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  1. #1

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    Hello all,
    As you probably know, I am more than happy with my Gibson ES. However, I'm wanting to add some fun options to its tonal pallette, with parallell/series, phase, and split/tap options. Nevermind the specifics, I'm interested in good 4-lead pickups to replace the Burstbuckers in the guitar. I'll most likely just safe it and get the SD 59's (or Lollar Imperials if I can spare the dough), but I'm interested to hear if you have any other suggestions. Maybe there's something obscure I've never even heard of? Cheers

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  3. #2

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    My go to in a semi would be SD A2Pro or Seth Lovers. You can get any SD pickup with 4 conductors via a dealer.

    If you say what you’re after in terms of tone (eg I like the Burstbuckers but maybe more articulate high end) you may get more targeted recommendations instead of a list of our favorite pickups

  4. #3

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    Manluis Landmark PAF pickups

  5. #4

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    ^Good idea
    I'll be honest, I'm not entirely sure exactly what to look for - I've never swapped the mics before. Here's how I use the bridge pickup:

    My favourite bridge tone ever is Robben Ford's on "Yellowjackets", have a listen to this solo:


    ...something which translates well into this style of playing and music, although I'm not sure what that means...

    When it comes to the neck, I play roundwounds and like, as you suggested, a more articulate high-end. My favorite neck tone is Jens Thoresen with the Quiet Zone. His Ibanez has lollar imperials.
    The Quiet Zone - The Quiet Zone Promo 2018 | Facebook
    (alt link The Quiet Zone - The Quiet Zone Promo 2018 | Facebook )

    Although I like to keep some presence. I also love pat metheny's 70s tone:
    http://ia600306.us.archive.org/12/it...opMA.mp3?cnt=0

    (pat metheny w lyle mays in 1976, great recording)

    ...otherwise, all my big heroes are or were ES players. I use this guitar for a -lot- of different stuff, so I'm thinking about versalitity too.

    Sorry if this is vague, what I can say is that I like a lot of mids. While I love the sound of those scooped benedettos, I can't play with that type of sound myself.

    Here's a great tape of two tones I adore - Robben's inbetween sound and George's neck.


    e: have some more thoughts on it - a snarly neck pickup is good!

    e2: briefly put, just a "classic" ES tone, really. Larry C, Robben, those guys.
    Last edited by mr quick; 07-28-2019 at 01:27 PM.

  6. #5

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    Thanks for the description. I don’t think those are hard to get tones (the playing on the other hand... ) I would most likely go with a 4 conductor Seth Lover set but you’ll probably be happy with most quality PAF-ey pickups. If you think you would want to do parallel wiring you may want to go with something slightly hotter in the bridge and see if you like it.

    When you go with the wiring though, I would encourage you to put a lower value cap (IIRC Gibson uses 0.047) so for sure I would do 0.02 or even smaller to bring back that articulation.


    PS: Robben Ford uses/used JM Rolph’s handwound in case you want something fancier

  7. #6

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    I love the Bill Lawrence L-90 humbuckers. They're kind of PAF like but have an more open high end.
    They're in my Gibson L6-S - I have series/parallel, coil splitting, and in/out phase options on that guitar. The tone of the L90s are perfect for this guitar.
    Good 4-conductor PU for Gibson ES-139 ?-l6-png

  8. #7

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    One nice thing to do is run the pickups series (normal) and parallel. That way you maintain humcalleing in both positions.

  9. #8

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    Thank you. Yes, I've looked at the seths and they are being considered. A set of Saturday Night Specials just popped up on the used market, so I am also considering those, although I can't find good clean demos...

  10. #9

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    Anyone on here have experience with Lollar Imperials vs. other sets? I understand from various people, including the technician who will do the job, that the imperials really are some of the greatest pickups out there -- but they are twice the price of a duncan set... Is the difference -that- big?

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by entresz View Post
    I love the Bill Lawrence L-90 humbuckers. They're kind of PAF like but have an more open high end.
    They're in my Gibson L6-S - I have series/parallel, coil splitting, and in/out phase options on that guitar. The tone of the L90s are perfect for this guitar.
    Good 4-conductor PU for Gibson ES-139 ?-l6-png
    Wow. Just Wow. Very nice.

  12. #11

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  13. #12

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    If you're going for a four conductor and will therefore split coils, you might consider a Lindy Fralin Unbucker, a pickup with mismatched coils designed for just that:

    Unbucker | Lindy Fralin Pickups