Alnico Classic Pro or Probucker?

ShaolinCat

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Hi

First post in this forum, and apologies as I'm going to ask a question that I know has been asked before, but perhaps there is some newer experience to share in this?

I have one of the Korean 'Vintage' model G400's from 2005 (photos in the 'Welcome Wagon' forum https://www.everythingsg.com/threads/hi.37671/ ) and am wondering about replacing the 'Alnico Classic' pickups that it came with

I'm thinking about going with one of the Epiphone pickups as they seem cheap second-hand, readily available, and a known-quantity - ie. the Alnico Classic Pro and the Probucker 2 & 3

I see that the later G400 Pro models came loaded with the Alnico Classic Pro pickups and that these have been continued through to most of the current models, but that a few of the more vintage-style models come with the Probucker 2 & 3 pickups. I can't help thinking Epiphone had a reason for using the Classic Pro in their SG guitars for so many years when they could have fitted the Probucker if they wanted as they did in the contemporary Les Paul models, but product decisions don't always make sense :rolleyes:

Which do you think would work better in my guitar?

Alternatively I saw somebody saying that the Classic Pro pickup is identical to the Gibson Classic 57 except for using Alnico 5 magnets instead of Alnico 2, and so changing the magnets in the Alnico Classic Pro to Alnico 2 would give a Gibson Classic 57 near-as... would this be a better way forward?

Thanks!
 
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plankton

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I don't know about the Probuckers, but I have a G400 Pro with the ACP pickups. I love the bridge pickup, it's my favourite bridge humbucker sound out of the guitars I own and it suits the SG perfectly IMO. I'm not as in love with the neck pickup, I find it a bit too hot for that position so it's a little woofy and muddy. I rewired it in parallel and it's much better, but I still might swap it out for a Firebird pickup someday.
 

ShaolinCat

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I don't know about the Probuckers, but I have a G400 Pro with the ACP pickups. I love the bridge pickup, it's my favourite bridge humbucker sound out of the guitars I own and it suits the SG perfectly IMO. I'm not as in love with the neck pickup, I find it a bit too hot for that position so it's a little woofy and muddy. I rewired it in parallel and it's much better, but I still might swap it out for a Firebird pickup someday.

Thank you for sharing your experience

I did find this video where at one point they compare a Probucker Bridge pickup with a Classic Pro Bridge on two similar Epiphones SGs:

They seem to prefer the Classic Pro in the bridge but its very difficult to tell as the testing isn't exactly rigorous and it's a YouTube video... Sadly they didn't compare the neck pickups

I wonder if the slighly more 'airy' sound of an Alnico II (Probucker? Modified Classic Pro?) might work better in the neck, with the more meaty Alnico V of the Classic Pro being better for the bridge?

If I read the specs right, the Fralin Firebird neck pickup is an Alnico IV
 

plankton

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In my experience I don't usually like an A2 pickup in the neck, they're warmer than an A5 which can mean muddier.

An A5 PAF style that's 7-7.5k is my favourite standard HB for neck use. I think the Firebird is my favourite neck pickup of all though. But it's nice to have different guitars that do different things/sounds.

Good luck on your quest. Pickups are a tricky one because it not like most other gear where you can just try them in the shop.
 

DrBGood

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Any pickup might sound different in one guitar to the next exact same model. Of the two brown Vintage G400 I showed in your other thread, the darker one sounded darker than the lighter brown one. Has nothing to do with their color :cool:, but even after swapping the all the electronics between them, they still sounded very different.

The old Classics are a bit dark I agree, but I like their richness. They can also sound bright if you play with your amp EQ.
plankton, lower that neck pup below ring level. That's what I did on one of mine and that's probably where its sweet spot is. Actually, both my G400 (Probuckers) and my Ultra LP (boutique Tyson Tone PAFs) have their neck pickup buried below the ring. Both are really clear and articulate like that and mix great with the bridge pup in middle position.

Yes I have Probuckers in my Vintage G400 and they sound amazing. I couldn't say how they compare to the new Classic Pro though.

ShaolinCat, beware if you think of buying new Epiphone pickups on eBay and such. Epiphone doesn't have any authorized seller for their pickups, so all those nice $39.99 deals you see are fake. I'm not saying they might not sound good, but it's a toss of the dice on that. I got mine from someone I know who just pulled them from his new Epiphone.
 
