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P-90 noobie ... adjusting poles?

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Obsessed, Dec 22, 2019.

  1. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Silver Supporter

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    i just bought a Grote Jazz ($169 hollowbody like the more spendy Epi 1966 with a single P-90 at the neck) just to explore P-90s. I had to replace the jack with a Switchcraft to get a good signal, but I have been playing it for a few weeks. I'm impressed by how wide the width of tones it provides. My question as a P-90 greenhorn, is what do I look for or seek by adjusting the poles? Right now it seems like a sweet low output single coil through a clean channel and a fierce wall of high output humbuckers through the gain channel. Feedback is somewhat elusive unless the amp volume is way up or I'm playing through my 2watt amp. The poles came with the outer string poles high and the middle strings low. What I want is more feedback predictability/adjustability. Admittedly, this has got to be a cheap P-90, but others give it a pretty good review and it does give me all of the sounds that I was expecting.

    Anyway, words of wisdom, direction and hints with the poles would be greatly appreciated from you P-90 enablers.;):lol:
     
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  2. Golem

    Golem Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I don't think adjusting the pickups will give you more feedback. Generally, you get feedback from a pickup if it's lightly potted or unpotted. Having a hollow body should also make it more feedback prone but perhaps it's a laminate and not very resonant. I rarely change the individual heights of a screw unless it sounds off to me.
     
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  3. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Very broadly:

    - pickup down and pole pieces up = clearer and more highs

    - pickup up and pole pieces down = more grunt and less highs.
     
  4. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    string to string balance is another use of pole pieces...
     
  5. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Silver Supporter

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    Interesting. This is a dogear style P-90, so can I raise the pickup? It is an archtop and there is quite a gap under the strings to the top of the pickup. There has been previous discussion about bridge height that lead me to believe that there is not a consistency with the fretboard angle to the body. Perhaps this gap is an indicator.
     
  6. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Silver Supporter

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    Well this make since to me, because of how I adjust other pickups side to side. That really helps in a direction I can at least experiment with. Thanks.
     
  7. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    the screws are in a solid block of brass/metal, so moving the poles won't interfere with the coils/wiring...

    here's a set of mine in a tele.... they don't need to follow the neck radius, it's more about dialing overly loud/quiet strings up or down to suit the balance across all the strings...:)

    P 90 poles.jpg

    P90 3s.jpg
     
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  8. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Silver Supporter

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    Wow, I had no idea that you can bring the poles up so high. Good to know. Thanks for the pics.
     
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  9. aging_rocker

    aging_rocker Tele-Afflicted

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    Sounds like you're pretty much sorted then!
    Just maybe give the poles a tweak to level up the string balance and enjoy that p-90 goodness :cool:

    You may well find that once you've spent some time with a p-90, you'll never go back...
     
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  10. Golem

    Golem Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Usually, dogears are harder to adjust. Some people sell foam to help you raise the pickups. A cheaper option is to use mousepad material.
     
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  11. LowCaster

    LowCaster Tele-Afflicted

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    If you put a soap bar P90 under a dogear cover, yes it is hard to adjust. But some P90s are made for the dogear mount and have side metal tabs to secure them (under the dogear cover). You can use washers to raise them.
     
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  12. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Old Gibsons archtops (and new) use shims under the whole dogear cover to set the height.
    I'm guessing that if it's low and you're feeling like you don't get feedback sustain all that easily, the guitar would benefit from raising the pickup.
    There must be standard dogear shims made but IDK who sells them.
    You can try foam as suggested, even just slip a piece of anything just under each end to see how much of a different it makes before fabbing up or ordering store bought shims.
    Might need longer screws and those might not be at the hardware store, so you might need to order regardless of method.
     
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  13. Golem

    Golem Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I usually don't get dogears, just tried guitars with them at shops. I've never seen one with washers like that but I believe you. My least favorite thing about dogears is that they're harder to adjust. I found a lot of Gibsons I was trying had their P90s in dogears and too low for my tastes (might as well get a tele with hot noiseless pickups at that point).
     
  14. LowCaster

    LowCaster Tele-Afflicted

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    DFF24202-1490-4487-925F-DF780C9CC4F3.jpeg
     
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  15. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Silver Supporter

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    Excellent sketch. Thanks. I bought this inexpensive P-90 guitar to experiment with, so I have no hesitation with trying spacers or fabbing spacers rings, but it appears from you and others that this is a fairly common issue anyway.

    So, off to my P-90 adjustment journey.

    Thanks all for your help.
     
  16. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Silver Supporter

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    Thanks. Seems like I just need to experiment more to find what I like. So far, I am very impressed and can understand that for gigging, the P-90 could cover a huge range from one guitar. Not sure why I have been so hesitant over the years, but I think it was from seeking out specific sounds and fear from feedback. So far, I am enjoying playing with the feedback potential. The tonal adventure continues.
     
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  17. Tommy Biggs

    Tommy Biggs Friend of Leo's

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    My .02 on p90s is that riding the volume control is key to a myriad of tones. Moreso maybe when blending levels on a 2 pickup guitar, but dramatic in a single pickup.

    plug into the high gain input and roll the volume way back, see what you get.
     
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  18. gregulator450

    gregulator450 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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  19. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Silver Supporter

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    Thanks. I will definitely try this.
     
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  20. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Silver Supporter

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    Great article. Wish I had read this eons ago with my first electric. Interesting that it talks about the G string. I bought a new set of strings plus a wound G to experiment with since it is a hollowbody. Thanks a bunch.
     
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