Guitar Gear Review: Gibson 500T Bridge Humbucker Pickup

Man, what a cool pickup.

For some reason, there is this bit of an understanding that Gibson pickups belong in a Les Paul.  How often do you hear a super-strat player talk about putting a Gibson pickup in their Charvel or ESP?  I know I don’t hear it mentioned all that much at all.  And let me tell you, I think there might be some great opportunities.

Getting right in to how it sounds, it is aggressive and lets it rip with authority.  There is no denying this is excellent for rock music.  The right amount of crunch and focus in the lows and the right amount of presence and cut in the highs.  The 500T has a nice in-your-face attitude that managed to not be obnoxious.

I installed it in a guitar wired for series/split/parallel.  When on a clean amp setting, the split and parallel were more accessible than I expected for such an aggressive voice.  Some players might like to ease of the guitar volume just a smidge or maybe slightly tweak the amp, depending on how shimmering clean you want it.  You’ll get your pushing, edgy vibe in series mode  On a dirty amp setting, it’s on like Donkey Kong going full tilt.

The 4-con lead wire is an excellent choice by Gibson, as it does allow the 500T to display some versatility.  I didn’t see it anywhere with the shorter mounting legs, so that would be a convenient option.  The one I tested has the wider pole spacing, which I also find to be a nice touch.

You say there are already powerful, distortion-class pickups out there…even some with that in their name?  If you’ve tried those others, you know what I mean… you want the grunt and the growl and the bark and the bite, but without the fizzy coating around each note.  I have to say there is something a little extra going on with the 500T.  Yes, it can have a bit of the crunch to it… but… it has that distortion-class characteristic with a little more definition.

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Darth Phineas is a long time music industry insider who provides his readers with unbiased reviews on musical instrument and guitar gear. You can read more of his reviews and check out industry news on his Facebook community Darth Phineas, Twitter or his website is