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70's ES replacement pickup suggestions.

65Firebird

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Oct 14, 2019
Messages
94
Hi all, I recently replaced the bridge pickup in my '74 ES-345 (it had a blue/green type of corrosion on the baseplate and has never sounded as good as the neck pickup). The varitone has been removed and it is wired 50's style mono.

The pickup I tried is a Seymour Duncan Antiquity and it sounds really harsh and brittle, I've played around with pickup height and adjusted pole pieces to no avail.

The guitar has a three piece neck that I believe to be maple. Does this effect the tone significantly?

My question is, has any one had good results with certain pickups in 70's ES's?


Any help would be appreciated. IMG_1240.jpg
 
Last edited:

fakejake

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Sep 3, 2010
Messages
1,235
My 1970 335 has Amber Classics in both positions. They are amazing, I have them in my R8 as well. Amber is located in Germany though. There was quite a hype around his PUs 10 years ago. Phantastic pickup winder and a real nice guy.
 

65Firebird

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Oct 14, 2019
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94
Thanks for your reply, I remember seeing a set of Amber pickups on the Doug & Pat Show and thought they sounded good. Haven't seen any in Australia though.
 

Desmond Bland

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Jan 19, 2021
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Sorry to hear you don't like the Antiquity. I have a set in my 345 and love 'em. You don't mention what's in the neck but some guys like the Antiquity neck and Seth Lover bridge. I have different sets of Manlius pick ups in other 335's. I've tried the SD Jazz neck/'59 bridge and found, like many others, that it's a great set for a Les Paul but hit and miss for a 335. I've also tried '57 classic/classic+ but didn't like them because they're potted. My pick ups tend to be A2 like the Ants or A3 & 4 like the Manlius. I like low winds and unpotted - more articulate, airy - just better feel.
 

65Firebird

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Oct 14, 2019
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Hi Desmond, thanks for your reply. The neck pickup is the stock 70's Gibson pickup, it has a nice sweet sound to it and I'm looking for a good match for it.
 

Mr. Papa

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Jan 14, 2002
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1,347
I had Seths in a 535 and thought the bridge was not strong enough or solid enough in the low end, and thought Ants would be better. If it was my guitar I'd look for a set of T Tops or a comparable clone like the ThroBak Pre-T, with no potting.
 

65Firebird

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Oct 14, 2019
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Thanks for the reply, I had the same thought about T-Top clones, that might be my next course of action.
 

renderit

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Jan 19, 2009
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I have a 339 that was very harsh.

I went through many pickups and the only thing that worked well in it was bog-standard Wizz.
 

65Firebird

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Oct 14, 2019
Messages
94
I have a 339 that was very harsh.

I went through many pickups and the only thing that worked well in it was bog-standard Wizz.
Hi Ren, thanks for your reply, have heard a lot of good things about Wizz pickups.

PS. Big Marty Feldman fan here. :)
 

Johnny Q

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Mar 8, 2003
Messages
493
Although I don't have personal experience with this particular model, the Sheptone 6T8 sounds like it would fit the bill for the OPs axe. Here is the blurb off the website:

"This set came about for players who looking for the ideal pickup to match with hollow and semi-hollow body guitars. For me, that is the 68 T-Top in an ES-335. Wound with #42 poly wire, and a long alnico 5 magnet instead of the original short magnet, these have that clear but slightly more gritty T-Top tone. Great for solid body guitar too, if you are looking for a brighter and livelier tone. Sick harmonics on these!"
 

65Firebird

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Oct 14, 2019
Messages
94
Although I don't have personal experience with this particular model, the Sheptone 6T8 sounds like it would fit the bill for the OPs axe. Here is the blurb off the website:

"This set came about for players who looking for the ideal pickup to match with hollow and semi-hollow body guitars. For me, that is the 68 T-Top in an ES-335. Wound with #42 poly wire, and a long alnico 5 magnet instead of the original short magnet, these have that clear but slightly more gritty T-Top tone. Great for solid body guitar too, if you are looking for a brighter and livelier tone. Sick harmonics on these!"
Hi Johnny, thanks for your reply, have heard lots of good things about Sheptone pickups.
 

65Firebird

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Oct 14, 2019
Messages
94
I would be surprised if you have maple neck on a 1974. And by the look of you tune-o-matic 1974 could very well be correct. I assotiate maple necks with Nashville tune-o-matics, and 1976 to sometime in the eighties.
I have never tried a Gibson with a maple neck that I liked, so IF you have maple, that would be my first guess to what the problem is.
But nevermind, you obviously have a problem, no matter what your neck is made of. I would try a darker sounding pu, to try to tame the top. An old Seymour Duncan JB or Custom should be fairly inexpensive, and should be easy to sell again if it dosen´t work for you. To compensate for their relatively high output, you can just lower the pu, which will also reduce the string pull from the magnet, and that is in my opinion beneficial.
I have actually managed to get decent sound from a friends 1976 Les Paul Custom with a Duncan JB, much to my surprise I might add.
But don´t expect miracles. In my opinion the guitars sound matters much more than the pu. I have had great sound with old Dimarzio pu´s in fifties Les Pauls, and a real paf can´t save an average guitar.
Hi Lars, thanks for your in depth reply. The guitar plays great, always stays in tune and I like the thinner neck, it also sounds really good on the neck pickup. Trying to narrow down my options, changing pickups in an ES can be a bit of a pain.
 
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