King Loudness 04/30/2011

Gibson 490R : King Loudness's user review

« Nice versatile pickup set. »

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I purchased a Yamaha Pacifica 120SD that is essentially a Telecaster style guitar with an alder body, maple neck with rosewood fretboard, and hardtail construction that was loaded with a set of Gibson 490R/498T humbuckers by a previous owner. They were my first good quality pickups that I'd owned so it was a revelation coming from cheaper OEM humbuckers.

I would say they're a medium output pickup set, which on paper looks to be a very versatile pairing for many different styles of music. I've always thought that they were a decent pair for sure.

The neck pickup (490R) is a very nice sounding neck humbucker with a nice lush sounding low end and a decent sparkle in the top end as well. It sounded best for jazz type sounds I found (using a clean tube amp) but I also enjoyed them for a slightly Hendrix esque sound with a mild fuzz and a cranked tube amp. Obviously they don't sound like true single coils or anything but I found that the neck pickup had a nice shimmer that took the tones one step closer to that sound.

The bridge pickup is a nice reasonable output pickup that does everything from Clapton to Van Halen fairly well and I dig that versatility. It doesn't quite have that top end that the neck pickup has, but it does have a nice punchy low end and some good strong midrange frequencies that sit very well in a band mix. Cleans have a very full bodied tone overall and the drive tones are really spongy and cool sounding, kind of like playing through a browned out amp. I do prefer the 57 Classic set over these, but for a slightly higher output set of pickups, I was fairly impressed with these. If given the choice over again, I would opt for the 57 Classics, as I feel they're the best pickups that Gibson makes, but considering I bought the guitar used with the pickups pre-installed, I guess there wasn't much choice in the matter!

All in all I felt that these were decent sounding pickups that worked well for a wide variety of styles. Definitely worth a look!