• Guys, we've spent considerable money converting the Les Paul Forum to this new XenForo platform, and we have ongoing monthly operating expenses. THE "DONATIONS" TAB IS NOW WORKING, AND WE WOULD APPRECIATE ANY DONATIONS YOU CAN MAKE TO KEEP THE LES PAUL FORUM GOING! Thank you!

Custom Buckers in R9

Goldtop

New member
Joined
Sep 21, 2015
Messages
4
Hello,
Do the Custom Bucker pickups vary in tone from set to set? I just bought a Murphy aged R9 and the pickups seem dark without the normal bite and clarity that I heard from other les pauls with these pickups. The guitar is pretty resonate unplugged. Could it just be the sound of the wood and not the pickups? I don’t want to jump down a rabbit hole, but don’t want to keep the guitar if there is no way to solve the problem. Any thoughts? Thanks
 

jimeh77

Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2017
Messages
119
Yes Alnico 3 sounds darker and weaker. And yes its mass produced are always vary in quality.
 

renderit

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 19, 2009
Messages
10,504
I suspect yes.

I suspect magnets are different batch to batch.

Maybe even wire from batch to batch but I would guess that is a lot closer these days.

If you were my neighbor you could try several other sets I have out of curiosity.

But as a simple step try swapping out the pots for VIP pots and some good Luxe or other pio capacitors first.
 

1allspub

Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2018
Messages
70
All pickups vary to some degree. And IMO/IME, CBs tend to vary more than most (have owned 5 different sets). I’m not really a fan of A3 magnets (prefer A4 & A5), so after the honeymoon period is over the CBs ALWAYS get yanked. A3s are definitely weaker and darker... and seem to lack the “attack” I like in the best A4/A5-equipped boutiques I’ve tried.
 

Adonis Chacha

New member
Joined
Jun 11, 2022
Messages
18
Overall am a big fan of them (always really liked the presence of a good CB). With that said, I’ll admit they contributed to most of the irritation in my search for the perfect ‘59 reissue 😅 lol. Played quite a few before I found the right one (were either slightly too bright or dark-or way too much or little output to the point of annoyance, or it sounded great, but I couldn’t get over how much I disliked the particular top -was a little picky yes, but didn’t care with the money involved 😆😅). That is the one downside, not all are created equal (more than other pickup sets I’ve played). Ultimately I rolled the dice ordering one online (completely crazy I know lol), and luckily it has everything I was looking for lol-both top and sound).
 

TheYinzer

New member
Joined
Apr 21, 2022
Messages
10
I have experienced good variation in both my Burstbucker and Custombucker guitars. I have narrowed the variation down to.... everything. Each of my Standards are so different. The wood, pots, hardware and age of the guitars. The pickup magnets, bobbins, wire, winding, all of it could influence the sound. I can say that my R8s share the characteristics that you describe; darker and not as hot as the Burstbucker guitars. Partially because they are underwound.
 

Goldtop

New member
Joined
Sep 21, 2015
Messages
4
Hello,
Do the Custom Bucker pickups vary in tone from set to set? I just bought a Murphy aged R9 and the pickups seem dark without the normal bite and clarity that I heard from other les pauls with these pickups. The guitar is pretty resonate unplugged. Could it just be the sound of the wood and not the pickups? I don’t want to jump down a rabbit hole, but don’t want to keep the guitar if there is no way to solve the problem. Any thoughts? Thanks
Thank you all for your replies. My tech that I trust had a look, read the pots, and believes in his opinion the problem is just amplified by the wood and is inherent to the guitar. I played it against two r9s at a local shop and both sounded to my ears like this one should. Bright, articulate, warm, and clean when you rolled the volume down. What I’ve heard Greg Martin call the hillbilly channel switching system.
 

renderit

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 19, 2009
Messages
10,504
They are never just "as they are".

With the right set of pickups (in this case I might recommend starting with Lollar Imperials) that could be a tone monster.

Wood makes a difference to my ear, but I have never found one that I didn't like with the right combo of pots, caps, and pickups.

And I would STILL start with the pots and caps. More often than not "dark" guitars have slightly lower value pots.
 

konrad gibson

Active member
Joined
Mar 30, 2006
Messages
371
Last week I had the opportunity to test a new Murphy Lab R 9 Lemon heavy aged at Thomann. Playability was great, but it sounded very weak on the treble/bridge pickup. Guitar was very pretty, but soundwise I was quite disappointed. I tested the axe with Marshall´s JVM 205 clean channel very similar to my DSL 40 CR. Pickups or wood? Good question, I got a 2006 R9 VOS (burstbuckers), very light and very resonante, but it does not have the full tone of the R8. Here is my R8 with the stock burstbuckers.
 

