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Good P90's for a Tele?

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

  1. El Marin

    El Marin Friend of Leo's

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    Yes, I am partial to Gibsons

    As many Cork Sniffers will upgrade to some "boutique" expensive ones (Of course is their right to do what they want), you can get them quite cheap
     
  2. ping-ping-clicka

    ping-ping-clicka Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    If I was going to do this I'd buy Lindy Fralin P-90 Soapbar Pickup. ...
     
  3. YYZman

    YYZman TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

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    FWIW I have 2 P-90 Teles and the absolute favourite is packing a pair of Lollar ‘50s wind in a California redwood body. Both items I think I bought here on the forum.

    The other has a pair of Gibson P-90s from an R4 Les Paul. They too are amazing pickups, though the Lollar combo still has the edge.

    It’s probably worth looking at the Arcane Phil X P-90s too. I have not yet tried them, but it was Phil’s influence and versatility that opened my eyes to what could be done with a single P-90

    Lastly, another vote for Vineham. If his P-90s are even half as good as his Tele and humbucker pickups, they will be outstanding. And a great value to boot.
     
  4. douellette

    douellette TDPRI Member

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    My P90s from Stew-Mac are honestly pretty good. I'm crazy about P90s -- I have a '46 ES-125 (with the slugs) and a '57 ES-225TD -- and this cheapy pickup from Stew-Mac is pretty solid in the bridge of an Esquire-type build.

    I expected to upgrade if the guitar worked, and I never bothered changing.
     
  5. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    Just get the unbranded under $20/pair set of P90s off ebay. Look at the pickup construction photos, sellers buy bulk and change all the time too, but the pickups are the same. Avoid the ones with silicon goop sticking out the back but you'll see the better constructed ones in that price range.

    Many of the import pickups have low capacitance wound bobbins. I suspect they are hand wound or they have figured out how to machine wind them as if they were hand wound. Meanwhile most of the non-boutique brands you'll see listed in this thread are machine wound and you'll fight with muddiness.

    If you do succumb to other brands and get a set of too muddy pickups, remember you can put a series cap on the pickup hot lead to transform them to boutique-hand-wound clarity.

    .
     
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  6. Lynxtrap

    Lynxtrap Tele-Holic

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    Thanks, many great suggestions to look into here. Of the ones mentioned, I have been looking at Tonerider, their Classic 90 seems good on paper. They are alnico II.

    Just to clarify, this is a build from scratch so the physical size is not an issue. Actually I would prefer the look of classic size p90's and maybe no pickguard.

    I have also considered Gretsch style, Jazzmaster pups and mini humbuckers, just for something different (all very different animals, I know). But I sort of landed at P90s for the reasons mentioned in the first post, thinking they would be the closest to a Tele without being a Tele...
     
  7. backporchmusic

    backporchmusic Friend of Leo's

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    Didn't see this mentioned--just like with humbuckers, the polepieces on Gibson and Fender are different spacings. Gibsons are closer together, so look for F-spaced P90s. My favorite P90 maker Lindy Fralin makes them. His stuff pairs well with traditional Fender single coil sounds, if you go for P90 neck/single coil bridge, say.
     
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  8. SixShooter

    SixShooter Friend of Leo's

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    Consider the GFS Mean 90's. I like them alot and they have a good reputation. They are in a humbucker form factor, so if you ever wanted to change to humbuckers you will have that option. $35.00 a piece.
     
  9. Kepler

    Kepler NEW MEMBER!

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    I put a Lollar in this Esquire I built. They definitely look cool and add a vintage vibe
     

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  10. alesplin

    alesplin Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    If you go for P90 neck, Tele bridge, make sure your neck isn't in the "super high output" category. I put a Seymour Duncan Phat Cat (P90 shaped like a humbucker) in the neck of my tele for a while, and even swapping out the stock bridge for a Custom Shop Texas Special and slamming the P90 as far away from the strings as I could get it, the outputs were way mismatched. The P90 was _super_ loud compared to the Texas Special, so the neck pickup just overpowered it when the switch was in the middle position, and switching from bridge to neck required an instant volume knob rolloff. Switching from neck to bridge required an instant volume knob max.
     
  11. YYZman

    YYZman TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

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    The partial Tele guard gives some other styling options too.

    Also, if it’s not too expensive, it’s helpful to have both black and cream P90 covers on hand in order to find the best complement to the rest of the guitar.

    Here is my redwood Tele with the Lollar P90s and a Warmoth SRV profile neck.
    (Don’t mind the glitzy photo treatment done by my daughter..)
     

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  12. Muadzin

    Muadzin TDPRI Member

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    I'm a big fan of humbucker sized P90's. All the toanz, none of the hacking up your guitar to make them fit.
     
