Dealing with 495 mini humbuckers MOD

Steve D

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My '18 special came with 495 mini humbuckers. People say this about minis : focused, clear, sharp, bright, like in between a p90 and humbucker, but there are actually many version of minis and these 495s do not fit the standard tonal description.

View attachment 30678

These have output resistance of 25k and 16k. They have bar magnets inside of each coil. No string height screws. They are what people call 'firebird' style, but they are not what came in old birds.

Everything you play sounds like it's going through an overdrive. It's very hard to play a note that doesn't have a fuzzy halo. This is not a bad sound. They bloom and sizzle with aggressive pick attack, but it's always angry. You can take some bite off with volume roll, but you lose too much volume before you get anything clean and defined.

I've owned all kinds of guitars with all kinds of configs and my tastes have settled down to p90 and small tube amps with a natural dynamic tone. Get the amp on the edge of hot and use the guitar volume and a dirty boost for the range. I got bored with muddy humbuckers many years ago.

I knew it was a gamble on the mini buckers, but they use a p90 hole which is an excellent safety net! I would have no tears about putting in some p90s, but I do like some aspects of the minis.

I have a p100 sitting around that came in my '97 Les Paul special. I love the sound of a p100 in the neck of a mahogany slab. It's my go to noodle tone. It's got a dynamic like a bell or piano, a kind of round note. The p100 was a pickup Gibson made 20 or so years ago that is a stacked humbucker. It looks just like a p90, but in fact it's two coils. One main coil and one dummy coil under it. It's wired in parallel. It works great in the neck, but it does not have enough output for a bridge and everyone in the world swapped the bridge or both for p90s. It's probably the most hated Gibson pickup (because it looks like a p90 but doesn't sound like one), but I find it very useful and musical.

I thought I might put the p100 in the neck of the SG and put the lower output neck pickup into the bridge slot and see what that does. Then I remembered that the p100 is parallel coils and the mini 495 pickups are so hot that they would still have decent output in parallel. I ripped out some wires (had already replaced the POS PCB) and tested it out. It sounded ok, so I ordered the parts and did the mod.

I've wired buckers to toggle to single coil before and never really liked the sound, but these in parallel sound great to me. It's what I was missing. It's very fender, without the noise. It's very clean, but not limp. All the farty bass and sizzle halo goes away. Now I can take the guitar to where I like to go and also keep the angry series sizzle option in place. I'm calling it a win - for now!

Output at the Jack in Series (from my cheap meter)
T 25000
R 16000
Both 9800

In Parallel
T 6400
R 4100
Both 2500

I used 2 push/pull 500k audio pots from CTS. Those plastic can ones. They just fit in the SG. No room to spare. No room for a washer on the inside to lower the shaft. I had to drill my knobs a bit so they would seat a bit lower. I sanded down the lip of the PCB on the pot to insure it fits in the guitar.

View attachment 30681

View attachment 30680

I put the toggles on the volume because I use 500K no load tone pots and didn't want to lose those.

View attachment 30679

Wiring for CTS pots:
.4 bridges to .2
.C2 green, C1, white
.3 black (hot out), .1 red + ground

Reverse the black and red for one pickup (combine black with ground and make red hot) unless you want out of phase sounds when combined.

Here's the factory spec of the GIbson 495 mini humbuckers.

Pickups Rhythm Lead
Style: 495R 495T
Winds/Coil: Screw side/Slug side: 7,000 8,400
Material of Wire (gauge): Copper (44) Copper (45)
Coil Dimensions (per coil): 2.61" x 0.68" 2.61" x 0.68"
Coil Material: ABS ABS
Coil Winding Process: Machine Wound Machine Wound
Pole Piece Material: Nickel plated steel Nickel plated steel
Slug Material: Nickel plated steel Nickel plated steel
Slug Dimensions (diameter x length): 0.187 x 0.489" 0.187 x 0.489"
Magnet Material: Ceramic Ceramic
Magnet Position from Nut: 19" 23.125"
Magnet Dimensions: 2.5" x 0.5" 2.5" x 0.5"
Qfactor: 3.28 2.46
ResistanceDC: 14280.00 Ohms 25250.00 Ohms
Resonant Frequency: 3448.71 Hz 2482.71 Hz

Bonus Image : Off center holly that prevents me from ever having a sound nights sleep. Twitch.

View attachment 30682

I also have a 2018 special and I've been trying to get some info on the pickups. A pic is attached. It doesn't say 495, you seem pretty certain though. Where did you find that info?
 

