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P90s vs Jazzmaster pickups

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by bugo, Sep 9, 2012.

  1. bugo

    bugo Tele-Holic

    Jul 29, 2006
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    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.
  2. lineboat

    lineboat Friend of Leo's

    Aug 6, 2012
    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...:)

  3. musicmatty

    musicmatty Former Member

    Aug 18, 2008
    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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  5. GCKelloch

    GCKelloch Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 10, 2011
    MA USA
    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.
  6. jswiss

    jswiss Tele-Meister

    May 25, 2012
    I also am interested in this question!! if anyone has more insight id love to hear as well!!
  7. Tarnisher

    Tarnisher Friend of Leo's

    Apr 12, 2008
    Facts, shmacts! In the end, it's impressions that matter. If it sounds good, who cares what's going on inside it? :D
  8. RomanS

    RomanS Poster Extraordinaire

    Jun 21, 2006
    Vienna, Austria
    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.
  9. imsilly

    imsilly Friend of Leo's

    Feb 15, 2009
    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.
  10. Jadguitar

    Jadguitar Tele-Meister

    Jun 18, 2011
    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.
  11. SarahThustra

    SarahThustra TDPRI Member

    Aug 30, 2011
    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.
  12. Jason Lollar

    Jason Lollar Tele-Meister

    Mar 22, 2003
    Seattle WA
    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
  13. GCKelloch

    GCKelloch Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 10, 2011
    MA USA
    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.
  14. Don Mare

    Don Mare Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 22, 2003

    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) ;)
  15. jswiss

    jswiss Tele-Meister

    May 25, 2012
    Does anybody have any videos or audio of a tele with jazzmaster pups?
  16. DavidP

    DavidP Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 16, 2003
    Vancouver, BC
    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.
  17. Don Mare

    Don Mare Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 22, 2003

    Live Sound:
    Peavey Classic 20
    Electro-Harmonix Cathedral Reverb (Plate) Recording:
    MXL V93M Condenser Mic
    Electro-Harmonix 12AY7 Tube Microphone Preamp
    Guitar Tracks Pro 3

    Steffsen XXX Telecaster Bridge Pickup
    Curtis Novak TEL-JM NECK (Jazzmaster Neck pickup made for a Telecaster) Guitar:
    Upgraded Fender Telecaster (American neck/MIM body) a.k.a. "Xoriguera"
    Joe Barden bridge saddles, Sperzel tuners
  18. GCKelloch

    GCKelloch Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 10, 2011
    MA USA
    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 .
  19. ac15

    ac15 Poster Extraordinaire

    May 9, 2005
    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.
  20. SarahThustra

    SarahThustra TDPRI Member

    Aug 30, 2011
    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.
  21. ac15

    ac15 Poster Extraordinaire

    May 9, 2005
    Yep, much prefer that myself, even though it's much maligned around here. Not sure why.
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