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Thoughts on 490R and 490T pickups

Dmcrisp36

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Jan 5, 2024
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I have a double cutaway les Paul that has these in it and they’re fantastic. I originally thought the guitar had 57’ classics in it but after calling Gibson recently I confirmed they’re actually the 490 matched set. I haven’t heard these in almost 20 years and it’s pretty interesting comparing them to much more expensive, newer models. Could have just got lucky with the pairing of the wood on this particular guitar. Do you any of y’all still have these ?
 

Big Al

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Apr 24, 2002
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I used them alot and thought they were excellent upgraded modern version evolved paf type humbuckers. Very versatile and musical. They suffer from the assumption that they are common, not rare or exotic enough too be cork sniffer worthy. No little patent applied for decal on the base for booteek cred.
 

Big Al

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Agree. I like the '57 classics too. Big Al hits the nail on the head.
I agree about the 57 Classics. They are very musical and have excellent clarity. I was excited to try them, when it was known to be comming out back in early 90's. My other Tom Holmes pickups from that time still sound very nice too.
The 57 Classics have held up just fine and I was always interested in scoring more, until I became unable to play. I still like most Gibson pickups and only a very few models did not suit my needs, style or taste. Mostly overwound, too powerful types. My fault as I have heard them sound excellent in heavier players hands.
 

RhinestoneStrat

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Aug 27, 2019
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272
I have the 490R & 490T pickup set in my '95 Gibson SG Special and they are a great sounding set. I then took them out and installed them in my '06 Epiphone LP Standard and they even sounded better. This was due to the 500K ohm volume pots compared to the Gibson SG pots of 350k Ohms. This lets out the sound more and they really roar!

This pickup set has had people call them muddy sounding and all that. They are a modern twist on the '57 Classics but with more mids which really cuts through the mix. If you set up the pickup heights at the right distance you'll achieve optimal tone and sound. That's the key to getting a good sound out of the 490's.
 

Big Al

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Actually, I believe they are evolved Ttops. Different bobbins, as they used the same paf style as used on the 1980 patent applied for Heritage 80 pickups, (I called them Shawbuckers in a long ago post and it stuck),. All the bobbins were changed on all the various humbuckers as it made it easier.

They are much better than people assume, and much better and at least as good as many "high grade", upgrade give 3x the dough aftermarket status brands. As always, use your ears and make your own judgement. All I can say is I like them just fine.
 

goldtop0

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Aug 19, 2003
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I had the 490s in a Classic that I had in the early 2000s, good ceramic pups, particularly liked the sound of the R, in that geetar it gave me a good woody tone.
 

Dmcrisp36

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Jan 5, 2024
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44
Actually, I believe they are evolved Ttops. Different bobbins, as they used the same paf style as used on the 1980 patent applied for Heritage 80 pickups, (I called them Shawbuckers in a long ago post and it stuck),. All the bobbins were changed on all the various humbuckers as it made it easier.

They are much better than people assume, and much better and at least as good as many "high grade", upgrade give 3x the dough aftermarket status brands. As always, use your ears and make your own judgement. All I can say is I like them just fine.
I agree with that too. I’m convinced some people like to tinker with things more than they actually like to play guitar and also love the thrill of spending money on things that are perceived as high end along the way .
 
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Jan 4, 2006
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I've made a lot of money gigging and recording with them. I love the way they respond to the volume and tone controls. Very versatile.

All that said, when people come up and ask about my gear they always want to change their pickups. I always answer them that if they need to change the pickups they don't have the wrong pickups, they have the wrong guitar or more usually, the wrong amp, or both. Pickups play much less of a role than most people want to believe.
 

Big Al

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Apr 24, 2002
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I had the 490s in a Classic that I had in the early 2000s, good ceramic pups, particularly liked the sound of the R, in that geetar it gave me a good woody tone.
The ceramic magnet pickups that came on Classics were high gain, coverless 500T and 498R or 496R, I can't remember exact model number of the neck pup. Cool in their own way, but nothing like 490's, which have alnico V magnets.
 

Any Name You Wish

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Apr 15, 2021
Messages
501
I've made a lot of money gigging and recording with them. I love the way they respond to the volume and tone controls. Very versatile.

All that said, when people come up and ask about my gear they always want to change their pickups. I always answer them that if they need to change the pickups they don't have the wrong pickups, they have the wrong guitar or more usually, the wrong amp, or both. Pickups play much less of a role than most people want to believe.
Boy, that's for sure. Any properly functioning R9 or Standard can go from dark/muddy/smooth to bright/articulate/biting and everything in-between. You might need a few different amps though (expensive). Another option is something like the Origin Effects Revival Drive (no affiliation). It is remarkable how wide a tone sweep I can get and still be in the 'clean" zone. You do need a good high headroom amp to start with ('59 Bassman RI for instance). New amp, or new pedal, or pickup change? Like my wife says; "it's your money." Actually she doesn't say that. She says other things, and says bad words.
 

Dmcrisp36

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Jan 5, 2024
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Boy, that's for sure. Any properly functioning R9 or Standard can go from dark/muddy/smooth to bright/articulate/biting and everything in-between. You might need a few different amps though (expensive). Another option is something like the Origin Effects Revival Drive (no affiliation). It is remarkable how wide a tone sweep I can get and still be in the 'clean" zone. You do need a good high headroom amp to start with ('59 Bassman RI for instance). New amp, or new pedal, or pickup change? Like my wife says; "it's your money." Actually she doesn't say that. She says other things, and says bad words.
Totally agree. Headroom is everything
 

goldtop0

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Aug 19, 2003
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8,934
The ceramic magnet pickups that came on Classics were high gain, coverless 500T and 498R or 496R, I can't remember exact model number of the neck pup. Cool in their own way, but nothing like 490's, which have alnico V magnets.
Cheers Al for clearing that up, it's so long ago I forget which 4XX pups I've had, they were 498s or 496s as you point out, confusing is the word.
Good to catch up again, all the best matey(y)

Steve
 

lure555

Swirling Vortex of Sound, Classic Club
Joined
Jul 15, 2001
Messages
3,418
This set was in the Tribute I got last year. I was surprised at how much I loved them. I only swapped the out because I had a set on hand that I loved more.
 

LCW

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Nov 29, 2021
Messages
15
The ceramic magnet pickups that came on Classics were high gain, coverless 500T and 498R or 496R, I can't remember exact model number of the neck pup. Cool in their own way, but nothing like 490's, which have alnico V magnets.
490R and T are Alnico II. Only the 498T is Alnico V.

Also BB Pro (R & T) are Alnico V... vs the regular BB 1,2 & 3 being Alnico II.
 

LCW

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Nov 29, 2021
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Always been a fan of the 498T rather than the 490T but I like a hotter bridge pickup. I have a LPC that came stock with 490R/498T. I just swapped the 490R with a BB Pro (R) for grins and I'm quite liking it.
 
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Big Al

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Apr 24, 2002
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I remember them as A5 when they first came out, I could be wrong. I do know that Gibson has gotten bit by the A2 bug as so many consider it a "vintage" magnet. Some models have been changed over and it dosen't surprise me anymore.
 

thinlizzy1

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Aug 1, 2004
Messages
171
I played one in a store and I like the way it sounded, but I do prefer the 490R and the 498T more
 
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