Why do so many people hate on the 496r/500t?

Shortscale

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I have a 92 Classic that I kept stock and whenever I bring that guitar to practice the other guys notice right away. It has sort of a 70's bite. Great for screaming solos but no so much for the Mellisa leads for example.
 

frankv

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I just pulled a set of 490/498 out of my '92 Standard. I really liked them but wanted to try a low output. I popped in a set of Seymour Duncan Custom Shop Bonamassas... Night and day difference.. And I still have the growl I loved about the 490's when I need it.
 

Eagle X

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If you ask me if I like it or not, I won't compare it with 498t/490r or any vintage style pickups. I compare it with EMG81/85 or other high output ceramic pickups.

I don't know why but whenever I fell in a thread about Les Paul pickups people all talk about PAF, 57 Classic, JB, etc. etc. Then I'm not surprised at all if anyone in these threads hates 500t/496r. There is nothing wrong for them. But you are in a wrong world to ask the question.

In contrast I come from a world where people all talk about EMG81/85, Invader, Black Winter, etc. etc. And I myself was an EMG guy for more than 15 years. So when I got my Gibson Gothic the first thing I do is to replace its 498t/490r with 500t/496r, something ceramic but with a Gibson label on it.
 
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David Garner

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Interesting to read my initial impressions on them. I managed to go the gamut with pickups in that guitar, from the stock set to 57 Classics to Wolfetone Dr. Vintage back to the stock set and then to a set of Custom Shop Pearly Gates (which ended up in my other LP), before finally settling on a JB/59 set that is a lot like the 498t/490r set.

I think these pickups tend to be underrated by most people. The JB/59 set is a little clearer and more articulate, but not by much. Both are in the same ballpark, and in the right Les Paul, they do everything from 70s classic rock to 80s metal easily.
 

truckermde

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Honestly, I think some people don't like them because they heard they're not supposed to like them. Someone told them ceramic magnets are bad or something.

Personally, I like them, and don't want all my guitars to sound the same, anyway...
I still feel the same way I did 7yrs ago when I initially responded to this thread.

:applause:
 

freefrog

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Two observations here...

496R might tend to sound muddy in 22 frets guitars but do a good job in 24 frets ones.

500T can give excellent results once associated to some creative wiring... I've recently paired one with a custom home made humbucking inductive filter and it sounds more than good (with a DCR and an inductance dropped to 8.5k and 4.2H once the filter enabled, without much loss of level thx to the powerful magnets in the 500T).
 
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screamingdaisy

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From the 90s to the early 00s all my pickups were high output ceramic. I’d disliked alnico because it was too mushy. I really liked my tone, but at some point the internet started getting to me and I started thinking I should be using alnico and lower winds. “Let the amp do the heavy lifting” was the mantra.

By around 2008 most of my guitars where converted to PAFs. I appreciated the better clean tones, and I generally liked the clarity… but my rhythm tone was crap. I never thought to blame the pickups, I thought it was my tastes in tone/amplifier were changing.

Fast forward to a few years ago, I picked up a used guitar with a ceramic pickup and while I didn’t really dig the pickup, the harmonics were insane. A little while later I got irritated at my Les Paul, pulled out the Burstbuckers and installed an old JB/Jazz that’d been sitting in a drawer for probably 15 years. Again, the harmonics were insane compared to what I‘d gotten used to.

In hindsight it makes so much sense. Overwinding increases midrange while reducing top end. Gone were the PAFs weak mids and grating top end, gained was midrange fullness and a rounded off high end that didn’t fizz. No wonder guitarists were throwing PAFs away in the ‘70s.

Now, the trade off is that all those extra mids and rolled off top end make cleans sound like cardboard.

But, I think we’re in an era where the internet has made a lot of people afraid of high output pickups. Like they need to be in a death metal band to appreciate them, when the reality is that they largely define the sound of classic rock.
 

David Garner

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From the 90s to the early 00s all my pickups were high output ceramic. I’d disliked alnico because it was too mushy. I really liked my tone, but at some point the internet started getting to me and I started thinking I should be using alnico and lower winds. “Let the amp do the heavy lifting” was the mantra.

By around 2008 most of my guitars where converted to PAFs. I appreciated the better clean tones, and I generally liked the clarity… but my rhythm tone was crap. I never thought to blame the pickups, I thought it was my tastes in tone/amplifier were changing.

Fast forward to a few years ago, I picked up a used guitar with a ceramic pickup and while I didn’t really dig the pickup, the harmonics were insane. A little while later I got irritated at my Les Paul, pulled out the Burstbuckers and installed an old JB/Jazz that’d been sitting in a drawer for probably 15 years. Again, the harmonics were insane compared to what I‘d gotten used to.

In hindsight it makes so much sense. Overwinding increases midrange while reducing top end. Gone were the PAFs weak mids and grating top end, gained was midrange fullness and a rounded off high end that didn’t fizz. No wonder guitarists were throwing PAFs away in the ‘70s.

Now, the trade off is that all those extra mids and rolled off top end make cleans sound like cardboard.

But, I think we’re in an era where the internet has made a lot of people afraid of high output pickups. Like they need to be in a death metal band to appreciate them, when the reality is that they largely define the sound of classic rock.
I get where you're going with this, and I don't entirely disagree, but I do think it's more nuanced than that. I had a JB/59 set in my 93 LP, after the 498t/490r set, and I now have a DiMarzio Super Distortion in the bridge and 36th Anniversary PAF in the neck. To me, the biggest difference between those three sets and the Custom Shop Pearly Gates set in my Traditional (in my avatar) is the extra push on the bridge pickup. I think the Pearlies have more harmonic content, and the guitar they are in already has a mid-focus to the tone, whereas the 93 is a bit more scooped. To me, the PAF types in the Traditional compliment that guitar's natural tone, and the hotter pickups in the 93 Standard do the same.

The other thing is, the JB cleans up pretty well, but the Super Distortion cleans up amazingly. The Super Distortion has a ceramic magnet, the JB an A5. I'd put the Super Distortion clean tones against the Pearlies all day long.

You can get classic rock and blues tones with hotter ceramic pickups, and you can do metal with low wind PAF Alnico 2 pickups. I do think the generalization that the former does hard rock and metal better and the latter does blues and classic rock better are true, but a given pickup in a given guitar can bust up some stereotypes.
 

cybermgk

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It's cause they are __ist, _____aphobe pickups. (Fill in the blank with your favorite current slur)
 


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