Gibson Les Paul Pickups
The P-90 Single-Coil Pickups were featured on the first Gibson Les Paul electric guitars from the early ’50s. These legendary single-coil pickups will deliver that raw, powerful vintage tone reminiscent of the sound that helped define rock and blues as we know it. Just as they were over 50 years ago, today’s P-90 pickups are ideal for genres ranging anywhere from mellow jazz to hotter blues and rock. Two updated P-90 pickups were introduced for 2014, including the dual-coil, hum-canceling Sidewinder P-90H pickup featured on the Gibson Les Paul Futura and the P-90SR/P-90ST neck and bridge pickups used on the Gibson Les Paul Melody Maker. Les Paul Models with P-90 pickups include the Gibson Custom 1954 Les Paul Goldtop Reissue, the Gibson Custom 1956 Les Paul Goldtop Reissue VOS, the Gibson Les Paul ’50s Tribute, the Gibson Les Paul ’50s Tribute with Min-ETune, and the Gibson Les Paul Tribute.
The Gibson 490R/490T “Modern Classic” Humbucking Neck/Bridge Pickups were inspired by the legendary tone produced by heavy blues-rockers of the late ’60s—from Eric Clapton of Cream and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin. The 490R (rhythm/neck Pickup) and 490T (treble/bridge pickup) are based on those coveted PAF (“Patent Applied For” ) humbuckers, both structurally and tonally. While retaining that classic tone, the 490R will also provide you with a much better response in the upper mid-range frequency. Sometimes, the 490R is paired up with a hotter version of the 490T—the 498T. These pickups dish out a hard rockin’ tone that meets the needs of today’s modern rockers. One of the best-selling Gibson USA Les Paul models, the Gibson Les Paul Studio, employ this killer pickup combo.
Gibson BurstBucker 1, 2 & 3 Humbucking Pickups were faithfully crafted in the image of those original Gibson PAF humbuckers. These first PAFs were wound by imprecise machines, leading to variations in both tone and output. Each pickup in the BurstBucker line captures such subtle nuance by using historically “unmatched” bobbin windings and Alnico II magnets. The result—three pickups that flawlessly recreate the coveted vintage tones of the original PAF pickups. The BurstBucker Type 1 is slightly underwound, and has the lowest output (6.5) of the three pickups, making the BurstBucker 1 the ideal pickup for the neck position. On the other end of the spectrum, the overwound BurstBucker Type 3 pickup has the highest output (8.4) of the three pickups, and it’s hotter tone makes the BurstBucker 3 perfect for a scorching lead tone in the bridge position. A perfect fit in both the bridge and the neck positions is the medium output (7.4) BurstBucker Type 2. The BurstBucker Pro Humbucking Pickups can be considered the “turbo charged” version of the standard BurstBucker. The output levels of the BurstBucker Pro bridge (8.3) and neck (7.4) pickups are similar to that of the standard BurstBucker 2 and 3 pickups, but these pickups employ Alnico V rather than Alnico II magnets. The result is a beefier tone with more attack and drive. The tone of these pickups are well-suited for music genres ranging anywhere from blues to hard rock. Some models that feature BurstBucker Pro pickups include the Gibson Les Paul Studio Pro, which sports a BB Pro in the bridge position, and Gibson Les Paul Standard, which is the most widely known model to come stock with BurstBucker Pro humbucking pickups.
Just as with the BurstBuckers, the Gibson ’57 Classic Humbucking Pickupsare manufactured to accurately recreate the original PAF humbuckers, but without the inconsistencies in tone and output that resulted from the imprecise winding machinery used at the time. These pickups have an output of 7.5 and are crafted to the exact specifications of the originals to perfectly emulate that classic tone—using Alnico II magnets, nickel-plated pole pieces, nickel slugs and a maple spacer. The ’57 Classic delivers a full palette of vintage tones with a nice warmth and balance across the entire tonal spectrum. Voiced specifically for the bridge position, theGibson ’57 Classic Plus is a bit hotter, with an increased output of 8.3, owing to its slightly overwound, unbalanced coils. The ’57 Classic Plus will give you that extra spank needed for searing leads and solos. The Gibson 2014 Les Paul Classic and Les Paul Studio Pro both employ a ’57 Classic humbucker in the neck position while the 2014 Gibson Les Paul Signature comes fully loaded with a pair of ’57 Classic pickups in both positions.
