Long time reader, but this is my first post.
I have a late 68 or early 69 Les Paul Custom. The serial number says 68, but the transitional tenon and headstock logo say 69. It sounds great and plays great. The pickups and electronics are original and are probably T-buckers. Even though I love the guitar, I am trying to play it as little as possible now that they are becoming collectible.
I have a 97 Les Paul Standard that I had hoped could replace become my main LP. The stock 490/498 pickup do not sound like the ones in my Custom. I had thought that a set of 59's, Pearly Gates, or Seth Lover's would probably be my best bet. I know that Slash plays a 69 Custom at times, and that he now uses the Seth Lovers in all of his guitars, so that might be a good choice - but the idea of harmonics from unwaxed windings worries me. I have also read that the Pearly Gates can be a little bright.
Earlier this month I ended up with 2 59' Custom bridge pickups. One came out of a 99 SG and the other out of an 88 Strat HM. The SG got the 490/498 from the LP - and they sound good now. The Strat HM got its original Dimarzio Super 3 back - and its a monster.
Since I had not ordered any pickups for the LP Standard, I decided to try the 59's in it.
The 59b in the bridge has less low end than I was expecting, but the tone is still good. It has a lot of percussive detail when its distorted and breaks up nicely on a dialed back tube amp.
The 59b in the neck is completely different. There is a lot of bass. I ended up actually lowering the bass side of the pickup about 1/8th of an inch more that the treble side to help with balance. Clean it makes the Les Paul sound a lot like an archtop jazz guitar - but with a lot more kick. Distorted gives a great solo tone. When you play power chords its very much like Badmotorfinger era Soundgarden. Its like the bass notes and the overtones are fighting each other, but its not muddy mush like I have heard with other pickups. Its a great sound. Its like the Les Paul "woman" tone on steroids.
If I put the LP switch in the middle position the extra bass of the 59b in the neck balances with the prominent mids and highs of the 59b in the bridge. Its a great clean tone.
The pair of 59b pickups gives me two very good and very different solo tones, a great rock guitar sound from the bridge, a great grungy to bluesy sound from the neck, and a great clean tone. Unfortunately the sounds are nothing like my old LP Custom.
And finally, questions about getting an 97 LP Standard to sound like a 68/69 LP Custom...
How would putting a 59n in the neck position change things? I assume I would get less output and a brighter tone.
Would a Seth Lover in the neck be the ticket to getting that late 60s PAF tone?
Would a set of the custom shop pickups like the Greenie or BroBucker be closer to the PAF tone than the Seth Lover?