genuinely curious.
The pickups balance each other better with these magnets, both in output and EQ. The combo does sound good, better with distortion than clean though. I no longer feel I have to change the amp to change pickups.
 

soundxplorer

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
698
Alnico V magnets and/or PAF low output pickups. Plenty of boutique options available, but I happen to really like the Gibson Burstbucker Pros that came in my LP Studio.
 

zztomato

Member
Messages
11,405
I have a stock 2005 SG standard that sounds fantastic. I assume they are the same pickups? :dunno
Anyone know?
 
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7,806
The cleanest, clearest neck pickup I have ever played is the Dimarzio Air Norton. :cool: Some people like them at the bridge also, but I can only testify regarding the AN at the neck---it's amazing!
 
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gkoelling

Member
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17,153
I had Antiquities in my last SG and really miss that guitar!

I don't think there's a right or wrong answer to your question. We all have different ears and hear different things from our rigs than others do. Unfortunately, that puts each of us completely alone in the search for "better" pickups, strings, speakers, tubes...
 

soundxplorer

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
698
According to Oxford:
Clar·i·ty -
The quality of transparency or purity.

So I think you meant to compliment me on my choice of words.
Not a dig towards you at all. I was just referring to the TGP culture of being triggered by the word "transparent". All is good. :)
 




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