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what was Gibson thinking when they designed the Burstbuckers ?

LyleGorch

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Aug 17, 2018
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111
Would Throbak kz-115’s be an uptick on my 2021 ‘50’s standard with the BB”s. It’s just a question.
 

mjross

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104
Would Throbak kz-115’s be an uptick on my 2021 ‘50’s standard with the BB”s. It’s just a question.
Hmmmm...... I have KZ-115’s in one of my relic Les Pauls and I really like them! However, I’m not hating the pickups in my “50’s”. I initially thought that I’d replace the stock pickups with my favorite “boutique” pickup, but after playing the guitar with the stock Gibson pickups I’m just going to leave it stock. I think it sounds really good as-is. However, that’s just me and for the style music I play. YMMV...
 

clearmudd

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May 26, 2016
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IMG_0038.jpg

All my LPs have their original pups.........P90s,...490-496,...BurstBuckers,... CustomBuckers,...and T-Tops.....I love them all.

They all have their own character,...and i have a purpose for them all. The thing is you need to learn to use all them knobs....even on the amp.....but most importantly....you need to use your ears.
 
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LyleGorch

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Aug 17, 2018
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I actually have no problems with the BB’s, its that i cant leave shit alone. Always screwed with everything, guitars, handguns, amps , you name it. Nature of the beast.
 

Sol

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Oct 26, 2001
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From my own research the ThroBak KZ-115 is very well thought of by those familiar with many of ThroBaks PAF creations.
I heard that the guys behind Historic Makeovers (have I got that right?) rate the KZ-115 as their current favourite.

I'm personally considering these for my 2004 R7, but it's a lot of money and I keep procrastinating to avoid committing.
Jon, at ThroBak is well known for being an approachable, friendly guy. I've just emailed him myself, and suggest you do the same, what's to be lost by talking ?
 

LyleGorch

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We’ve talked. I have the 101’s in another LP, even non musical wife was surprised at the difference in guitar.
 

mjross

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May 11, 2019
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104
I actually have no problems with the BB’s, its that i cant leave shit alone. Always screwed with everything, guitars, handguns, amps , you name it. Nature of the beast.
Nothing wrong with that! I tend to mess with stuff myself. As a retired engineer, there use to be a saying, it it ain’t broke don’t fix it! That never worked for me.
 

Sol

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Oct 26, 2001
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View attachment 14215

All my LPs have their original pups.........P90s,...490-496,...BurstBuckers,... CustomBuckers,...and T-Tops.....I love them all.

They all have their own character,...and i have a purpose for them all. The thing is you need to learn to use all them knobs....even on the amp.....but most importantly....you need to use your ears.
A wise soul pointed out to me that as old guitars become vintage guitars their value is ever more dependant on their originality as the years go by.

The point that struck a chord is that T Tops are now rising fast in value.
The same will happen with all Gibson's humbuckers given enough time, and for the same reason that PAFs and T Tops have.
It's because they each mark a period in the history of Les Paul production, and the musicians that used and made them famous back in the day.

Who knows, perhaps 20 yrs from now, custom winders will be offering super accurate repros of the 490 and 57 classic series humbuckers that helped give voice to the rock music of the 1990s ?
 

burstone

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Apr 5, 2002
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6,748
I've noticed prices on 57 Classics and BBs have gone up this past year, maybe all due to COVID, which seems to have pushed the prices up on just about everything. Couple of years ago, you could get a used set for $150 or less all day long.
 

Sol

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Oct 26, 2001
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775
Burstone,
You mentioned the qualities of the BB 2 and 3 set in your Y2K R9. Do you know what yr those BBs were made in ?

It just that I have four BBs the first is one of the earliest made, the second from approx 97-99 the last, a pair were in my 2004 R7.
The first two a BB2 and BB1 sound superb, your earlier description echoes exactly my personal evaluation.

However, the BB1 and 2 in my 2004 R7 sounded treble harsh and no amount of adjustment of pole pieces and hight, or adjustments of vol and tone could coax a musical response I could live with.

This 2004 R7 has a full toned, bright and sustaining acoustic response, everything you hope to hear in a Les Paul of this type.

So, I removed the offending BBs from my R7 and replaced them with the older BBs, and held my breath as I waited for the amp to warm up, and... voila ! A guitar reborn.Clear, bright but full toned. Detailed midrange and a low end thump at high volume.

Quite why there is so much disparity between these Burst Buckers is a mystery to me.
 
