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what was Gibson thinking when they designed the Burstbuckers ?

Dr. Green

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Dec 12, 2018
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Konrad -

curious - have you ever tried a non potted low wind after market pup in any of them such as a Lollar imperial or a killer hand wound like a wolftone ?

Have you ever tried anything like a Japanese Dry-Z pickup ?

Have you tried a Gibson Custom Bucker in any of those guitars ?

Tell me you love the BB vs the Custom buckers - if that is a true statement ......
 

Pat Boyack

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My 2009 that came with Burstbuckers. Sounds like shit. Right? <note sarcasm>

 

konrad gibson

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Konrad -

curious - have you ever tried a non potted low wind after market pup in any of them such as a Lollar imperial or a killer hand wound like a wolftone ?

Have you ever tried anything like a Japanese Dry-Z pickup ?

Have you tried a Gibson Custom Bucker in any of those guitars ?

Tell me you love the BB vs the Custom buckers - if that is a true statement ......
Yes I tried some 2020 R8 and R9s in a guitar shop and compared it to my R8 Lemon, they didn´t convince me. But that´s only my impression. Maybe the older they get the better they sound.
 

Dr. Green

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My 2009 that came with Burstbuckers. Sounds like shit. Right? <note sarcasm>


Ok Pat -

whats YOUR take on the Custom Buckers vs Burst Buckers ?

and why did Gibson - they themselves - dump the bursts for the customs ?

are you saying Gibson does not know what they are doing ?

(if the burst buckers were the cats ass - why change them ?)
 

Dr. Green

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I know that nobody cares what I think - particularly Pat

so let take a look at a real "shoot-out "

they say a video is "worth one million words "

to my ears in the video - and in real life - the BB sound kind of flat and dull - but you decide for yourself

 

Pat Boyack

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Ok Pat -

whats YOUR take on the Custom Buckers vs Burst Buckers ?

and why did Gibson - they themselves - dump the bursts for the customs ?

are you saying Gibson does not know what they are doing ?

(if the burst buckers were the cats ass - why change them ?)
Ok chucklenuts. Show me where Gibson has "dumped" the Burstbucker? The Custombucker is made (supposedly) closer to vintage spec. Does this mean they sound better? No. Not at all. For example, 57 Classics sound great. A very underrated pickup. As a matter of fact, we just got in some M2M, silver sparkle ES-335s loaded with 57s. Not Custombuckers.

It's all about taste, not what you are telling us what we should like or dislike.
 

Dr. Green

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Ok chucklenuts. Show me where Gibson has "dumped" the Burstbucker? The Custombucker is made (supposedly) closer to vintage spec. Does this mean they sound better? No. Not at all. For example, 57 Classics sound great. A very underrated pickup. As a matter of fact, we just got in some M2M, silver sparkle ES-335s loaded with 57s. Not Custombuckers.

It's all about taste, not what you are telling us what we should like or dislike.
PAT -

If you like the idea of putting POLY wire that has been dyed to look like its proper vintage ENAMEL wire in a $6000 dollar guitar - who am I to tell you that you are wrong ?

Because Gibson WAS using proper enamel wire and STOPPED in 2006 - switching to dopey poly wire - even in those 57s

There are some pre 2006 UNPOTTED enamel wire burstbuckers out there that were never put in guitars - only sold as after market items - that I would guess sound better - most folks will not have those in their guitars.

But at least Gibson got together with famous pick-up maker Ron Ellis to create a more vintage - clearer and more transparent sound pickup -the " Custombucker" because they knew the Burstbuckers were not right.

Or perhaps you think guys such as the legendary pickup maker Jason Lollar were Dummies and produced real enamel wire - after market pick-ups - such as the "Imperial humbucker" when there was no reason - as Gibson had nailed it with the Burstbucker ?
 
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JPP-1

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The Burstbuckers in the Lemonburst Marshall 1974X video sound very good. But with pickups and guitars it’s always about the synergistic relationship.

That said, I have found that for me, Custombuckers are a definite improvement over the standard issue Burstbuckers. Althoung I ended up replacing many of the Custombuckers with Rewinds, OX4s, Stephens Design, Wizz which tonally I preferred. I will say, the most recent two Historics, I purchased 2020/21, the Custombuckers in those Historics sounded so good, I had no desire to swap them out. They really capture that vocal dry woody PAF sound.

