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  1. #1

    '57 Classics: Where's the love?

    I recently put '57 Classic pickups back in my CS-336 after using a fairly expensive, and well-known PAF replica. I also have '57 Classic pickups in my Gibson Custom 335. I have to say, they sound better in my CS-336 and Custom Shop 335 than the other after-market PAFs. How could this be, I asked myself? Now I am convinced that with the right guitar, bone stock '57 Classics can sound as good or better than boutique aftermarkets.

    Has anyone else been pleasantly surprised by their '57 Classics?

    Please share your stories. I am curious to see if other people have had success with their '57 Classics.

  2. #2
    Les Paul Forum Member Keefoman's Avatar
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    Re: '57 Classics: Where's the love?

    I've got '57 Classics in my 05 Explorer and my 13 ES335. They need to be dialed in, and upgraded electronics sure helps, but now I don't have any plans swapping them. They sound great!

  3. #3
    Les Paul Forum Member ScumbackSpeakers's Avatar
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    Re: '57 Classics: Where's the love?

    I have no good experiences with Classic 57, 57 Plus, and most Burstbuckers, God knows I have the extras in the parts box to prove it. They're all over the map in tone, and I finally gave up on them.

    Then I hear someone else's newer Gibson and they sound decent, not great, but much better than mine ever did.

    I chalked it up to the usual inconsistency in pickup winding from Gibson...which is why I went through a bunch of PAF's before settling on the three pairs I have in guitars now.

  4. #4
    Les Paul Forum Member Monroe's Avatar
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    Re: '57 Classics: Where's the love?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron59 View Post
    I recently put '57 Classic pickups back in my CS-336 after using a fairly expensive, and well-known PAF replica.
    Did the "well known PAF replica" also sound better when you first did the switch?
    Sometimes any part change can be perceived as better if that's what we are hoping to hear...

    I only have experience with one set of 57 Classics, also in a 336.
    I'd describe them as OK, but I wasn't thrilled.
    After doing the Mapleflame mod, and adding better pots with a 50s wiring scheme,
    my desire to try different PUs in the 336 has diminished somewhat.
    I would still like to try something else in my 336.... maybe even Burstbuckers?
    But I'm no longer desperate to get the 57 Classics out.
    I have the "show signatures" box unchecked.

  5. #5
    Les Paul Forum Member Bob Womack's Avatar
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    Re: '57 Classics: Where's the love?

    I've got '57 Classics in my favorite guitar, an ES-335, and '57 Classic and Classic Plus in an SG. Love both.

    Bob
    "It is said, 'Go not to the elves for counsel for they will say both no and yes.' "
    Frodo Baggins to Gildor Inglorion, The Fellowship of the Ring


    My little site:
    THE MUSICIAN'S ROOM

  6. #6

    Re: '57 Classics: Where's the love?

    My CS ES-339 was a dud until I got the 57 classics OUT of it. OX4s (and an RS vintage 335 harness) turned it into a great sounding guitar.

  7. #7
    Les Paul Forum Member LtKojak's Avatar
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    Re: '57 Classics: Where's the love?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron59 View Post
    I
    Has anyone else been pleasantly surprised by their '57 Classics?
    I've been very lucky of scoring a 1990 '57 Classic/'57 Classic Plus set that sounded wonderful. After those, all the others I've tried have been a disappointment. YMMV.
    Pepe aka Lt. Kojak
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  8. #8
    Les Paul Forum Member Mars Hall's Avatar
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    Re: '57 Classics: Where's the love?

    To my ear, the 57 Classic pu's, that came stock in my 96 R7, accentuated the lower mids. So much that the guitar sounded similar to a big bodied Jazz box guitar. Cool in it's own way but I wanted that LP sizzle.
    "What's that man movin' cross the stage?
    It looks a lot like the one used by Jimmy Page..." Paul McCartney

  9. #9

    Re: '57 Classics: Where's the love?

    Not all '57 Classics are created equal. I have some that are great, like, really great.

    My most recent set from 2014 I sent out to be rewound.

    The ones from the 90's tend to be great, IMHO.

  10. #10
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: '57 Classics: Where's the love?

