What do you think of 490R and 490T pickups in an SG?

490R and 490T pickups on an SG

  • 4 Definitely / Fantastic pickups

    Votes: 5 29.4%
  • 3 Pretty Good

    Votes: 7 41.2%
  • 2 Barely passable / OK if there are no other options

    Votes: 4 23.5%
  • 1 Not so good

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 0 Definitely not / Gotta swap

    Votes: 1 5.9%

  • Total voters
    17

Guithartic

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My Gibson SG Standard came with them. Are they generally considered great, pretty good, or not so much? Any opinions?
 

Oig

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I had them in my Special, it was one of the best sounding guitars I ever owned. By comparison I had a USA PRS I swapped about a zillion pickups out of before I found the right set.

In my opinion, pickups are one of the things Gibson does right - I barely ever feel the need to put new pickups in one.
 

MR D

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My Gibson SG Standard came with them. Are they generally considered great, pretty good, or not so much? Any opinions?
Well, TBH , they aren't bad pickups but they are far from GIBSON USA's best pickups, a lot of players like them. But, IMO ? GIBSON USA has some nerve putting their cheapest pickups (any of the 490 series pickups) in a STANDARD series guitar, especially now with all the price increases. I got them in a 2020 SG Standard but I had a '57 Classic and a '61R pickup ready to swap out the 490's as soon as I bought the guitar....and if I had not had the '57 Classic (Bridge) and the '61R (Neck) to swap out as soon as I got the guitar home? I would not have bought the guitar. That might be (actually IS) an indicator of what I think of the 490 R/T pickups, yes?.......... and to take it a step further...and this is just one GIBSON players opine........The 490 R/T pickups belong in entry level GIBSON Guitars, not in a Standard series guitar, due to the price of the 490's new as compared to the better/more expensive pickup offerings GIBSON USA has (see GIBSON dot coms pickup page price list here: https://www.gibson.com/en-US/Collection/pickupshop ). In the recent past, I would expect 490's to be in a FADED, Special, Special Faded or Junior series guitar. But now, the GIBSON USA line's top model Guitar, the STANDARD, is getting GIBSON USA's cheapest pickup as stock equipment out of the factory.....and for me?........that just frikkin reeks of CHEEEP.....DGMW, when the 490's came out, IIRC, they were GIBSON's best pickup's....but the 490 series pickup's have since been blown away by just about the entirety of rest of GIBSON USA's pickup offerings.....BUT BUT BUT......you might really like the 490's after getting them all dialed in.

and for the record: GIBSON doesn't make any shitty pickup's and IMO, the louder you play, for example: CRANK A MARSHALL HALF STACK to '11'......the less the pickups matter (I KNO POTTED VS UNPOTTED...... GENERALLY, IS WHAT I MEAN)...... as long as they function properly.

I KNO I AM GONNA TAKE SOME **** FOR THIS POST, BUT.....THERE, I SAID IT !
 
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Dangerhouse77

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I like them and played them in my Standard well over a year. I just recently swapped them out for Wolfetone Marshallheads. Why? One of the pots started to go so I had to take out the PCB board to put in a wired kit. Am I happier with it now? Yes. So while I wouldn’t say 490s are the worst out there. I would say there are better choices
 

Guithartic

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Well, TBH , they aren't bad pickups but they are far from GIBSON USA's best pickups, a lot of players like them. But, IMO ? GIBSON USA has some nerve putting their cheapest pickups (any of the 490 series pickups) in a STANDARD series guitar, especially now with all the price increases. I got them in a 2020 SG Standard but I had a '57 Classic and a '61R pickup ready to swap out the 490's as soon as I bought the guitar....and if I had not had the '57 Classic (Bridge) and the '61R (Neck) to swap out as soon as I got the guitar home? I would not have bought the guitar. That might be (actually IS) an indicator of what I think of the 490 R/T pickups, yes?.......... and to take it a step further...and this is just one GIBSON players opine........The 490 R/T pickups belong in entry level GIBSON Guitars, not in a Standard series guitar, due to the price of the 490's new as compared to the better/more expensive pickup offerings GIBSON USA has (see GIBSON dot coms pickup page price list here: https://www.gibson.com/en-US/Collection/pickupshop ). In the recent past, I would expect 490's to be in a FADED, Special, Special Faded or Junior series guitar. But now, the GIBSON USA line's top model Guitar, the STANDARD, is getting GIBSON USA's cheapest pickup as stock equipment out of the factory.....and for me?........that just frikkin reeks of CHEEEP.....DGMW, when the 490's came out, IIRC, they were GIBSON's best pickup's....but the 490 series pickup's have since been blown away by just about the entirety of rest of GIBSON USA's pickup offerings.....BUT BUT BUT......you might really like the 490's after getting them all dialed in.

and for the record: GIBSON doesn't make any shitty pickup's and IMO, the louder you play, for example: CRANK A MARSHALL HALF STACK to '11'......the less the pickups matter (I KNO POTTED VS UNPOTTED...... GENERALLY, IS WHAT I MEAN)...... as long as they function properly.