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Steve D

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I stumbled across this today Jimmy Page 21-sound SG wiring harness and am seriously considering it because it's not that pricey and the idea of getting a lot of tonal variety (21 sounds supposedly) to experiment with sounds cool. I was intrigued since the idea of coil taps and/or wiring the PUPs in parallel was mentioned in this thread as sound really good but the prospect of wiring it all up from scratch was not that appealing to me. But if I can buy it pre-wired for $75 .... hmmm...

Basically it has all four pots as coil taps. One toggles single/humbucker on the bridge, second does same for the neck PUP, third inverts phase, fourth toggles serial / parallel. That said, I don't have any idea what would happen with these minis in some of these combos.

http://jerseyshoreguitargarage.com/store.php#!/Ultimate-SG-Full-System/p/39766055/category=22403010

Here's a list of 20 of the 21 advertised switch configs (H=humbucking, S=single coil, B=bridge, N=neck)
1. Bridge H
2. Neck H
3. Both H paralel
4. Neck single coil. Coil shunt
5. Idem Bridge
6. Both single coil. Dual Coil shunt in parallel
7 bridge single coil. Alternate coil shunt
8. BH NS. Parallel
9. NH BS
10. BH NS . Parallel. Out of phase
11. NH BS. Parallel. Out of phase
12. Both single. Parallel. Out of phase
13. Serial mod. Both
14. Serial. NHBS
15. Serial. BHNS
16. Serial. Both single
17. Serial. Both Hum. Out of phase
18. Serial NHBS . Out of phase.
19. Serial BHNS. Out of phase.
20. Serial. Both single. Out of phase

Here's a demo of a guy going through all 21 sounds, albeit with a Les Paul with full sized humbuckers. Some substantial sound differences there.


Looks like a fun project to experiment with. I suppose worst case it would make my SG Special unusable. Best case it would make it really fun to play around with. I'm this close to pulling the trigger ....
 
Last edited:

Kirk Dahnke

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My '18 special came with 495 mini humbuckers. People say this about minis : focused, clear, sharp, bright, like in between a p90 and humbucker, but there are actually many version of minis and these 495s do not fit the standard tonal description.

View attachment 30678

These have output resistance of 25k and 16k. They have bar magnets inside of each coil. No string height screws. They are what people call 'firebird' style, but they are not what came in old birds.

Everything you play sounds like it's going through an overdrive. It's very hard to play a note that doesn't have a fuzzy halo. This is not a bad sound. They bloom and sizzle with aggressive pick attack, but it's always angry. You can take some bite off with volume roll, but you lose too much volume before you get anything clean and defined.

I've owned all kinds of guitars with all kinds of configs and my tastes have settled down to p90 and small tube amps with a natural dynamic tone. Get the amp on the edge of hot and use the guitar volume and a dirty boost for the range. I got bored with muddy humbuckers many years ago.

I knew it was a gamble on the mini buckers, but they use a p90 hole which is an excellent safety net! I would have no tears about putting in some p90s, but I do like some aspects of the minis.

I have a p100 sitting around that came in my '97 Les Paul special. I love the sound of a p100 in the neck of a mahogany slab. It's my go to noodle tone. It's got a dynamic like a bell or piano, a kind of round note. The p100 was a pickup Gibson made 20 or so years ago that is a stacked humbucker. It looks just like a p90, but in fact it's two coils. One main coil and one dummy coil under it. It's wired in parallel. It works great in the neck, but it does not have enough output for a bridge and everyone in the world swapped the bridge or both for p90s. It's probably the most hated Gibson pickup (because it looks like a p90 but doesn't sound like one), but I find it very useful and musical.

I thought I might put the p100 in the neck of the SG and put the lower output neck pickup into the bridge slot and see what that does. Then I remembered that the p100 is parallel coils and the mini 495 pickups are so hot that they would still have decent output in parallel. I ripped out some wires (had already replaced the POS PCB) and tested it out. It sounded ok, so I ordered the parts and did the mod.

I've wired buckers to toggle to single coil before and never really liked the sound, but these in parallel sound great to me. It's what I was missing. It's very fender, without the noise. It's very clean, but not limp. All the farty bass and sizzle halo goes away. Now I can take the guitar to where I like to go and also keep the angry series sizzle option in place. I'm calling it a win - for now!

Output at the Jack in Series (from my cheap meter)
T 25000
R 16000
Both 9800

In Parallel
T 6400
R 4100
Both 2500

I used 2 push/pull 500k audio pots from CTS. Those plastic can ones. They just fit in the SG. No room to spare. No room for a washer on the inside to lower the shaft. I had to drill my knobs a bit so they would seat a bit lower. I sanded down the lip of the PCB on the pot to insure it fits in the guitar.

View attachment 30681

View attachment 30680

I put the toggles on the volume because I use 500K no load tone pots and didn't want to lose those.

