P90’s in other formats : Real or just marketing stuff?

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by dreamingtele, Aug 22, 2019.

  1. dreamingtele

    dreamingtele Friend of Leo's

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    I’m sorry if this has been covered countless times. I did do a search but it’s mostly suggestions on what pick ups are good.

    So what exactly makes a P 90 Unique in construction that cant be or somehow Difficult to recreate in other form other than a soap bar or dog ear? Please correct me if Im wrong.

    I’m not here asking for suggestions on what P90 pick ups are good in Humbucker format, rather Are the pick up Manufacturers telling the truth when they say it’s a P 90 in standard humbucker size? Is it real or just single coil, wound hot, p90 flavored variant?

    I am curious because I just built my first p90 partscaster

    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/birthday-ngd-p90-partscaster-tele-content.965667/

    and I am seriously hooked on P 90s, And I want to build more of these. Im just starting in my P90 journey and I think I’m beginning to love it more than my standard single coil pickups! LOL

    I currently have my eyes on a john 5 frost gold body. But it is routed for HB. I love the gold and double binding and I know i can get a custom body but for the same price, im getting a whole guitar instead.

    Humbucker equipped fenders are plenty but p90’s, not so much. So im gonna exploit these to my advantage but I want a true P90, not just a hot single coil disguised as a P90 in HB form or a marketing ploy.
     
  2. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Tele-Afflicted

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    The dimensions are part of the defining characteristics of the P90. Extract from Premier Guitar on the subject:

    "P-90 or Not?
    Please note the words “P-90-style.” None of the pickups covered here are true P-90s. As experts like Seymour Duncan, Lindy Fralin, and Jason Lollar hasten to point out, even if you use the same materials and manufacturing methods that Gibson employed in the 1950s, simply changing the format from the original P-90’s wide, low coil to the humbucker’s relatively tall, narrow one inevitably alters the tone. The most common compromise is to use thinner pickup wire (say, 43 gauge instead of 42) to permit the traditional number of winds on a humbucker-sized bobbin. But even then, the result won’t sound exactly like the original—or rather, the originals."

    So a P90 re-sized to fit a humbucker opening, is no longer a P90, its a single coil with bar magnets and steel poles - a single coil non-humbucking humbucker.
     
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  3. wabashslim

    wabashslim Tele-Holic

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    True. I can only add that I've purchased 3 or 4 HB-style P90s...none satisfactory. A then-new Kent Armstrong model was truly terrible, maybe even defective, but I didn't install it for months after buying it, so no returnzies. I bought another set of second-tier (like maybe Toneriders or similar) who made good P90s but their HB-format ones were just dull & lifeless. I've been afraid to risk more money on better brands for fear of the design just being wrong, period. Better to spend that money on a graphic eq.
     
  4. dreamingtele

    dreamingtele Friend of Leo's

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    Hahaha, i love how you put it. Single coil non humbucking humbucker. Lol
     
  5. dreamingtele

    dreamingtele Friend of Leo's

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    The sound samples sounded fine, so i thought maybe they can sound good.

    So you think, if we want a P90, get a P90?
     
  6. gwjensen

    gwjensen Friend of Leo's

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    I have Duncan’s HB sized P90, the Phat Cat, in a PRS Bernie Marsden and am not impressed. It’s an LP style guitar and doesn’t sound nearly as good as my Gibson LP Tribute with real P90s.....
     
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  7. zeedoctour

    zeedoctour Tele-Meister

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    Having dissected and experimented with this idea, in addition to understanding the minutia of magnetic fields and eddy currents in pickup design ... I wholeheartedly support this theory. If you change the physical construction and dimensions of the pickup, it won't (indeed, cannot) replicate the original in all it's sound/tonal attributes. You need the wide, low (and long ... let's not forget that) flat coil and the physical relationship of the bottom mounted magnets (and their dimensions relative to the coil dimensions) to replicate a true P90's tone profile. The "sounds like" P90's out there exist primarily for marketing by virtue that MOST (but not all, I'll mention this in closing) of the alternatives are designed to allow fitment in a humbucker body/pickguard rout without alteration. This cannot replicate a P90 although you can adjust some attributes to get close or RESEMBLE a P90 in tone. There are some that are even designed to fit in the body/pickguard rout made for a single coil strat pickup ... these are even less able to replicate a P90 no matter how they describe/market them.

    The general tone profile of a humbucker sized "p90" ... by far the most common "sounds like a P90" offering you'll find from a number of manufacturers ... is a little like a P90 trying to be a little strat or tele like as well, simply because the narrower and taller (and shorter across the strings) dimensions create a more tightly focused magnetic field and the eddy currents will reflect this by being tighter and more focused as well. They are brighter and a little brasher sounding.The other aspect of this is that those eddy currents cannot present or maintain as long a wavelength as a real P90 either. The frequency wave and response moves quicker and will peak and die a little faster.

