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  1. #1

    Pups What should I expect going from Brustbucker 1 + 2 to Throbaks?

    Hi Everyone, new to the forum.
    A few months ago I bought my first "proper" Les Paul, a 2008 R9, and it quickly became my number one (after being mostly a Tele guy for almost 3 decades). It actually came as a surprise, because although many of my favourite recorded or live tones were played on Les Pauls (Page, later-era Knopfler, too many and too different to mention), it took me many years to find one that made me go "wow!" (even before plugging it in, I knew I liked this one better than most, if not all of the others I have played). So although I could barely afford it, I bought it on the spot.

    Now, the pickup topic, which this post is about. Although I don't think I have ever been as much in love with a guitar as with this one, I have a suspicion that the Burstbuckers might be holding it back (or not - let's find out). Don't get me wrong, I don't think there is anything necessarily wrong with them, but I like the guitar so much that I think it "deserves" to try different pickups. You know, if I end up liking the Burstbuckers best anyway (most people don't seem to, but we're all different), no harm done, they will go back into the LP and live there happily ever after. I simply don't have much to lose, except a bit of money and time.

    I have never really considered Throbaks, because they always seemed too expensive to try them out on a whim. But I have the chance to buy an SLE-101 MXV set used and if I end up not liking it, I can recover most of my losses.

    What difference should I expect going from the Burstbuckers? Have you ever gone Burstbuckers to Throbaks in the same guitar and care to describe the tonal change? Note that I am not asking whether they are for me - the only way to find out is to try them. But if you, for example, told me that the Throbaks are a lot darker than the Burstbuckers, I might not even bother trying them out, because coming from Teles, I like my guitars fairly bright. Luckily for me, my R9 is inherently bright (in a sweet, non-icepicky way). I play a lot of clean or rather cleanish stuff, so a good bit of sparkle is a must for me. Of course, I like to rock out as well, just like the next guy. I never understood why some people called LPs "Teles on steroids". Well, I get it now. Anyway, any input regarding the Throbaks appreciated. Of course, I am aware of OX4, Wizz and most of the other popular winders, but it is the Throbaks I have a chance to buy used near where I live (Europe) - a good chance to find out what the fuss is about. New OX4s cost less than used Throbaks round here, so they are very high on my list too.

  2. #2

    Re: What should I expect going from Brustbucker 1 + 2 to Throbaks?

    Photos!

    TIA.

  3. #3

    Pups Re: What should I expect going from Brustbucker 1 + 2 to Throbaks?

    camphoto_1254324197.jpg
    Quote Originally Posted by mdubya View Post
    Photos!

    TIA.
    Photos you want, photos you get. Well, just one - the only one I have found at the moment! Please excuse the mess all around, focus on the guitar(s). Guess which one is the R9, ha ha. The Rick is the reason why I could barely afford the LP. Well, enough guitar porn, let's talk pickups!

  4. #4

    Re: What should I expect going from Brustbucker 1 + 2 to Throbaks?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stikus View Post
    camphoto_1254324197.jpg
    Photos you want, photos you get. Well, just one - the only one I have found at the moment! Please excuse the mess all around, focus on the guitar(s). Guess which one is the R9, ha ha. The Rick is the reason why I could barely afford the LP. Well, enough guitar porn, let's talk pickups!
    Thanks for the photo!

    The Throbaks will probably sound better. But how much?

    I have changed pickups and had them make all the difference.

    And I have changed pickups and had them just be different.

    If I loved the guitar as is, I would leave it.

  5. #5

    Pups Re: What should I expect going from Brustbucker 1 + 2 to Throbaks?

    Quote Originally Posted by mdubya View Post
    Thanks for the photo!

    The Throbaks will probably sound better. But how much?

    I have changed pickups and had them make all the difference.

    And I have changed pickups and had them just be different.

    If I loved the guitar as is, I would leave it.
    Hard to argue with that. If the change wasn't reversible, I'd never do it because I'd be afraid that some part of the magic might be lost. But that is the beauty of buying pickups used - not only is it reversible, but you can usually get most, if not all your money back if you don't like them.

    Anyway, the original question stands - what kind of difference (eq, dynamics etc) should I expect?

  6. #6
    Les Paul Forum Member Keefoman's Avatar
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    Re: What should I expect going from Brustbucker 1 + 2 to Throbaks?

    In my 2006 R8, I've swapped the electronics for an RS Guitarworks kit (CTS pots and Jensen caps), stoptail and bridge for Tonepros lightweight, + "the maple flame" mod, and never considered getting rid of the Burstbuckers. I think they sound fantastic!

