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Thinking About a Single Pickup Build - P90 or Jazzmaster?

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Freekmagnet, Jan 13, 2019.

  1. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet Tele-Meister

    281
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    I’m looking for some opinions - and I know that these opinions are purely subjective- but I’m more of a bass player than a guitar player so I’m fairly clueless about general opinions surrounding guitar pickups.

    I want to do a single bridge pickup guitar build - I know a P90 can cover a lot of sonic ground by itself. I also know a Jazzmaster only looks similar and is brighter and more jangly than a P90.

    Which one would be the better all-around do-it-all pickup? I know the P90 can do it, but can you pull it off with a single Jazzmaster as well?
     
    telemnemonics likes this.
  2. StrangerNY

    StrangerNY Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Interesting question. I'm definitely a P90 guy, but when I built my Jazzmaster I was really surprised at the tone of it at higher gain levels. Definitely way more 'rock' than I expected.

    A single JM could be a pretty cool experiment.

    - D
     
    Steve Holt and Freekmagnet like this.
  3. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 30, 2013
    Horn Lake, MS
    I'd go for a P90 SG or LP Jr first, then maybe a Esquire Tele second for one pickup guitar choices.
    I'm not a big JM pickup fan though.
     
    Freekmagnet likes this.
  4. Jack Clayton

    Jack Clayton Tele-Meister

    Age:
    34
    149
    Oct 1, 2017
    Phoenix, AZ
    If you are set on using a P90, I'd recommend a Lollar. They make the best ones on the market to my ears.

    If you're open to other options, I'd look at getting some kind of Humbucker with coil tapping, just to give yourself one more tone option. If I were to ever do a jaguar or JM, I might look at installing danelectro/style lipstick pickups, just because I love them. They've got a real surf rock kind of sound.
     
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  5. luckett

    luckett Friend of Leo's

    Jun 14, 2011
    .
    What kind of guitar? If it's going to have a pickguard, you could route for a JM and make multiple pickguards with various flavors of pickups to try out.
     
    Freekmagnet likes this.
  6. Mike Simpson

    Mike Simpson Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 19, 2006
    Gilbert, AZ (PHX)
    Leave yourself the option of adding a neck pickup later... trust me on this.

    20140425_115412.jpg
    ChupacabraCabrone1.jpg
     
  7. OttoCorrect

    OttoCorrect Tele-Meister

    Age:
    31
    170
    Feb 24, 2018
    USA
    This probably isn’t very helpful but it sounds like you have a good idea of what a p90 sounds like and what a jm pickup sounds like too. So go with what you like better. Neither are wrong, they just sound different. Plenty of super clean and super dirty tones can come out of either one, there’s plenty of recorded history to back that up.
     
    tfarny, hotraman and Freekmagnet like this.
  8. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet Tele-Meister

    281
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    Thanks for the replies. It’s helpful. Judging from your responses, I think I should elaborate and amend my initial question.

    This is a photo of a build I did a few years ago. I’m thinking about building another one, but with one bridge pickup.

    [​IMG]

    I basically want to build a one-pickup surf-rocker.

    I build my own bass pickups and I figured I’d make the pickup for this guitar as well.

    My initial thought was a P90 because A) a single P90 is classic, B) I have enough stuff laying around my workbench to make one, and C) there’s a lot of documentation about P90s and I figure it’ll be a pretty straight ahead build.

    The Jazzmaster had also crossed my mind because the JM is a classic “surf” guitar and again, I have enough material laying around to put something similar together.

    I’m the end, I’m definitely open to suggestions for a good “surfy” pickup. With caveats, I’m not really set on one pickup or another.

    Lollar makes excellent pickups.

    I’ve put lipsticks on a few of my builds, and as much as I wanted to love them, they’ve always been pretty stingy with their output. I like humbuckers, you kind of expect to see one on a V. Surf is definitely one flavor I like, so if you have any more ideas, LMK.

    Haha - I would just see that as an excuse to build another guitar!
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2019
    DaphneBlue and Snfoilhat like this.
  9. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet Tele-Meister

    281
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    You’re right about that. I know this sounds weird, but since I’m actually a bass player, I have a hard time judging which pickup would be more useful to a guitar player.
     
  10. OttoCorrect

    OttoCorrect Tele-Meister

    Age:
    31
    170
    Feb 24, 2018
    USA
    That being the case I would suggest pretty much any Fender style single coil. You can great surf sounds easily from teles, strats or JMs. The p90 might be workable, but really great surf has a solid history of coming from bright Fender style single coils.
     
    Freekmagnet likes this.
  11. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet Tele-Meister

    281
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    Cool thx!
     
  12. ftbtx

    ftbtx Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    How about a gold foil?
     
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  13. elpico

    elpico Tele-Holic

    723
    Sep 14, 2011
    Vancouver BC
    How did the jaguar get left off the list of surf pickups? Twangier than P90 or JM, less noise too.
     
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  14. Danjabellza

    Danjabellza Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 22, 2014
    Pahrump, nv
    If you’re doing a pickguard mount, you could do a swimming pool route and change your mind periodically. Personally for me, I’d do a P90, but moved neckwards a inch or 2, for a bit better cleans, without sacrificing all of the bite for crunch tones.
     
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  15. jrblue

    jrblue Tele-Holic

    777
    Nov 14, 2010
    Santa Barbara
    Depends on what you, yourself want, but I find Jazzmaster and P90 PUs to be one-dimensional to begin with, and going with just one PU leaves you pretty much with a single distinct sound. There are many other PUs I would use on a one PU guitar before going with either of those.
     
  16. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 18, 2014
    Near Detroit, MI
    .

    P90s are awesome. Use the volume knob to go from drive to clean.

    I'd put P90 at the bridge, best location.

    JMs get that surf sound best at the neck. So put it there.

    JMs come in two, poorly marked, versions. Classic with alnico poles. Modern built like a P90 but with JM wide thin bobbin. Check what you want to get.
     
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  17. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet Tele-Meister

    281
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    What about Dynasonics? Where does Gretsch fit in the world of single-pickup surf twang?
     
  18. DaphneBlue

    DaphneBlue Tele-Meister

    Age:
    32
    331
    Jul 22, 2017
    Switzerland
    That flying v is wonderful!

    By the way I love my jazzmaster neck pickup. It is really versatile and it is my favorite pu for the moment.
     
    Freekmagnet likes this.
  19. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet Tele-Meister

    281
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA

    Cool that’s good to know - thx!
     
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