Gibson make a great range of top quality pickups designed to work with Les Paul’s, SG’s, Explorer’s and Flying V’s. Very popular options include the Burstbuckers, 490R/T and 498T, but what are the differences between them?
In this article, I’ll directly compare these Gibson pickups top help you decide which are the best options for your electric guitar.
There are several types of Burstbucker pickups:
- Burstbucker Pros
- Burstbucker Type 1
- Burstbucker Type 2
- Burstbucker Type 3
There are two variants of the Burstbucker Pro pickups, one designed for the neck position and the other designed for the bridge position.
Burstbucker Type 1, 2 and 3 are more closely related and designed to work as a system. The Burstbucker Type 1 pickup is designed for the neck position, the Type 2 works well in either position and the Type 3 is designed for the bridge position.
Burstbucker Pro pickups use Alnico V magnets, whereas Burstbucker Type 1, 2 and 3 pickups use Alnico II magnets. Burstbucker Pro pickups have more treble emphasis and sound more crisp compared to Type 1/2/3 Burstbuckers which sound warmer and fuller.
In general, the Pros have a higher output than the Type 1 and 2, but the bridge Pro has a slightly lower output than the Type 3. Here’s a table for comparison.
Check out this video to hear a comparison between the Burstbucker Type 1 and 2, and the Burstbucker Pros.
In terms of the cosmetic options, here’s a list of colors and designs available for each pickup.
- Burstbucker Type 1: nickel and zebra
- Burstbucker Type 2: nickel, gold and double black
- Burstbucker Type 3: nickel
- Burstbucker Pro: nickel
Here’s a link to each of these pickups so you can check the current prices:
- Burstbucker Type 1 (Guitar Center)
- Burstbucker Type 2 (Guitar Center)
- Burstbucker Type 3 (Amazon)
- Burstbucker Pro Neck (Guitar Center)
- Burstbucker Pro Bridge (Guitar Center)
Check out this complete guide to the Burstbucker Pickup range to learn more about the differences between each version.
490R/T and 498T Pickups
There are three pickups to consider here:
- 490R: designed for the neck position, uses Alnico II magnets
- 490T: designed for the bridge position, uses Alnico II magnets
- 498T: designed for the bridge position, uses Alnico V magnets
Hence, the pairings you’ll often see are 490R/490T and 490R/498T.
The 498T pickup has a higher output compared to the 490T. The 498T has more upper-mids which gives it a punchier tone compared to the 490T which sounds cleaner.
For metal and hard rock, the 498T is often selected due to its punchier and more aggressive tone, whilst the 490T is often considered more versatile due to its lower output vintage tone.
If you want to learn more about the difference between the 490T and 498T, check out this article.
These pickups are available in the same following designs:
- Double Black
Here are links to the pickups available on Guitar Center so you can check current the prices:
Tone and Output Comparison
In terms of brightness and clarity, the Burstbucker Pros sound the most crisp, followed by the 498T, then the 490T and Burstbucker Type 2 and 3 pickups. This is primarily due to the fact that Burstbucker Pros and 498T pickups have Alnico V magnets.
|Burstbucker Type 1, 2 and 3||Alnico II|
|490R/ T||Alnico II|
|Burstbucker Pro||Alnico V|
Check out my comparison between the different types of alnico magnets to learn more.
The output for the neck pickups are the same when you compare the Burstbucker Pro and Type 2 with the 490R. However, the Burstbucker Type 1 has a lower output than the other three pickups.
|Burstbucker Type 1||6.5|
|Burstbucker Type 2||7.4|
|Burstbucker Pro Neck||7.4|
When looking at the bridge pickups, the 498T has the highest output, followed by the Burstbucker Type 3, Burstbucker Pro, 490T and finally the Burstbucker Type 2.
|Burstbucker Type 2||7.4|
|Burstbucker Pro Bridge||8.3|
|Burstbucker Type 3||8.4|
Check out my comparison between low and high output pickups to learn more.
Burstbucker pickups are typically $30-$40 more expensive than 490R/T and 498T pickups in the USA, and around £10 more expensive in the UK. Here is a table comparing the average price of each pickup at the time of writing.
|Pickup||Average Price USA||Average Price UK|
|Burstbucker Type 1, 2 and 3||$175||£110|
Which Guitars Use Burstbucker Pro, 490T/R and 498T Pickups?
Here is a list of currently available Gibson guitars which use either 490, 498 or Burstbucker pickups as stock.
|Gibson Guitar||Bridge Pickup||Neck Pickup|
|Les Paul Tribute||490T||490R|
|Les Paul Special Tribute||490T||490R|
|Les Paul Studio||498T||490R|
|Les Paul Custom||498T||490R|
|Les Paul Axcess Standard||498T||490R|
|Les Paul Axcess Custom||498T||490R|
|Jerry Cantrell Les Paul Custom||498T||490R|
|Joe Perry Les Paul Axcess||498T||None|
|Flying V Custom||498T||490R|
|Les Paul Modern||Burstbucker Pro||Burstbucker Pro|
|Les Paul Classic||Burstbucker 61T||Burstbucker 61R|
|Les Paul ‘50s Standard||Burstbucker Type 2||Burstbucker Type 1|
|Les Paul ’60s Standard||Burstbucker 61T||Burstbucker 61R|
|Adam Jones Les Paul Standard||DC High-Gain Humbucker||Burstbucker Type 1|
|Slash Les Paul Standard||Custom Burstbucker||Custom Burstbucker|
|SG Standard ‘61||Burstbucker 61T||Burstbucker 61R|
|SG Modern||Burstbucker Pro||Burstbucker Pro|
|Kirk Douglas Signature SG||Burstbucker Type 3||Burstbucker Type 1|
|Flying V Standard||Burstbucker Type 3||Burstbucker Type 2|
|Explorer Standard||Burstbucker Type 3||Burstbucker Type 2|
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