    I never once thought of changing the 57 classics in my 2000 LP Elegant. First and only guitar I never changed the pickups in. Didn't care for 57 classics in other Les Paul guitars though - I think it's either that particular guitar or that specific set is just good (or maybe both).
    2007 CR8
    2000 Elegant
    1953 J50

  11. #11

    Re: '57 Classics: Where's the love?

    While the 57s are ok, I much prefer the MHS in my 335.

  12. #12
    Les Paul Forum Member Keefoman's Avatar
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    Explorer Re: '57 Classics: Where's the love?

    Here's how my Xplorer sounds with the '57 Classics:


  13. #13
    Les Paul Forum Member Keefoman's Avatar
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    Re: '57 Classics: Where's the love?

    Here's how my '06 Explorer sounds with the '57 Classics:


  14. #14
    Les Paul Forum Member kerryboy's Avatar
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    Re: '57 Classics: Where's the love?

    I had an set of 57 classics and I swapped them in and out of different guitars. Gosh, they sounded so good in everything. Eventually I sold them, don't really know why. The guy who bought them contacted me and said, man these are the best sounding pickups I've ever had. He was so happy with them. They are one set of pickups that I really really really regret selling.

  15. #15
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: '57 Classics: Where's the love?

    Quote Originally Posted by Keefoman View Post
    Here's how my '06 Explorer sounds with the '57 Classics:

    Nice tone and nice playing , my compliments , do I hear a Marshall amp ?

  16. #16
    Les Paul Forum Member J.D.'s Avatar
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    Re: '57 Classics: Where's the love?

    They're excellent pickups. I particularly like how they sound in ES guitars. Of course they have a sound and aren't going to sound like a single coil or metal pickup no matter what they go into.

    Like any stock Gibson pickups, alot of people don't like them when they're new, but as soon as they update the stock pickups the older ones all of a sudden become more desirable.

  17. #17

    Re: '57 Classics: Where's the love?

    Quote Originally Posted by J.D. View Post
    They're excellent pickups. I particularly like how they sound in ES guitars. Of course they have a sound and aren't going to sound like a single coil or metal pickup no matter what they go into.

    Like any stock Gibson pickups, alot of people don't like them when they're new, but as soon as they update the stock pickups the older ones all of a sudden become more desirable.
    First common problem with Classic '57/57+ that come stock is that often the bridge pup is just another '57 - no 'plus' as it's underwound. What the '57 taught me is that I don't like potted pickups. Originally ( 1990-92) the 57 WAS unpotted but no longer and apparently isn't used in the latest offerings by Gibson. I first tried going with what's become 'standard ' replacement mags: roughcast A3 and Unoriented A5 but still left me going meh after comparing them to Duncan Ants and Manlius 59LT. These are in two of my 335's. If you want bell like articulation , start with these two. Going to put Manlius Fat Diane in my third 335 and sell the Classics. I play jazz, blues and 60s/70's rock

  18. #18
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: '57 Classics: Where's the love?

    Way back in the late 80s or so, I played a vintage Les Paul, a refin'd '57. I was struck with how easy it was to play and how spectacular it sounded. It was like heaven.

    I sought that sound (and playability) in a Les Paul for another 20 years before I stumbled upon one that even remotely compared. I wasn't on a day in day out search, but every now and again when I had some dough and the motivation, I would play a couple and nothing lit me up.... Until one day I stumbled upon a used 2008 Les Paul Traditional. It had a similar sized and shaped neck. It had the tone I was looking for... Like, it nailed that tone I had had in my head all those years. Yup, 57/57+. I really loved them even more after a very minor tweak in the height.

    I loved everything about that guitar, except it's weight. it was pretty heavy and wore on me after long gigs. So, I reluctantly let it go.

    I knew within months I missed that tone. I had an old '70 SG that needed it's next set of pickups and I scored a set on eBay. They really made that guitar sound spectacular. When I let that guitar go, I kept the pickups. They'll be going in another guitar here in a few months (I'm currently between permanent homes and recovering from knee surgery).

    I really love the 57/57+ combo.

    I do have two LPs now, but neither has 57's in it currently... One is a P-90'd Gold Top (which I love, love, love) and the other has a custom wound set of Zhangbuckers that nail the tone I was looking for with that guitar. But, i don't know that I will ever go long without another guitar with 57/57+ combo!