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vancouverois

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I recently installed Alnico 4 pickups in the bridge and middle position of my Epi '61 LP Custom.
Not bad at all, but it seems the amp is the most important factor tonewise.
I have a few amps and the same guitar may sound differently according to the amp and of course cabs.
 

plankton

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plankton, lower that neck pup below ring level. That's what I did on one of mine and that's probably where its sweet spot is. Actually, both my G400 (Probuckers) and my Ultra LP (boutique Tyson Tone PAFs) have their neck pickup buried below the ring. Both are really clear and articulate like that and mix great with the bridge pup in middle position.

Yeah, I've done that, the guitar in question has a batwing and the pickup is slightly below that, about as low as it can go. The parallel wiring works well, but I don't completely love the sound, so I'm always thinking of what might be better like we often do. In reality I'll probably never change it out. Thanks for the tip though.
 

Biddlin

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Gibson 57+/Gibson 57 Classic and I let pedals and eq do the rest.
DSCN1626.JPG DSCN1633.JPG
 

ShaolinCat

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Gibson 57+/Gibson 57 Classic and I let pedals and eq do the rest.
Pretty! What style of tones do you get with the 57's?

You decided to stick with the original pots and electrics? I don't seem to have any problems with mine but from what I can see reading the posts here lots of people seem to rip theirs out...
 

ShaolinCat

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ShaolinCat, beware if you think of buying new Epiphone pickups on eBay and such. Epiphone doesn't have any authorized seller for their pickups, so all those nice $39.99 deals you see are fake. I'm not saying they might not sound good, but it's a toss of the dice on that. I got mine from someone I know who just pulled them from his new Epiphone.

Yes... kind of too good to be true and somewhat suspicious. I've seen a video and a couple of forum posts with people performing exploratory surgery and they seem to think they are genuine, but even if they got lucky with a real one there's no guarantee you will. They could also be seconds that should have been destroyed but that got rescued at the last minute - it seems that happened to a lot of capacitors, op-amps and other electronic components and ICs produced in Chinese factories for reputable companies around the turn of the century. They got rejected during QA inspection and sent for destruction but then saved by third parties and re-inserted into the supply chain later and unwittingly purchased by big names and put into expensive and even critical products with resulting failures in use

Certainly much better to buy something you knew came out of a guitar (if the seller is being honest, and if it didn't come from AliBaba before it was stuck in the guitar!) :smile:
 

Biddlin

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Pretty! What style of tones do you get with the 57's?

You decided to stick with the original pots and electrics? I don't seem to have any problems with mine but from what I can see reading the posts here lots of people seem to rip theirs out...
I have not had any issues with the electronics in any of my G-400s or Epi Les Pauls. I get classic rock and pop tones with the 57s. If I was playing metal or acid rock I'd have very likely stuck with the stock pickups.
 

ShaolinCat

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I have not had any issues with the electronics in any of my G-400s or Epi Les Pauls. I get classic rock and pop tones with the 57s. If I was playing metal or acid rock I'd have very likely stuck with the stock pickups.

Thanks, that's interesting info. Can I ask about cleans?

The guitar in your photo looks like a G400 like mine (except for the trem), which I guess had the older Alnico Classic pickups originally. Did you ever have a newer G400 Pro to compare the more recent Alnico Classic Pro pickups against the Gibson Classic 57s?
 

Von Trapp

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What would be the reason for the pickup change then, ie what is it you're after?
 

ShaolinCat

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What would be the reason for the pickup change then, ie what is it you're after?

