P90 mods

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Dallas Willy, Sep 2, 2019.

  1. Dallas Willy

    Dallas Willy TDPRI Member

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    I have an epiphone casino coupe (along with my teles), it is a MIC one, and the stock neck P90 is way muddy and boomy. So I have been looking on replacing them and I wanted to put a Gibson one in there but the proble. Is the pole spacing of the neck is 48mm instead of 50mm and there is nobody making a short angled dog ear cover in chrome so it was kind looking like either some custom rewinds or by some frailins and replace both because frailin covers are black, but those options cost me some coin, over half of what the guitar cost new. Plus I already am putting some coin in upgrading all the electronics to switchcraft and CTS vintage taper pots with orange drop capacitors and treble bleed (500k pots and .022 for the caps)

    So I decided to check the DCR of the stock epiphone pups and lo and behold the DCR for both is 12.5k so that explains the boomy dark muddy neck pup and why it overpowers the bridge. So I decided to see if I could peel some windings off it and get to a more Gibson like value and get rid of the mud that way. So I pulled 1500 windings off the neck and dropped the DCR to 9.6k a little hotter than a stock Gibson, and I thought about changing magnets but I decided that the original A5 would be the best choice for getting the most hi's out of the neck. Now I though I better do a little something to the bridge so it would work with the neck pup as far as output goes and I pulled 500 winds off and ended around 11.5k and I think that will work well. But the big question now is I am thinking about swapping one of the A5 mags in the bridge with a ceramic to give it a little more punch and snap to go with the added top end that pulling the windings will give me, and I was wondering if anyone has messed around with mag swaps on a P90, or if anyone has some experience with peeling windings and what results they had.
     
  2. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Kudos... my question would be what do the pickups sound like now?
     
  3. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    It's not a problem, they work fine with any pole spacing. I've even used Gibson on Fender guitars. P90's sound best a ways away from the strings anyway. Gibson are the best! But yeah that was a hot pickup.

    I have a bad Gibson that I broke the wire on, but wow, that wire is too fine for me to work with, how the heck did you do it? Or maybe those pickups you have use larger wire than real Gibsons...?
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2019
  4. PARCO

    PARCO Tele-Meister

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    In any experiment it's best to change only one thing at a time and check your results. Otherwise you don't know the true effect of the change.
     
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  5. MadJack

    MadJack Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I've done both, but not on my Casino pups. I had my Casino pup rewound by Buddha Handwound Custom Pickups. They are great. I love what he did with them.

    I did later swap magnets in my Agile AD-201 from the stock ceramic to A2 magnets. The only oyhther thing I changed was to go from modern wiring to '50's wiring, otherwise it is stock. The stock ceramics were a touch too hot and was bright. The lows were strong and tight. The swap made them a bit more mellow and warmer. The lows got a little looser, but not muddy.

    I did unwind 500 wraps from a neck P90 from 8KΩ down to 7.6KΩ. The pup got noticeably brighter and lost a little of the gain. The biggest change was to the inductance, making it brighter sounding. That was a good thing on what I was using it for, A Tele Thinline copy with a 9.1KΩ Buddha Tele bridge. The neck is still a just a bit hot compared to the bridge, but it sounds great. I'm looking at going in and taking about 400 more wraps off, to bring it down to a more balanced output.
     
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  6. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    The chrome cover should be a separate part from the pickup itself.
    Agree that the pole spacing is not so critical compared to a pickup you actually like the sound of.

    While the chrome cover itself might be part of the source of the mud, being presumably brass which dulls tone, you might also get improvements by height adjustment.
    I've never worked on a Casino and it may not be possible to change the neck pup height much due to close clearance between body and strings. Takes shimming under the dogear cover to tweak pole to string distance so that the bass is less powerful and muddy.
    If the chrome cover is brass, any other pickup might still sound muddy to your ear, where some players hear that mud as warm or big or fat or whatever they call it.

    I can't stand bass mud and set pickups much closer to the plain strings and further from the wound strings.
    Archtop P-90 adjustment often takes a skilled tech fabbing or sanding down spacers to get the pickup heights and angle to produce optimal tone for the players individual needs.

    You may find improvement using an amp that lacks bass, or cutting the bass drastically at the amp.
    Might need to keep the bridge tone rolled back in that case.

    I have no use for chrome brass pickup covers.
    Got a few on my workbench holding small parts though!
     
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  7. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Unwinding can be a good alternative to paying for a rewind.
    I've unwound lots of vintage "dead" pickups, many from before anyone rewound old pups and shops gave them away fro free.
    That to get to a break for repair, but the act is the same, just takes longer to remove 500 or 1000 turns of hair thin wire.