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rockabilly69

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Jul 29, 2001
Messages
2,676
View attachment 14215

All my LPs have their original pups.........P90s,...490-496,...BurstBuckers,... CustomBuckers,...and T-Tops.....I love them all.

They all have their own character,...and i have a purpose for them all. The thing is you need to learn to use all them knobs....even on the amp.....but most importantly....you need to use your ears.

All of my Historics have their stock pickups. I bought all of my guitars form internet sellers with a no questions asked 48 return policy. As soon as I plugged them in, I liked their sound, so no pickup change for me. My R0 has burstbuckers, my R7 Custombuckers, and my R4 stock Gibson P90s, and they all sound great. I do a lot of recording, and these three guitars are right at the top of list to grab when recording certain parts/styles, so as I said, no change necessary.

As a matter of fact, the only changes I've made to my historics were RS tailpiece studs on my 2010 R0 that were given to me to try, and they sounded good so they are still in there, and my R4 has a MojoAxe wraptail that came with the guitar when I bought it. The guy that I bought it from didn't have the stock bridge, so I'm stuck with the MojoAxe. On the upside, the MojoAxe intonates pretty accurately.
 
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burstone

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Apr 5, 2002
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6,748
Burstone,
You mentioned the qualities of the BB 2 and 3 set in your Y2K R9. Do you know what yr those BBs were made in ?
Supposedly, they were in a 2001 '68 LPC with only sharpie markings of 2 and 3 on the back of pickups, no labels or stickers. From what I read here and elsewhere, some of the earliest ones were marked like that and were unpotted. I like them quite a bit, so I bought another early BB 2/3 set to possibly put in the '99 R9 but this set is from couple years later I think with PAF label and white sticker with 2 and 3 and Wound By (but no initials like the famous PS) written on it. I'm guessing from 2002 - 2004 since I sawn a BB 1/2 set recently from a 2004 R7 with the back labeled like that. I hope the second BB 2/3 are also unpotted and sound as good as the first set.
 
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Feb 27, 2007
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I have been playing Gibson, among others, since back in 1969. The original T-tops have been my favorite, even more than some original PAFs.

In the last few years, my BB experience has been:

2004 - R7
2007 - R8
2007 - R9
2009 - R9 50th Ann.
2010 - R0 50th Ann.

The 2009 and 2010 sounded great. The rest were just OK. I really miss that R0!

CustomBucker experience:

2016 - R9
2018 - R9
2021 - CS 59 ES-335

The 2016 CBs are very bright, I was not really happy with those. I swapped them out for SD Antiquitys....they are much better for that guitar.

The 2018 and 2021 with the CBs are absolutely wonderful. Those are "keeper" guitars.

I also have a 2021 ES-335 with the new "T-Type". Those sound great. I have a 2018 ES-335 with MHS and they also sound great.

I have had 57 Classics that sounded really good too.

With those first R7 - R9 that did not sound great, I tried Custombuckers, Antiquitiys, Wofltones, and Bare Knuckles. It really did not make much difference. There were differences, but not enough that you'd pick them out in a "blind test".

So, with my considerable experience with BBs and CBs across many guitars, I think a tremendous amount of the sound depends on the guitar. But, I do think the BBs are much more of a crapshoot when it comes to finding them sounding good in a guitar. At least, that's been my experience.
 

burstone

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Apr 5, 2002
Messages
6,748
Burstone,
You mentioned the qualities of the BB 2 and 3 set in your Y2K R9. Do you know what yr those BBs were made in ?

It just that I have four BBs the first is one of the earliest made, the second from approx 97-99 the last, a pair were in my 2004 R7.
The first two a BB2 and BB1 sound superb, your earlier description echoes exactly my personal evaluation.

However, the BB1 and 2 in my 2004 R7 sounded treble harsh and no amount of adjustment of pole pieces and hight, or adjustments of vol and tone could coax a musical response I could live with.

This 2004 R7 has a full toned, bright and sustaining acoustic response, everything you hope to hear in a Les Paul of this type.

So, I removed the offending BBs from my R7 and replaced them with the older BBs, and held my breath as I waited for the amp to warm up, and... voila ! A guitar reborn. Clear, bright but full toned. Detailed midrange and a low end thump at high volume.

Quite why there is so much disparity between these Burst Buckers is a mystery to me.
You added more info to your post after I responded. :)

So, your early BB sets are really early with the first set possibly being from '96? Nice!
I assume they are unpotted? Are they labeled with sharpie only like my 2/3 set from 2001?

