Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

P90 or Jazzmaster pickup for neck position?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by hanerlend, Aug 25, 2017.

  1. hanerlend

    hanerlend TDPRI Member

    Aug 23, 2017
    Stavanger, NO
    I've been wanting to change out my neck pickup for a while. :rolleyes: I already have a P90 pickguard ready for my Tele, but I've recently started thinking a Jazzmaster pickup might be cool as well. :cool:

    1) Has anyone tried both a P90 and Jazzmaster PU on a tele? Care to explain the pros and cons of each?

    2) The GFS P90 is supposedly OK. Anyone have experience with GFS JM pickups?

    3) I understand that balancing the neck and bridge can be an issue. How underwound would a P90 need to be to balance with the bridge? Can you recommend me a bridge pickup that would work well with a normal P90?

    Thanks :)

    Edit: btw. I have used the search function and read a lot about P90 neck PU's. Not so much on P90 vs. JM in the archives, tho.

  2. Danman

    Danman Tele-Meister

    May 12, 2012
    Amsterdam,The Netherlands
    I have never tried a JM pick up on a Tele but I put a Vintage Vibe P90 voiced pick up in the neck position of my 71 Tele and love it. So I would say yes, go for it! I didn’t want to route it out so I used a pick up that fit in the original routing and it sounds very much like a P90.

    -I put a Bare Knuckles flat 50 in the bridge position. It’s like an early Tele pick up and more powerful. So they match up very well in power. And I love the sound of this pick up!

    -One thing you have to watch out for is that both pick ups should be matched in polarity. Otherwise the middle position will be out of fase. You should indicate which pick up you will be using in the bridge when you order. Perhaps they can help.

    -I kept the 250k pots but that does mean that (if I understood it correctly) the P90 sounds slightly darker. But I love the sound so that was no problem. Normally a P90 would need 500k pots.

    If you want to use a bridge pick up with less power you could go for an underwound P90 from Bare Knuckles. I forget the name but I put one in a guitar of a friend of mine once and it sounded beautiful!

    They are very helpful and could guide you in that….
    Fiesta Red likes this.

  3. AJBaker

    AJBaker Friend of Leo's

    Oct 3, 2010
    DaphneBlue likes this.

  4. drf64

    drf64 Friend of Leo's

    Jul 24, 2009
    Ada, MI
    You've searched a topic before posting and this is only your 3rd post? That makes you an anomaly on this board! It takes most about 300 posts and harsh admonishment before they learn to search first, ask second. :D
    CJM3309 and hanerlend like this.

  5. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 18, 2014
    Near Detroit, MI

    A lot of it will come down to what type of music you want to play on that guitar. P90s are like a bar room brawl that you can't wait to get into the next night. If you want to play more jazzier tunes in sedate clubs then the Jazzmaster would be the best option.

    I'd get a 500k volume pot, as that works with the P90 and many Tele pickups do well with it too (or you can do some switching magic with a fixed resistor so the Tele bridge gets 250k equivalent). You can put a fixed resistor across the 500k so the whole guitar gets a lower effective resistance, say you find you like 350k tone you can get there starting with the 500k but you can't go up from the 250k pot as easily.

    Of course, the JMs are used for the Shoegaze genre... (bridge here though)



  6. hanerlend

    hanerlend TDPRI Member

    Aug 23, 2017
    Stavanger, NO
    Thanks for the replies, guys! :)

    That last video was a nice comparison.

    I might try a 500k pot. I tend to roll back on the volume and tone, and set my amp from there, so it might not make much of a difference. :twisted:

    I really like the clear tone of JM, like in the video below, but I believe a P90 will fit my musical style better at the moment. So that's probably what I'll end up with. Soo.. do you think I can get the GFS P90 to balance with the stock bridge, or do I need to change it? :confused:

    If it's out of phase, wouldn't it be enough to just reverse the hot and ground leads, or are there other problems I could get here? I understand too little when it comes to pickups, what is affected by magnet polarity or winding direction.

    Interesting article, thanks!

    :D:D:D I used to hang a lot om the Harmony Central forums 15 years ago. Probably took a lot more than 300 posts before I learned. :D
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2017

  7. TigerG

    TigerG Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    Aug 14, 2015
    I've had a Vintage Vibe P90 in the neck position as well and liked it well enough on its own. However, in combination with the bridge pickup (which was a TX Special), it never had that nice Tele two-pickup snap, and even out of phase didn't have any snark. When I put the TX Special neck pickup back in and moved the switch to the middle, the cool Tele two-pickup sounds jumped out at me and said "See? Haven't you been missing this?"
    Danman likes this.

  8. hanerlend

    hanerlend TDPRI Member

    Aug 23, 2017
    Stavanger, NO
    Isn't that how things often turn out? You experiment a lot, only to realize you liked what you had in the first place.. I'm going to hold on to the stock pickup for sure.

  9. The Blood

    The Blood Tele-Meister

    Dec 31, 2014
    Healdsburg, CA
    I put a tonerider p90 in the neck position and it was not matching the existing bridge conventional pickup. Then I installed a seymour duncan vintage stack and the balance was great, and the middle position actually sounded quite nice. Being a stacked humbucker design, the output is higher than normal tele pickups.
    I like how the p90 drives my pedals and wouldn't want to reduce its output.

  10. ftbtx

    ftbtx Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    I'm a big fan of P90s in the neck, I've never tried a JM there though. Have you considered a vintage style Firebird pickup there (not just a mini-hum)?
    Jakeboy likes this.