Afaic, Gibson has come a long way with their pickups. The recent Custombuckers from the few I tried definitely hang in there with the best boutique and vintage PAFs/Pat# pickups
 
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Dr. Green

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WHATA GREAT THREAD - GOING STRONG ONE YEAR LATER ,,,,,,

folks - if you really want to learn about humbuckers I can highly recommend you check out this book

I would be extremely surprised if you did not think it was worth your money ...... it will take you from internet myth to reality

51peTUtHM3L._SX218_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_FMwebp_.jpg
 
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Pat Boyack

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PAT -

If you like the idea of putting POLY wire that has been dyed to look like its proper vintage ENAMEL wire in a $6000 dollar guitar - who am I to tell you that you are wrong ?

Because Gibson WAS using proper enamel wire and STOPPED in 2006 - switching to dopey poly wire - even in those 57s

There are some pre 2006 UNPOTTED enamel wire burstbuckers out there that were never put in guitars - only sold as after market items - that I would guess sound better - most folks will not have those in their guitars.

But at least Gibson got together with famous pick-up maker Ron Ellis to create a more vintage - clearer and more transparent sound pickup -the " Custombucker" because they knew the Burstbuckers were not right.

Or perhaps you think guys such as the legendary pickup maker Jason Lollar were Dummies and produced real enamel wire - after market pick-ups - such as the "Imperial humbucker" when there was no reason - as Gibson had nailed it with the Burstbucker ?
I don't care what they are made of if they sound great. Again, go back to the song I posted and tell me how the wire makes that tone suck.
 

Dr. Green

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I don't care what they are made of if they sound great. Again, go back to the song I posted and tell me how the wire makes that tone suck.
I guess you did not read the thread - a number of people agreed with me - you dont - oh well ......... I can live with that :LOL:
 

Takis61

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Mar 5, 2014
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Way late to this thread, I have 2 R9’s, a 2001 with Classic 57’s and a 2007 with Burstbuckers. Love them both, both sound like Les Pauls, but very different. The 2007 with Burstbuckers is like Pearly Gates or The Beast, will take your head off, definitely not brittle though. I have no urge to replace any of them, they both do a job. Also have a Tokai LP with their pickups in, again sounds great, but different…..a lot to be said for dialing them in and adjusting heights etc., I also have a PRS 594 that took me over a year before I was happy with the bridge pup - low wind 58/15’s, PRS take on a PAF.
 

jb_abides

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What does wax potting have to do with cannibalism?

This thread.

Now, that's entertainment!

Interesting perspectives and spicy opinions. I have no problem with BBs objectively. I have run the gamut of Gibson pickups and other and pros/cons ... down to preference. Ears and brains register auditory inputs differently.

Initiating with an underlying presumption of 'they lost their friggin' minds' may be gamey agent provocateur stuff but sometimes yields brittle unproductive discussion.

Perhaps a better framing would not be 'what's good, what's bad', etc. but what were the objectives, what was the design remit, what were the tone goals, etc.?

Example: How did the Custombucker come about? From Mat
Great question. Really the Custombucker development was a sonic pursuit by Edwin Wilson based on the pickups in Jimmy Page's #1. It was not so much a historically-accurate PAF clone project as it was a tone quest, and in my opinion Edwin nailed it.

In 2017 I initiated a project to improve the entire wiring assembly and for the pickups, we began experimenting with different magnets in the Custombuckers, no wax potting, different wire, etc. The specs we preferred in A/B tests were still the same one as the original Custombucker -- Alnico III -- with the exception of the wax potting. It's subtle but removing the wax added a little bit of wildness and feedback susceptibility we all preferred. We did some focus group tests that corroborated our internal testing as well. So we moved on to the rest of the wiring assembly and by 2019 we had vintage taper pots and real PIO bumblebee caps which added some additional character to the Custombuckers, especially when rolling off the volume.

All that said, making true clones of late 50s humbuckers is different project entirely because of the specific materials. All humbuckers are created the same at their most basic level; it's just the material and aesthetic nuances that make for a PAF clone. Butyrate bobbins based on scans of originals, original spec purple enamel wire, original spec 3M black tape, long magnet of various types, recreations of the metal spacers and wood shims and screws and poles and whatnot. Pickup covers are important too and when the time comes we'll dive into the plating and all that. One interesting little historic tidbit is that Gibson used two different places for plating in the late 50s -- Star Silver for gold plating and Kalamazoo Metal for Nickel. But I digress. Thanks for the question!