    I have some NOS Tex Mex Strat pickups I might unwind one of to try to get a better balance where the 7k is a little too dark, and options for flat strat or movable magnet strat pups are limited.
    Fralin will partially unwind a new pickup you buy from him for free if you want it a little brighter. Used to anyhow.
     
  8. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    Rummage around in your capacitor bin and find a 0.047uF cap like is used on the tone circuits of most HH guitars. Solder one leg of the cap to the switch and the other leg to the pickup hot lead where it previously attached to the switch. Test. What this does is cut down the internal capacitance of a pickup bobbin (due to the mile of conductor separated by dielectric coatings). You can try other caps but I usually start with the 047s and that's enough to fix it.

    .
     
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  9. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    Confused....For what purpose...?
     
  10. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Caps in the range of values common to guitar tone circuits only pass frequencies above the cutoff point of the caps value.
    So no bass will get through the cap, and only highs and mids will make it to the output jack.
    Not sure what frequency a .047 cap cuts off at, but the bottom strings are certainly lower frequency than the caps cutoff, so you'll only hear some harmonic content form the bass notes, and barely any fundamental, though theory doesn't always sound like we expect.

    I'm not a fan of that method but @jvin248 seems to like it and suggests it often enough.
     
  11. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yeah , I was trying to figure out how offering this was related to the thread! Possibly by removing lows it removes the mud also? I have considered trying this related to a thread I started lately. But I don't want the frequencies gone, just the "warm round mud" !:>) "Just don't play the low E string and you want have the related mud!"
     
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  12. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

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    A no-load tone pot for the neck pickup may work wonders for you. Regular plastic dog ear covers might help too. I realize the the neck pickup is at a tilt because of the arch top body, so a cover for a Riviera might work out. I know your neck pickup is 48mm pole spacing, but not much difference from the standard 50mm. A small rat tail file should handle the problem.
     
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  13. Dallas Willy

    Dallas Willy TDPRI Member

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    It was tough, but I had a headlamp on and a black background, and as long as I could see the wire I didnt have any problem working on it, and it is actually 1 size smaller than Gibson wire.
     
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  14. Dallas Willy

    Dallas Willy TDPRI Member

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    I scratched some chrome off the underside, I think they are nickle silver
     
  15. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    I would try them as is first. You want to be able to hear what each single change does, not do several changes at once, and then wonder what changes had what effects.

    P90s are even better for mag swaps than humbuckers are, because the swaps are faster, and even more importantly, you can mix-n-match to arrive at "in between" magnet strengths. Just remember that the two bar mags should be repelling each other from across the keeper bar, not attracting each other (no, they don't demagnetize each other).

    If you are trying to tame a pickup, you don't want A5 (unless you are trying to tame it from A8 or ceramic). Sure, A5s are a bit brighter than the lower numbered alnicos, but adding treble isn't often the answer to increasing clarity – reducing low end is much more effective. A5s are also a bit more EVERYTHING along with the added treble, and this can overdrive your amp more, leading to a muddier tone. Go for something with less strength than an A5. If you want roughly the same tonal character as A5, but less over-all output, use a pair of A4s. They are a bit less strong than A5, but still closer to A5 than A2 or A3 are.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2019
  16. Dallas Willy

    Dallas Willy TDPRI Member

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    I have a Gibson p90 and I stuck it in to see how much I would have to file, and 2mm is a lot more than it seems, I could pull out the pole screws and put them in and have them sit above the pickup, that might work.
     
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  17. Dallas Willy

    Dallas Willy TDPRI Member

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    The neck is the only one that I had a horrible mud problem and it has A5/a5 in it now and I pulled 1500 turns of wire off it, hope that takes care of it.

    the bridge was ok, I just pulled a bit of wire off to get some extra highs out of it, and was hoping that 1 ceramic and 1 A5 will replace the oomph that pulling 500 turns off lost, but put that oomph out there with tighter lows and sparkling higs
     
  18. Dallas Willy

    Dallas Willy TDPRI Member

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    Also, it is a hollow body so I have to feed the harness in through the pickup route and so I want to do it as few of times as possible because any changes that take place I will have to disassemble the guitar and pull the pots/jack/and switch out the pickup route to solder or unsolder, no easy access without a cover, so I am hoping to nail it in 1 shot
     
  19. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    ^ What type are/were the stock magnets?
     
  20. Dallas Willy

    Dallas Willy TDPRI Member

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    A5 all the way around
     
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