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Custombuckers

Dave P

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 13, 2001
Messages
977
The Custombuckers in my R8 sound fine to me. I'm sure there are better options out there, but I don't feel chasing my tail and spending tons of loot swapping pickups endlessly.
 

Wizard1183

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 20, 2018
Messages
787
The Custombuckers in my R8 sound fine to me. I'm sure there are better options out there, but I don't feel chasing my tail and spending tons of loot swapping pickups endlessly.
That’s my take on it. Swapping pups I shouldn’t have to do. I mean if I did? I’d just Gibson’s new ones next yr. But you can get rid of brightness by swapping thumbwheels to brass I’d imagine? I also changed the bridge to a more authentic made bridge along with thumbwheels and it definitely made a different you can hear. Warmer, a little louder but overall just better sounding.
 

renderit

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 19, 2009
Messages
10,966
Most of mine sound great and stayed in.

I do change a few out here and there so I keep a drawer full of fun.

And I have to admit that some I changed only to make them different so each is unique.


Probably the result of too many headshots in the bars that didn't have cages in my early years.
 

1allspub

Active member
Joined
Feb 25, 2018
Messages
199
CBs’ inconsistency is the only thing consistent about them! Ha! The CBs I’ve had in past RIs (2014 R8 x2, 2016 R8, 2018 R8, 2021 R9) all got yanked (actually, I still have the ‘21 R9–a set of BKP Mules really dialed it in). The CBs that came stock in those guitars were too thin sounding and had an annoyingly soft attack. BUT… the ones in my newer RIs (2022 BB7 & 2023 R9) are spectacular and I won’t be changing them, ever! With CBs, it’s just a crap shoot I’ve come to realize. When I bought my most recent R9 (2023) I had 5 different R9s to choose from at the dealer. They let me play all 5 for as long as I liked… and it was clear which was the best sounding guitar. Ironically the best looking one was the worst sounding, LOL! Such is life! I bought the best sounding one (at the expense of a little flame) because… tone rules! ;)
 

Stephens

Active member
Joined
Dec 30, 2001
Messages
438
I’ve kept Custombuckers in my Wildwood R8 since I bought it new in 2020. Wildwood’s versions are under-wound (very low 7k) and these sound great! I get a warm creamy neck tone and lots of growl and bite in the bridge. I mainly use a Marshall 1974x and a hand wired AC-15. Both pickups respond very well when adjusting the tone control to dial in different sounds. Compared to my other CS Les Paul’s, these can hang with them no problem.
 

EarleG

New member
Joined
Mar 7, 2002
Messages
4
Custombuckers were too thin sounding (anemic) lacking mids and low end compared to my 2 earlier R8s. No matter how best I could get the CBs
to sound on four different tube amps when I plugged in the older R8s with Classic 57s the 57s were much fuller and robust sounding at same amp
control settings. I replaced the CBs with a Seth Lover set and those get the sound I like ( Mike Bloomfield LP sound).
 

MattD1960

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 17, 2009
Messages
754
I’ve kept Custombuckers in my Wildwood R8 since I bought it new in 2020. Wildwood’s versions are under-wound (very low 7k) and these sound great! I get a warm creamy neck tone and lots of growl and bite in the bridge. I mainly use a Marshall 1974x and a hand wired AC-15. Both pickups respond very well when adjusting the tone control to dial in different sounds. Compared to my other CS Les Paul’s, these can hang with them no problem.
Theres something about the underwound sets from WW and CME…… magic
 

latestarter

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 9, 2009
Messages
4,173
If it sounds good to you, it is good. End of story.



Me, I've never played a CB I’ve liked, and have enjoyed hearing the guitars really come alive with new sets of Thros or BK etc
 

Chronomariner

New member
Joined
Dec 20, 2023
Messages
21
Personally I will swap out my custombuckers, I prefer potted. I honestly bought the guitar for everything other than the pickups :)
 

DrewB

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 15, 2001
Messages
1,439
On page 1, I posted that I'd bought a 2018 R0 and didn't care for the Custombuckers in it at all, which is true; a set of BB1 & BB2 from 2008ish were much better in that guitar. I just bought a 2023 ML ULA '59 that a friend didn't want to pay to return, and the Custombuckers in it are fantastic. The spank on the attack in the neck position is unreal. How much of that is the guitar and how much is the pickup, I can't say, and I'm not touching a thing to find out!
 

