Why is Gibson using the wrong string spacing on the bridge pickup for the new standards?

dimeified

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When I first bought my 50s standard, I viewed a ton of them online, and it drove me nuts that the pole pieces on the bridge pickups on most standards never seem to line up with the strings except for one or two of them, and these photos were taken dead on straight ahead on sites like sweetwater, ams, etc... I figured it was sloppy pickup ring mounting at the factory because even the pickguard would be somewhat misaligned, but I eventually found a proper 50s standard.

I pulled the Burstbucker 1 and 2 out of the 50s standard to install an old set of 496r/500t's I had laying around. I popped off the bridge cover from the Burstbucker, and attempted to install it on my old Gibson 500t, it didn't fit. Turns out Gibson is using the neck spacing for the bridge pickups, probably a cost savings measure.

It wouldn't be so bad except that gibson still labels their pickup covers as 'neck' and 'bridge'. Why would I expect to need 2 'neck' covers for the burstbuckers, but a 'neck' and 'bridge' for my 496r/500t combo?

I'm not really complaining as much as I am trying to give out some info so you don't have to put your project on hold like me while waiting for the right cover to arrive in the mail. It's not like the old days with 2 different string spacings, measure first, because not all Gibson bridge pickups are the same.

The silver lining is I rediscovered the joy of my 1991 '76 Explorer while I wait.
 
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dimeified

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Didn't the classic come with the 496r/500t combo? Wouldn't that be different spacing for neck/bridge?
 

dimeified

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Hmm, does your neck pole spacing measure 52mm? The bridge spacing looks right, not like my bridge burst bucker did.
 

mudface

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490 series up to the 500 ceramic and other NON-PAF style humbucker pickups will have different spacing pole pieces on the bridge and neck pickups. All PAF style pickups will have the same spacing on the neck and bridge pups because this is how they were originally configured in the late 1950's....so '57s / Custombuckers / Burstbuckers and ALL PAF like pickups will have the same spacing on both bridge and neck pups.

Les Paul Customs.... the regular production models NOT historics will have 490 series pickups.... different space poles on bridge and neck pickups....as these are modern style humbuckers not PAF inspired replicas.

The "Original Series" 50s Standard use PAF style pups..... pole spacing will be the same on both pickups.

Early humbuckers from the Norlin era like T-tops and Shaws will have the same spacing on each pup.

If you flip over a 490 style pup you will find two sets of pole piece screw holes on the base plate.... these are spaced different on each side.... so the same base plate can be used for either neck or bridge by switching the bobbins. PAF style pups only have one set of pole screw holes.
 
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mudface

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I don’t know about that specific combo. I just measured the spacing on my 1986 Custom (all original). I don’t know what pickups are used, but the pole pacing is the same on neck and bridge.

Visually, the strings seem to center better over the bridge than the neck.

View attachment 495040
Your 1986 Norlin LPC most likely has Shaws which are PAF style pups amigo..... same spacing.
 

mudface

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Thanks. I was mistaken.... I just looked, this is a 1987.
Nice.... and the sticker and pickguard plastic is still there:facepalm:......it's OK....I understand.

1987 is still in the Norlin range...Shaws were still being used, though the Bill Lawrence pups were showing up around this time as well.....BL's also have the same spacing.
 
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TXOldRedRocker

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Interesting. I just checked my 3 made in USA Gibson's, which all still have factory pickups. Two with HB's and one with P90's. The PUPs on each guitar have the same pole spacing. The P90 SG strings line up perfectly with the neck, not the bridge. My 2 LP's, I have a third LP showing up later today, one LP the strings line up perfectly with the neck, the other with the bridge. I don't care, but it's not something I ever noticed.
Also, I have a new pair of Seymour Duncan HB's, one neck, one bridge, that I am likely to put in the LP showing up today. I just measured them and they are identical in size and pole spacing.
 

dro

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In the beginning there was only one size pickup. One P90 and One Humbucker.
 

OldBenKenobi

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Has Gibson ever used different spacing for neck and bridge? Far as I'm aware that only came about when people started sticking humbuckers into Strats and aftermarket manufacturers introduced the wider trem spaced option.
 

mudface

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Has Gibson ever used different spacing for neck and bridge? Far as I'm aware that only came about when people started sticking humbuckers into Strats and aftermarket manufacturers introduced the wider trem spaced option.
Yes.... it was in the late '80s early '90s when the 490 series / type pickups were designed with different screw pole spacing on the bridge position pickups.... the neck kept the original spacing.
 


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