I KNO I AM GONNA TAKE SOME **** FOR THIS POST, BUT.....THERE, I SAID IT !
Did you solder in the new pickups or do they make the plug in type for 57 Classics or 61Rs?
 

Sootio

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490's are just fine and have shown up in many different models over the years. All they lack is the overblown prices of of some of the more market friendly named pickups out there. They are PAF's...Nothing more, nothing less.
 

MR D

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Did you solder in the new pickups or do they make the plug in type for 57 Classics or 61Rs?
the '57 Classic & '61R I replaced the 490's with were both already wired as Quick-Connects........swappin out the 490's was really easy and took less than an hour.
This particular SG Standard went from being an OK Guitar w/490's to being a MONSTER of a Guitar with the '61R (Neck) & '57 Classic (Bridge)........there was/is a HUGE difference.
 

Decadent Dan

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The Seymour JB has been one of their most popular for over 4 decades but it can’t be good because it’s “CHEEEEP”.

Seriously though, it depends on your style and your rig.
 

laza616

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While there are more expensive pickups in the Gibson catalog, the prices are all very similar and there are no significant differences in the prices.... So thinkin' that they put 20$ cheaper set of pickups in the guitar is making a guitar sounding worse is joke for me
They are absolutely fine pickups, all Gibson pickups are pretty solid and there are differences in prices because of the marketing, not reflecting something like "worse" quality or something.... Some of higher output needs more material so they cost a bit more.
Its funny how there are always doubts about 490 pups and nobody is worried about a poor quality Gibson tuners
 

cerebral gasket

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If not mistaken, Gibson doesn’t make the tuners. An OEM produces them and then stamps the Gibson name on them. This happens in many other industries as well.

As far as the 490T / 490R are concerned, there’s nothing wrong with them. They are just a garden variety medium output humbucker.

Over the years I have discovered that I prefer a humbucker at the bridge for hi gain use and a humbucker-size single coil such as the Duncan Phat Cat at the neck for cleans.

To my ears, different humbuckers with similar outputs and magnets installed at the bridge position sound the same when played through hi gain. I don’t get too caught up with swapping out bridge humbuckers.

The amp, speaker, cabinet, mic, mic placement is going to make a lot more difference in the sound vs swapping the pup.
 
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DrBGood

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The amp, speaker, cabinet, mic, mic placement is going to make a lot more difference in the sound vs swapping the pup.
And don't forget that a screwdriver is the easiest, fastest, cheapest and by far the most efficient way to a good tone. You might replace your pickups a dozen times, if you put them back at the same height as the last ones, you're missing on something big.
 

Siamese

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My 2012 (or so) SG Special came with them. That was a great sounding guitar. IMO, you'd have to be a real cork sniffer to not like them.
 

Go Nigel Go

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And don't forget that a screwdriver is the easiest, fastest, cheapest and by far the most efficient way to a good tone. You might replace your pickups a dozen times, if you put them back at the same height as the last ones, you're missing on something big.
THIS^^^

I highly suspect that many people don't do this until AFTER they swap the pickups out. If you expect a particular pickup to suck and don't bother adjusting it for best results you will never know what it could be, and if you spend a couple hundred bucks on a pickup you are more likely invest the time to adjust it to get what you are so sure it is capable of out of it.

If you want to swap pickups go for it, but if you ask me what I think I will always suggest properly setting up and adjusting any guitar before deciding on any mods that are not purely cosmetic (knobs, pickguards, paint and decorations). Make it what you want, but before condemning functional parts, make sure they are properly adjusted and working to their full potential before deciding you need something different.

I would also add that if you think something is lacking, you will need to be able to define what "it" is if you are to have any hope of finding something that has what you want. Otherwise it is just a question of "How much do you have to spend before you are convinced you have golden tone?" and adjust your amp and signal chain accordingly.
 
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laza616

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If not mistaken, Gibson doesn’t make the tuners. An OEM produces them and then stamps the Gibson name on them. This happens in many other industries as well.

As far as the 490T / 490R are concerned, there’s nothing wrong with them. They are just a garden variety medium output humbucker.

Over the years I have discovered that I prefer a humbucker at the bridge for hi gain use and a humbucker-size single coil such as the Duncan Phat Cat at the neck for cleans.

To my ears, different humbuckers with similar outputs and magnets installed at the bridge position sound the same when played through hi gain. I don’t get too caught up with swapping out bridge humbuckers.