My '99 R9 may be similar to your '04 R7, "full toned, bright and sustaining acoustic response", it sounds brighter to me acoustically (and amplified too, I think) than the Y2K R9. I hope the second set 2/3 set (being hotter wound than 1/2 sets with more mids and less treble) won't make it any brighter or treble harsh if I do make the swap.

Wonder if the real early ones used different wire and mags vs. 2004 and later?
 

mjross

Active member
Joined
May 11, 2019
Messages
104
I have been playing Gibson, among others, since back in 1969. The original T-tops have been my favorite, even more than some original PAFs.

In the last few years, my BB experience has been:

2004 - R7
2007 - R8
2007 - R9
2009 - R9 50th Ann.
2010 - R0 50th Ann.

The 2009 and 2010 sounded great. The rest were just OK. I really miss that R0!

CustomBucker experience:

2016 - R9
2018 - R9
2021 - CS 59 ES-335

The 2016 CBs are very bright, I was not really happy with those. I swapped them out for SD Antiquitys....they are much better for that guitar.

The 2018 and 2021 with the CBs are absolutely wonderful. Those are "keeper" guitars.

I also have a 2021 ES-335 with the new "T-Type". Those sound great. I have a 2018 ES-335 with MHS and they also sound great.

I have had 57 Classics that sounded really good too.

With those first R7 - R9 that did not sound great, I tried Custombuckers, Antiquitiys, Wofltones, and Bare Knuckles. It really did not make much difference. There were differences, but not enough that you'd pick them out in a "blind test".

So, with my considerable experience with BBs and CBs across many guitars, I think a tremendous amount of the sound depends on the guitar. But, I do think the BBs are much more of a crapshoot when it comes to finding them sounding good in a guitar. At least, that's been my experience.
I have to agree with you about the 2018 CB’s, there’s something special about them! Need to figure out what it is. The CB’s in my 2018 CME Spec R8 just kick ass.
 

Sol

Active member
Joined
Oct 26, 2001
Messages
775
You added more info to your post after I responded. :)

So, your early BB sets are really early with the first set possibly being from '96? Nice!
I assume they are unpotted? Are they labeled with sharpie only like my 2/3 set from 2001?

My '99 R9 may be similar to your '04 R7, "full toned, bright and sustaining acoustic response", it sounds brighter to me acoustically (and amplified too, I think) than the Y2K R9. I hope the second set 2/3 set (being hotter wound than 1/2 sets with more mids and less treble) won't make it any brighter or treble harsh if I do make the swap.

Wonder if the real early ones used different wire and mags vs. 2004 and later?
The earliest BBs were un potted without exception afaik, and use genuine plain enamel wire with rough cast alnico 2 magnets. At some point Gibson started wax potting all BBs going into new guitars due to complaints of feedback. However if you bought online they continued to be un potted, if memory serves.

My 2004 BB 1and 2 are wax potted, the alnico 2 bars are still rough cast but I'm not certain it has genuine plain enamel wire.. Maybe maybe not.

I bought the two super early BBs in 2001 from a Gibson employee. Employees could enter a scheme by which they could buy Gibson products they wanted at an advantageous rate, the mechanics of which I've long since forgotten.

You mentioned your '99 R9 may be similar to my' 04 R7 based on my description. I don't know how you feel about the acoustic/unamplified character of a Les Paul but I find it's so much easier to warm up a brighter guitar than to brighten a warmer one. But that's just me.
 

El Gringo

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Joined
Apr 8, 2015
Messages
4,810
Everyone around these parts knows how much I love everything ThroBak . ThroBak MXV-SLE-101 Plus with A5 magnets , flat out rock and have such a killer tone , and the neck pickup is really nice without the mush or mud or dark sounds that we are used to hearing .
 

latestarter

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Joined
Nov 9, 2009
Messages
4,079
lol... I think Gibson hit it out of the park with the burst buckers. I own throwbaks, Wizz, I have had lollars(which i hate) and real paf's I think the burst buckers are very close.... Although Stephen's design are the closest in my opinion.
I missed this whole thread. I have an '02 Standard with those first year BB Pro's in it. I have PAF's, Wizz, Thro's etc....and I would agree, these first version BB's are right up there with the others. I have no desire to change them out. Using CTS 500k pots FWIW.
 
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