Chronomariner

New member
Joined
Dec 20, 2023
Messages
21
On page 1, I posted that I'd bought a 2018 R0 and didn't care for the Custombuckers in it at all, which is true; a set of BB1 & BB2 from 2008ish were much better in that guitar. I just bought a 2023 ML ULA '59 that a friend didn't want to pay to return, and the Custombuckers in it are fantastic. The spank on the attack in the neck position is unreal. How much of that is the guitar and how much is the pickup, I can't say, and I'm not touching a thing to find out!
Sounds very nice. What kind of genre are you playing? Any particular bands?
 

Teletex82

Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2023
Messages
10
The CB's on my R8 sound really good. I had planned to replace them with some SLE 101's but haven't felt the need to.
 

DrewB

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 15, 2001
Messages
1,439
Sounds very nice. What kind of genre are you playing? Any particular bands?
Classic rock / blues rock as a general description, but Duane Allman and Bluesbreakers-era Clapton are strong influences stylistically and tonally. Honestly, it's kinda whatever comes to mind at the moment, so...
 

Chronomariner

New member
Joined
Dec 20, 2023
Messages
21
Classic rock / blues rock as a general description, but Duane Allman and Bluesbreakers-era Clapton are strong influences stylistically and tonally. Honestly, it's kinda whatever comes to mind at the moment, so...
I guess that’s the place where custombuckers thrive? Plus more clean tones?

I dunno, I am probably in the minority when it comes to this but I lean more to things like Megadeth, Dream Theater, Black Label Society.
Stuff with more effects, gain and distortion.
Which usually never is part of any Gibson CS demo on youtube.
 

slammintone

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 19, 2001
Messages
2,003
My 2017 R9 had Custombuckers that sounded a good bit more modern PAFish, if that makes sense. Good, very good but missing something. My 2020 R9s CBs sound like vintage Gibson all the way. Maybe it’s the better pots and LUXE bees or something else but they just seem airier, woodier, and so much more engaging to play hour after hour. I hope the set I’m planning to buy new sound as awesome.
 

jimmi

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 8, 2012
Messages
2,078
Just curious, those that have CBS that they are happy with and feel sound like vintage PAFs…what are you comparing them to? Recordings? Another guitar with vintage PAFs ?
 

1allspub

Active member
Joined
Feb 25, 2018
Messages
199
Just curious, those that have CBS that they are happy with and feel sound like vintage PAFs…what are you comparing them to? Recordings? Another guitar with vintage PAFs ?
Alas no. 😞 Well, I mean, recordings to some degree, I guess. But that’s true of all of us, right?

In my case, it’s really just my previous experience with owning 20+ Gibson LPs (both USA and CS) and with having tried (ie, swapped in) around 40 or 50 different aftermarket/boutique pickups over the years of tonequesting. As a result, I honestly only judge by whether I “like” or “don’t like” the end result, without much claim to knowing whether or not it sounds “vintage”.

Besides, let’s be honest, so much depends on the amp (and the rest of the signal chain) when it comes to what we’re hearing. I play through a Marshall DSL40C combo that’s been converted to a head (via a MojoTone head box) and run through an ‘80s Marshall 4x10 1965B cab (with its original ‘80s Celestion G10L-35 speakers) stacked on top of a (modern) Greenback’d 1x12 cab made out of the remnant the original DSL40C box. And I typically use a TS808 in front of all that (through the amp’s green channel). Probably not the perfect set up for ultimate “vintage” emulation… but dayum does it sound good to me in my guitar grotto (ie, room in my basement I made into my guitar space).😎

That said, to my ear and my first hand experience with my other guitars and pickups, the CBs in my 2022 BB7 and 2023 R9 do sound the best of any I’ve had prior. Do they sound vintage correct? Geez, honestly, at this point… no idea! But they sound really good!
 
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slammintone

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 19, 2001
Messages
2,003
Just curious, those that have CBS that they are happy with and feel sound like vintage PAFs…what are you comparing them to? Recordings? Another guitar with vintage PAFs ?
Comparing with all of the above. I will say I played a real 59 Burst that had not the original PAFs but either modern Gibsons or Seymour Duncan PAF copies and it sounded stupidly good anyhow, for whatever reason. Also played a 1961 LP Custom Black Beauty 3 pickup like Jimmy Pages with the original PAFs and that guitar was so responsive, it seemed to “give back” sound wise twice whatever I was playing. Definitely an amazing experience that the Burst I played years later replicated.
 

jimmi

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 8, 2012
Messages
2,078
Comparing with all of the above. I will say I played a real 59 Burst that had not the original PAFs but either modern Gibsons or Seymour Duncan PAF copies and it sounded stupidly good anyhow, for whatever reason. Also played a 1961 LP Custom Black Beauty 3 pickup like Jimmy Pages with the original PAFs and that guitar was so responsive, it seemed to “give back” sound wise twice whatever I was playing. Definitely an amazing experience that the Burst I played years later replicated.
Alas no. 😞 Well, I mean, recordings to some degree, I guess. But that’s true of all of us, right?

