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Thread: New pickups for my Gibson faded SG

  1. #1
    Tone Member Cdwillis's Avatar
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    Default New pickups for my Gibson faded SG

    Iím looking to replace my pickups in my Gibson faded SG. Iíve done some digging on older posts, but itís hard searching a two letter guitar query (SG!).

    The guitar came with the stock 490r neck pickup and a Dimarzio Evolution bridge humbucker. I swapped the Evo out and put a Duncan Custom I had laying in the parts drawer in it. I think Iíd like something a little more vintage though. The 490r is a little dull and the Custom is a little screechy on the high end and a little too compressed.

    I have some 500k pots to swap in that will probably open it a little bit so Iím not that worried about the 490r, but if I can get a decent deal on a neck/bridge set Iíd love to try out some others.

    Neck Iíd like to keep it flutey sounding, think that Slash AFD sound. I use the neck mainly for single lines and solos, not really into the rhythm sound. That has me leaning towards the APH-1. Since the neck pickup is set further towards the bridge in the SG I'm not sure it'll be exactly the same, but I figure close enough?

    For the bridge the tone Iím looking a warm without super honky midrange and sweet highs without screechy (or conversely dull). The bass doesnít need to be super tight or anything. I play some punk inspired stuff, but not a lot of serious metal.

    This is my short list of stuff Iíve been considering:

    APH-1
    APH-2 Slash
    Pearly Gates
    59s (swapping A2 or A4 mags potentially)

    So what are you guys using in your SGs? Or just any general advice would be great.
    "An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way. " - Bukowski

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  2. #2
    HardtailPisser ibanezrocks's Avatar
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    Default Re: New pickups for my Gibson faded SG

    Alnico 2 Pro or Slash for the neck seems obvious. Don't overthink that one.

    For the bridge you could put an alnico 2 in the Custom to make a Custom Custom. I've had one in an SG before and I didn't find it honky. Makes a nice match for a smooth A2 neck pickup. Definitely sounds thicker than a vintage pickup, but rounder/softer than the Custom. Probably not vintage enough but maybe worth trying.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: New pickups for my Gibson faded SG

    I put pearly gates in mine, love Ďem.


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    Default Re: New pickups for my Gibson faded SG

    Hard to go wrong with an APH1 or APH2. Those are the bridge pickups in my two go-to guitars, a Les Paul and a Schecter Corsair (335 style). I would agree with trying an A2 magnet in the custom, I have that in my Strat right now and it works pretty well.

  5. #5
    Tone Member Cdwillis's Avatar
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    Default Re: New pickups for my Gibson faded SG

    Quote Originally Posted by ibanezrocks View Post
    Alnico 2 Pro or Slash for the neck seems obvious. Don't overthink that one.

    For the bridge you could put an alnico 2 in the Custom to make a Custom Custom. I've had one in an SG before and I didn't find it honky. Makes a nice match for a smooth A2 neck pickup. Definitely sounds thicker than a vintage pickup, but rounder/softer than the Custom. Probably not vintage enough but maybe worth trying.

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    I thought about swapping the custom's magnet, but figured it might be too fat with the shorter scale and mahogany neck/body. It's something to consider, a magnet is only a few bucks.

    Quote Originally Posted by jimilee View Post
    I put pearly gates in mine, love Ďem.


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    Is there a pretty big difference between the bridge and neck tone? I've heard people say the bridge PG is pretty bright. How is the middle position sound?
    "An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way. " - Bukowski

    "A banker will take a guitar and play three notes on it. A rock star will take a guitar and throw it across the room. " - David Lee Roth

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    Default Re: New pickups for my Gibson faded SG

    Quote Originally Posted by Cdwillis View Post
    I thought about swapping the custom's magnet, but figured it might be too fat with the shorter scale and mahogany neck/body. It's something to consider, a magnet is only a few bucks.



    Is there a pretty big difference between the bridge and neck tone? I've heard people say the bridge PG is pretty bright. How is the middle position sound?
    The neck is deep but not dark and the bridge is brighter but not too bright, so to me, the middle has warm vibrant tone with good clarity and definition.


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    Administrator Mincer's Avatar
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    Default Re: New pickups for my Gibson faded SG

    The Saturday Night Special sounds amazing in the bridge position of an SG.

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  8. #8
    Tone Member Cdwillis's Avatar
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    Default Re: New pickups for my Gibson faded SG

    Quote Originally Posted by Mincer View Post
    The Saturday Night Special sounds amazing in the bridge position of an SG.

    DAMN. That sounds really good. I mean, it's pretty much exactly what I was trying to describe in my head. How much of that was the amp vs the pickups I wonder.
    "An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way. " - Bukowski

    "A banker will take a guitar and play three notes on it. A rock star will take a guitar and throw it across the room. " - David Lee Roth

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    Administrator Mincer's Avatar
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    Default Re: New pickups for my Gibson faded SG

    I think any demo has that issue. The SNS set is pretty remarkable, and it helps to have a remarkable player, too.
    Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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    Default Re: New pickups for my Gibson faded SG

    I tried several A2 pickups in my SG standard, and I found them overly warm for the most part, though the Seths stayed in for a while. WLH with A4s sounded best out of what I tried, so 59s with A4 might do it for you. The SNS set sounds incredible in that youtube video, so maybe my ears just like A4 in an SG. I probably should have tried some UOA5s though.

