In an SG Standard: 490's or '61's ?


Aug 11, 2022
Reaction score
Not that this matters to anyone but I am getting rid of an SG Special w/'61 Burst-Bucker pickup's...and I just got a SG Standard w/490 R&T Pickup's. IMO Gibson has nerve putting 490's in a Standard... I'm not a big fan of the 490's or the '61's and if I had an extra set of '57 Classic's layin around I would put them in the new SG Standard, BUT...I do not.

So, if you could only have 490 R&T's or '61 Burst-Buckers, with or without Covers, which would you choose for your SG Standard ? Why ?

If you have the 61 BB and you don’t like them you should be able to sell/swap with someone. A lot of folks like them.

love 490s. They sound like an SG to me.

I've had various guitars with 490R / 490T, 496R / 500T, 57 Classics, 61s, BB3, P-90s, Mini Humbuckers. None of them caused any discomfort to my ears after adjusting the pup height and tone controls on the amp.

That said I have a 19 SG Standard with 490s and I have no reason to complain about them.
In a Gibson I usually keep whatever pickups they came with and I get very good sounds with a setup and some very small knob adjustments.

I have the '61 pickups in a 2020 SG Standard, the 490 R/Ts in a couple of 2019 LP Specials and the '57s in a 2019 ES-335. They all sound a little different from each other, but all sound awesome and are imminently useable on a wide variety of music.

Just not worth the effort to change them out or the time down the rabbit hole trying to fix already great sounds.
Last edited:

Kirk Dahnke

Aug 2, 2021
Reaction score
If it has a 200k tone pot and a .047 cap, it’s going to sound like mud.
Try a 500k pot and .022 cap and you’ll be in Gibson territory with your Guild.
The 200k and .047 is a Fender thing for single coil pickups.
Humbuckers need to breathe.

Yeah, it came with humbuckers so I was hoping it had 500K pots. Since the pickups I put in were already used the had a shorter wire. I got a good deal because of it so I just did the cheat/splice method for now. I'm no good at working on semis and didn't feel like dropping the money on proper installation. Plus I play on 10 so ive noticed diminishing returns on changing everything out. I had a Sheraton for 20 years and decided to change pickups and wiring. Didn't know the previous owner had done the cheat method and put a JB in the bridge. The guitar is 30 years old and had no problems at all and sounded great. I was just going to upgrade for the hell of it. It belonged to a musician that constantly toured in a van and played tons of gigs and it had zero issues with just Epi parts and a splice.
Jan 10, 2014
Reaction score
I'd take the 61 BB's over the 490R/T.

I used to have a Standard that had the 490R/T combo and it really wasn't for me. Too hot for my taste. Swapped them out for some SD Seth Lovers and they were fantastic pickups. Not very hot, and a very "classic" sounding pickup that was great for cleans and "edge of breakup" type stuff. Had a 2013 that came with '57 Classics and they were similar to the SD Seth Lovers, maybe a little brighter, but similar characteristics, very expressive, etc. Just couldn't replicate that with the 490R/T's.

Just picked up a '61 Standard Vibrola that has the 61R/T combo (or Burstbuckers, but I guess it depends on who you ask if these re the same pickups) and although I am able to get some nice sounds out of them (pickups set flush to the mounting rigs got me the best sound) I'm finding I'm having to work a little harder to get them to sound the way I want, and think it was easier to dial in stuff with the '57 Classics and SD Seth Lovers. Top end on the 61T is a little harsh / ice picky, but it[s taken care of pretty easily with the tone knob and rolling back the volume a little.

For reference, I don't play with heavy distortion or a lot of OD. Usually it's clean stuff or edge of breakup stuff with a low to moderate OD into a Fender amp that's set clean or gives a bit of breakup if I dig in. Lately been using a Wampler Paisley Drive and/or a Nobels ODR-1.


Active Member
Sep 25, 2016
Reaction score
between 490s and 61s… the 61s hands down. More bite, more mids, more harmonics… just better

Latest posts