0% Interest for 24 Months! Learn more »
(800) 222-4700
  • Español: (800) 222-4701
Cart

Sweetwater Forums [Archived]

After 15 years of great discussions, the Sweetwater Forums are now closed and preserved as a "read-only" resource. For discussions about current gear, check us out on Facebook, YouTube, inSync, and our Knowledge Base.

help! epiphone les paul and pickups

buddythegoldfish

i know there has been a few posts similar to this already, but i figure i'll make this question a bit more specific.
i have an epiphone les paul standard, and i was considering changing the pickups. what kind of pickups does that guitar come with stock, and how do those compare to say, 490s, or burstbuckers, or other more expensive gibson pickups. basically, i want to know if i can make my epiphone sound like a gibson by changing out the pickups. i know there are other subtle differences in manufacturing, i'm just considering overall tone and output. to continue this, what pickups would best create the sound of a gibson les paul?
on a related note, would this kind of process work with a fender strat? for example, taking a mexican strat and swapping pickups to make it sound like an american. what would be some good single-coil alternatives to stock fender pickups?
June 9, 2003 @04:43pm
guitarjoe

Why woulld you change the pickups in a Epiphone. no offense - It won't ever ever ever sound like a real les paul . Even if you don't plug thme in the difference is substantial. save your money and your time buy the real deal. You'll be much happier!
June 12, 2003 @04:13am
ESPELIPSE

Find an emg pick that suits your needs Emg is versitile and cheap. http://www.emgpickups.com you can select from active or hz pickups
you will have to tell me your style to tell which pickup you would want
June 14, 2003 @03:03am
buddythegoldfish

wow, the EMGs are lookin pretty good. i just bought a fender strat, so this epiphone les paul is going to be used mainly for heavy stuff. lots of distortion, metal, punk, etc. i'm gonna rely on the strat for all my clean and blues tone. however, a part of my previous question remains unanswered: what does the epiphone come with stock, and are aftermarket pickups, like EMGs, that much better or not?
as an afterthought, EMGs are often found in ESP guitars, right? they have some pretty good metal tone.
any comments on dimarzios? i hear those are fairly popular pickups.
and in reply to guitarjoe, i would buy the real deal if i had $2500 lying around. however, i can probly get a set of pickups for around $150 on ebay or something. i know its not gonna sound exactly like a real gibson, but i figure it might improve the sound a little bit.
June 14, 2003 @02:21pm
buddythegoldfish

another question - whats the main differences between the active EMGs and the passive EMGs?
June 14, 2003 @02:24pm
ESPELIPSE

emg 81 is an active pickup that what kirk hammet uses on his esp good lead pick for the bridge.Emg makes excellent pickups for metal they are very pronounced tonally and have good definition they also make good passive pickups like what you would find in a stock les paul.
An active pickup is one that uses electronics to improve the sound and enhance its operation. There are a variety of ways to "Activate" a pickup. A simple "buffer" pre-amp will do the trick, but it will also amplify the hum and buzz the pickup produces. Just because a pickup is "active" doesn't guarantee you'll get great results. EMG pickups utilize an internal pre-amp (inside the pickup), which not only makes the pickup louder, it also reduces the noise.
the only problem with active pickups is that you have to install a long shafted push pull pot so you can switch from active to passive and wireing it is not that fun if you want to install a active pick up you should probably take the guitar to a place where they can install it for you it might cost you some money but its much better than have good pickups with bad wiring.I would recommend not buying the push/pull volume pot from esp because they are rather expensive considering you can get one for 7 bucks at a guitar shop.
June 15, 2003 @11:32pm
guitardude4life

The stock pickups in the Les Paul standard are alnico classic pickups. I am looking at replacing mine with Burstbucker pickups because i want to get a more classic rock tone. The Dimarzio are great high output pickups for metal, but they are certianly not going to make it sound like a real deal Gibson Les Paul.
March 27, 2011 @10:37pm
Bluesman48