    Naturally people hear what they want to hear. I'm much more logical. I try to hear only what the science puts there because that will never change just because I think it did. Some "alternative" P90's are awesome pickups (I have one I really like in fact) but they can never be true P90's unless they seek to replicate, physically ... all that made a P90 ... a P90.
     
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  8. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Friend of Leo's

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    I've got a couple of Guitar Madness P94's in my Ibanez semi-hollow. I had the same pickups in my Epiphone SG Special for a while. I like them but they aren't exactly like a real P90, more warmth and less aggressive sounding to me. Here's a song I did using them.



    I also have a SD QuarterPound that some say is like a P90. It's actually a bit closer to the P90 than the P94's in tone to me although it has more Straty single coil "spank" to it, especially in the bridge position.
     
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  9. wabashslim

    wabashslim Tele-Holic

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    I guess, but if you want to go on a buying spree in the name of science, we'd all be highly appreciative.
    And sound clips can sound good but they very rarely capture the more subtle details....for that you need the guitar in your arms and an amp at your ear. It's not easy to capture snarl & bark on a cellphone mic across the bedroom with a cranked distortion pedal running and a player with no pick technique.
     
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  10. dreamingtele

    dreamingtele Friend of Leo's

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    This is actually what Ive been thinking. I dont truly understand how magnetic fields, the grade of magnets, the alloy composition and The wire, etc etc corresponds to a type of tone these materials bring to the table.

    But I’m a civil engineer and i know and base my calculations from a real, proven mathematical/physical formulas/theories, so i know that theres science behind pickups and replicating pickups, and/or creating pickups. In this case replicating a true p90.
     
  11. wabashslim

    wabashslim Tele-Holic

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    "P90-ish" is often used to describe pickups with more output than trad singles but less than HB's. But that says nothing about the actual tone or dynamics. I bought a pair of tapped QuaterPounders for my Tele based on that description (and an excellent soundclip) but they sounded neither like P90's or that soundclip. I take much of the blame for not being able play anything like the guy in the clip but they still got sent back.
     
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  12. zeedoctour

    zeedoctour Tele-Meister

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    I was an engineer of sorts also. It's the marriage of the creative and logical fighting for your brain but not being unable to usurp the other side .... where most are more one than the other.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2019
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  13. wabashslim

    wabashslim Tele-Holic

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    So many times I've wished I had a 3-way switch in my brain where I could select either, or both hemispheres, depending on the job at hand or the desired delusions I wished to bask in. But, given that capability, I'd probably want to install 4-way switch in there for more options, and off we go...
     
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  14. zeedoctour

    zeedoctour Tele-Meister

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    Run away. Run away from option paralysis ! It's coming for your brain like a zombie and it's not interested in leaving anything for you to work with.
     
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  15. dreamingtele

    dreamingtele Friend of Leo's

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    Maybe an S-1 switch as well?
     
  16. dreamingtele

    dreamingtele Friend of Leo's

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    So true
     
  17. zeedoctour

    zeedoctour Tele-Meister

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    I used a double negative there by sheer typo. I meant to say "not being able to usurp the other side" .... I guess they just won't give up will they ? :mad:
     
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  18. dreamingtele

    dreamingtele Friend of Leo's

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    I didnt get into P90s until recently, so I have never tried "hotter" single coils.. before this, Im all interested in low output pickups, anything that sounds or has a 62-ish tone, I want it.. I love the clarity, the jangliness, the high end of these kinds of pickups.. but it all changed when I heard my P90 partscaster, through a tube amp, and running all my drives, and effects, and it just sounds amazing.. that crunch and power, yet clear and crisp..
     
  19. zeedoctour

    zeedoctour Tele-Meister

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    Yeah. P90 heaven is a place where little else can get to.
     
  20. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    What a lot of players forget is that P90s were the benchmark that humuckers were trying to match. To get noise reduction the humbuckers gave up a lot of awesome tones.

    There were a lot of humbucker shaped P90s installed in 60s-70s+ low end starter MIJ guitars -- because buyers wanted humbuckers but there were still some patent blocks running. Those guitars fixed up (frets leveled, good setup, using ears to set pickup heights) can sound fantastic and get a lot of the P90 magic tones when run through an amp better than the old starter boxes the kids used back then.

    Don't forget a big part of a guitar tone is from the pots and caps, which can have 20% variation and still be 'in spec'. That works in the market because some players want darker guitars and others want brighter guitars.

    This 1970 MIJ Global branded LP I resurrected from a wreck of a neck and body and missing or broken hardware, so all that has been replaced, but it came with humbucker shaped P90 style pickups, though one was dead. The pickups here are some GFS but you can find a lot of similar examples out there. This does the Bar Room Brawl P90 thing quite well.
    [​IMG]

    .
     
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