Introduced for the 2014 model year, the 1959 Tribute Humbucking Pickups make use of Alnico II magnets and historically “unmatched” bobbin windings, much like the BurstBuckers, in order to produce the legendary tone of those first PAF humbuckers. These pickups offer that coveted vintage tone with an increased response in the trebles. And unlike the BurstBuckers, the ’59 Tribute humbuckers use a reversed coil offset to provide balance between the coils. These pickups are featured in theGibson 2014 Les Paul Traditional.
Also introduced in 2014, the 1961 Humbucking Pickups were also based upon the early PAF pickups. These ’61 humbuckers make use of Alnico V magnets while the balance between the coils is maintained thanks to the reversed coil offset. These pickups produce that classic PAF tone while delivering enough power required for the contemporary styles of today. Some models that use the ’61 Humbucking Pickup are the Gibson LPM and the Gibson LPJ (which features the Zebra-Coil version of the ’61 Humbuckers for a fierce look), and the Gibson Les Paul Peace, which features the chrome-covered version of these pickups.
Many Les Paul models also come with coil-tapping capabilities, which allows for an expansive array of tonal possibilities. This feature enables you to quickly switch between humbucker and single-coil tone at the simple pull or push of a knob.
Les Paul Hardware
Gibson Les Paul Bridge/Tailpiece
A majority of the Gibson Les Paul guitars employ a Tune-o-matic Bridge and Stop Bar Tailpiece. On certain specialty Les Paul models, Gibson makes use of other types of bridges and tailpieces such as a Wrap-Around Trapeze tailpiece as seen on the Gibson Les Paul Tribute, a Bigsby Vibrato tailpiece as seen on the Gibson Les Paul Recording Guitar, and a Floyd Rose tailpiece as seen on the Gibson Les Paul Axcess models.
Gibson Les Paul Tuners
Gibson Les Paul guitars feature a variety of high-quality tuners, depending on the model, including Gibson tuners, Kluson tuners, Tone Pros tuners and Grover tuners.
Gibson Les Paul Control Knob Styles
The two main knob styles used for the Gibson Les Paul are the “top hat knobs” and “speed knobs.” Top hat knobs come in black gold, and vintage amber. Speed knobs come in black or gold.
Gibson Les Paul Hardware Finishes
Depending on the model, the Gibson Les Paul may feature chrome, nickel or gold hardware.
Les Paul Min-ETune
As a leading innovator in the musical instrument manufacturing industry for over a century, and with over 60 years of revolutionizing the solid body electric guitar, it’s no surprise that Gibson would eventually offer a Les Paul that can tune itself. In December 2007, Gibson changed the world of guitars forever with the Gibson Robot Les Paul Studio, and more recently, Gibson took automated tuning to a whole new level with the Min-ETune Automated Tuning System. Mounted onto the back of the headstock, this compact, battery-powered Min-ETune will provide players with performance ready, on the fly tuning capabilities with your choice of twelve alternate tunings, including six tunings that you can program yourself.
How does the Min-ETune work?
Tuning your guitar to perfection is as simple as a press of a button and a strum of the strings. You can either manually adjust the tuning pegs, power up the Min-ETune and strum to automatically tune all six strings to perfect pitch or choose from any of the 12 preset tunings, strum and watch your guitar tune itself to any of those alternate tunings with unparalleled accuracy.
For one thing, the Min-ETune offers the quickest, most precise way to tune your guitar, plus the expansive palette of guitar tunings will enhance your creativity when writing, recording or performing. Unlike many other automated tuning systems, the Min-ETune physically tunes your guitar strings as opposed to digitally altering the sound that comes out of your amp to achieve your desired tuning.
Les Paul Min-ETune Models
Some Min-ETune equipped Les Paul Models include:
- Gibson 2014 LPM Electric Guitar
- Gibson 2014 Les Paul Futura
- Gibson 2014 Les Paul Signature
- Gibson 2014 Les Paul Standard
- Gibson 2014 Les Paul Peace
- Gibson Les Paul Signature “T” Min-ETune
- Gibson Les Paul ’50s Tribute Min-ETune
Gibson PLEK System
Although most of the work on guitars at the Gibson factories is still done by hand, the Gibson PLEK system has changed guitar playability as we know it. The Gibson PLEK System is used on all Gibson Custom guitars, is even used on a many Gibson USA models as well. In a nutshell, this revolutionary system is a “robot” controlled by a computer that accurately reads a guitar’s fret, then automatically files and finishes them until they’ve reached the desired action, which is determined by a Gibson technician—this precise setup results in a guitar with superb playability. The PLEK machine even knows exactly where to cut the nut for the optimum slot height and string spacing relative to the fret height and fingerboard edges.