  11. #11
    Tone Member Cdwillis's Avatar
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    Default Re: New pickups for my Gibson faded SG

    Thanks for your input y'all. I've been mulling it over throughout the day. Listened to the Saturday Night Special demo and the Pearly Gates demo then pulled the trigger on the Pearlys. Might try the SNS set further down the line because they did sound really good in all the clips I've heard.
    "An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way. " - Bukowski

    "A banker will take a guitar and play three notes on it. A rock star will take a guitar and throw it across the room. " - David Lee Roth

  12. #12
    PenultimateTone Member Demanic's Avatar
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    Default Re: New pickups for my Gibson faded SG

    I think that all those choices are great. But for myself, I'd go all out and run a Mayhem set. After all, each pickup has it's own tone control, right?

  13. #13
    Mojo's Minions blueman335's Avatar
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    Default Re: New pickups for my Gibson faded SG

    Quote Originally Posted by jimilee View Post
    The neck is deep but not dark and the bridge is brighter but not too bright.


    For some players. For me PGN's are too warm and PGB's bright & on the thin side.
    "Completely Conceded Glowing Expert."
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    "Wait, I know! Blueman and Lew can arm wrestle, and the winner gets to decide if 250K pots sound good or not."

  14. #14
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    Default Re: New pickups for my Gibson faded SG

    Quote Originally Posted by blueman335 View Post
    For some players. For me PGN's are too warm and PGB's bright & on the thin side.
    I play on the neck pickup mostly. I just tweak the amp.


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    Ultimate Tone Member EmiAba's Avatar
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    Default Re: New pickups for my Gibson faded SG

    A have a pair of 59's in my SG. An old combo from late 80s. I find them a perfect fit for the SG.

  16. #16
    Tone Member Cdwillis's Avatar
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    Default Re: New pickups for my Gibson faded SG

    Quote Originally Posted by jimilee View Post
    I play on the neck pickup mostly. I just tweak the amp.


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    Do you remember what values you had for caps and pots? I took the stock Gibson pots out. they measured all over the place (500k, 250k, 260k and 540k). Probably within certain tolerances I guess. The CTS pots I have measure 500k, 490k, 450k, and 440k, plus I've got two .022uf orange drop caps.
    "An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way. " - Bukowski

    "A banker will take a guitar and play three notes on it. A rock star will take a guitar and throw it across the room. " - David Lee Roth

  17. #17
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    Default Re: New pickups for my Gibson faded SG

    Quote Originally Posted by Cdwillis View Post
    Do you remember what values you had for caps and pots? I took the stock Gibson pots out. they measured all over the place (500k, 250k, 260k and 540k). Probably within certain tolerances I guess. The CTS pots I have measure 500k, 490k, 450k, and 440k, plus I've got two .022uf orange drop caps.
    I really donít know, I left those stock, I just figured the pots were ~500k. I should really check.


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  18. #18
    Toneologist LonePhantom's Avatar
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    Default Re: New pickups for my Gibson faded SG

    You could always drop in an A2 mag, and then half, or full air the custom. The mag would be a few $$$, and the airing essentially nothing.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: New pickups for my Gibson faded SG

    Quote Originally Posted by Cdwillis View Post
    Do you remember what values you had for caps and pots? I took the stock Gibson pots out. they measured all over the place (500k, 250k, 260k and 540k). Probably within certain tolerances I guess. The CTS pots I have measure 500k, 490k, 450k, and 440k, plus I've got two .022uf orange drop caps.
    Those were 500k audio pots for the tones and 300k linear pots for the volumes, they read off (low/high) because of the 20% tolerance. I don't know why Gibson kept putting the 300k volume pots in most of the guitars for years, but replacing them with good 500k pots IMO is the thing to do. A lot of players change out the stock pickups, not knowing that just changing to 500k pots for the volumes would make the guitars sound much better in most cases, with the stock pickups.
    Al

  20. #20
    Mojo's Minions blueman335's Avatar
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    Default Re: New pickups for my Gibson faded SG

    Quote Originally Posted by EmiAba View Post
    A have a pair of 59's in my SG. An old combo from late 80s. I find them a perfect fit for the SG.

    +1. SG's tend to be middy because of the mahogany & rosewood, and that can match well with '59's, which have a lot of treble and bass with scooped mids. Gives a balanced EQ.
    "Completely Conceded Glowing Expert."
    "And Blueman, I am pretty sure you've pissed off a lot of people."
    "Wait, I know! Blueman and Lew can arm wrestle, and the winner gets to decide if 250K pots sound good or not."

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