P-90 for neck position

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Gene O., Oct 21, 2019.

  1. Gene O.

    Gene O. Tele-Holic

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    I recently purchased a Gibson Custom 56 Les Paul Goldtop and fell in love with the P-90s... crystal clear with tons of chime.

    So, now I’m thinking I’d like to put a P-90 in the neck position on one of my parts Teles. My question is what P-90 would give me a similar quality?


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  2. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    You’ll have to handle the pots first.

    The LP likely has a 500k volume pot.

    The Tele 250k.

    That will produce much less clarity.

    But if you bump it to 500k in the Tele the bridge might become too bright.
     
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  3. Unionjack515

    Unionjack515 Tele-Holic

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    Bill Asher made this one up with Antiquities. 250k pots work fine in this one but he also has some fancy stuff going on with a Varitone type thing and a cap in there too. Middle position is wonderful though.
     

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  4. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Friend of Leo's

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    This is true...

    A solution I've seen posited here is to use 500k pots and wire a 470k resistor in so the bridge only "sees" 250k. This gives you the clarity you want in your neck position while preventing the bridge from becoming too bright. Someone on here should be able to help you find a schematic for this.
     
  5. BB

    BB Poster Extraordinaire

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    I really like 250K pots with P90's. As far as a similar sound to your LP, hard to say. It may be somewhat similar, but still different due to wood, construction, scale length, etc. However, a P90 in the neck of a tele is a wonderful thing in my book. Dunacan Antiquties are great, as are Lollars, Fralins, et al. Personally, I'd opt for a Bootstrap as he's makings some fine sounding pickups at a more than fair price.

    That LP sounds like a great guitar!
     
  6. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    My main tele has a Lollar "50s wind" P90 in the neck position. It balances really well with a Duncan JD in the bridge. I really, really liked the Duncan Antiquity P90 in a guitar I had too (bridge position, but SOO sweet).

    500k vs. 250k pots make a small difference at most. Try what your ears prefer. Jazzmasters have 1meg pots and nobody freaks out about how bright they are - and plenty of guitars have no tone pot whatsoever and we all survive.Plus we all manage not to notice that on a Gibson in middle position there are FOUR pots in the circuit all taking a cut and yet we can still hear the treble. Mountain out of a molehill.

    "Crystal clear with tons of chime" isn't how I'd describe any P90 though - to me that describes an underwound strat pickup. My own tele does a good approximation of an old archtop, in the neck-only P90 position with the tone dropped back a hair, really nice sound for certain applications. Middle is good for most anything, rich and full but still cuts, and where I mostly stay. Bridge-only is your basic "hot tele" sound.

    Maybe you want to put your Gibson on a multimeter and at least find the DC resistance of the ones you like. P90s get real muddy in the neck position when they are wound hot.
     
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  7. E5RSY

    E5RSY Poster Extraordinaire

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    Our own stephent2 puts a neck P90 on the majority of the guitars he makes.

    http://www.talkovichguitars.com/

    In those cases, he uses the RS Guitarworks 280K CTS V-SuperPot.
     
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  8. Binx

    Binx TDPRI Member

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    On a side note, that amp is beautiful!

    I built one for my brother with a p90 in the neck and a tele bridge. Wound the pickups, so was able to get what I wanted there, but if I recall I used some art of tone 450 pots and they were great.
    Screenshot_20191021-192549_Chrome.jpg
     
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  9. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Changing the value of pots from 250k to 500k makes a huge difference for the same pickup.

    Most people I run across seem to find Jazzmasters incredibly bright with 1m pots, in fact. For a laugh, watch the Thatpedalahow episode where they try out their new JM and their reaction to the “top end”.
     
  10. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    OP, I should also add that good old Gibson P90s are a great choice, especially since you like them so much already in your Gibson. Gibson makes good pickups.
     
  11. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    Not in my experience - not the kind of difference that can be perceived after the song starts.
     