  11. hanerlend

    hanerlend TDPRI Member

    Aug 23, 2017
    Stavanger, NO
    For reference, according to this article it seems a vintage spec JM PU in the neck will balance well with a vintage spec Telecaster bridge pickup. :rolleyes: (Curtis Novak JM-V and TEL-V)

    @The Blood was that the rebel, vintage or hot P90? I really want to keep the tele vibe in the bridge, as I find it awesome for overdriven rock tones. :mad:

    @ftbtx seeing a tele with a firebird pickup was where it all started. With the chrome it has a quite similar visual appearance to a regular tele, which I find cool. Maybe I'll revisit that idea in a while. :cool:
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2017
    ftbtx likes this.

  12. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 2, 2010
    Bear in mind that a JM pickup is huge and will require lots of wood to be removed, plus might be harder to find a pickguard routed for it.
    (I just routed a Strat guard for a JM pickup in the bridge position, and since the locations are not standard, I had to be sure to rout the body and the guard in the same place. By the neck, it gets worse in terms of how little wood remains between neck and pickup mounting tabs, plus the corner of the JM pup is outside of a Strat guard and close to the edge of a Tele guard.)
    If you're hooked on the GFS P-90 you're more limited, but you can get a P-90 wound to match any Tele bridge pickup, and you might not want to choose a dull dark overwound Tele bridge pickup just so you can use that cheap GFS P-90 in the neck pos.
    Not sure how low the winds come of the GFS P-90 though.
    I'd say a vintage type Tele bridge pup wound in the area of 7.8k ohms of 42awg would match pretty well with a P-90 reading under 7k ohms.
    A more typical 7.5- 8k P-90 would need more like a 8.5k- 9k Tele bridge pup, which to my ear lacks the signature Tele bridge clarity and bright ringing tone.

    Last edited: Aug 25, 2017
    hanerlend likes this.

  13. Danman

    Danman Tele-Meister

    May 12, 2012
    Amsterdam,The Netherlands
    I can imagine. The thing is that I never use the middle position. For me it's only bridge on its own or the neck on its own. And often I'll even leave it in one position. So I just have my amp set to sound right for the position that works best at that moment and for the type of music I am playing.

  14. JL_LI

    JL_LI Tele-Afflicted

    May 20, 2017
    Long Island, NY
    I have nothing against mods. Neither my Tele nor my Strat are stock. But mods can be tricky for all the reasons stated above. Jazzmaster pickups and modern P-90's are two different beasts. Jazzmaster will be cleaner and darker at the outset but still have enough twang to be recognizable as Fender. I had a surprise last week when I picked up a Classic Player JM. I liked the sound better than the Am Pro model and I like to be able to adjust pickup height and pole pieces to get my tone. The rosewood neck on one I picked off the wall at GC was dried out but I think I'll be on the lookout for one. It'll be a nice complement to my SG, Annie, and the Fenders and I should be able to find one at a price I like. Also, pickup balance is great and the bridge PU is Casino warm.

  15. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

    I was going to mention the CP JM pickup, too. It has the dimensions of a JM pickup but is built more like a P90 with a bar magnet and pole screws rather than alnico pole pieces.

    However, as mentioned you may have issues physically fitting the JM pickup without some major routing.

    I do really like the CP JM pickup-- kind of splits the difference between a vintage JM and a P90, IMO, might work very well. On the other hand, something like a Firebird pickup or Dynasonic would likely be easier to fit in, would sound really great, and would likely balance well with a vintage or slightly hot Tele bridge pickup.

    I would definitely stick with the current pot values and only go up to 500k or some interim value if the neck pickup really sounds dull. It is also possible to wire it in a way so that the neck sees 500k while the bridge sees 250k.
    telemnemonics likes this.

  16. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

    A lipstick pickup could also be really cool in the bridge....

  17. tfarny

    tfarny Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 4, 2008
    Hudson Valley, NY
    I can only speak for the P90 side of things - my tele has a SD JD bridge (a bit hotter than most vintage tele bridges) and a Lollar 50s in the neck - a lower wind P90. Volume wise they are a good match as long as you don't get the P90 too close up - and it still sounds great at a decent distance. So the P90 doesn't have to overpower the bridge, but you've got to choose your pickups well and prepare to mess with pickup height as well.

    BTW it is a great pairing that makes the guitar extremely versatile. In fact I could just use that guitar for anything and everything I might play and be fine, sound-wise.

  18. hanerlend

    hanerlend TDPRI Member

    Aug 23, 2017
    Stavanger, NO
    I recon I'll have to cut the pickguard myself if I order a JM pickup. Routing a finished guitar is a bit scary. At least the pickguard will hide it if I mess up. :D

    I'm not set on GFS. From what i've heard the quality of their PU's are mixed, but their P90 is supposedly OK.

    I could go ahead and get an underwound P90, but would it still sound like a P90? o_O

    Will look into the CP JM pickup. thanks! :cool:

  19. Old Tele man

    Old Tele man Friend of Leo's

    May 10, 2017
    Tucson, AZ
    Will Ray of the HELLCASTERS likes JM-style pickups:

    brookdalebill and hanerlend like this.

  20. hanerlend

    hanerlend TDPRI Member

    Aug 23, 2017
    Stavanger, NO
    I totally missed this post. Thanks for the info! :cool:

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