  13. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Friend of Leo's

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    P90's are pretty simple and just about any vintage wound Alnico one will work good.

    Here's my modified SX Tele that I added a GFS Vintage wound P90 rehoused in a raw nickel-silver soapbar cover.

    42089788422_7178c2af08_o.jpg

    Here's what it sounds like...

     
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  14. Si G X

    Si G X Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm not sure .. I don't think a P90 sounds anything like a tele bridge pickup. If anything to me they sound more like a gibson humbucker. I think a filtertron is closer to a tele tonally.
     
  15. hemingway

    hemingway Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've just ordered some hot humbucker-sized Bootstrap P90s for my G&L Asat Deluxe Tribute.

    Always loved that guitar but never liked the muddy buckers (muddy to my ears).

    I'm wondering if I should have ordered the clean ones. But we'll see. Whatever they're like, they've got to be sharper than what's in there now.

    Shopping around I was shocked at some of the prices - especially considering that I used to have a Harley Benton goldtop with P90s that must have cost tuppence but that sounded pretty good to me. Seems to me that it should be pretty hard to make a bad P90.

    So I went with Bootstrap based on their growing reputation and that, even with shipping to the UK, they'll still cost considerably less than even Toneriders.

    I'll let you know what they sound like when they get here, which will probably be around xmas.
     
  16. wade.o.matic

    wade.o.matic TDPRI Member

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    P90's in Tele's! Or in anything else for that matter.. In my opinion (for what that's worth). And I am an admitted cork sniffer on pickups... There is one brand of P-90 that is more seriously different in construction and in response than most all others.. now, yes... there are huge variations in magnets, and windings, and materials... but my favorite P90 bar none (pardon the pun) is the TV Jones T-90. I know boutique pickups are not everyone's thing - from a price point and considering practicality. And always - it's more about the player than the equipment! But this is the only P90 that I consider to have a decent and matched frequency response in the neck pickup. Seems like anyone can make a decent bridge pup. GRANTED... I have not tried every pickup brand - and who can afford to do so. Love to read everyone's opinion. Much respect for Mr. Duncan's stuff. Much respect for Mr. Lollar's stuff... and Mr. Fralin. And for Seth Lover, etc. All great! Just saying, in my opinion there is something special - and perhaps something smarter - about the TV Jones T-90. RESPECTFULLY! T90's are not "Vintage", but I am over vintage. I am ready to sound better than 1956. I know all of our ears are different. But TV Jones has apparently incorporated some knowledge gleaned from making Gretsch pickups - in that arena he is more of a known name, but his screw diameters are not even the same, and his magnet structures do not look the same.. and he freaking sorts through thousands of screws - finding ones that have the same magnetic permeability! Meaning he thinks that standard lots of screws have too much iron variation to be useable.. I have personally quizzed him on this type of thing at guitar shows. And his pickups- for that reason - are balanced string to string. And his mounting screws are NON_MAGNETIC! Thank you! Many other brands do not value the physics of that and it irritates me. Seldom do I ever have to adjust the pole screw height from string to string on a T90. Maybe a few other manufacturers do this too... painstaking! Magnets are obviously important.. but if you have a crappy screw focusing that field... what good is it? There are other great pickups.. I have tried many.. but just saying, respectfully, this is currently my choice - for not so obvious reasons. And I dare say that few will disagree if given the opportunity play them.
     
  17. frednic

    frednic TDPRI Member

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    I have the Seymour Duncan Phat Cat neck PU and a Seymour Duncan APTL-3JD Jerry Donahue Model Tele Bridge Pickup. I have a standard tele 3 way switch with 250 pots. I measured the two PUs and the bridge is 2 decibels louder. I haven't really tried to get them to be equal. I usually play rhythm with the darker neck PU and louder sharper lead with the bridge PU. I really like the middle positions sound. This setup is pricey so it wouldn't work for the original questioner.
     
  18. alesplin

    alesplin Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    I mean, I am a sample size of 1, so as always, take with a grain of salt. I'm certainly not done with trying out P90's, as I love the thicker sound, but for whatever reason I just couldn't get the output levels to match up with mine.
     
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  19. funkysoul

    funkysoul Tele-Meister

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    My only exp with p90s was with Toneriders.was great all the way but overwound s.c I like better...
     
  20. JRapp

    JRapp Tele-Holic

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    I tried lots of Gibson-esque pickups in the Tele neck position in the last 30 years or so. P90s, minis, full size HBs. Invariably, they were much louder and bassier than any reasonable bridge pickup. The best match I found was a Franz style P90---low wind (5-6K), smaller magnets, less low end, clearer high end, and close in volume. Otherwise, you have to fuss with the amp to try to get settings that sound decent with both pickups.
     
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