The thread lingers on like ... variants of an endemic virus?
 

El Gringo

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Ok chucklenuts. Show me where Gibson has "dumped" the Burstbucker? The Custombucker is made (supposedly) closer to vintage spec. Does this mean they sound better? No. Not at all. For example, 57 Classics sound great. A very underrated pickup. As a matter of fact, we just got in some M2M, silver sparkle ES-335s loaded with 57s. Not Custombuckers.

It's all about taste, not what you are telling us what we should like or dislike.
"It's all about taste " That's what makes the world go round and round . As always taste is subjective and what sounds good to one might sound like sh&8 to the next person . That's why way back in grade school (public school) we were taught to listen with our ears . Pretty simple . As far as 57's (A2 magnets ) I am a fan as they are better to my ears than the Custombuckers . Now to clarify just a bit I used the 57's ( 57 neck , 57 + bridge ) when I was using Fender amps . When I switched to Marshall 2555X's they no longer worked for me as that was when I got ThroBak 101 Plus pickups (A5 magnets ) in all of my Les Paul's ,which go like a horse and carriage with my Les Paul's and Marshalls . Tone is not cookie cutter ish , as in one size fits all . It is the sum of all parts put together in the signal chain staring with the guitar , the amp , and if one uses effects , as they certainly cause there own issues/ headaches . Now with my first R9 which had Custombuckers they worked while using my Fender amps , at the same time I wish they had more output . One of my issues with the Custombuckers is the A3 magnets , which I find weak and devoid of any flavor or to make an analogy as I find them to be like hospital food lacking in taste and spice . I will openly admit as many of you probably know already that I am severely biased to all things ThroBak , because when I find something that works and does what I want it to do than I go all in . For example my most recent Custom Shop R Les Paul's and my M2M Les Paul's all had the Custombuckers removed and ThroBak's promptly installed before I took delivery of them as why would I want to waste time and money in not having them set up to my liking ?
 
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ajwain

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I think this thread is all about personal taste and subjective opinion. I have to say that throughout my long love affair with Gibson guitars, I’ve never played anything with stock pickups in that I would describe as sounding “like sh*t”!!
My ‘90 LP Std has 490R and 498T which I would say are my least favourite stock pickups. I bought the guitar for the bite and mid-range push that it gave me at the time. I didn’t want a subtle, articulate, vintage sounding guitar… I wanted one that would kill a Rhino at 30 paces! Since then, I’ve bought other Les Pauls for their more vintage tone, and so far, I’m happy with Custombuckers. If I need delicate, woody articulation then my 335 can do that better than any Les Paul I’ve played.

The secret is to embrace the pickups you have… play them to death and if subsequently you find they’re lacking in one specific area, then seek advice or experiment to see if you can find something better. The wiring harness and the caps are a good place to start…

No pickup (or guitar, for that matter) is perfect in every way. By very definition a Les Paul won’t get me the tones I get from my Strat.
 

jb_abides

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I think this thread is all about personal taste and subjective opinion. I have to say that throughout my long love affair with Gibson guitars, I’ve never played anything with stock pickups in that I would describe as sounding “like sh*t”!!
My ‘90 LP Std has 490R and 498T which I would say are my least favourite stock pickups. I bought the guitar for the bite and mid-range push that it gave me at the time. I didn’t want a subtle, articulate, vintage sounding guitar… I wanted one that would kill a Rhino at 30 paces! Since then, I’ve bought other Les Pauls for their more vintage tone, and so far, I’m happy with Custombuckers. If I need delicate, woody articulation then my 335 can do that better than any Les Paul I’ve played.

The secret is to embrace the pickups you have… play them to death and if subsequently you find they’re lacking in one specific area, then seek advice or experiment to see if you can find something better. The wiring harness and the caps are a good place to start…

No pickup (or guitar, for that matter) is perfect in every way. By very definition a Les Paul won’t get me the tones I get from my Strat.

Agree.

Even though others speak ill of them, the much maligned ceramics in my Classic 1960 Goldtop get my love... along with the skinny neck!

"Killing Rhinos Since 2000"
 

ajwain

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Jan 8, 2003
Messages
76
Agree.

Even though others speak ill of them, the much maligned ceramics in my Classic 1960 Goldtop get my love... along with the skinny neck!

"Killing Rhinos Since 2000"
Yep! I have a 1999 Classic with the snot green fretboard inlays and ceramic 496R and 500T pickups. I’ve not had reason to change them.
 
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