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Author Topic: Pickups for Gibson Les Paul Custom which won't kill guitar character?  (Read 4011 times)

0T

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I recently bought Gibson LPC and it came with EMG 81/85 combo. What a waste of a good guitar! I can hear that this guitar sounds massive even with that EMG pickups. Customs originally come with Gibson 498/490 combo and I'm looking for something similar from BKP but maybe with a more character because for me 498/490 combo lacks something (aggressiveness?). I also like burstbucker 1 and 2 from Gibson. I want pickups which won't kill this guitar like EMGs do.

I guess I don't want that much vintage character in my guitar (on the other side, vintage neck is OK I guess), but I don't want any "contemporary" pickups either. To sum up, neck can be vintage, bridge has to be "modern" but can't be hotter than "vintage hot".

Any help or info welcomed  :)


Sorry for any spelling or grammar mistakes.

miguelbatalha

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Re: Pickups for Gibson Les Paul Custom which won't kill guitar character?
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2014, 01:40:19 AM »
EMG's 81/85 are a good pair of pickups, just not for everyone...

Either Mules or Riff Raffs?

darrenw5094

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Re: Pickups for Gibson Les Paul Custom which won't kill guitar character?
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2014, 02:09:08 AM »
Rebel Yell or Cold Sweat bridge.

Mule, Riff Raff or Emerald neck.

The bridge is  tough one. Maybe if you list some bands or guitarists that you want to sound like.
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Dave Sloven

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Re: Pickups for Gibson Les Paul Custom which won't kill guitar character?
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2014, 02:17:19 AM »
Emerald set.  Replaced the 490/498 set in my friend's early '90s Les Paul Studio with those and it sounds fantastic.  Have a listen to the clips on the BKP site.  They are all recorded in a Les Paul.
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Yellowjacket

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Re: Pickups for Gibson Les Paul Custom which won't kill guitar character?
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2014, 04:30:48 AM »
Rebel Yell set.  500k pots and 0.22uf caps. 

The Rebel Yell set really has that classic Les Paul vibe. 

Kiichi

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Re: Pickups for Gibson Les Paul Custom which won't kill guitar character?
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2014, 09:37:10 AM »
Rebel Yell, Cold Sweat and Emerald would all do great. All have a vintage flavour with more power and kick, making them extremely versatile and kinda sounding like I can guess you want em to. All can handle bluesy stuff and metal and should work a charm in you axe.

Of the 3:
-the EM is the most vintage but blown up and one of the extended scale metal favorites
-the RY is a modern take on a classic sound, bringing you old school goodness and modern cut. Plus it just rocks as all hell
-the CS is perhaps the most modern, using a ceramic magnet. Can do really nasty metal but also perhaps the best classic ceramic gibson sound
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Dave Sloven

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Re: Pickups for Gibson Les Paul Custom which won't kill guitar character?
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2014, 10:42:48 AM »
All of these will work.

You will also need a 'point-to-point' wiring harness.  I would recommend getting a full harness with the CTS type pots, switchcraft jack and switch etc and just lifting all of your existing electronics out and placing them in a box somewhere.  Going active to passive is not just a simple pickup change, you need to change most of it. I got one from an ebay seller based here in Australia - I'm sure there's probably something available where you are.

If it's got EMGs I suppose you will also need pickup rings. The genuine Gibson ones are good and come with screws.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2014, 10:44:20 AM by Agent Orange »
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0T

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Re: Pickups for Gibson Les Paul Custom which won't kill guitar character?
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2014, 12:47:47 PM »
Thanks for all responses :)

The bridge is tough one. Maybe if you list some bands or guitarists that you want to sound like.

