Skip to content

Ibanez Super 58 Pickups Review – A True Classic, But Not For Everyone

Hello there, back again with another guitar pickup review for you! This time we will look at one of the most sought-after guitar pickups by a leading guitar manufacturer, Ibanez! Although Ibanez Super 58 pickups have been around for a long time in different countries of origin, they are still actively used by Ibanez on some of their guitars.

In this Ibanez Super 58 pickups review, I will provide you with a piece of brief information on the legendary guitar manufacturer Ibanez and also introduce you to this wonderful Super 58 humbucker pickup as well as with a detailed demo and comparison video.

TL;DR

I have had the chance to test Ibanez Super 58 pickups on my Ibanez AR300 guitars which were made in Korea, 2006 and 2005. I was never a big fan of these pickups on my AR300 as I usually tend to use this guitar for more hi-gain settings.

Even though they sound pretty good and have a huge headroom for boosting for higher gain setttings, I end up replacing these with Seymour Duncans. On my first attempt replacing these, I went for Seymour Duncan JB/Jazz pickups and I really liked the results.

On my second Ibanez AR300, I went for Seymour Duncan Full Shred set and also got amazing results. However, I still believe Ibanez Super 58 pickups are pretty good sounding pickups. Especially, the neck pickup sounds so big and wide with a huge headroom.

Note that, this review only consists of Ibanez Super 58 pickups which are made in Korea. It’s not so easy to find them online anymore, so you better look up on Reverb.com. I have the bridge pickup listed there. Check it out! (The neck one is already sold!)

cigilovic.com approves these pickups and can confidently recommend it to any guitar player who is seeking medium output, traditional-sounding pickups for their LP/SG type guitars that offers a huge headroom for boosting with pedals. But don’t expect to get saturated, soaring high-gain tones as these are medium output pickups.

About Ibanez

As many of you know, Ibanez is a legendary Japanese manufacturer of musical instruments, primarily guitars and basses, as well as amplifiers and other accessories. Unlike many of us aware, Ibanez has a long history in making musical instruments and is possibly a way longer-established company than many of us think.

Ibanez‘s history can be easily traced back to 1908 when Hoshino Gakki which is a Japanese musical instrument company was founded. In their early days, they would import Spanish guitars only. But also had a long-term ambition in the guitar business.

The Ibanez brand name was actually derived from the name of the actual Spanish luthier Salvador Ibanez who was building guitars for the company. The company first used the Ibanez Salvador name and later just branded itself under the Ibanez brand to honour the Spanish luthier.

As Ibanez was getting a lot of attention for their extremely valuable guitars (lawsuit era), Gibson brought suit against Ibanez due to their clone guitars, Hoshino Gakki did not really want to fight against it as the company could be in the same situation not just with Gibson but also with other guitar manufacturers. This era was the triggering moment for Ibanez to take a look at the company’s long-term ambition in the guitar business.

Thomann's 70th Anniversary Offers

Thomann's 70th Anniversary Offers

Through the 70s, Ibanez worked with various artists who featured Ibanez’s original designs such as Paul Stanley, Steve Miller, George Benson and Bob Weir. However, moving forward with the 80s shredders era, they still had issues with their brand identity. Actually, what Ibanez wanted was someone like Eddie Van Halen and what he did for the Kramer brand.

Ibanez had already worked with legendary guitar players such as Lee Ritenour, Joe Pass, Steve Lukather and Alan Holdsworth, but the company was missing a rockstar image that could boost the brand’s identity.

After having long discussions and meetings, they decided to go to Steve Vai! Vai was already getting a lot of attention when he joined Frank Zappa at the age of 20 years old. Later, he replaced Yngwie Malmsteen in Alcatrazz and also released his debut album. Around 1985, he joined David Lee Roth’s band, taking giant steps into the rock music scene already.

Vai was already cooperating with other guitar brands such as Kramer and Yamaha, but his customisation needs were usually neglected and he ended up with pretty much the same standard models that these companies manufactured with some tweaks for him.

Ibanez eventually managed to contact Steve Vai and got his attention and their cooperation which changed the guitar designs profoundly just started! Legendary luthier, Mace Bailey at Ibanez made prototypes for Steve Vai based on his input and came up with the JEM design, which would later give birth to the legendary RG series.

This collaboration made Ibanez so successful and gained huge respect and following in the guitar community in the 80s until this day. Although the RG model was considered the edgy, modern and unusual guitar design back in the day, it’s accepted as a classic electric guitar design that has its own place next to Strats and Les Pauls.

Today, Ibanez is still manufacturing dozens of models along with their classic line and one of the most respected guitar brands ever known to us.