In my case, it’s really just my previous experience with owning 20+ Gibson LPs (both USA and CS) and with having tried (ie, swapped in) around 40 or 50 different aftermarket/boutique pickups over the years of tonequesting. As a result, I honestly only judge by whether I “like” or “don’t like” the end result, without much claim to knowing whether or not it sounds “vintage”.

Besides, let’s be honest, so much depends on the amp (and the rest of the signal chain) when it comes to what we’re hearing. I play through a Marshall DSL40C combo that’s been converted to a head (via a MojoTone head box) and run through an ‘80s Marshall 4x10 1965B cab (with its original ‘80s Celestion G10L-35 speakers) stacked on top of a (modern) Greenback’d 1x12 cab made out of the remnant the original DSL40C box. And I typically use a TS808 in front of all that (through the amp’s green channel). Probably not the perfect set up for ultimate “vintage” emulation… but dayum does it sound good to me in my guitar grotto (ie, room in my basement I made into my guitar space).😎

That said, to my ear and my first hand experience with my other guitars and pickups, the CBs in my 2022 BB7 and 2023 R9 do sound the best of any I’ve had prior. Do they sound vintage correct? Geez, honestly, at this point… no idea! But they sound really good!
“Better” is always subjective. I could have the best hammer in the works but does me no good if what I really want is a screwdriver. So if I am playing Steve Vai shredder stuff then I am using a totally different guitar with different pickups. Adding to the mix comparing vintage guitars and modern reissues with CBs is that the pot values on the reissues are lower than most vintage 50s guitars so you are actually losing some signal.

I have several 50s PAF guitars, a 50s P90 goldtop a couple with PAT# and a reissue that I put very early PAT# TTops with swapped long vintage magnets (originally came with BBs) and I have 2 newer reissues that came with CBs. I have played at least 50 other 57-61 LPs and I have a few modern guitars with high output modern pickups and even one with a sustainer. I also have a prehistoric with Shaws and I have tried OX4s, Rewinds and electric city copies. Of all of those, the CBs were my least favorites. Not just because they don’t sound like PAFs to my ear but I just didn’t like the sound…especially the neck pickup. Way too boomy. Not enough high frequency to capture the detail which balances out the low end and gives you detail. Part of it is the A3 magnet which tend to be darker compared to a strong long A4 or A5.

The unpotted burst buckers were actually fairly good pickups. Swap the magnet with a vintage magnet and they are reasonable PAF clones.

The Electric city pickups were a decent set. I think they would benefit from swapping magnets as they came with A3s. I just never did it as I sold the guitar I bought them for. The closest clones to a PAF I have tried were the ReWinds but even then I swapped the A2 magnets with strong A4s.

Now my over all favorite neck pickup isn’t a really a PAF. It is either an early PAT# (which is the same as a short magnet PAF) or an early TTop with 50s long magnet.
 

slammintone

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 19, 2001
Messages
2,003
As I noted, not all Custombuckers I’ve owned sounded identical. Neither do Burstbuckers of which I have had in scores of Historic LPs. Out of 3 and maybe four R8s and R9s that came with CBs I have owned, only the latest set in my current R9 sound so thrilling. Maybe they were an accident, or perhaps as I also stated, the possibility of a closer to vintage spec wiring harness used by Gibson in 2020 vs the others I owned had some impact.

I’ve also had some really good and really not so good sounding Burstbuckers. But the Custombucker set I like the most sounds best of all and they’re both under 8k ohms. I play 95% of the time with no effect pedals whatsoever into a mildly to wildly overdriven AC30/6 TBX and 68 Plexi clone through a greenback loaded 4x12.

Having tried a handful of PAF flavored aftermarket pickups I have to state that for my tastes Gibson pickups usually ended up working best in my guitars. Whether they were 490s, 57 Classics BBs or CBs. Real PAFs are too pricey and difficult to find at any rate. Close to PAF sound is all I want. Good authentic PAFs would probably spoil me for anything not quite yet there lol.
 
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