P90's vs Jazzmaster Pickups: Much Difference?

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by brapscallion, Jul 4, 2016.

  1. brapscallion

    brapscallion TDPRI Member

    Age:
    33
    Posts:
    91
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2016
    Location:
    Preston, UK
    Okay!

    So I bought a HH Modern Player Jazzmaster. It was a fantastic deal, so I pulled the trigger on it.

    And although the pickups sound great, I'm thinking of going with a milder sound rather than the beefy Humbuckers on it currently. I'm fully aware of the 'you should have just bought a proper jazzmaster' argument, but I wanted a maple neck and no rhythm circuit, so this suited my needs perfectly. Plus, any mods I make will mean it'll still come in cheaper than a standard Jazzy.

    So I have a dilemma. Do I re-route the body to accommodate traditional Jazzmaster pickups, OR could I get away with a humbucker-sized P90? I've seen a few great deals on them, so I'm thinking that this could be a less drastic solution, and would mean I could always switch back if I needed to.

    So, is the humbucker-sized P90 route a worthwhile change? Or is it neither here nor there? I'd be interested to hear what you guys think, and to see if anyone has experience with the P90's in disguise!
     
  2. fakeocaster

    fakeocaster Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    1,696
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    Enniscorthy, Ireland
    Jazzmaster pickups are jangly and P90s are much fatter sounding.The Byrds vs Mountain. Both great but different
     
  3. beyer160

    beyer160 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,947
    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2010
    Location:
    On Location
  4. Tony Done

    Tony Done Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    74
    Posts:
    4,970
    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2014
    Location:
    Toowoomba, Australia
    I don't much like humbuckers, Jazzmasters could be too jangly, P90s are good. It comes down to personal taste, and I would be trying hum-sized P90s, something like GFS Dream P90s. Not a huge investment, and no major mods needed.

    FWIW, the 2*P90 MP Fenders are some of my favourite electrics.
     
  5. Derek Kiernan

    Derek Kiernan Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,317
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
    Location:
    Princeton, NJ
    Wilde had two designs, both noisefree, one being Alnico-poled and the other using steel, that were essentially Bill Lawrences' versions jazzmaster and P90-style pickups in a humbucker format with exceptional clarity and sweet highs to the extent allowed by the inductance chosen. They used a unique magnetic structure rather than wide coils to get the right "feel" to the pickup without compromising the clarity. I would ask Wilde if you could still put an order in even if it might currently be an "off the menu" request.
     
  6. FrontPU

    FrontPU Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    698
    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2008
    Location:
    nyc
    Harmonic Design's Z90 would be a good option.
     
  7. amplifiedhermit

    amplifiedhermit Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    488
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2015
    Location:
    Western US
    P-90s and Jazzmaster pickups are quite different. A P-90 is a big fat single coil with a relatively high output. Its closer to a humbucker in design, though it doesn't have the hum-canceling or the compressed sound of a humbucker. Traditional Jazzmaster pickups are lower output and look more like Strat pickups, except they're wide and thin instead of tall and skinny.
     
  8. brapscallion

    brapscallion TDPRI Member

    Age:
    33
    Posts:
    91
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2016
    Location:
    Preston, UK
    Thanks for all this great advice chaps! I'd heard somehwhere that the P90 and the Jazzy were similar-ish.

    I want something a bit brighter than the humbuckers, so hopefully the P90 will be a good start! I've found a great deal on a pair of Warman Pickups that I'm gonna go for I think.
     
  9. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    8,600
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2014
    Location:
    UK
    A low output p90 in humbucker form could be wound. Sounds like a plan.
     
  10. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,907
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2014
    Location:
    Lions & Tigers oh Mi !
    Traditional Jazzmaster pickups also ship with 1Meg volume pot and maybe a 0.023uF tone cap (not sure on the tone cap) which brightens their pickups a lot.
    You might try swapping the electronics bits before going to the pickup swap to see if that gets you close to the tone you want; you'll need it for the pickup swap anyway.

    Did you look under the pickguard to see if the body is routed for traditional jazzmaster pickups already? Seems like that would have made a lot of sense for the factory to make one body that fits both and only have unique pickguards.
     
    brapscallion likes this.
  11. brapscallion

    brapscallion TDPRI Member

    Age:
    33
    Posts:
    91
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2016
    Location:
    Preston, UK
    Yeah electronics are something I never really considered TBH. I'm used to my really bright Strat and Tele, so Although I don't quite want it that bright, just a little bit more to go better with my pedals I think would really work.

    I read that the P90 is in between. And that Jazzmaster Pickups are mellow, but have that similar inbetween humbucker and single coil vibe.

    Sadly, it's purely routed for humbuckers. Doesn't have a rhythm circuit hole either. Probably to stop people buying them and converting them to normal Jazzmasters on the cheap cheap.
     
