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Good P90's for a Tele?

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Lynxtrap, Nov 12, 2020.

  1. Lynxtrap

    Lynxtrap Tele-Holic

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    I have zero experience with P90's.
    Now I'm planning a Tele build and thought P90's would be nice for something that doesn't sound like my other Teles, but still not like humbuckers.
    And they kind of look cool ;)

    I'm not looking at expensive stuff, this is my first ever guitar build and I don't want to sit with 400 USD pickups in a piece of crap, if that's how it turns out. I can always upgrade if the guitar is good.

    The sound I'm imagining is sort of Tele on steroids. What I absolutely don't want is muddy or lack of twang - if I wanted that I would get humbuckers.

    Do such pickups exist? :)
     
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  2. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

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    You can get some decent P90s for less than $200 for the set. I had a set of Seymour Duncans in a '90s US Hamer that were wonderful. I think they run around $90 apiece.

    If you want to save more than that, you can get Toneriders for $60 apiece on Amazon. I haven't used the P90s, but I've put Tonerider single-coils and humbuckers in half-a-dozen guitars. They all sound great.
     
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  3. maj34

    maj34 Tele-Holic

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    Look up Vineham pickups. He does p90 pickups that fit a standard tele body.

    He's not the only one doing this I know, but his bridge is the only one I've tried. Sounds like a p90 to me.

    Inexpensive pickups, highly regarded on the forums for what that's worth.

    I have several of his pickups and very happy with all of them.

    His neck pickups are not usually rwrp. I've talked to him and he's in the "it affects tone negatively" camp... I'm in the "it just reduces noise" camp, and he was happy enough to do a rwrp for me.
     
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  4. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    You can get genuine Gibson for $60-65 each. $125 a set. There's no reason to do anything else really.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2020
  5. JUSS10

    JUSS10 Tele-Meister

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    I've been happy with the bootstrap clean 90 pickups in the neck position of my tele based guitars. I built a guitar with the bootstrap pretzel pup in the bridge and the clean 90 at the neck. I've had more comments on the tone of the neck pickup. multiple people have picked up the guitar and really liked it. That said, his clean 90 isn't a "true" p90 as its built using magnetic poles vs screws with magnets but bootstrap does offer true p90s as well though I haven't tried them yet.
     
  6. maj34

    maj34 Tele-Holic

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    Fyi. I ended up taking my Vineham p90 out of my tele. It did exactly as advertised, but I find p90 pickups have loose low end compared to a tele pickup, and it was just really off-putting.

    Because I'm a Vineham fan, I'd recommend his broadcaster style pickup in the bridge for a tele on steroids that still does traditional tele sounds.


    In my experience a hotter tele bridge can still retain all the classic tele sound but give you more oomph. The neck not so much.

    Let's say your goal is to have balanced volume between bridge and neck. You start out with a hotter wind bridge, and now you want to increase the oomph/volume of the neck. But for various construction reasons, increasing those windings in the neck takes away the brightness of the neck at a much faster rate. By the time you're at the same volume as the bridge you're got a very dark pickup.

    For this reason I kept my vintage wind (fender original vintage neck pickup) in there, but adjusted it as high as I could without causing magnetic pull issues... It helps that it's an alnico 3 in that case. I then keep my hot broadcaster pickup low and I get my desired volume match.

    Other great alternatives to getting a beefed up neck up match a "hot vintage" bridge:
    1. A Strat pickup
    2. A tele sized Strat neck pickup like Vineham tele-st pickup
    3. A p90 pickup in the neck... Per your original post... I assume it will sound great but I've never tried this combo.
    4. A low wind paf style pickup like Vineham tele-paf.

    I like the option 4 myself. I have a 72 custom and the neck hum is special with a hot vintage pickup. Just go with a low wind paf style because it will match volume with the bridge and also will be a few shades brighter such will also balance better with a single coil.

    All my opinion and what I've found via my tone chasing pickup experimentation.
     
  7. Wildeman

    Wildeman Tele-Meister

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    In general, a P90 is a P90, ive used Gibson, Epiphone, TV Jones and GFS, they all sound great. I did some magnet swaps on the Epi's just to experiment and ended up with A2 on the Tele. The thing i ran into when pairing the P90 front with the Tele back and stock 250k pots was the tonal balance was off, if i set the amp for good tele bridge tone, the neck was mud, set the neck tone right and the bridge ice-picked. I still have a little tweaking but i'm close, i put a 1meg volume pot and a .500k resistor from the back pickup to ground, its stuff i had laying around. No mud or ice pick now.
     
