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Old September 9th, 2012, 05:58 PM   #1 (permalink)
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P90s vs Jazzmaster pickups

Can somebody describe the differences between the sounds of P90s and Jazzmaster pickups? I have a Marauder with a Jazzmaster pickup in the neck that sounds wonderful, but I've only played P90 equipped guitars once or twice.

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Old September 9th, 2012, 07:26 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I don't know the difference, but do know there are many variations out there. I picked this one up the other day, don't know the specs on it but do know its the best sounding P90 set up I've ever heard.
So many options, so little funds...:-)

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Old September 9th, 2012, 07:58 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The 6 individual pole pieces on a Jazzmaster pickup, are all magnets. The P 90 has a magnet bar inside with 6 adjustable poles that feed the string vibration down to the magnet bar.

The Jazzmaster pickups are a bit brighter and more articulate than a P 90.
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Old September 10th, 2012, 05:35 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Whenever I try to describe pickups, I try to separate perception from fact. P90' are higher inductance than JM's for the same wind count. Maybe 4.5H vs. 3H for the neck. As with any pickup, you can adjust the resonant frequency with cable capacitance. The P90 should have more lows per string at the same distance from the strings. That might account for the JM sounding brighter. JM's may actually be clearer, and have a softer perceived attack, because they have a lower Q-factor (peak at the resonance). The gauss of the short JM magnets is lower than an average Strat AlNiCo V pickup, so there shouldn't be excess string pull in the neck. A JM neck/P90 bridge would actually be a good pairing, because of the relative increased lows and lower resonant frequency of the P90.
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Old September 10th, 2012, 12:30 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I also am interested in this question!! if anyone has more insight id love to hear as well!!
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Old September 10th, 2012, 12:53 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Narcoleptigon View Post
Whenever I try to describe pickups, I try to separate perception from fact.
Facts, shmacts! In the end, it's impressions that matter. If it sounds good, who cares what's going on inside it?
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Old September 10th, 2012, 12:56 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Jazzmaster pickups sound like mellow versions of Fender single-coils (Tele, Strat), but still clear and twangy; P90s sound quite different - lots of mids, always a bit raunchy, kinda like half way between a (Fender) single coil and a humbucker, punchy, but not really twangy.
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Old September 10th, 2012, 01:04 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Jazzmaster pickups sound like mellow versions of Fender single-coils (Tele, Strat), but still clear and twangy; P90s sound quite different - lots of mids, always a bit raunchy, kinda like half way between a (Fender) single coil and a humbucker, punchy, but not really twangy.
This is my experience too, but you get a little twang in the bridge position with a traditional P90. Though you have to have an amp that won't freak out with the P90s extra punch and turn that twang into more of a grind. There is definitely more 'raunch' than twang.

This is the archetypal P90 song:



I don't really find these pickups similar, so I always wonder why people get them confused. Both are awesome though. Definitely classic pickup designs.
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Old September 10th, 2012, 01:16 PM   #9 (permalink)
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P90s:down and dirty. Powerful sounding. Great distorted. "raunchy"

JM: less beefy or powerful sounding. Great clean sound. Kind of between a p90 and a strat...sort of.
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Old September 10th, 2012, 01:38 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Keep in mind that p90s do a beautiful clean as well: that's why they are so big with jazz guys. Just cause AC/DC was all about the grindy P90 doesn't mean that't the way they have to be. They're not only one thing or another.

Also, turning down the volume knob on your tele does really cool things to the P90 sound: lots of folks (Lollar, IIRK?) say that the mids drop down, and you get much more of a chimey, clean twang.
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Old September 10th, 2012, 02:35 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Even though P-90s and jazzmasters read about the same ohms, jazzmasters have about 20% fewer turns which is significant. it takes a longer loop of wire to go around the perimiter of a jazzmaster coil- longer length of wire = more ohms even though it has fewer turns. The overall design of these two are very different too, just pointing out its one of those cases where resistance is futile
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Old September 10th, 2012, 02:37 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Yeah, I get a really nice "smokey" jazz tone with my GFS AlNiCo V neck p90 and my tone at 5 with a low capacitance cable. You need a fairly low capacitance cable, probably below ~250pF to get enough highs for that delicate round sort of high end with the tone at 5. Above about 4 on an average tone knob, the resonant peak is just smoothed out. The highs are retained.