  12. tecelaster

    tecelaster Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    499
    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2015
    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland
    I think P90's are the sound you're looking for, although make sure you accurately measure everything before buying, particularly the depths. I have a Squier JMascis JM that actually has P90's as stock (so I'm led to believe) rather than JM single coils and the guitar definitely has a JM sound but with more low end -particularly on the neck. I know the traditional sound of a JM is very jangly and low output, but I wasn't impressed with the weedy output from the Fender JM's I played in stores. I think they'd be very prone to hum through a pokey valve amp at stage volumes. YMMV.
     
    brapscallion likes this.
  13. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    22,043
    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2009
    Location:
    Coolum Beach,Australia
    You'll be happy with the Warmans, I've been using them for most of my builds over the last few years,,....

    rw/rp.. nice and quiet, too....

    a rough idea of some sounds.... I handed a fresh 2xp90 tele build to a local teen and told him to run up and down the neck and try the switching while I had a listen for any bum notes/frets.... make some stuff up....it's random shredding .. it might give you an idea of the sound....

     
    brapscallion likes this.
  14. brapscallion

    brapscallion TDPRI Member

    Age:
    33
    Posts:
    91
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2016
    Location:
    Preston, UK
    This is great, I'll listen when I get home! Thanks so much!

    I've used Warman twice before, for my home-built Strat and Humbuckers for my Les Paul, and I've been impressed on both occasions. Super cheap, but really good quality for the money. And when I saw the humbucker-sized P90's, I started to think swapping them in might be a great alternative to a lot of routing and stress!
     
  15. songtalk

    songtalk Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,715
    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2014
    Location:
    Greensboro, North Carolin
    I'd get the humbucker sized jazz master pickups from rose.

    P-90s are wrong. They sound completely unlike a Jazzmaster pickup.

    It's akin to saying a strat pickup and tele pickup sound the same.

    Only if your ears are totally shot.

    A p-90 is gonna be muffled through a rig EQ'd for bright tele/strat but tradiational jazzmaster pickups have enough sparkle to keep up.

    Watch some youtube videos comparing the 2.
     
  16. Miff

    Miff Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    212
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2009
    Location:
    London
    An alternative approach is to use strat pickups but positioned with the pole pieces at the same locations the JM pickups would be, rather than in the normal strat positions. This article explains how it works and says it is pretty close to the JM sound:
    http://www.award-session.com/pdfs/JM-Conversion.pdf

    I haven't tried it myself but I have a set of strat pickups in search of a suitable project guitar so I'm tempted.
     
  17. sothoth

    sothoth Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    738
    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2010
    Location:
    Kepler-186f
    Based on what you say, I'd go for the P90s. They're nice fat sounding pickups. But it depends on what you're playing, too. Maybe if you gave an overview of the styles you choose it could effect the input people are giving you.

    I'm a Bareknuckle pickup slut, I'd recommend the Nantucket P90. Lollar also makes a damn fine P90, I am getting a Collings 290dc and it'll be stocked with those, I played that guitar on a Carr amp at my local music store and I nearly cried it sounded so nice.
     
  18. kiwi blue

    kiwi blue Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,634
    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2005
    Location:
    Wellington, New Zealand
    JMs are fat sounding pickups. The jangle that people describe is party due to 1 meg pots typically used in Jazzmaster guitars.

    JM and P90s pickups both have a wide coil which senses a greater length of the string (as do HBs). This gives you a fuller bass and midrange compared with a Strat or Tele pickup. One significant difference is that the JM uses rod magnets vs bar magnets in the P90. The rod magnets give more chime, whereas the bar magnet design gives a thicker midrangy sound. There are some (eg Fralin) who make rod and bar magnet versions of the same pickup and they sound very different. Here's how Jason Lollar describes the JM pickup (and he should know):

    ***************************
    The Lollar Jazzmaster pickups have a tone that falls somewhere between a Strat (sparkle and chime) and a Les Paul (midrange and bass). The fat tone is accomplished by the large surface area—approximately 1.5" X 3.5" inches. In comparison, a Strat pickup has a surface area of approximately 9/16" X 2-9/16" inches. The detailed treble of the Jazzmaster is partly due to its single coil design and its rod magnets used as individual pole pieces. The fuller bass and midrange is due partly to its large surface area that senses a longer portion of the string. In comparison, the much narrower Strat design senses a shorter length of string, resulting in a more focused, bell-like tone.
    ***************************

    Personally I love P90s in the neck but not in the bridge. In the bridge they do that raw "rawk" sound that many people love but I don't. I would go for a rod magnet design there. In fact I'm, looking at doing just that in an SG copy. I'm considering the Rose Pickups Mozart, and also the GFS Surf 90. Manlius also does an interesting rod magnet HB-size single coil along the lines of the Rose Mozart. You could also consider Harmonic Design Z-90s.
     
  19. sothoth

    sothoth Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    738
    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2010
    Location:
    Kepler-186f
    I think it's fair to say the P90s have more midrange and distort much easier than JMs. Kiwi, is that your experience as well?
     
  20. hwestman

    hwestman Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    732
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2003
    Location:
    Stockholm, Sweden
    One option is to get a P90 with alnico polepieces - this will probably put you somewhere in the middle...

    Or talk to someone like Jaimie at Creamery - they can most likely make a JM pickup in the P90 format.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.