I should probably write about it in the first post. Well, I really like (believe it or not) early Metallica sound, Kill'em All sound to be more precise. AFAIK they recorded this album using guitars with stock pickups, they didn't use EMGs back then yet. In one of the interviews made for EMG TV Hetfield says that they changed gear in early 1984 (after their gear was stolen before the trip to Europe) so Kill'em All had to be recorded with some PAFs.
I played some 1978 Gibson LP and for me this guitar had this Kill'em vibe, I would buy it but I hadn't had money at that moment. It was THE SOUND.

You will also need a 'point-to-point' wiring harness.  I would recommend getting a full harness with the CTS type pots, switchcraft jack and switch etc and just lifting all of your existing electronics out and placing them in a box somewhere.  Going active to passive is not just a simple pickup change, you need to change most of it. I got one from an ebay seller based here in Australia - I'm sure there's probably something available where you are.

If it's got EMGs I suppose you will also need pickup rings. The genuine Gibson ones are good and come with screws.

I know about that, it's not my first pickup change so don't worry :) I have a set of 550k CTS pots waiting in my drawer. I also have original Gibson 3 way switch so everything should work like a charm.

Dave Sloven

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Re: Pickups for Gibson Les Paul Custom which won't kill guitar character?
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2014, 01:27:02 PM »
Well, of the three pickup sets mentioned each was designed to give a certain sound.

Cold Sweat: early '80s John Sykes sound

Rebel Yell: signature Steve Stevens (Billy Idol) pickups

Emerald: Brian Robertson's sound on 'Live and Dangerous'

Of these the most 'seventies' and PAF sounding is obviously the last of the three.  All are great though.  I tend to feel though that the RY and CS neck pickups suit a different kind of lead player from the EM neck.  I really went through this with my friend before setting on the Emeralds, based on his style, which includes a lot of bends and vibrato type blues playing, which I think the Emerald neck is especially suited to, whereas the CS and RY are more clearly '80s 'shred' pickups.  It really depends on what you want.

I have the Cold Sweat set in my SG and love it.  I'm also very taken with the Rebel Yell clips.

All three are bright and will work well in (1) Les Pauls & (2) mahogany guitars that have had bright pickups (e.g., EMGs), and all three will give a Gibson character, although different eras.
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FELINEGUITARS

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Re: Pickups for Gibson Les Paul Custom which won't kill guitar character?
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2014, 01:33:29 PM »
Cold sweat set or Mule set in my opinion - although Blackhawks are rather good too.
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darkbluemurder

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Re: Pickups for Gibson Les Paul Custom which won't kill guitar character?
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2014, 05:28:58 PM »
I guess I don't want that much vintage character in my guitar (on the other side, vintage neck is OK I guess), but I don't want any "contemporary" pickups either. To sum up, neck can be vintage, bridge has to be "modern" but can't be hotter than "vintage hot".

That would be the Rebel Yell or Cold Sweat, even though the Cold Sweat is a tad hotter than vintage hot.

Cheers Stephan

Telerocker

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Re: Pickups for Gibson Les Paul Custom which won't kill guitar character?
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2014, 08:35:32 PM »
Cold sweat set or Mule set in my opinion - although Blackhawks are rather good too.

With a highgain amp Mules work very well, the more modern Cold Sweats too.  Bridge is ceramic though.
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DaveyHoran

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Re: Pickups for Gibson Les Paul Custom which won't kill guitar character?
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2014, 02:32:16 PM »
riff raffs for a bit more punch... I'm on a bit of a vintage buzz at the moment so I'd go Mules
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0T

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Re: Pickups for Gibson Les Paul Custom which won't kill guitar character?
« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2014, 02:52:00 PM »
What about the VHII set? They seem to be good. Or I don't know, Black Dogs?

Skybone

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Re: Pickups for Gibson Les Paul Custom which won't kill guitar character?
« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2014, 03:25:50 PM »
Any of the PAF or Hot PAF pickups would be ideal AFAIK, depends on what sort of sound you're after.

Though I would say that you really cannot go far wrong with a set of Emerald's, as they will cover most bases, from nice & clean to way, way down & dirty. Loved mine.
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