Seymour Duncan Antiquities vs. Gibson '59 Tribute pickups

Angus Blackmore

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Before you put new pups in, take out the crappy harness and put in a proper 50’s style one with 500k pots and some decent caps. I did this to my 2014 Trad and it now sounds amazing. It sounded good before but doing this mod turned it into a very vintage sounding LP. The 59’s really shine. I have Custombuckers sitting in a box and have not been tempted to even try them in that guitar.
Just a thought if you haven’t already pulled the trigger

This is the post that I have been waiting for last couple of years!

I also have a 14 Trad, and I was not impressed with the stock pickups much. After a lengthy process, I wound up with the current set as advised in my signature below. I’m extremely happy with what I have on my Trad now and it is the benchmark against which i measure the tone of my other five Les Pauls.

After a ton of reading, in April I took the plunge and shelled out for an Obsidian Wire solderless harness on and uninspiring sounding (too middy, not enough sparkle) but very easy to play Les Paul Halcyon.

(Just before buying the harness, I performed the magnet swap mod on a of 490R and 498T that I had just thrown into the Halcyon... a set that stock are well known for being muddier. After the swap, they really improved but were still not as clear as my Trad).

After the harness install the Halcyon is as clear as the Trad!!!!

The result was night and day as they say and totally worth the money, it now sparkles and has that toppy, brass bell, ring, definition and transparency where you can hear the notes breathe. Mission accomplished and now I am more interested in harnesses than I am in pick ups!!!!

However, under the hood, the halcyons original stock electronics were a rats nest of random skinny wires with tiny little blue caps that looked like bits of blueberry chewing gum.

So the obvious conclusion is that our friends at Gibson threw in dreadful electronics as it is a metal signature guitar (because of course, all
us metal fans get treated as dummies, something I resent)... note that the
volume pots were branded CTS.

I believe, or want to believe, that the stock electronics in my other Gibsons won’t be as poor as the electronics in the Halcyon.

Now, I have a chambered 2009 standard that I want to bring to the Trad and Halcyon’s level of sparkle and transparency, but don’t really want to spend another £100 (USD $140 + with shipping etc. an OW harness (and often out of stock in the UK).

The chambered Standard is almost there with its current pickup configuration, and I would like your advice please, on what cheaper harness I can get that will deliver the same effect of lifting a blanket off the amp. What harness did you use for your Trad?

Do you know enough about wiring specs to suggest another brand that has exactly the same components or, that could yield even more clarity than the obsidian wire set?

Part of me thinks I should go with the devil I know, but to fund another obsidian wire purchase I’d have to sell my Tribute 59 pick up set I have in my drawer! This brings my quandary back to full circle.

If you read all this, thank you very much for your time and I eagerly await any scrap of insight you can provide. I am not into vintage correct specifications or cosmetics. What I want out of my electronics is clarity. I played guitar in the band and the rhythm guitarist place single coils, which sounds great and my Les Paul, but when gigging on unknown tube amps, i don’t want to run out of treble.

Thanks also to the OP starting this thread. I bought my Trad ‘14 in 2015 as new, it was my first Gibson, and I never really bonded with it as for as it couldn’t compete with my Tokai Love Rock 135Q. Since performing several upgrades on it myself, the Trad is my favourite guitar out of a USA collection I’m very proud of (I know I don’t have any custom shop guitars, not a problem here).

Finally, my post is not off topic: I am in the market for either a quality harness as inspired above, a set of Monty’s PAFs or other than that I was mulling over the antiquities, all this for my 2009 standard. And I am considering selling my tribute 59 is to fund one of these three items.

Thank you for your time.
 
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Jer

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This is the post that I have been waiting for last couple of years!

I also have a 14 Trad, and I was not impressed with the stock pickups much. After a lengthy process, I wound up with the current set as advised in my signature below. I’m extremely happy with what I have on my Trad now and it is the benchmark against which i measure the tone of my other five Les Pauls.

After a ton of reading, in April I took the plunge and shelled out for an Obsidian Wire solderless harness on and uninspiring sounding (too middy, not enough sparkle) but very easy to play Les Paul Halcyon.

(Just before buying the harness, I performed the magnet swap mod on a of 490R and 498T that I had just thrown into the Halcyon... a set that stock are well known for being muddier. After the swap, they really improved but were still not as clear as my Trad).

