Updating my small rant about Gibson pickups

modavis99

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Hi - I posted a small rant about the quality of Gibson pickups about 6 months ago, this thread here: https://www.mylespaul.com/threads/a-small-rant-about-gibson-pickups-from-a-gibson-fan.459066/

I’m here to admit that post is outdated and perhaps wrong. Something seems to have changed recently. Last week I got a new ML ‘59 reissue 335 made last month. When it arrived and I played the first few chords plugged in, that was the first time in a long time that I thought: this guitar sounds amazing and with these pickups, I don’t want to change a thing.

My prior experience had been that Gibson pickups were (always) too brittle and too harsh. Someone mentioned that the new custombuckers are different. On the new guitar, I can hear it - no high end harshness and a great clarity. Maybe I just got lucky but if I had to guess, Brandonwound is changing the pickups for the better.
 

KBMelb

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The bridge CB in my 2015 True Historic was always too bright and harsh for me...I tried nylon saddles hoping that would tame it but it didn't have much effect... then considered swapping pickups but I liked the neck so I ended up just swapping out the A3 magnet to an A2 and BINGO!! Now it's magic..
 

1allspub

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It’s guitar and pickup dependent lol
There’s multiple variables.

My 2021 64’ 335 was way to bright and
brittle with the unpotted CB.
Truth!!!!!!

I'll add that while the CBs in my new 2021 R9 do an admirable job (better than most CBs I've had)... now that the honeymoon period is over an honest A/B session against my other LPs which are loaded with quality boutique pickups reveals the CB's weakness(es). As such, their time in the R9 is limited... just trying to decide what direction to go. So, while I do agree Gibson is moving (slowly) in the right direction, they are still lagging in comparison to the quality boutique market IMO/IME.

Finally, OP, reserve your judgement until after the honeymoon period is over. For whatever reason, during that time our ears are not honest with us. Could be that after it's over you're still enamored with the factory pickups... but a week in is too early to tell IMO/IME.
 
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mjross

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This really muddies the water for me in regard to Custombuckers Vs Boutique pickups. Either people really like them or you get “meh”. Personally, I’m diggin the Custombuckers in my guitars. I also dig the boutique pickups that I have in my guitars. However, IMHO, the Custombuckers hold their own in comparison! As usual, YMMV…
 

dport

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I really did not care for the Wildwood CBs that came in my 2021. Replaced them Wizz Kossoffs and I'm much happier with it
 

bluesoul

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Truth!!!!!!

I'll add that while the CBs in my new 2021 R9 do an admirable job (better than most CBs I've had)... now that the honeymoon period is over an honest A/B session against my other LPs which are loaded with quality boutique pickups reveals the CB's weakness(es). As such, their time in the R9 is limited... just trying to decide what direction to go. So, while I do agree Gibson is moving (slowly) in the right direction, they are still lagging in comparison to the quality boutique market IMO/IME.

Finally, OP, reserve your judgement until after the honeymoon period is over. For whatever reason, during that time our ears are not honest with us. Could be that after it's over you're still enamored with the factory pickups... but a week in is too early to tell IMO/IME.
Don't you have a set of Cream-T Whiskers sitting and waiting?
 

bluesoul

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What sounds fantastic in one guitar may be "meh" in another....including boutique. With Gibson you don't get to pick from a list of options as you do from a winder.
I certainly have no issue with stock PU's from gibson, however, I end up in the end with a swap out for something I like better. The Custom Buckers that came in my historics (as well as BB) sounded very good but if I can get something I like better, I will. I can live with stock pickups and make them work, but I don't HAVE to do that!
 

1allspub

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Don't you have a set of Cream-T Whiskers sitting and waiting?
Yuuuuuup! :naughty:

Well, technically speaking they are not “sitting and waiting”. They are currently in my R8. Hence the “trying to decide what direction to go” comment. That is, leave em in the R8 or move em to the R9! ;)
 

bluesoul

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Yuuuuuup! :naughty:

Well, technically speaking they are not “sitting and waiting”. They are currently in my R8. Hence the “trying to decide what direction to go” comment. That is, leave em in the R8 or move em to the R9! ;)
Ooooh! Well I have a set of Whiskers sitting tho! Just picked up an 2014 R8 with CB's. That set won't sit very long! The CB's sound quite good but in time the odds are high that the swap will happen!

Rewind is a good direction to go IMO! The low output set is by far my favorite...I have them in two historics. I do like the Cream-T's...another great set! I do enjoy some variety, otherwise the Rewinds would be in all my LP's.
Rocketfire 59 and Tyson tone P&G are a couple others worth mentioning!

.
 
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Brek

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My rant is that they don't use PE wire but a died poly wire. The pickups in my murphy lab sound better than the ones in the R0, but they are still not close to vintage correct in a few ways. The neck pickup if pretty good, but the bridge is a bit harsh in the high freqs. Not thin sounding just a bit edgy.
 

musicmaniac

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I think it's on an individual basis. If you don't like your pickups try something else. Everybody likes what they like period.
 

1allspub

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In another thread someone (can't remember who or where) made an excellent point so I'll reiterate it here... Gibson is trying to make a vintage sounding PAF pickup, but the problem is real PAFs are not "one sound"... they vary pretty significantly. So it seems Gibson has taken the approach of trying to find the middle ground... picking a PAF sound that they hope will be satisfying to most people (ie, playing it safe). In the end though (IMO) this comes off more as a compromise than an accomplishment, IMO. And that's a shame, because I think that the CBs are aimed in the right direction, but they just continually don't deliver what I find I like in good boutique PAFs. Now, to be fair there are boutique PAFs that I don't like. I tend to like a ballsier PAF sound (think BFG's Pearly Gates or Gary Moore's Stripe, or even Clapton's Beano, etc) so I steer clear of the softer PAF approach. I like my PAFs with a bit of an attitude... and none of the CBs I've owned (5 sets now) have that attitude I'm looking for. They always come off as just a bit too mild mannered in the end for me. But I recognize that this is just a personal preference thing... and if someone prefers the softer PAF tone, then CBs may well sound spot on to them. YMMV
 

KBMelb

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My rant is that they don't use PE wire but a died poly wire. The pickups in my murphy lab sound better than the ones in the R0, but they are still not close to vintage correct in a few ways. The neck pickup if pretty good, but the bridge is a bit harsh in the high freqs. Not thin sounding just a bit edgy.
Sounds just like my TH...It's a bit of open heart surgery but swapping to an A2 magnet did wonders for me...AND...only $30-$40 fix.
 

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