I'll answer your question from personal experience. I own an Epi Les Paul in which I put Gibson pups, a 490R in the neck a 490T in the bridge, very happy with the results. I also own a Fender Squire Strat in which I put a set of "Texas Special" pups, again very happy with the results.:)
April 2, 2011 @12:09am
gaxeman

OK, this thread went a bit to the left with the talk about EMG. They are a good pickup, so are the 490's, the BB's, even the Epi alnicos, it is simply a matter of taste. I have an Epi LP, and Gibson LP Studios both with the 490's and with the burstbucker pros, also have guitars with EMG 81/85 combo.
I could tell you my favorites but that is irrelevant. If there is one thing I've learned in 30+ years of playing guitar, it is that everyone's tastes are different, sound cannot be adequately described in words, and consequently, you just have to hear it yourself. I actually like the sound of the Epi LP stock pickups, but it is a different guitar than the Gibsons. If you want a Gibson, get one, if you can't afford it, wait till you can, because it is inevitable that you won't be happy with a 'copy' of a Gibson if you are like me. If you go the EMG route, that is another thing, and it won't be like an Epi or a Gibson, except of course in feel. For myself I would prefer the Gibson with Gibson pickups, and would want my metal pickups (EMGs) in a metal type guitar like where you usually find them (ESP, etc.).
April 15, 2011 @06:46am
Bluesman48

OK, this thread went a bit to the left with the talk about EMG. They are a good pickup, so are the 490's, the BB's, even the Epi alnicos, it is simply a matter of taste. I have an Epi LP, and Gibson LP Studios both with the 490's and with the burstbucker pros, also have guitars with EMG 81/85 combo.
I could tell you my favorites but that is irrelevant. If there is one thing I've learned in 30+ years of playing guitar, it is that everyone's tastes are different, sound cannot be adequately described in words, and consequently, you just have to hear it yourself. I actually like the sound of the Epi LP stock pickups, but it is a different guitar than the Gibsons. If you want a Gibson, get one, if you can't afford it, wait till you can, because it is inevitable that you won't be happy with a 'copy' of a Gibson if you are like me. If you go the EMG route, that is another thing, and it won't be like an Epi or a Gibson, except of course in feel. For myself I would prefer the Gibson with Gibson pickups, and would want my metal pickups (EMGs) in a metal type guitar like where you usually find them (ESP, etc.).

I answered his question as I said from my own personal experience. I agree with you gaxeman the only true way to make an informed decision is to listen for your self. When I made my modifications it was after extensive online research. I labored under no illusion that upgrading my pups would bring dramatic improvement, and I did listen before I spent any money. Always a wise thing to do if possible. :)
April 15, 2011 @11:57pm
jimbo5924