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  8. jfgesquire

    jfgesquire Tele-Afflicted

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    Do you want to do two P90s, P90 in neck or bridge only, with humbucker, or with a Tele single coil?

    I built the one in my avatar using a Fender Performer body and an Allparts neck. It's using a Tone Rider Hot Classic Tele Bridge and a Guitar Madness (ebay pickup seller) Alnico 2 P90. Can't get much less expensive than this:

    http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-5...0001&campid=5338148343&icep_item=274326722290

    I had to flip the wires on the P90 to make it RWRP with the bridge pickup and it was worth it. I now live on the two 2 pickup positions on the 4-way switch.

    20200608_102129_3.jpg
     
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  9. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    My suggestion is to avoid the hot P90s - if it's a standard construction type (not noiseless, etc) you are probably looking at dcr in the 7s and 8s - since that's the only spec that is usually published you kind of have to take that for an indication of hotness.
    There are a lot of "hot P90" sets out there for sale and based on your description of what you want, I would avoid them. A normal P90 is already like a tele on steroids. An overwound P90 can be a real mud machine. The best ones I have owned are Lollar 50s wind and Duncan Antiquity (these seem to be basically the same spec), but the regular Gibson offerings are also great.
     
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  10. etype

    etype Tele-Afflicted

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  11. scottser

    scottser Friend of Leo's

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    don't forget to upgrade your pots. p90s need to see 500k, your standard tele is fitted with 250k.
     
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  12. 1 21 gigawatts

    1 21 gigawatts Tele-Holic

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    My only experience with P90s is a cheap ($16) Kaish dogear P90 from Amazon that I put in an Epi Junior. I think that it sounds great! I'm sure that a Duncan or Fralin would sound better, but I'm not planning on replacing it anytime soon.
     
  13. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    I preferred 250k in my Strat with P90's. SO maybe it's not a thing after all.... :D
    [​IMG]
     
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  14. jonnyfez

    jonnyfez Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Regular ol' Gibson P90s sound amazing. No reason to spend more.
     
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  15. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    +1. Original and the best since 1948.
     
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  16. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    Yep. All P90's are NOT the same. Some others are ok. The cheap import ones though are too "loose" sounding for me. Never was impressed with SD's. I had some Lollars but they were underwound so hard to compare.
    Older Gibson P90's came in different winds for some guitars. I had a set off a Switchmaster with pots and wiring about 15 years ago and didn't realize what I had. All 3 were different readings. The neck was something like 6.5 K ohms. I sold them to a guy cheap then figured out what I had! :mad:

    The modern ones are just right though I think.
     
  17. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Gibson pickups in a Fender guitar? Wouldn’t that create a disturbance in the force?
     
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  18. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I use Warman UK P90's.... RW/RP.... sound great and they're a good price... :)

    river tele warman p90's.jpg
     
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  19. kiwi blue

    kiwi blue Tele-Afflicted

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    From your description, I would go for alnico pole magnet P90s instead of proper bar magnet P90s.
     
  20. Drew617

    Drew617 Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    I've got Gibsons in my LP Tribute DC Special... whatever the name of that guitar is. I don't like them, which is too bad because I really like a DC junior's form factor. They are way too hot-middy-muddy. Some of that is the guitar, a mahogany slab with not enough range of height adjustment available.

    I also have a Prestige NYS with the Duncan vintage set and really like those in that guitar. Should be pretty close to the Gibson P90s, to be honest. Application matters. These are fairly chimey, as P90s go, and can sound in the neighborhood of A2 humbuckers in the middle positions.

    A lot of people complain about the knockoff P90s - the Artec stuff in older Epis etc. - not being correct and/or way too hot. I have actually really liked those in some guitars, correct or not. The Duncans in my Prestige are opening me to other possibilities, but in general I've looked for cheap and nasty out of P90s anyway...

    I've had 90s in a Tele and agree it sounds like you want a quality Alnico variant. Can Rx the Duncan vintage, have to imagine the Gibson is a good option too and I just don't like it in my guitar. FWIW I felt that my P90 Tele was distinctly not a Tele.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2020
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