Edit:
Deleted life story :D

I'm primarily an acoustic guitarist

I'm looking for something different from my Ash/Maple 50's style Telecaster. I don't have a clear idea of any particular sound as I want the sounds available to me to drive what I do via exploration. I already have the single-coil Telecaster sounds covered, and although I like them I need something to complement them and cover other areas

I like the SG I have bought very much, but at the moment it isn't either quite as articulate or as organic sounding as my Telecaster and doesn't have quite the range of different tones (probably to be expected with humbuckers and also as it's not in the same price bracket as my Tele, so I'm not complaining). I read reports of people expressing some measure of disatisfaction with the older Epiphone pickups like mine, whilst praising more recent models and as prices of second hand ones are not outrageous and I'm able to solder I thought it would be nice to try one of these models. Not looking for coil splits or Telecaster/single-coil type sounds as I already have that covered

After going to too many loud concerts when younger, I now suffer from tinnitus and so I don't like harsh or over-bright sounds, so this is also a consideration

That's why I'm asking the questions here
 
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DrBGood

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... I don't like harsh or over-bright sounds, ...
But you enjoy a Telecaster ...
I like the SG I have bought very much, but at the moment it isn't either quite as articulate or as organic sounding as my Telecaster and doesn't have quite the range of different tones (probably to be expected with humbuckers and also as it's not in the same price bracket as my Tele, so I'm not complaining).
A Tele is a Tele and a SG is a SG. You'll never find the clarity of a Tele in a humbucker equipped guitar. But you'll find as wide a tonal range as with a Tele, you just have to look for it. Hint: it doesn't reside in the Tele EQ settings.
... it's not in the same price bracket as my Tele, so I'm not complaining)..
Price has NOTHING to do with tone. For an acoustic for sure, but not for an electric.
I read reports of people expressing some measure of disatisfaction with the older Epiphone pickups like mine, ...
I'd be inclined to say that most of those comments come from people who "need" to upgrade everything. From people who never realize that a pickup tone quality is tributary to it's distance from the strings above it.

My 2 pennies ...
 

Von Trapp

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Edit:
Deleted life story :D

I'm primarily an acoustic guitarist

I'm looking for something different from my Ash/Maple 50's style Telecaster. I don't have a clear idea of any particular sound as I want the sounds available to me to drive what I do via exploration. I already have the single-coil Telecaster sounds covered, and although I like them I need something to complement them and cover other areas

I like the SG I have bought very much, but at the moment it isn't either quite as articulate or as organic sounding as my Telecaster and doesn't have quite the range of different tones (probably to be expected with humbuckers and also as it's not in the same price bracket as my Tele, so I'm not complaining). I read reports of people expressing some measure of disatisfaction with the older Epiphone pickups like mine, whilst praising more recent models and as prices of second hand ones are not outrageous and I'm able to solder I thought it would be nice to try one of these models. Not looking for coil splits or Telecaster/single-coil type sounds as I already have that covered

After going to too many loud concerts when younger, I now suffer from tinnitus and so I don't like harsh or over-bright sounds, so this is also a consideration

That's why I'm asking the questions here

Ok, I see. Well, if you have tried all of the classic tricks in the book when it comes to adjusting the pickups and nothing works to get them to sound as you want them to then I can understand if you want to replace them. The tele of course has a different type of pickups so will sound different but there's no reason you shouldn't be able to make your SG sound great too. In my experience sometimes, but not always, epi pickups can sound a bit lame no matter what you do. I would not however bother to change them for another pair of epi pickups but rather go for something like a used pair of Gibsons from ebay. Plenty of people rip them out for all kinds of silly reasons, and some non silly too of course, so almost always available there. No need to go overboard with anything more special than any kind of Gibson. Most of the time I've gone for 498 in the bridge but always a 490 in the neck, the latter always making an extremely noticeable difference in clarity. You'll get most of your money back if you want to sell them later and try something different.

Just to have mentioned this as well; my daughter once thought her epi sounded lame and wanted me to adjust the pickups. After trying everything I had to admit, yes, it nothing seems to work. But just before I told her to get a set of Gibsons I asked her when she last changed strings. Dunno, more than a year ago... Guess what happened when she changed the strings?
 

ShaolinCat

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But you enjoy a Telecaster ...
Best jazz tone in a solid body (when you turn the tone down and fiddle with the volume)... except maybe an LP and perhaps this guy (one of many):


In fact mine isn't particularly bright - it has the tele character and flexibility without being shrill. That's one ot the things that attracted me to it

But you'll find as wide a tonal range as with a Tele, you just have to look for it. Hint: it doesn't reside in the Tele EQ settings.

Tell me more... :smile: (could an interesting thread - Great SG Settings?)
 


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