View attachment 30679

Wiring for CTS pots:
.4 bridges to .2
.C2 green, C1, white
.3 black (hot out), .1 red + ground

Reverse the black and red for one pickup (combine black with ground and make red hot) unless you want out of phase sounds when combined.

Here's the factory spec of the GIbson 495 mini humbuckers.

Pickups Rhythm Lead
Style: 495R 495T
Winds/Coil: Screw side/Slug side: 7,000 8,400
Material of Wire (gauge): Copper (44) Copper (45)
Coil Dimensions (per coil): 2.61" x 0.68" 2.61" x 0.68"
Coil Material: ABS ABS
Coil Winding Process: Machine Wound Machine Wound
Pole Piece Material: Nickel plated steel Nickel plated steel
Slug Material: Nickel plated steel Nickel plated steel
Slug Dimensions (diameter x length): 0.187 x 0.489" 0.187 x 0.489"
Magnet Material: Ceramic Ceramic
Magnet Position from Nut: 19" 23.125"
Magnet Dimensions: 2.5" x 0.5" 2.5" x 0.5"
Qfactor: 3.28 2.46
ResistanceDC: 14280.00 Ohms 25250.00 Ohms
Resonant Frequency: 3448.71 Hz 2482.71 Hz

Bonus Image : Off center holly that prevents me from ever having a sound nights sleep. Twitch.

View attachment 30682



Go ahead and throw some P90s into it. Thats what I did. Way happier.
 

MR D

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Joined
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Messages
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Location
RIKER'S ISLAND,NYC
My '18 special came with 495 mini humbuckers. People say this about minis : focused, clear, sharp, bright, like in between a p90 and humbucker, but there are actually many version of minis and these 495s do not fit the standard tonal description.

View attachment 30678

These have output resistance of 25k and 16k. They have bar magnets inside of each coil. No string height screws. They are what people call 'firebird' style, but they are not what came in old birds.

Everything you play sounds like it's going through an overdrive. It's very hard to play a note that doesn't have a fuzzy halo. This is not a bad sound. They bloom and sizzle with aggressive pick attack, but it's always angry. You can take some bite off with volume roll, but you lose too much volume before you get anything clean and defined.

I've owned all kinds of guitars with all kinds of configs and my tastes have settled down to p90 and small tube amps with a natural dynamic tone. Get the amp on the edge of hot and use the guitar volume and a dirty boost for the range. I got bored with muddy humbuckers many years ago.

I knew it was a gamble on the mini buckers, but they use a p90 hole which is an excellent safety net! I would have no tears about putting in some p90s, but I do like some aspects of the minis.

I have a p100 sitting around that came in my '97 Les Paul special. I love the sound of a p100 in the neck of a mahogany slab. It's my go to noodle tone. It's got a dynamic like a bell or piano, a kind of round note. The p100 was a pickup Gibson made 20 or so years ago that is a stacked humbucker. It looks just like a p90, but in fact it's two coils. One main coil and one dummy coil under it. It's wired in parallel. It works great in the neck, but it does not have enough output for a bridge and everyone in the world swapped the bridge or both for p90s. It's probably the most hated Gibson pickup (because it looks like a p90 but doesn't sound like one), but I find it very useful and musical.

I thought I might put the p100 in the neck of the SG and put the lower output neck pickup into the bridge slot and see what that does. Then I remembered that the p100 is parallel coils and the mini 495 pickups are so hot that they would still have decent output in parallel. I ripped out some wires (had already replaced the POS PCB) and tested it out. It sounded ok, so I ordered the parts and did the mod.

I've wired buckers to toggle to single coil before and never really liked the sound, but these in parallel sound great to me. It's what I was missing. It's very fender, without the noise. It's very clean, but not limp. All the farty bass and sizzle halo goes away. Now I can take the guitar to where I like to go and also keep the angry series sizzle option in place. I'm calling it a win - for now!

Output at the Jack in Series (from my cheap meter)
T 25000
R 16000
Both 9800

In Parallel
T 6400
R 4100
Both 2500

I used 2 push/pull 500k audio pots from CTS. Those plastic can ones. They just fit in the SG. No room to spare. No room for a washer on the inside to lower the shaft. I had to drill my knobs a bit so they would seat a bit lower. I sanded down the lip of the PCB on the pot to insure it fits in the guitar.

View attachment 30681

View attachment 30680

I put the toggles on the volume because I use 500K no load tone pots and didn't want to lose those.

View attachment 30679

Wiring for CTS pots:
.4 bridges to .2
.C2 green, C1, white
.3 black (hot out), .1 red + ground

Reverse the black and red for one pickup (combine black with ground and make red hot) unless you want out of phase sounds when combined.