Ibanez Super 58 Pickups

Ibanez Super 58 pickups have been around a long time and were first seen in 1980 on Artist Series guitars which were the original Ibanez design.

Since then there have been several iterations of the Super 58 pickups that you may come across on many Ibanez guitars ranging from AR300 (1980–1987), AS200 (1981–2004), AS200 (2014–2020), AF120, AS120, AS80, AR300 (2007), AR305 (2007) and AR300RE models.

Check out Ibanez Guitars featuring Super 58 pickups

Note that these pickups vary in terms of country of origin as well. For instance, the initial versions were made in Japan, but the late 1990s and early 2000s were most likely made in Korea as Ibanez had moved some of their manufacturing to Korea (Cort factories).

These pickups can be defined as medium output, PAF style humbuckers featuring Alnico 5 magnets and may come in different pickup covers as well as without humbucker covers.

As I mentioned in my Ibanez AR300 article, the first time I had the chance to try these was back in 2013 when I got my first Ibanez AR300 (made in 2006, Korea) electric guitar.

Check out my Ibanez AR300 review here

Years later, I was able to acquire another Ibanez AR300 model (made in 2005, in Korea) and also played them for around 2 years until I replaced them with Seymour Duncan Full Shred pickups.

Ibanez Super58 Pickups AR300 made in Korea, 2005
Ibanez Super 58 Pickups AR300 made in Korea, 2005

Although I was already planning to replace these pickups with Seymour Duncan JB/Jazz set before I even had the guitar, the second time I got an Ibanez AR300, I tried to spend a lot more time with these.

Ibanez Super58 Pickup Set
Ibanez Super 58 Pickup Set

However, there was always something missing in terms of its default sound and the ability to drive an amp or a preamp. This is clear since these pickups are medium output ones.

As I mentioned, there’s huge headroom in these pickups that you boost and get crazy amounts of gain while not losing clarity too much.

Ibanez Super58 Pickup Bridge - Chrome Cover
Ibanez Super 58 Pickup Bridge – Chrome Cover

However, how it handles high frequencies was not really my cup of tea. I was always able to hear some kind of high frequencies that I couldn’t avoid while using these with just preamp gain or with boosted with pedals.

Especially the bridge pickup was not my favourite at all. Mind you the bridge pickup was measured at 7.36K while the neck was 7.5K. I used the same multimeter that I used to measure around 15 guitars at home and never had this discrepancy.

Check out the best guitar pickup company, Seymour Duncan here!

Check out the best guitar pickup company, Seymour Duncan here!

Although it sounds weird, there was no audible difference in terms of volume levels or functionality of the pickups. Here you can watch and listen to one of the earliest videos I made with my Ibanez AR300 featuring stock Super 58 pickups. The only components which were not stock were the Gotoh GE103B-T-C TOM-Style Bridge and the Jescar jumbo stainless steel frets.

I have used my ENGL E570 all-tube preamp, ENGL Cabloader going directly into RME Babyface PRO and then into Reaper. I also used Valhalla Vintage Reverb.

Ibanez AR300 Quick Demo (no talking)

As you can see from the photos above and below, these pickups are potted in and out :). A decade ago, when I was trying to remove the covers from the pickups from my first Ibanez AR300, I messed up with the wires on the bridge pickup and killed it! 🙂 This time I decided not to touch anything, just prepare my demos for you guys and list them on Reverb!

Ibanez Super58 Pickups Bridge Back
Ibanez Super 58 Pickups Bridge Back

According to the Ibanez Parts website, the bridge version has the following information:

Ibanez Super 58: 3PU1C15812 SUPER58 custom humbucker bridge covered, chrome (Discontinued and Stock only. Substitute: 3PU1PA0023)

I also recorded a cover song by one of my favourite bands in Turkey, Kök. Please also listen to my rendition featuring the Super 58 bridge pickup with the same setup but boosted with the Ibanez Tube Screamer Mini.

Kök Yüz Bir Cover featuring Ibanez AR300

As you can clearly hear, the Super 58 bridge can generate pretty solid high-gain sounds with ease.

On the other hand, I must say I like the neck version better. It sounds very deep, wide and big at the same time. I believe most people would agree and I can confirm that the Super 58 neck that I listed on Reverb was just sold in a matter of days!

Ibanez Super58 Pickups Neck - Chrome Cover
Ibanez Super 58 Pickups Neck – Chrome Cover

As you can see, the neck is also heavily potted and both pickups were pretty much noiseless in any high-gain settings.

According to the Ibanez Parts website, the bridge version has the following information:

Ibanez Super 58: 3PU1C15811 SUPER58 custom, covered humbucker neck, chrome (Discontinued and Stock only. Substitute: 3PU1PA0022)

Ibanez Super58 Pickups Neck Back

When I switched to using an actual tube amp head with reactive loads and impulse responses, I immediately started testing all my guitars with this setup and also kept buying and testing more guitars with this setup.