The amp, speaker, cabinet, mic, mic placement is going to make a lot more difference in the sound vs swapping the pup.
I didnt know that, i thought they make those Gibson branded tuners, nonetheless they are terrible lol
 

smitty_p

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And don't forget that a screwdriver is the easiest, fastest, cheapest and by far the most efficient way to a good tone. You might replace your pickups a dozen times, if you put them back at the same height as the last ones, you're missing on something big.

But it's so much more fun to talk about the new pickups you bought than it is to talk about turning a screwdriver a couple of turns!
 

Oig

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My 2012 (or so) SG Special came with them. That was a great sounding guitar. IMO, you'd have to be a real cork sniffer to not like them.
My experience exactly. They’re great, no matter what the cork sniffers say.
 

Col Mustard

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490 pickups are an excellent set for "generic" use in guitars that will sell in thousands.
Just like the "generic" setup that Gibson's technicians do at the factory. It's intended to
be usable right out of the box... And Gibson succeeds in this.
Of course they aren't for everyone. Some of us have moved beyond "generic" pickups
or at least we claim that we have. *laughs

Think about it: There are thousands of guitars out there rocking and rolling with their stock
pickups, and thousands of guitarists who never venture onto a guitar forum.
A guitar forum like this one attracts the OCD guys, and often they are the ones who
speak loudest. Negative comments get repeated by people who really don't know anything.
Then the negative comments show up in search engines, and people think they are true.
"490s suck, man... you'll do much better with _____________.... (your fave p'up here)

Here's what the 490 R and 490 T pickups are: They are accurate.
Actually ALL Gibson pickups are accurate. (So are Fender pickups... and on and on).
Colleagues above have pointed out that your amp and your strings and your PICK and
your picking style and your tunings and whatever pedals you are using will have a major effect on your tone.
This is true. The pickup is supposed to be accurate, and pick up your picking style and
your string choice and your chord basis and other things that affect your tone.
And your left hand technique and your right hand technique... And they do.

>Here's something no one else has said so far: 490 pickups sound best when they are
level with the strings, not level with the guitar top. On an SG with the small P/G, the pickups
are set in "pickup rings" which do this... they level the pickups with the strings.
With other Gibson pickups, this issue might not be as crucial. But with the 490s it is.

On a "cheaper" guitar with a large P/G, the p'ups are simply screwed onto the P/G and
are usually level with the guitar top. Those of us who didn't want to pay high Gibson prices
but still wanted Gibson quality and Gibson OOMF would buy SG specials on sale
and then install foam underneath the rear coil of each 490 p'up so that the pickup was level
with the strings and at an angle to the guitar top. The 490s sound MUCH better.

When I joined this forum in 2009, this was common knowledge on ETSG. Like so many others on these boards, I lurked for months here, taking notes on what the 'experienced" guitarists had to say about p'ups
and amps and pedals and cables and picks and everything. *grins

But everybody knew you had to put foam under the rear coil of each 490......
...under the neck 490 you'd cut out a piece of foam maybe 20mm tall and stick it in.
...under the bridge 490 you'd cut out a piece of foam maybe 25 mm tall and stick that in.
then string it up and play it and listen. Change it next string change if you feel you need
to. Some of our more OCD members would carve their pickup supports out of maple
once they had figured out the perfect height. They would glue those into the pickup cavity
and that was that.

As the good doctor has explained above, pickup height is a crucial factor for tone.
In my experience, the neck 490 R needs to be down deep in its cutout, close to the
deck... and the bridge 490 T p'up needs to be close to the strings... 4mm or so, maybe
less... but each player has to decide how close. Too close and the magnets can choke
the tone. Too far away and the bridge p'up gets weak sounding.

Which is why people often replace their bridge 490 T with something hotter.
They don't know you can mess around with pickup height, and pickup angle,
and they don't know you can adjust the pole pieces to match the radius of the strings...
You pay a lot of money to maintain your ingnorance...

My recommendation is to play the 490s for about a year before considering making a change.
Use your volume and tone controls, balance the pickups that way and play in
the middle position, using both.
And if you decide your bridge 490 T doesn't have enough OOMF.... replace it with a
Gibson '57 Classic plus. The 490 R and the Gibson '57 Classic sound very similar,
They both have a round and woody tone which is absolutely beautiful, and mixes very
well with the crisper tones of the bridge pickup. The Gibson '57 classic plus is likely
my favorite pickup. It has more output than the '57 Classic or the 490T, and so is a fine
replacement for the 490T in the bridge position. I think it would sound great in the neck too,
with a Dirty Fingers p'up at the bridge... that would be a powerful output Gibson...

There it is
 
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lcw

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Lowest common denominator. 498T far better in the bridge. But some Burstbuckers or 61s are way better… not to mention countless aftermarket choices if you want something non-Gibson.
 


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