Tollywood

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 16, 2022
Messages
357
I was intrigued by your vibrato but the video stopped short. Please continue playing…
 

golfnut

Active member
Joined
Apr 18, 2016
Messages
139
Reading posts like these has me a bit worried. After trying some R9's earlier this year it is my intent buy one buy next April. I loved the playability of the neck compared to my standard 50's as well as the possibility to get one a bit lighter in weight. I would also want one that is clearer and more articulate than my standard.
After spending such a great deal of money on one I would not want to start swapping out the wiring or pickups. I did put the RS Guitarworks wiring in my standard 50's and am fairly pleased with the results. I was contemplating changing out the burstbuckers but I'm satisfied with how they sound so don't want to mess with a good thing.. I would hope that an expensive custom shop les paul would not need after market parts to make it all it can be.
What I'm looking for over my standard is more clarity and bite. I'm concerned most with clean tones but I like it to sound good with some gain. I play a more blues style and modern country and classic rock. I love the tones that Snowy white gets. Sorry for hijacking the thread. Just wanted to comment on the posts that recommend changing out wiring and pickups on a very expensive custom shop.
 

renderit

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 19, 2009
Messages
10,504
It is what it is.

Many guitars thrill us at first, but let's be honest.

When you play one at a shop you are generally playing through something you don't use regularly.

I am ALWAYS nervous as hell when I am spending that kind of coin.

Nerves impact perceptions.

After a few months when you get the "feel" on that piece you are a little more observant of it's powers and it's weaknesses.

There have been exactly zero I have found that I can't MAKE it give up what I want through alterations to the electronics.
 

anonymous

New member
Joined
May 12, 2018
Messages
9
Reading posts like these has me a bit worried. After trying some R9's earlier this year it is my intent buy one buy next April. I loved the playability of the neck compared to my standard 50's as well as the possibility to get one a bit lighter in weight. I would also want one that is clearer and more articulate than my standard.
After spending such a great deal of money on one I would not want to start swapping out the wiring or pickups. I did put the RS Guitarworks wiring in my standard 50's and am fairly pleased with the results. I was contemplating changing out the burstbuckers but I'm satisfied with how they sound so don't want to mess with a good thing.. I would hope that an expensive custom shop les paul would not need after market parts to make it all it can be.
What I'm looking for over my standard is more clarity and bite. I'm concerned most with clean tones but I like it to sound good with some gain. I play a more blues style and modern country and classic rock. I love the tones that Snowy white gets. Sorry for hijacking the thread. Just wanted to comment on the posts that recommend changing out wiring and pickups on a very expensive custom shop.

I totally get that. I purchased a [gorgeous] Historic Makeovers RDS guitar over the phone and the pickups simply weren’t in the same league as the guitar. I lucked out with Tom Holmes making pickups for me and I upgraded the wiring to match. It was expensive then and even more so now. I wouldn’t change what I have, it’s incredible, but purchase in person to ensure you get the biggest bang for the buck. (And "thanks!" again to Mr & Mrs Holmes for being so kind).
 

LeonC

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 30, 2002
Messages
521
All Custombuckers are not created equal. I've owned a handful of Les Pauls with them, three collector's choice guitars and one special edition '54 Oxblood RI. The really good sounding ones have been the the ones that were underwound, with low DC resistance readings (e.g., 7.1 - 7.3 or so). These have had plenty of clarity and note definition, no muddiness. But...other stuff does matter. The pots are a biggie in my book. There, you want to see at least 480K DC resistance, IMO. 500 or a little more is best. And the taper really makes a difference too when it comes to usability.

FWIW, in the CC series of guitars, Gibson was apparently attempting to use Custombuckers that met different specs for different models. E.g., the ones in model #28 were speced rather different than those in model #3...
 

programmer

New member
Joined
Jul 2, 2021
Messages
13
There's a quote from someone at Gibson (on some forum) that there are two sets of CBs. One with ~ 7.6 and 7.9 DC resistance and another with both around 8.1. That matches my experience exactly as I have one of each, in a 2021 ML '59 RI, and a 2018 '57 Goldtop RI. I prefer the weaker set and I'm in fact about to replace the other as I find it slightly too dark/full.
 

Tollywood

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 16, 2022
Messages
357
There's a quote from someone at Gibson (on some forum) that there are two sets of CBs. One with ~ 7.6 and 7.9 DC resistance and another with both around 8.1. That matches my experience exactly as I have one of each, in a 2021 ML '59 RI, and a 2018 '57 Goldtop RI. I prefer the weaker set and I'm in fact about to replace the other as I find it slightly too dark/full.
Which reissue has the weaker set? I have an R7 and the Custombuckers sound fantastic.
 

tdarian

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 25, 2008
Messages
3,561
The Custom Buckers in my 2021 R9 are Neck 7.78 and Bridge 7.79. My challenge is setting up an amp EQ that is clear enough in the neck that is not too thin/shrill on the bridge. Middle position is beautiful though!

Any suggestions?

I’ve thought about an EQ pedal, good idea and if so which one?
 

mcdyas

Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2005
Messages
78
The only way to know is try a set of Tom Holmes in there :)

I have 3 R0s where the TH set improved it tremendously, then I have an 2018 R8 where the original Custombuckers sound better with that wood.
 

Pat Boyack

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 19, 2011
Messages
4,449
Pickup and pole height play a huge part of the equation and I'd say that most of the time people don't even pay attention to that.
 
Top