Gibson pickups in 2019, up to scratch or not?


A confused lysdexic
Greetings folks, this is one of my guitar related opinions that usually gets people hot under the collar, interested to see what you folks reckon.

Now we all know Gibson have had a myriad of issues over the last few years, but for me the main thing that has put me off ever buying a new Gibson is that their current range of pickups (Bar one set I've tried) really don't seem to cut the mustard, watching the andertons videos of the anniversary models it really seems like they've improved but they are still the weak link.

Whilst they aren't by any means woeful pickups, they really seem to lack a bit of life and oomph that to my ears really good pickups have. The neck pickups have generally been ok but I've found the bridge pickups such as the modern Burstbucker and classic 59 really lack any guts, I'm especially not a fan of the recent p90s I've tried. I even remember seeing an issue of guitarist with one of the very small "Long Term" reviews at the back saying they weren't even that impressed with the custom shop pickups and had changed a set out of one of the historic line.

Here's the video that set me off down this

5k for guitar you're going to want to change the pickups in, really?

It just really seems to lack the wildness and some of the tonal imperfections (such as slightly warbling overtones) that really made the older guitars sound great.

Now, I'm not on an overall rampage here in the direction of Gibson. I've got the original set of T tops in my 76' les paul, and I absolutely love those, they're percussive, got some bite to them but a decent level of clarity as well. . And the modern set I really liked were the Rhythm Pro and Lead Pro pickups that came in the 2016 SG Supreme, which were absolutely straight up Billy Gibsons heavyness in a box.

Just interested to hear people's opinions and/or any models they've done that people thought were particularly good or bad.


Stop, don’t, come back.
i have my mates new LP Std - the 60s one with the grovers and 61 pickups. it sounds like a les paul

not as good as my maybach, but not bad at all


Well-Known Member
When i got my PRS, all i seemed to see online were people stating that it was almost a given that everyone swapped out the pickups on them (proper USA models) as their own pickups were rubbish; in particular the Dragon IIs found in mine. Since having it, I've played plenty of pickups including Gibson, Fender, Dimarzio, SD, BKP and Oil City. I never got round to swapping the Dragons and I'm glad I didn't as it's a great sounding guitar.

I think some people are more sensitive to differences, or maybe react to them in different ways. What someone might find to be 'lacking wildness and imperfection' might be another person's 'just has a different character'. I'm of the latter and enjoy the differences in my guitars brought in part by the differences in the pickups.

In the words of Tim Mills of Bare Knuckle Pickups fame, it's not hard to make a great pick up. The hard part is making them consistently. And there is no such thing as a bad pickup, just the wrong pickup for the situation.

It's some wire wrapped around some pole pieces, a magnet or six and some framework holding it all together. There's no magic potion involved, no bits which get left out to save money.

If Gibson aren't fitting pickups which are 100% right for you isn't necessarily an omission as they might be perfect to someone else. As for online reviews and rhetoric, i refer to my earlier comments regarding PRS Dragon II pickups.....

ed lespaul

Well-Known Member
Pickups are a personal preference. My LP Standard has burstbucker pickups. They are supposed to sound like PAFs, but I had PAFs and the Burstbuckers don't stand up. I left them in, because they give a good LP sound.


Well-Known Member
I used to own the 2015 standard. Despite all the online opinions on that years guitars and how unpopular they were they’re great quality guitars. If you like the pickups is taste. I really liked the les Paul for its warm bluesy tone. It did lack a bit of kick.

The way I buy guitars I need to fall in love. The package needs to match. I’m not the guy to go around shopping for different pickups. Not to say that it’s wrong though. If you love how it plays but want a bit different sound it can be a solution. I’m not sure I’d go for a 5k Gibson as a basis for it though. I’d be inclined to say there are a lot more affordable guitars if you’re going to swap out the pickups anyway.