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's HB sized vs soap bar

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by navigate40, Jul 9, 2018.

  1. navigate40

    navigate40 TDPRI Member

    Jun 26, 2018
    SE FL

    I put together a strat with two Lindy Fralin P90 soap bar pickups, and it was wonderful. LOVED the sound. But....gave that away to my cousin who needed it. And now....have a Tele that I want to make into a project.

    The Tele is a Fender FSR HH Blacktop tele, sea foam pearle. So...routed for two Humbuckers. I really do not want to re-route it (and nearly impossible to find a pickup ring or cover for a P90 in the bridge of a tele. SO...was wondering if anyone had any experience with Humbucker sized P90's vs soap bar? Especially Fralin's.

    I wrote the company and they responded that even though the H sized ones are constructed as closely as possible to the soap bar ones....they do sound slightly different (they added that most could probably not tell the difference). A bit darker.... which may be due to the full metal cover.

    Few makers use open metal covers, most do not. I wonder why an open cover is not the standard? [I suppose that I could replace the cover...but at the $140 price point...I should not have to]

    Both the Fralin P90 soap bar and H sized have Alnico 4 magnets.

    I have tried Gibson P94's, ToneRider and Kent Armstrong H sized P90's and liked the Fralin soap bars quite a bit better. The Fralin's are at the top of my price point. Considered Mojotone, since they are open cover....but their bridge has an A 5 magnet, which I do not want.

    Thank you.

    [could just get another body...but want to use the one I have]
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2018
    Kriticaster and BCblues55 like this.
  2. bullfrogblues

    bullfrogblues Friend of Leo's

    Jun 5, 2011
    Southeast Florida
    I have 2 guitars I made with HB size P90s, my favorite being Railhammer H90 Gnarly bridge/neck combination, (I think these are discontinued or replaced by a newer option), and the other has a Rio Grande Fat Bastard set. I'm a p90 lover and neither of these disappoint. YMMV.
    I've also heard great things about the SD Phat Cats, though I've never tried them.
  3. navigate40

    navigate40 TDPRI Member

    Jun 26, 2018
    SE FL
    Thanks.... I play mostly sure hot P90's suit?

    Note added: looked at the fat bastard and bastard pickups. Cannot find any info on their covers (black and white ones) or what magnets.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2018
  4. zombiwoof

    zombiwoof Tele-Holic

    Oct 17, 2008
    Tujunga California
    GFS Mean 90's are well regarded as being very close to P90 tone in HB size, and are less expensive than others.
    skunqesh likes this.
  5. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 30, 2013
    Horn Lake, MS
    None of the HB sized P90's actually sound like a P90, but some do get close.
    The Mean 90 and Surf 90's are great for their price
    Railhammer now sells the Humcutter pickups
    Seymour Duncan Phat Cats are great.
    Would also recommend the SD P-Rail. It's a HB sized P90 with the little blade pickup for great HB tones and convincing P90 tones with the extra blade pickup that some like and some don't. Combine with the Triple Shot Ring switches to get either coil, both in parallel or series.
    Mincer and MilwMark like this.
  6. Jsil13

    Jsil13 Tele-Holic

    Feb 14, 2017
    Boston, MA
    I have a humucker sized P90 in the neck of my Duesenberg and I really like it. I'm pretty sure they also make a set, but mine has a humbucker in the bridge.

    Glad to hear about the Gnarly 90. I picked one up a bit ago for a tele I'm currently building.
  7. gkterry

    gkterry Tele-Meister

    Dec 19, 2014
    Paris, IL
    P90s sound great whether distorted or clean. I vote for the SD Phat Cats. They are great pickups.
    JeffBlue and Mincer like this.
  8. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Apr 29, 2013
    near Arnold's
    As a few others noted, the HB sized "p90s" can sound great. The Phat Cats are great pickups. And they get close to p90 sound and close-ish to feel. But they are missing something.

    For a long time my #1 was an SG with Phat Cats and then an LP with Phat Cats. But they don't do the p90 thing exactly and I prefer an actual p90 (noise and all).
  9. IronSchef

    IronSchef Tele-Holic Platinum Supporter

    hellopike likes this.
  10. Mincer

    Mincer Tele-Meister

    Dec 19, 2017
    Tampa Bay Area
    Phat Cats! P-Rails!
    Well, what can I say, I am enthusiastic. They are remarkable. I do, however, like the P-Rails with the Triple Shot rings. These are a little clumsy to install on a they would require a few extra switches.
    Golem likes this.
  11. teleforumnoob

    teleforumnoob Friend of Leo's

    May 25, 2010
    North Alabama
    I have a set of black velvets in an Epi Broadway. I like em.
  12. navigate40

    navigate40 TDPRI Member

    Jun 26, 2018
    SE FL
    Those Rose pickups look interesting! I contacted them to ask about them. It seems that you can customize the build somewhat. Very little information on the site.

    I would like to get the tone I got in my Fralin soap bar P90's. They had A 4 magnets and the neck was 7.2.

    Some of the comments online are that the Mozart pickups are Jazzmaster like and the Black velvets are more P90?
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2018
  13. Paul Jenkin

    Paul Jenkin Friend of Leo's

    Aug 17, 2017
    Essex, UK
    Try Amdusias Devices in Belfast;

    Tell them what you're after and see if they can accommodate. They made a pair of fantastic custom wound Tele pickups for me and I know they make P-90s.
  14. ebb soul

    ebb soul Poster Extraordinaire

    Jun 7, 2016
    Smyrna georgia
    I always thought the middle mounting screws on standard p 90s would have to become extra poles, causing some eq unbalance. Frankly a strange design.
    There are a great many of us needing advice on single coils in humbucker slots because we are stuck with the route.
    As a sidebar Dimazio made a p 90 soapbar style with four corner screws.
    Looks proper.
    Zachary claims it was was his request.

    It is of note that Bill Larence claimed p90s the "verst pickups ever designed".
  15. etype

    etype Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 23, 2014
  16. steve v

    steve v Tele-Holic

    Jun 18, 2009
    Albany, NY
    I have a set of the BG Pure90 pickups in one of my guitars, they really sound great. With a treble bleed, they roll off into really nice sounding single-coil territory (I realize they are single coil anyway :)
    BB likes this.
  17. FerruleCat

    FerruleCat Tele-Holic

    May 2, 2017
    Tulsa, OK
    I have an Epiphone LP Plustop with Duncan Phat Cats and a cheapo Epiphone LP Junior with a GFS Mean 90. The Phat Cats are thicker in tone, with more body and punch. The Mean 90 has more air and an obvious single-coil sound. I slightly prefer the Phat Cats clean and much prefer the Mean 90 driven.

    Here's a tiresome little Beatlesque groove featuring two guitar parts, both recorded with the bridge Mean 90.
  18. fatcat

    fatcat Friend of Leo's

    Jul 6, 2010
    Very Deep South
    I just put a Gibson p94 in the neck of my epi es339.

    I like it. Has the tone of a humbucker, but with a more open sound, and single coil harmonics.

    Cant say for sure how close to an actual p90 it sounds.
  19. schmee

    schmee Friend of Leo's

    Jun 2, 2003
    It may be that P90's will fit in a HB space with some modification. It's real tight. I have converted Gibson P90s to HB. The windings are so close to a HB ring cutout size that I ruined one of two I did though. You cut and bend the brass base plate. Tap threads for the adjustment screws. You may have to file the inside opening in the ring a bit bigger.
    twr102 and Zepfan like this.
  20. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 30, 2013
    Horn Lake, MS
    You would think that SD would make a set of switches to mount in pickguards by now.
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