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Gibson '57 Classic vs. Burstbucker 1 & 2

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Don't come over here much, so if this is the millionth time this has been brought up, just direct me to where I'm supposed to go.

 

That said -- I want to replace the stock pups in my '04 Les Paul Studio. Looking for something that isn't quite as blanketed as what's in here now... so more clarity and something you can still drive, but still keep clean easily.

 

Which is the better option here: 57's or BB's?

 

(Amps are Mesa & Vox)

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This was actually asked a maybe a week ago (along with Seth Lovers in the list), I never got a chance to post or even see what was posted.

 

The BB1 will be the lowest wound PU, offering more clarity and a nice clean bright tone. BB2 is a little hotter. Neither is wax-potted, nor were the original PAF's, and neither is the Seth lover (which compares probably closest to the BB1). This can create problems in high volume, high gain situations, but potting is more about preventing a pickup from going microphonic in the future, a new well-built PU shouldn't be microphonic, potted or not.

 

The Classic '57's is their vintage PU for the masses. It's a tad fuller and a tad hotter than the BB1 (maybe the BB2). In short, it's a "vintage" PU for "modern" tastes -- which tend to favor louder, brighter, fuller. These days, all Classic '57's are potted (that wasn't always the case) as well.

 

I believe any of the three will do what you want, the rest is all subjective.

 

There are other options, not only is there the SD Seth lover, but there are maybe a dozen small, one-man pickup shops out there that can custom wind a humbucker to exactly what you ask for.

 

Here are some I really like and think are priced competitively (many are $$$):

http://www.manliusguitar.com/

http://www.highorderpickups.com/

http://www.tonefordays.com/

As wellv as BG Pickups, wound by own of our own forumites.

http://www.norcalguitars.com/

 

The nice things about the above winders is they can wind each PU to taste, when ordered, instead of you having to just by what they feel is a good pickup.

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Another MAJOR difference between BB's and '57s is this;

 

the coil windings on '57s are balanced, the same number of turns on each spool. the BBs are unbalanced, more windings on one spool, which gives the pupmore edge and bite. the '57s are warmer, smoother, and sound better clean ( to my ears) and the BBs sound better driven.

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Another MAJOR difference between BB's and '57s is this;


the coil windings on '57s are balanced, the same number of turns on each spool. the BBs are unbalanced, more windings on one spool, which gives the pupmore edge and bite. the '57s are warmer, smoother, and sound better clean ( to my ears) and the BBs sound better driven.

 

Yeah, an unbalanced coils will let one coil dominate for a little hint of that single coil clarity and articulation.

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Another MAJOR difference between BB's and '57s is this;


the coil windings on '57s are balanced, the same number of turns on each spool. the BBs are unbalanced, more windings on one spool, which gives the pupmore edge and bite. the '57s are warmer, smoother, and sound better clean ( to my ears) and the BBs sound better driven.

 

Anyone combine these?? Maybe a '57 in the neck for cleans and lower gain and a BB 1 or 2 in the bridge for more aggressive drive?

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Anyone combine these?? Maybe a '57 in the neck for cleans and lower gain and a BB 1 or 2 in the bridge for more aggressive drive?

 

A Classic '57 at the neck would totally overpower a BB1 at the bridge and maybe even a BB2 (which would be closer to the Classic 57 in output but won't be able to compensate for weaker string vibrations of the bridge location).

 

You could just drop a Classic 57+ in the Bridge as well.

 

Personally, for cleans I prefer a PU more like the BB1's, I think they offer more clarity and articulation and a tad more of the cleans you would associate with single coils. Not to mention they will resist mud at the neck position a little more.

 

The Classic '57's will be more of a "humbucker clean," which is thick, full, round, sounding, but less focused and less articulate and never truly clean at all...more creamy than chime-y/snappy. But cream can turn to mud real fast if you roll back the tone.

 

A caveat I should point out is that I like to play clean -- I like articulation, I heavily favor single coils and mini-HB's, so if these were my only options, I would go BB1 for neck, BB2 for bridge. But most people are looking for a little more umph! from a humbucker than I do, so for most I might just recommend a Classic 57/Classic 57+ combo.

 

My other caveat is that i think Gibson is pretty generic as a pickup manufacturer, I have lots of experiences with all of these PU's, but prefer to shop elsewhere for pickups with a little more character.

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I don't see why you couldn't. It would likely be a nice combination. I use a BB#2 in the bridge of my SG. It's not a terribly hot pickup. Just a little, but not over the top. I like the BB's better. I think the unbalanced windings make for a better sound.

 

There are three versions. If you want a warm tone, go with a #1 in the neck and a #2 in the bridge. If you like things a little hotter, go with a #2 in the neck and a #3 in the bridge. The #2 works fine either place.

 

EG

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A Classic '57 at the neck would totally overpower a BB1 at the bridge and maybe even a BB2 (which would be closer to the Classic 57 in output but won't be able to compensate for weaker string vibrations of the bridge location).