After the harness install the Halcyon is as clear as the Trad!!!!

The result was night and day as they say and totally worth the money, it now sparkles and has that toppy, brass bell, ring, definition and transparency where you can hear the notes breathe. Mission accomplished and now I am more interested in harnesses than I am in pick ups!!!!

However, under the hood, the halcyons original stock electronics were a rats nest of random skinny wires with tiny little blue caps that looked like bits of blueberry chewing gum.

So the obvious conclusion is that our friends at Gibson threw in dreadful electronics as it is a metal signature guitar (because of course, all
us metal fans get treated as dummies, something I resent)... note that the
volume pots were branded CTS.

I believe, or want to believe, that the stock electronics in my other Gibsons won’t be as poor as the electronics in the Halcyon.

Now, I have a chambered 2009 standard that I want to bring to the Trad and Halcyon’s level of sparkle and transparency, but don’t really want to spend another £100 (USD $140 + with shipping etc. an OW harness (and often out of stock in the UK).

The chambered Standard is almost there with its current pickup configuration, and I would like your advice please, on what cheaper harness I can get that will deliver the same effect of lifting a blanket off the amp. What harness did you use for your Trad?

Do you know enough about wiring specs to suggest another brand that has exactly the same components or, that could yield even more clarity than the obsidian wire set?

Part of me thinks I should go with the devil I know, but to fund another obsidian wire purchase I’d have to sell my Tribute 59 pick up set I have in my drawer! This brings my quandary back to full circle.

If you read all this, thank you very much for your time and I eagerly await any scrap of insight you can provide. I am not into vintage correct specifications or cosmetics. What I want out of my electronics is clarity. I played guitar in the band and the rhythm guitarist place single coils, which sounds great and my Les Paul, but when gigging on unknown tube amps, i don’t want to run out of treble.

Thanks also to the OP starting this thread. I bought my Trad ‘14 in 2015 as new, it was my first Gibson, and I never really bonded with it as for as it couldn’t compete with my Tokai Love Rock 135Q. Since performing several upgrades on it myself, the Trad is my favourite guitar out of a USA collection I’m very proud of (I know I don’t have any custom shop guitars, not a problem here).

Finally, my post is not off topic: I am in the market for either a quality harness as inspired above, a set of Monty’s PAFs or other than that I was mulling over the antiquities, all this for my 2009 standard. And I am considering selling my tribute 59 is to fund one of these three items.

Thank you for your time.

Hello sir!
I am glad to hear you got your Trad sounding the way you wanted! It’s funny how all of these bits make a difference in tone. The harness I put in my Trad is from Creamtone. Lonnie is the owner and a good fella. It has 500k CTS pots and real Sprague PIO Bumblebee caps (that have drifted to proper spec). I looked up wiring harness places in the UK quickly and here are 2 dealers; SixStringSupplies and HomeOfTone. They look like decent harnesses. Just google it.
If you want some really good Centralab replica pots then check out VIPots, I love them. One thing to remember when ordering is to ask for 550k pots. This will guarantee that the pots will be above 500k and will give the needed treble. I’m using .01 Russian PIO capacitors in my other LP and they sound great.
I am like you and want all the high end I can get. Good luck with the hunt and if I can help with anything just send me a message anytime.
Cheers!
Jer
 

David Garner

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Sound advice.

Have you ever tried a set Antiquities of a quitéis in a chambered Les Paul and a non weight relieves Les Paul? Apologies, I don’t know the body specs of the 2 guitars you mention in your post.

I haven't -- both of mine have Swiss cheese weight relief.
 

Angus Blackmore

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Hello sir!
I am glad to hear you got your Trad sounding the way you wanted! It’s funny how all of these bits make a difference in tone. The harness I put in my Trad is from Creamtone. Lonnie is the owner and a good fella. It has 500k CTS pots and real Sprague PIO Bumblebee caps (that have drifted to proper spec). I looked up wiring harness places in the UK quickly and here are 2 dealers; SixStringSupplies and HomeOfTone. They look like decent harnesses. Just google it.
If you want some really good Centralab replica pots then check out VIPots, I love them. One thing to remember when ordering is to ask for 550k pots. This will guarantee that the pots will be above 500k and will give the needed treble. I’m using .01 Russian PIO capacitors in my other LP and they sound great.
I am like you and want all the high end I can get. Good luck with the hunt and if I can help with anything just send me a message anytime.
Cheers!
Jer
Thanks for the advice and the recommendations. I have to be off-line for a few days to sort some work stuff out, but after that I’ll be private messaging you with a couple of questions regarding those harnesses you pointed me to, if that’s okay. Much appreciated!
 