Here's the factory spec of the GIbson 495 mini humbuckers.

Pickups Rhythm Lead
Style: 495R 495T
Winds/Coil: Screw side/Slug side: 7,000 8,400
Material of Wire (gauge): Copper (44) Copper (45)
Coil Dimensions (per coil): 2.61" x 0.68" 2.61" x 0.68"
Coil Material: ABS ABS
Coil Winding Process: Machine Wound Machine Wound
Pole Piece Material: Nickel plated steel Nickel plated steel
Slug Material: Nickel plated steel Nickel plated steel
Slug Dimensions (diameter x length): 0.187 x 0.489" 0.187 x 0.489"
Magnet Material: Ceramic Ceramic
Magnet Position from Nut: 19" 23.125"
Magnet Dimensions: 2.5" x 0.5" 2.5" x 0.5"
Qfactor: 3.28 2.46
ResistanceDC: 14280.00 Ohms 25250.00 Ohms
Resonant Frequency: 3448.71 Hz 2482.71 Hz

Bonus Image : Off center holly that prevents me from ever having a sound nights sleep. Twitch.

View attachment 30682

The Mini-Humbuckers I have in a 2018 FIREBIRD Standard T sound like they are the same as the ones you mentioned above, BUT GIBSON deosn't say they are 495's...the output on them comes in around where what you stated and they have no pole piece adjustment screws... The FIREBIRD is a pretty BAD-A$$ Guitar, KILLER LEAD TONES in the Middle Toggle position, WOW ! The only thing I do not like about them is that the Neck Pickup doesn't quite get the THUMP that I prefer on the open 'E' or 6 string Barre Chord F or F#.....they just dont quite have that.......BUT other than that...THEY FUCKIN RIP !
 

MR D

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Joined
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Location
RIKER'S ISLAND,NYC
I stumbled across this today Jimmy Page 21-sound SG wiring harness and am seriously considering it because it's not that pricey and the idea of getting a lot of tonal variety (21 sounds supposedly) to experiment with sounds cool. I was intrigued since the idea of coil taps and/or wiring the PUPs in parallel was mentioned in this thread as sound really good but the prospect of wiring it all up from scratch was not that appealing to me. But if I can buy it pre-wired for $75 .... hmmm...

Basically it has all four pots as coil taps. One toggles single/humbucker on the bridge, second does same for the neck PUP, third inverts phase, fourth toggles serial / parallel. That said, I don't have any idea what would happen with these minis in some of these combos.

http://jerseyshoreguitargarage.com/store.php#!/Ultimate-SG-Full-System/p/39766055/category=22403010

Here's a list of 20 of the 21 advertised switch configs (H=humbucking, S=single coil, B=bridge, N=neck)
1. Bridge H
2. Neck H
3. Both H paralel
4. Neck single coil. Coil shunt
5. Idem Bridge
6. Both single coil. Dual Coil shunt in parallel
7 bridge single coil. Alternate coil shunt
8. BH NS. Parallel
9. NH BS
10. BH NS . Parallel. Out of phase
11. NH BS. Parallel. Out of phase
12. Both single. Parallel. Out of phase
13. Serial mod. Both
14. Serial. NHBS
15. Serial. BHNS
16. Serial. Both single
17. Serial. Both Hum. Out of phase
18. Serial NHBS . Out of phase.
19. Serial BHNS. Out of phase.
20. Serial. Both single. Out of phase

Here's a demo of a guy going through all 21 sounds, albeit with a Les Paul with full sized humbuckers. Some substantial sound differences there.


Looks like a fun project to experiment with. I suppose worst case it would make my SG Special unusable. Best case it would make it really fun to play around with. I'm this close to pulling the trigger ....

Interesting...the old NIGHTHAWKS had the variety of 10 different Tones', IIRC...which was cool enough as well...IDK if I'd have occassion to use at least half of them but, hey , for $75...worth havin on-board.....

R they available or what you found is a one-off ? I did not get to reading the whole post.
 

Steve D

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I bought it but didn't end up installing it in anything yet. Those extra tall pots looked like they might have been a tough fit in that particular '18 SG Special and before I really dug into it I ended up selling that guitar. Since then I haven't had another that would be a good candidate (not going to put it in a customs shop SG or an all original '70s one). It ended up on a shelf and I actually forgot I had it.

What I can say is that the place I bought it had poor communications. I ordered and paid for it and then waited and waited for anything about it shipping. Nothing. Sent emails, no response. Was beginning to think i had gotten taken but eventually I did get a response along the lines of 'been busy getting to it soon' or something like that. Eventually it showed up and the work looked well done so it was not a scam, just slow. I guess they either had more orders than their small shop could handle or it was a side hustle that was low priority for them.
 


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