Don't quote me, and I don't really know what it is about a P90, but I think it's the way the iron in the steel parts creates eddy currents which cause various phase cancellations. I'm also convinced that the effect is more prevalent with C8 magnets, because it saturates the core material. It's like forcing too much power through the core, so it ripples around. The "raw" and "smokey" analogies describe that unrefined sort of wildness in the tone. I'm pretty sure a JM is cleaner, because there is no iron in AlNiCo, and since the core is the magnets, there is no saturation effect.
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Old September 10th, 2012, 03:36 PM   #13 (permalink)
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http://www.lollarguitars.com/mm5/mer...ickups-guitars

If you own a Jazzmaster, this is a great read! ( Big Props goes out to Jason Lollar for taking time to write that up )
I just dug my MIJ Jazzmaster out wound up a set of vintage specs pickups, and am having some fun playing it all this week. The write up on the Jazzmaster was super helpful to me. (thanks Jason)
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Old September 10th, 2012, 04:01 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Does anybody have any videos or audio of a tele with jazzmaster pups?
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Old September 10th, 2012, 04:26 PM   #15 (permalink)
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And then there's the CP Jazzmaster pickups...

which have adjustable polepieces and thus I expect are constructed similar to P90s (I have yet to open the hood on my CP to see for sure). Certainly hotter and more P90ish than the standard version. I'm seriously thinking of getting a set pf Pickup Whiz vintage winds to see how they sound.
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Old September 10th, 2012, 04:43 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Old September 10th, 2012, 05:33 PM   #17 (permalink)
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which have adjustable polepieces and thus I expect are constructed similar to P90s (I have yet to open the hood on my CP to see for sure). Certainly hotter and more P90ish than the standard version. I'm seriously thinking of getting a set pf Pickup Whiz vintage winds to see how they sound.
Yeah, the steel core material boosts the inductance and bass over the AlNiCo core, so you get less highs with the same capacitance load, but you also have a slightly shaper resonant peak. If you tuned one of each type with equal wind counts to the same resonant peak, the JM should actually be smoother in the high end and probably clearer sounding, but with less bass .
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Old September 10th, 2012, 05:49 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Keep in mind that p90s do a beautiful clean as well: that's why they are so big with jazz guys. Just cause AC/DC was all about the grindy P90 doesn't mean that't the way they have to be. They're not only one thing or another.

Also, turning down the volume knob on your tele does really cool things to the P90 sound: lots of folks (Lollar, IIRK?) say that the mids drop down, and you get much more of a chimey, clean twang.
Yeah, I have read where Jason says that. It's certainly true, which is why I need either 50's wiring or treble bleeds on all of my P90 guitars. Makes all of the difference in the world, because if you don't take advantage of using your volume knobs with P-90's you're missing much of what makes them great.
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Old September 10th, 2012, 08:42 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Yeah, I have read where Jason says that. It's certainly true, which is why I need either 50's wiring or treble bleeds on all of my P90 guitars. Makes all of the difference in the world, because if you don't take advantage of using your volume knobs with P-90's you're missing much of what makes them great.
Totally true, and for me, I found that the 50s wiring wasn;t cutting it. I had to do the cap-n'resistor mod. THAT, my friend, works wonders.
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Old September 11th, 2012, 02:31 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Totally true, and for me, I found that the 50s wiring wasn;t cutting it. I had to do the cap-n'resistor mod. THAT, my friend, works wonders.
Yep, much prefer that myself, even though it's much maligned around here. Not sure why.
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