  12. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I swapped in a TV Jones T-90 in the neck of my Mahogany Offset Tele, and used a TVJ Starwood bridge pickup (like 12k, but super thing wire so sounds like a 7 or 8k bridge), and split the pot values, 500k in the volume and 250K tone, wired 50s style. Great balance...not ice picky at all, and the neck is clear with minimal P90 splat/hair.
     
  13. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Friend of Leo's

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    Call either Pete Biltoft or Rio Grande, tell them what you want and they’ll give you great advice...
     
  14. Gene O.

    Gene O. Tele-Holic

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    Wow! I go to sleep and look what appears the next morning! :)

    The issue of 250K vs 500K pots totally slipped my mind. I guess I had the thought that "P-90s are single coils" in my mind and it didn't occur to me that there would be anything more than a fit-up consideration. Maybe I should consider a bucker-like bridge pickup to match up with the P-90??? Think Larry Carlton's bridge pickup tone. On my Strats I use Bill Lawrence L280s for the neck and middle and a L290 in the bridge. The L290 is a little hotter and has a warmer tone. I could go for something like that.

    Re: the Les Paul neck pickup having "chime". Maybe that was a little overstated, but it certainly was very clear and crisp. I'm not a wordsmith, but it certainly had some "glassiness" to it. I used it on a gig Sat night where we were playing during the dinner and cocktail hours and played mostly jazz and light pop. I played through my Carvin Nomad and didn't use a single pedal. I usually play a [Roland Ready} Strat BL pickups with the blues band and I was surprised at how much I had to change the tone settings for the LP. The treble and bass had to come down and the mids came up. Other than my '56 ES-125, it has been 40 years since I played a guitar with P-90s, so I was totally winging it. Once I got it dialed in I was very pleased with the tones.

    I know I said (to someone, somewhere) that I would not assemble the two more Teles worth of parts I have, but all it takes is for a little prod to change my mind. :oops:
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2019
  15. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Friend of Leo's

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    Any vintage wound Alnico P90 will put you in the ballpark. I have a GFS one in my SX Tele copy that I rehoused in a raw nickel silver casing. For the electronics, I used CTS pots with a no-load 250k tone.

    This is what it sounds like...

     
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  16. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    Best position for a P-90 is the Bridge, which is the best Tele bridge location. So I often have a conundrum resolving that.
    Which puts on my list of builds a Tele with a P-90 in the 'middle' but sitting next to the bridge plate.

    I'd suggest trying this: Install your neck P-90 and put a 0.047uF capacitor in series with the hot lead and use the 250k volume pot. Or that schematic that switches the fixed resistor in.

    I have had good luck with some of the ebay 2/$15 P-90s. Look at the back side construction pictures to choose the best made, avoid any with silicone goop, (they are unbranded and many random sellers put them up from the same factory). In general, P-90s are the most difficult to mess up building.


    .
     
  17. Gene O.

    Gene O. Tele-Holic

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    Sounds great! So this is audio proof that 250K pots can be used with a P90 and still get great tone?

    @jvin248 Although I don't really care much about cost (within reason), getting a cheap P-90 for some trial and error tweaking might be a good idea.
     
  18. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I guess our experience is different then. It's simple math. Doubling the pot value increases the resonant peak of the pickup significantly. Ironically, it's more apparent to me in a mix than at home.
     
  19. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    No worries, just to clarify I haven't owned a Jmaster but I have done a lot of experimenting with pot values, including no-loads and such.
    My P90 tele has 500k pots and my more traditional tele has 250s. The P90 tele is still darker (really, it's more midrangey) in all positions relative to the traditional one. I attribute it mostly to hotter pickups, secondarily to the very light semi-hollow body, and finally just the fickle Tone Gods.

    If OP finds the setup too bright at 500k pots, he/she can try adding a real small cap (.0056 works) into the circuit for use with the bridge pickup. Either on the pickup selector switch itself, so its always in circuit when the bridge is selecter, or a separate mini toggle or push pull.
     
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