You could just drop a Classic 57+ in the Bridge as well.


Personally, for cleans I prefer a PU more like the BB1's, I think they offer more clarity and articulation and a tad more of the cleans you would associate with single coils. Not to mention they will resist mud at the neck position a little more.


The Classic '57's will be more of a "humbucker clean," which is thick, full, round, sounding, but less focused and less articulate and never truly clean at all...more creamy than chime-y/snappy. But cream can turn to mud real fast if you roll back the tone.


A caveat I should point out is that I like to play clean -- I like articulation, I heavily favor single coils and mini-HB's, so if these were my only options, I would go BB1 for neck, BB2 for bridge. But most people are looking for a little more umph! from a humbucker than I do, so for most I might just recommend a Classic 57/Classic 57+ combo.


My other caveat is that i think Gibson is pretty generic as a pickup manufacturer, I have lots of experiences with all of these PU's, but prefer to shop elsewhere for pickups with a little more character.

 

Thanks for the input.

 

I've had this guitar for 5 years or so, and it was only after falling in love with a G&L ASAT that I realized my Les Paul wasn't cutting it. I want more clarity.... I think I'm leaning toward the BB's.

 

First off though, I think I'm going to swap out my electronics. I guess Gibson loads their guitars with rather limiting pots and whatnot, so before investing in new pickups, I think I'm going to get a kit and swap those pots. (Maybe I should've done this a long time ago??)

 

While we're here: any reason to think this kit would be any better than this kit for brightening up my Les Paul?

 

Is that first one really worth 3x the money??

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I love the Classics, but if I had to choose between BB's and the Classics I may choose the BB's because of the uneven windings. To be perfectly honest though either set is such a step above the 490R/498T sets that I don't think that you could go wrong. I hate those stock pickups with a passion although I've heard plenty of guys get some good tones from them; I just can't seem to.

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Don't skimp on your electronics. If your LP uses 300k pots, that swap alone may do the trick.

 

The first one says it's short shaft. Gibson says to use long shafts because of the carved top. I would double check.

 

If you are willing to spend the money on Gibson pickups, then don't go cheap on your pots. There is a difference. I would stay original and use Gibson parts.

 

EG

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RS charges a premium to measure and package together their parts.

 

They use proprietary spec'ed pots, and make sure those pots are within +10%/-0% tolerance, so the pot will range from 500K to roughly 550K.

 

Also, they use super expensive hifi quality caps that are $$$. Great quality caps can be had for less.

 

And all the parts they use are premium (which really doesn't mean as much as it used to).

 

But you could easily shop around and part a kit together with great premium parts for a little more than 1/2 what RS charges.

 

An important thing to do is to measure what comes out and what goes in with a multimeter, several parts have very loose tolerances (up to 40% with ceramic caps), so two parts with the same number may measure very differently.

 

However, what is $60 over 5 , 10 or more years you may have that guitar?

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The Burstbucker would be my first choice. They have a more open sound, and as stated earlier, this translates to more articulation in your cleans.

 

I would agree that you shouldn't skimp on electronics, but before you change them out, I'd give the 50's wiring mod a try. You may even want to give that a try before you swap pickups, it can open the sound up some.

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I would go with Burstbucker Pros. I have a LP studio and was debating between 57 classics and burstbucker 1,2, and 3 as well. I ended up liking the BB Pros the best out of all of them.

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I would go with Burstbucker Pros. I have a LP studio and was debating between 57 classics and burstbucker 1,2, and 3 as well. I ended up liking the BB Pros the best out of all of them.

 

That would be the least clean, most aggressive of the bunch.

 

The BB Pro is just a generic AlNiCo 5, even-wound coil, potted humbucker that has nothing in common with the more PAF-based BB1-3's except it's name. If anything it's closest to what's in the Studio already.

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Has anyone ever tried a BB1 and a BB2 in the same position of the same guitar?

 

Is one brighter than the other?

 

I have a set of the 57 Classics and to be honest, they are my favorite HBs ever. I'm mostly a single coil guy... but I have a few HB guitars but usually only for harder type music. The 57s sound outstanding to my ears and as SC-like as any HB I've ever owned. I wouldn't mind getting a set of either 2 BB1s or maybe two BB2s but I want to avoid mud at all costs in the neck position.

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But you could easily shop around and part a kit together with great premium parts for a little more than 1/2 what RS charges.

 

Care to elaborate on this? I'd love to save some money, but I'm a pedal junkie.... not a guitar guru. I don't even really know what I'm looking for, other than 500k pots.

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I have '57 Classics in my Les Paul and disagree with the post that said they don't clean up well (at all). I can get an almost Strat-ish sound in the middle pup position depending on amp settings. Also your pickup height is going to make a difference. I have the bridge pup right under the strings and the neck pup fairly low.

 

I've peronally found the BB's to be a little ice-picky for my tastes.

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