Pros: This is an excellent pickup, with a great tone.
GIBSON 490T HUMBUCKING GUITAR PICKUP
Like many of us out there, you probably have an old guitar lying around somewhere that you purchased some time ago, and which you have not been using because it no longer has the sound that you are looking for. If you like the feel of that guitar, but do like the sound of it, you might want to consider dusting it off and putting some new pickups in it. Of course there is more that is responsible for the sound of a guitar than just the pickups, but no one can deny that the pickups on a guitar can make a huge difference. If you are looking for a new sound for your old guitar, you might want to consider the Gibson 490T Humbucking Pickup as a candidate to listen to. Read on and see if you feel this pickup may have the sonic qualities that you are looking for in a guitar pickup.
The Gibson 490T is a Humbucker is a pickup that produces a sound that is a beautiful marriage of both modern and vintage tones. The Gibson 490T Humbucker comes in 4 varieties. Each is electronically the same, but the outer cosmetics, as well as the price are a bit different for each. A Gibson 490T with Gold covers lists for $154.71, and can be had at a discount from most musical instrument chain stores for $119.95. With Chrome covers it lists for $147.78, and is discounted at $114.95. With Nickel covers it lists for $147.78, and sells for $109.95, and finally a coverless Black open coil model retails for $135.08 and sells for $99.95.
What makes the Gibson 490T such a desirable pickup for a guitar? The Gibson 490T is made with Alnico II Magnets. Alnico Magnets are made of a mixture of Aluminum. Nickel, Iron, and Cobalt, and they were originally developed in the 1930s. Different types of Alnico Magnets are made with differing amounts of these metals, and they each have different magnetic properties. The different grades of Alnico Magnets are differentiated from each other by virtue of assigning them different numbers from 1 to 12. The most common types of Alnico Magnets used in guitar pickups today are Alnico II and Alnico V, although grades 1 through 8 have also been used in some cases. Different grades or types of Alnico Magnets have magnetic fields with different shapes as well as different intensities. In general the higher the number, the higher the strength of the magnet. Alnico Magnets that are graded as 1, 2 and 3 are Isotropic and grades 4 through 12 are Anisotropic. An Isotropic magnet, such as the Alnico II Magnet used in the Gibson 490T, is one that exhibits the same magnetic properties in all directions, and they are sometimes referred to as unaligned or unoriented. A magnet that is designated as being an Anisotropic magnet, such as an Alnico V magnet, is a magnet that has a definite North and South magnetic pole, and thus there is a clear preferred directionality, as well as a clear alignment or orientation to it.
Why is it important to know what type of magnet a pickup may be made from? Because different magnets will produce a pickup that has different tonal characteristics. In general, an Alnico II magnet, such as can be found in a Gibson 490T, will produce a singing, sweet, sustain, and a rich, and full sound. Although there were some exceptions, the original Patent Applied For (PAF) pickups made by Gibson in the late 1950's were made with Alnico II Magnets. Gibson 490T pickups are referred to as being "Modern Classics" because they have many of the singingly sweet tonal characteristics of the Gibson '57 Classic Humbucker, but they also have increased or enhanced upper midrange and highs, which gives them a more modern sound. It is sort of the best of both worlds with regard to presence, tone, and clarity.
The Gibson 490T is also a pickup that is wax potted. Wax potting a pickup fills in all of the different nooks and crannies inside of a pickup. This results in a pickup that is able to withstand high sound pressure levels, but which also has the benefit of being more resistant to microphonic feedback, as well as making it more unlikely to pickup unwanted hum and other noises.
Well who is the Gibson 490T best suited for? This is a great guitar pickup, and it would be suitable for someone who wants to upgrade the sound of their current old guitar, to one with a vintage sound, that has a bit of a modern edge to it. The 490T is a good pickup to use in any position on the guitar. If you choose to place the 490T in the bridge position, a good match for it in the neck position would be a Gibson 490R, as these pickups are well calibrated to each other. If you want a guitar with a hotter overall sound, than you could consider placing the Gibson 490T in the neck position and placing a Gibson 498T in the bridge position. Of course the best way to determine if this pickup has the sound that you are looking for, is to hear it in person. If you want to do that, go to your local musical instrument store and ask to play a Gibson SG Special. The Gibson 490T can be found as the bridge position pickup on this great guitar.
Well, I would like to thank you for taking the time to read my review. But now if you will excuse me, I must get back to my practicing.