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Discussion in 'Tone Zone' started by BGood, Feb 14, 2021.
You tell me.
I can't hear a difference. But that's obviously because the player used an Epiphone ES-339. A Gibson would have brought out the differences.
I'm a real tone hound when it comes to pickups and very much into subtleties but blindfolded I would not have caught on that you'd even switched pickups. They're that close.
Looking at the transitions the only thing I picked up on was what seemed like a little higher output from the '57 neck pickup that pushed the amp a little harder for some breakup.
Seems like the comparison is much like when my jam brother and I compared my Epi '56 Gold Top to his Gibson '56 Gold Top. The Gibson P90s has a little more output and got grittier a bit quicker whereas the Epi P90s were a bit smoother.
But overall it's like talking different shades of grey.
the gibson pickup seems to be softer on the attack, has more low end and maybe a little more low mid range content.
I wouldn't be surprised if those slight differences could also be apparent in two samples of the same pickpup.
Because they sure sound and seem to behave like they are two of the very same kind.
Might be a totally different story if you're playing the guitar at volume with huge dynamic swings. maybe. maybe?
I have to throw this in.....
Ha ha.....I love other analyticals like Sven (my nickname only) who love to experiment looking for answers. He's my kinda guy.
One thing tends to pop out for me. Unplugged each wood shows vastly different tonal characteristics as we might also expect from purely acoustic guitars. But slap a pickup on and plug them in and much of those differences disappears. The pickup now becomes the primary voice of the electric guitar.
As expected the Mahogany comes off as the most well balanced across the frequency spectrum and also projects as being a bit louder amplified as well. IMHO it's a great tonewood for both electric and acoustic guitars.
Also as expected the Maple sounds more compressed on the low end but also sings in a way that produces higher harmonics the others do not so it's marriage with Mahogany on a solid body guitar makes perfect sense to me.
And while the Fir sounds literally dead acoustically once you slap a pickup on it and amplify it the story changes although it also has a certain harshness to it at certain frequencies one would have to combat in some way.
True Story: i got a Gibson reverse firebird and put my favorite pickup in it; Epiphone neck firebird pickup made in Korea.
are pickup parts even manufactured in the states? I tried to track down the manufacture and could not find one that did. They’re essentially the same pickups by all other measures than where they are wound
I HAVE 3 epiphone customs LP'S 2 EPI Customs Alpine 2020 (gibson 490r/498t) and a Ebony 2017 (probuckers) and a Lp 2011 Bonamassa Goldtop (burstbuckers2/3)
pickups and wiring (pots/caps) is so important as is wood etc. epiphone probuckers are like burstbuckers, and are very good as are epiphone alnico's, you have to find sound and feel that you like, i tend to take a epiphone and put gibson p/u and wiring in it to make it sing
epiphones stay in tune better because of headstock angle and a good bone nut.
All one has to do is check the height of the frets and gut the electronics ....especially the early 2000's model.
My 2007 Epi LPC is every bit as good as my 1974 Gibson LPC.
I have a lot of love for my Epi ( passion ), it' a good brand that fills in an important choice for guitars players.
I worked at a music store in Pueblo, Colorado, when I lived there in the 1990's.
I loved helping musicians get the gear they needed and wanted.
And Epiphone sure made people happy that couldn't afford a Gibson.
Here are the big pluses an Epiphones have over Gibsons.
#1. Gibson has a 17 degree angled headstock, while an Epiphone head stock has a 14 degree angle. This reduces string tension, while improves tuning stability.
#2. The older style Epiphone ( pre 2021 ) has the string path more logically placed than a Gibson. I do two and half step bends and notice that my 1974 Gibson LPC goes out of tune more than my 2007 Epi LPC.
#3. The Epiphone's price point.
Those are my reasons why I chose Epiphone over Gibson ....any day !!!!
I mounted a 490R / 498T in the Epi Studio Wine Red 2020 and it sounds almost the same as my Gibson tribute. Maybe if I changed the bridge to an aluminum one in Epi, the sound would get closer to Gibson
I think this was a fair test, as the only thing changed was the pick ups.
To my ears, I could tell each time it changed, the Epi's were a bit less compressed and brighter, the Gibson's were more compressed and had more higher mid-range and low end response.
Both had a good solid tone that was very usable.
I feel where the Epi's need help in the tone department is not the pickup, but the rest of the signal chain.
High quality pots, switches, jacks, caps and wiring can help bring out forth a bigger change then swapping the pick up alone can do. (Unless your talking EMG's or other ultra high output ones).
I know there are some here who will disagree with me on this, you are more then welcome to your own opinion, but I have done this swap enough times to know it works.
And at half the cost one just one pick up.
In my opinion, pre 2019 Epiphone guitars were pretty much modification platforms ; needed better electronic wiring, some needed better pickups, better pots and caps.
Some has very easy minor fret flaws that were easily fixed.
Today's Epiphone are major improvement, not needing much modding.... Unless, you have a particular pickup preference.
Epiphone has really stepped up on their game
The nut and bridge also contributes to the tone wood element.
When I installed a Wilkinson roller bridge and a Schaller tail piece with fine tuners .... It unlocked more tone, better note definition, clearer natural harmonics .... Heck, even when I played my newly nodded Gibsons and Epiphones unplugged, my wife would walk in and say that she could hear me unplugged in the other room late at night.
The bridge and saddles always play their part.
On the advice of several posters in other forums as well I installed a Faber Locking Bridge on my Gold Top. They're pricey but it earns it's keep with a more "lively" tone and increased sustain. I'll probably install one on my ES339 too.
I've used Babicz FCH Bridges on a couple of my guitars and basses and I'm also a big fan of the Saddle Lock Bridges G&L used on many of their guitars and basses. The increased contact with the body wood can be a real difference maker.