On one occasion, I got myself a Charvel Pro Mod DK24 HSH in Mystic Blue colour and was already in love with the pickups at first sight.

The pickups on this guitar were Seymour Duncan Full Shred on the bridge, SSL6 flat (this is the same pickup with SSL5 featuring a flat design rather than a staggered one) in the middle and an Alnico Pro II APH-1 in the neck position.

Especially Full Shred and Alnico Pro II reacted so great with my Marshall JVM410H. Unfortunately, I had to return the guitar due to some quality issues but it was stuck in my mind that I should definitely consider these pickups for my future pickup upgrade!

Martinic Plugins - Precisely Modeled Vintage Instruments and FX Plugins

Martinic Plugins - Precisely Modeled Vintage Instruments and FX Plugins

It didn’t take me so long to decide and pull the trigger on these pickups and I went for Full Shred set. While upgrading my pickups and the factory electronics, I decided to record 2 videos featuring Ibanez Super 58 pickups as well as the Seymour Duncan Full Shred pickups.

Therefore I would be able to provide you with a very clear A/B video. Let’s first start with the Ibanez Super 58 pickups featuring Marshall JVM410H, Redseven Amp Central (with V30 IR), Laney Monolith distortion pedal and MXR Micro Amp booster.

You will see the timeline for each part (on YouTube) and when these pedals are engaged.

Note that, both pair of pickups were recorded under the same condition, nothing was changed except the pickups.

I even measured the pickup heights and kept everything identical!

Ibanez Super 58 Pickups Demo (no talking)

As you can hear from the video, Super 58 pickups sound very warm, earthy and cloudy at the same time. As all the settings were kept identical, you will also hear how much these can drive a clean channel in comparison to Seymour Duncan Full Shred ones.

I think Super 58 pickups sound awesome in some aspects such as being very creamy, thick and grounded. However, I had already made up mind and about to go for it!

Ibanez Super 58 vs Seymour Duncan Full Shred (no talking)

Not only that I recorded a separate video featuring Seymour Duncan Full Shred, but also created a comparison video by using both videos. As I mentioned, all the guitar rigs and the components are kept at an identical level precisely. I think this is also yet another great opportunity to understand how much guitar pickups change the sound. So please make use of this! 🙂

As you can clearly hear, Seymour Duncan Full Shred sounds a bit more opened up and better pronounced on the treble side. Full Shreds also have more output and drive the amp a lot easier. This is even audible on the clean channel as I used the green mode here. Depending on the guitar pickup, the same gain setting on the clean mode can yield slightly overdriven sounds.

I can absolutely tell you that the Full Shred set is a better option for me, for the music I would like to play with this guitar (usually standard D, drop C tunings). However, I think Ibanez Super 58 pickups also sound great.

Especially, if you need to retain that headroom for boost pedals, these can be a great option. To be honest with you, the Full Shred set has a lot more output than the Super 58 and you should be careful while boosting these pickups as you may compress the tone too much.

Music Plugin Deals at Pluginboutique.com

Music Plugin Deals at Pluginboutique.com

As I always state in my guitar pickup articles, I really don’t want to claim that the difference is huge between two different pickup sets. It’s actually quite the opposite. The difference is pretty much around 5% or less.

So if you come across old blog or forum posts, claiming that they replaced the stock pickups and couldn’t believe their ears, please just ignore them. The guitar pickups definitely change the default tone of your guitar, however, don’t expect day and night differences.

However, if you have a similar taste in guitar tones, I would definitely suggest you have a go on the Full Shreds. I believe they sound amazing and react to drives pretty nicely!

If you want to hear more Super 58 pickups, please check out my playlist on YouTube featuring my Ibanez AR300 with stock pickups here.

Where to buy Ibanez Super 58 pickups?

As far as I know, Ibanez Super 58 pickups are no longer in production and can only be purchased via some stores online that still have them in their stock. I have even come across some websites that sell made-in-Japan versions. However, you should constantly search as they may disappear at any time.

The made-in-Korea version is also a rarity, but you can still check out Reverb.com regularly. As I mentioned in the beginning, I already listed my Super 58 pickups on Reverb and sold the neck pickup in a matter of days.

I hope you find this brief article insightful! Thanks for visiting my blog and supporting me so far! I will hopefully see you in the next review here!

Osman Cenan Çiğil – cigilovic.com


Post your comments and feedback here

By submitting a comment, you accept that you will be automatically included in the newsletter. You can always opt out in case you are not interested in the content updates.
 

Check out the best used gear website!

Search for 2nd hand gear at Reverb.com