I am not going to bother to go into the history of Epiphone Guitars and of Gibson Guitars. Gibson/Baldwin owns Epiphone Guitars as well as some other brands such as Kramer Guitars, Tobias Basses, Baldwin Piano, Slingerland Drums and Valley Arts Guitars. So does this make a Kramer Guitar a Gibson? Does it make an Epiphone Guitar a Gibson? Well, tecnically-yes, but actually-No. A Kramer is a Kramer. Epiphones are built to Gibson's specifications, essentially using the same tonewoods but beyond that, not the same exact hardware and definitely not the same electronics (pots and pickups especially). Epiphones are to Gibson as Squires are to Fender. They are built (supposedly) to the same specifications, but in places like Mexico (Fender) and Japan (some Epiphones) and China and Indonesia (most Epiphones and Fenders). Most manufacturers do this. So you can buy a high end "Made in U.S.A." Paul Reed Smith 25th Anniversary Custom 24 for $2995 (for example) or you can purchase a more affordable Paul Reed Smith "Made in Indonesia" 25th Anniversary Custom 24 for $664. Are they going to be the same guitar? Only in the fact that they carry the same name. The materials,hardware, electronics,labor etc of the "Made in Indonesia" model are not going to be anywhere near the quality of the materials,hardware, electronics, labor,etc of the "made in U.S.A. model. I should have substituted the word "craftsmanship" here for the word "labor". Does this mean that the "Made in Mexico/Japan/China/Indonesia" models are "JUNK"? Not at all, most are very fine instruments. No, they don't have the same quality as their "Made in U.S.A." counterparts, but most are still "quality" instruments with lesser quality components. The trade-off is affordability.
I own an Epiphone Les Paul Custom (it has Epiphone Alnico V Classic Plus pickups-NOT Gibson pickups, and the pots etc. are a lesser quality than the Gibson Les Paul Custom). Beyond that, is there a BIG difference between the Epiphone LP Custom and the Gibson LP Custom? YES there is a BIG difference-around $3100 ! I don't know what type of music that you play (that will have a huge influence on which pickups you should buy). To make your Epi sound more like a Gibson-replace your pickups with Gibson pickups (if you really feel you must-I, myself, am perfectly happy with the Epiphone Alnico V Classic pickups that came in my EPI). I would suggest the Gibson Burstbucker3 in the bridge and the Burstbucker2 in the neck. Or if you play a lot of 'metal' or just want a hotter, darker tone then go with a Gibson Dirty Fingers pickup in the bridge position (you could even add one in the neck position). Changing out your pickups from Epiphones to Gibsons will give you a more 'Gibson' tone. Personally, I would stay with your original pickups and use the money to buy a pedal(s) to shape your tone with, or maybe a Tube amp. EMG's (active or not) are good, quality pickups BUT your going to gain an EMG tone by using these, not a Gibson tone. Please don't confuse Gibson Tone OR EMG Tone with Zach Wylde Tone, though. If that's what you're looking for then go with the EMG Actives (EMG 60, EMG 80, EMG 85 etc.) Tone is a subjective and often personal thing. Hope that helps.
P.S. DiMarzio, Seymour Duncan and a host of others all make excellent pickups. I could give you more precise ideas if I knew what type of music you play/ what exactly are you looking for in Tone or are you just looking for more 'output' from your guitar. There are Pros and Cons to everything, including EMG pickups.
April 17, 2011 @07:52pm
jimbo5924

It depends on if you have an Epiphone Les Paul Standard or the Epiphone Tribute Les Paul Standard.
The Epi LP Standard comes with Alnico Classics.
The Epi Tribute LP Standard comes with two Gibson USA '57 Classic Humbuckers (which you definitely would NOT want to change), Switchcraft 3-way toggle switch and Mallory 150 tone capacitors and a 'Certificate of Authenticity'. You could only find a more 'Gibson' tone by buying the Gibson.
After re-reading your posts, I'm assuming that you are after a "metal" tone and EMG Actives are good for that but are not going to give you that Gibson tone.
As far as your strat is concerned, if it is in fact a Fender (and not a Squire) why would you want to change the pickups? If you do, I would go for the Fender 'Noiseless' set, if you want to maintain that strat tone. If you want to turn your strat into a metal machine (for which a strat isn't the best choice) I would look into the Seymour Duncan "Everything Axe Single Coil Set" made specifically for the stratocaster. These are actually humbuckers in a single coil size. You get a SJBJ-1b JB junior for the bridge, a SBDR-1n Duckbucker for the middle and a SL59-1n Little "59 for the neck (all in a set for $205) and these will work for ANY style of music.
Sorry I didn't get all this in my earlier post. Hope this helps and let us know what you decide to go with.
April 17, 2011 @08:22pm
jimbo5924

Actually just noticed your thread is dated June 2003. I think we're all kicking a dead horse here !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
April 17, 2011 @08:25pm
Bluesman48

talk about asleep at the wheel!! I didn't even notice the post date, good eye jimbo:o
April 18, 2011 @09:30pm
notryt

Yep its been dead and half the info is just bad or just not well thought out ... If you want a LP and cant afford it,, buy a tokai love rock.. its one of the "Better Than" guitars.... and saves you about 1/2
November 13, 2012 @05:29am