  7. #7

    Re: What should I expect going from Brustbucker 1 + 2 to Throbaks?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stikus View Post
    Hard to argue with that. If the change wasn't reversible, I'd never do it because I'd be afraid that some part of the magic might be lost. But that is the beauty of buying pickups used - not only is it reversible, but you can usually get most, if not all your money back if you don't like them.

    Anyway, the original question stands - what kind of difference (eq, dynamics etc) should I expect?
    I agree, changing pickups is completely reversible. Go for it.


    I think it is truly hard to say what exactly you can expect.

    Burstbuckers can range from great to underwhelming, all on their own. Where are yours on that spectrum? Hard to say.

    I have Tom Holmes 450/455's in two guitars. I thought they were going to sound a certain way (listening to multiple demos and reading all of the descriptions I could find). In practice, they sound very different to what I was expecting. Furthermore, they are the best recording pickups (aside from single coils) that I have. I can hear it and others consistently comment that they prefer the recorded sound of those pickups. In the room, they are bright and aggressive and a bit too much for my preferences.

    I have and have played, mellower and sweeter sounding pickups, but when recorded, they don't portray that special something.

    Most of the Thobaks I have "heard" seem to fall into that category. Maybe too "warm" to sound particularly magical when recorded? I would probably prefer them in the room.

    Burstbuckers seem fairly tame, in a good way, to me. Occasionally, they can be too bright or too harsh. It sounds like yours are not that way.

    ???

  8. #8

    Re: What should I expect going from Brustbucker 1 + 2 to Throbaks?

    Quote Originally Posted by mdubya View Post
    I agree, changing pickups is completely reversible. Go for it.

    Burstbuckers seem fairly tame, in a good way, to me. Occasionally, they can be too bright or too harsh. It sounds like yours are not that way.

    ???
    Well, that really depends on who is listening. Most Les Pauls I have played have sounded too dark to my liking. Not bad, just a bit too dark. Before I bought my current R9, the only Gibson I owned was a 93 LP Studio with an ebony fretboard. It was brighter than all the other Studios I have played and that is why I liked it. Sadly, it got stolen. I have also played dozens of Gibson Les Pauls during the past three decades and I have a pretty good idea of what they can sound like and how vastly different they can be from each other. Most have been too dark to my tele-loving ears. That is just a preference - I am sure many of those "dark" ones can be wonderful in the right musical context and in the right hands, but they were just not for me. My R9 is for me big time, but I am sure some might find it too bright. As I have said, I didn't use to get the "tele on steroids" line, but I sure do now. All of that would really suggest leaving the guitar alone, but I am just too curious if I could make this wonderful instrument even more to my liking. The-grass-is-always-greener syndrome, I guess.

  9. #9

    Re: What should I expect going from Brustbucker 1 + 2 to Throbaks?

    What you really need is an R4 or an R6.

  10. #10
    Les Paul Forum Member mustachio's Avatar
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    Re: What should I expect going from Brustbucker 1 + 2 to Throbaks?

    Clarity. Picture a beefy Telecaster. However, there are so many variables. SLE101s are comparable in output with the BBs. However, they're night and day in construction, magnets, wire, and especially covers and construction of those. I personally bought the KZ115s for the wide open tones at full volume but they shine when you roll them back a little. Lots of charcter. SLE101s were very hi-fi. Reminded me of Lollar Imperials. But, man, don't hesitate to rip those rubbish BBs out. Just put the Throbaks in. Good resale value. And get a throbak harness. Welcome to the never ending pickup shitshow!
    "...it's a fool who plays it cool by making his world a little colder." Lennon-McCartney

  11. #11
    Les Paul Forum Member Holgar's Avatar
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    Re: What should I expect going from Brustbucker 1 + 2 to Throbaks?

    Be glad, that you have found a Les Paul that speaks to you!
    The Throbaks will probably sound a little different, like all the other available Humbuckers do. There are so many great options and the difference is small.
    I was not 100% satisfied with my last 59 and made the big pickup rotation with DiMarzio pafs, Seth Lovers, Throbacks, Gibson Pat Nr. s, ...
    In the end I found the Burstbuckers just as good.
    If you like your guitar, save money and time, play it and be happy.

  12. #12
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: What should I expect going from Brustbucker 1 + 2 to Throbaks?

    Going from darkness to light , going from black and white to vibrant color . Seriously , ThroBak's are awesome as I have 8 sets of MXV-SLE-101 Plus on my 8 Les Paul's and they are such a mid range beast and pair so nicely with my Marshall's 2555X . No harsh treble or shrill highs, real bottom end , and what makes these pickups special is there mid range mojo and also the A5 magnets . I highly recommend them 100%

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