fry

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A friend of mine had a guitar with the 59 Tributes in it, and I thought they were as good as any humbuckers I’ve ever heard. I’d love to get my hands on a set of them, but they are rare, and expensive. It’s funny, people always wanna pull the Gibson pickups out, like there’s something wrong with them, then they want to sell them for exorbitant prices.
 

MiniB

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So the obvious conclusion is that our friends at Gibson threw in dreadful electronics as it is a metal signature guitar (because of course, all
us metal fans get treated as dummies, something I resent)... note that the
volume pots were branded CTS.

:laugh2: You guys get the pots that Epiphone rejects right?

I have a Wildwood Select USA Les Paul Standard incoming which apparently has a set of '59 Tributes too their specs, so we'll see how they sound.
 

Angus Blackmore

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I have a Wildwood Select USA Les Paul Standard incoming which apparently has a set of '59 Tributes too their specs, so we'll see how they sound.

I just had a look at the Wildwood spec and it seems to be pretty much the same guitar as the Trad '14, although I'm not sure if the Trads have an aluminum stop bar.

Let us know what you think of the '59 Tributes and happy NGD when it arrives!
 

MiniB

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I just had a look at the Wildwood spec and it seems to be pretty much the same guitar as the Trad '14, although I'm not sure if the Trads have an aluminum stop bar.

Let us know what you think of the '59 Tributes and happy NGD when it arrives!
If it is, then that's cool because I liked the 50's-necked Traditionals. I'm even okay with the Nashville bridge bushings as I like to use the Gotoh-made 'mini-Nashville' bridge which is the same size as an ABR, but doesn't rattle or have its saddles fall out. And these even come with an ABR on adapter thumbwheels anyway.

Apparently, if I don't like the '59 Tribs, it seems that they'll be a quick sell if I want to do so. Thanks for the congrats, cheers!
 

Oldhophead

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The harness I used for the trad was from Lonnie at Creamtone. It is a ‘50’s style harness with real drifted PIO sprague Bees (Long shaft pots). Great service and it comes already set up and partially soldered. Easy install and did wonders for the tone. The old harness from Gibson was the crappy pots and orange drop caps on a metal plate.
Anyways, every single guitar sounds different so it’s hard to say. But dropping that Creamtone harness in is only going to improve things. Good luck my friend.

I finally pulled the trigger and ordered SD Antiquities and the Creamtone harness that you mentioned. Had my local tech install everything...and HOLY CRAP what a difference!! Not sure how much difference the harness made, but those Antiquity pickups sound GREAT!!! Sooo much smoother and less harsh than the '59 Tributes. Thanks for the info bro!
 

Jer

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I finally pulled the trigger and ordered SD Antiquities and the Creamtone harness that you mentioned. Had my local tech install everything...and HOLY CRAP what a difference!! Not sure how much difference the harness made, but those Antiquity pickups sound GREAT!!! Sooo much smoother and less harsh than the '59 Tributes. Thanks for the info bro!
Holy crow! Good for you my friend!
 

Angus Blackmore

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Holy crow! Good for you my friend!
I’m not a Tribute 59 hater, but who wins in a fair fight: T ‘59s vs SD Antiquities? The judges are scoring on clarity and string definition. Thanks.
 

MiniB

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So the '59 Tributes that came in my Std are nice sounding, but the bridge pickup only measures around 7.35K (although still labeled as 'bridge'), neck 7.29K. I had to raise it up really close to the strings to balance out, and still felt like it could use a little more meat. The neck I like, though I will still have to tweak the pole/pickup height ti get a bit more clarity. I temporarily replaced the bridge PU with a 57 Classic Plus I have in my parts drawer and like it a bit better...may end up getting ga Wolfetone Marshallhead for some more meat/punch. So essentially I have an extra '59 Tribute neck pickup, haven't decided what to do with it.
 

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