  19. #19
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: '57 Classics: Where's the love?

    I had a set that where total turd , I tried different mags , 50's wiring and even converted them from 4 wire to vintage braid and they were still crap .
    But i recently bought a brand new single 57+ and im telling you now its the best pickup i own , its got that real classic gibson voice , it sounded completly different from the other 57+ i had , like REALLY different .

  20. #20

    Cables Re: '57 Classics: Where's the love?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron59 View Post
    I recently put '57 Classic pickups back in my CS-336 after using a fairly expensive, and well-known PAF replica. I also have '57 Classic pickups in my Gibson Custom 335. I have to say, they sound better in my CS-336 and Custom Shop 335 than the other after-market PAFs. How could this be, I asked myself? Now I am convinced that with the right guitar, bone stock '57 Classics can sound as good or better than boutique aftermarkets.

    Has anyone else been pleasantly surprised by their '57 Classics?

    Please share your stories. I am curious to see if other people have had success with their '57 Classics.

    I installed '57 classics in a LP studio of mine, I was hoping to get a hint of the tone I loved from Peter Frampton. I didn't get the exact tone yet still still found a killer tone I still love on my guitar...
    -------
    Michael

  21. #21
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: '57 Classics: Where's the love?

    I just noticed that the new Lee Roy Parnell CS LP has underwound Classic 57's. Love the cutaway on it.

    Seriously thinking about dropping coin on this guitar....
    I heard the news lady..All about your disease.......

  22. #22
    Les Paul Forum Member LtKojak's Avatar
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    Re: '57 Classics: Where's the love?

    Quote Originally Posted by WytLytnyn View Post
    I just noticed that the new Lee Roy Parnell CS LP has underwound Classic 57's.
    Where exactly did you see that?

    Gibson's published specs are STOCK '57 Classic neck /'57 Classic Plus bridge.

    Well...?
    Pepe aka Lt. Kojak
    Milano, Italy
    https://soundcloud.com/theodore-koja...hy-bro-project
    Hy-Bro Test Sound Files

  23. #23
    Les Paul Forum Member Keefoman's Avatar
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    Re: '57 Classics: Where's the love?

    Quote Originally Posted by El Gringo View Post
    Nice tone and nice playing , my compliments , do I hear a Marshall amp ?
    I'm sorry... Wasn't aware the reply until now. The "amp" you hear is my own tweaking on a "Marshall" preset in Guitar Rig 5 software.

  24. #24
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: '57 Classics: Where's the love?

    I have a set of 57 classics in my 2012 Gibson ES335 ( I believe it is... havent bothered to check the year out)
    Well, it sounds great, bright and stingy roars like old wood.
    But does jazz also.

    It sounds like an old one as far as I can see.

    I think its the wood but of course it has 57 classics.

    I believe what sound I cannot get out of that guitar I cannot get out of any other either.

  25. #25
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: '57 Classics: Where's the love?

    I have an early '57 classic from '92 - 93, mine is potted and measures 7.8 K at room temp 20 c .
    At the time the '57 classic was a replacement for the 490 r in my '92 Les Paul standard, although the two pickups measured the same, and unusually the 490r was wound with plain enamel wire (I know that this is very unusual, but these things do happen).

    I was disappointed that there was nothing to choose between the two except a slight increase in top end in the '57 over the 490r.
    Being that they both use an Alnico 2 magnet when I swapped the magnets and the situation was reversed, it demonstrated that the '57 had a slightly stronger magnet and the better for it.

    A balanced coil approaching 8.0 K in the neck position can really benefit from the right magnet with the right charge.
    I've had good results with a full sized/charged alnico 2 ,great for bluesy/jazzy tones in the neck
    My current favourite in the Classic '57 is a full length alnico 4 ,it's versatile in the neck and is a great alternative/approximation of the classic Angus Young T Top tone in the bridge.(One example of many!)

    FYI: I'm referring to the classic '57 in the 7.7K range, as this matches the 490r and many T Tops.
    It's a great pickup that can be voiced to suit your requirements with a little magnet swapping and patience

    I didn't mean to to write such a long piece, hope that's okay with you all ,I left out all the pots and caps stuff to keep this from becoming a saga..

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