Gibson 498T vs 500T: Bridge Pickup Comparison


If you’re looking for a high output Gibson bridge pickup then the 498T and 500T are your best options, but what’s the difference between them?

In this article I’ll compare everything you need to know about these two pickups so you can decide which is the best option for your electric guitar.

498T vs 500T (Quick Comparison)

The Gibson 500T pickup has a higher output compared to the 498T. The 500T also uses ceramic magnets whereas the 498T uses Alnico V. In terms of the tone, the 500T has more sustain and crunch with a tighter low-end, whereas the 498T has a warmer quality which makes it slightly more versatile.

498T Bridge Pickup Overview

The 498T is described as a “high output” version of the 490T bridge pickup. It has an Alnico V magnet and additional windings on each coil which aim to increase the output. The result is more upper-mid range emphasis, crunch and sustain.

It has a modern tone and is more suitable for high gain rock and metal than the vintage style PAF humbuckers. The pickup has 4-conductor wiring so it can be coil split and is wax potted to reduce feedback.

The 498T bridge pickup is most commonly paired with the 490R neck pickup for more subtle combinations or the 496R pickup for higher output.

  • Average Price USA: $135
  • Average Price UK: £80

500T Bridge Pickup Overview

The 500T is a very high output pickup designed for high gain rock and metal.

The high-output comes from the three ceramic magnets and high number of coils designed to give this pickup a very powerful and punchy tone. The pickup has 4-conductor wiring so it can be coil split and is wax potted to reduce feedback.

It is most commonly paired with the 496R neck pickup which also uses ceramic magnets and a high number of coils to achieve a high output.

  • Average Price USA: $121
  • Average Price UK: £100

Comparing the Pickup Structure

There are two main differences between the 498T and 500T in terms of their structure.

The 500T has more coil windings compared to the 498T which helps to increase the output. The 500T also has ceramic magnets whereas the 498T has Alnico V magnets.

The ceramic magnets in the 500T also contribute to the higher output. Ceramic magnets are known for their punchy tones with plenty of treble and hence they suit high gain genres of music.

Alnico V magnets are a bit more subtle, but still have plenty of bite and output, particularly compared to other types of Alnico such as Alnico II.

Tone and Output Comparison

Both the 498T and 500T are high-output pickups, however the 500T has significantly more output. According to Gibson, the 498T has an output rating of 9, whereas the 500T has an output rating of 11.4.

Higher output pickups are also described as being “hotter”. Higher output pickups distort more easily than low output pickups because they will drive the amp more. Hence, you’ll get more crunch and sustain with the 500T.

Both pickups sound very similar otherwise, although I would say the 498T has a touch more warmth compared to the 500T which has a tighter low-end. The 500T has a bit more definition by comparison.

If you want a modern tone and only play high-gain rock and metal, then the 500T will serve you well. However, if you want to take things down a notch and go for a more versatile pickup, then the 498T is the best option.

Check out this YouTube video to hear the 498T and 500T being played back to back.

Style Options

The 498T is available in more designs compared to the 500T. Here’s a full list:

498T Design Options:

  • Nickel
  • Chrome
  • Gold
  • Double Black
  • Zebra

500T Design Options:

  • Double black
  • Zebra

Which Guitars Use 498T and 500T Pickups?

At the time of writing, there aren’t any Gibson guitars which use the 500T as stock. Previously the Les Paul Custom used a 500T in the bridge but this has since been replaced by the 498T.

Here’s a list of Gibson guitars which currently use the 498T bridge pickup.

GuitarBridge PickupNeck Pickup
Les Paul Studio498T490R
Les Paul Custom498T490R
Les Paul Axcess Standard498T490R
Les Paul Axcess Custom498T490R
Jerry Cantrell Les Paul Custom498T490R
Joe Perry Les Paul Axcess498TNone
SG Custom2-Pickup498T490R
Flying V Custom498T490R
Explorer Custom498T490R
Firebird Custom498T490R

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Heather

Hey, I'm Heather. I started playing an electric guitar when I was given a Squier Strat for my birthday around 15 years ago. I now own an acoustic guitar and several electric guitars including my personal favourite, a PRS SE Custom 24.

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