What makes a P90 a P90?

Mike_LA

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Greetings,
Well, I want to replace the pups in my Parker Fly.
Have to use DiMarzios cuz they make the proper baseplate and mounting hardware.
I want the P90 sound of my Seymore Duncan Phat Cats.
After searching the DiMarzio site it seems most of the P90s there are mid heavy with the treble and bass falling off a little. Though that does not hold true for all of the P90's that they offer.
So my main question is, "are most P90's mid heavy?"

The Mo Joe, Norton and Liquifire fit that eq profile.

Can anyone shed some light on which would be a good choice?

From DiMarzio


What pickups do you make for Parker Fly?

In addition to the Parker Fly Custom Neck model PHWP1 and Parker Fly Custom Bridge model PWHP2, which are currently standard on most recent Flys, we also offer Fly versions of the Humbucker From Hell®, PAF®, PAF® bridge, PAF Pro®, PAF Joe™, FRED®, Mo' Joe™, Norton®, Air Norton™, Air Zone™, Tone Zone®, Breed™ neck and bridge models, Air Classic™ neck and bridge, Bluesbucker™, AT-1™, EJ Custom™ neck and bridge models and LiquiFire™.
 

schmee

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I would say yes, most true P90's like Gibson are somewhat mid enhanced. Not as much as a minibucker but quite a bit.

I was looking at some DiMarzio noiseless 'P90' types this am (Actual P90 shapes) and wondering if any really sound like a P90. They seem to have 3 versions?
Tone Zone, DP209Cr and etc...

I'm confused, are you looking for P90 or HB?
 

feldkeen

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To be a true P90 it has to come from a smashed Pete Townsend SG special. Or from a guitar that Lesly West owned. All others are fake and pretty sounding. Nobody wants a pretty sounding P90.
Edit: a Woodstock era Santana P90 will do in a pinch.
 

ahiddentableau

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Most P90s are fairly mid-heavy (compared to, say, a tele pickup) but they get brighter as the wind count goes down.

So there something unique about the fly's mounting system that makes it so you can't use regular humbucker sized pickups? I know they are mounted into the body/without a pickguard or collar so I guess it doesn't surprise me. But that list of DiMarzio models doesn't seem to have much of anything like what you say you want. It's all humbuckers all the way down. Kind of looks like a brighter humbucker is as close as you can get.
 

Wyatt

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You won't get it from the DiMario humbuckers. Just having the midrange isn't going be to P90-esque, The P90 falls somewhere between PAF and Fender Strat, with the midrange of the former and the clarity and definition of the latter. It is, after all, a single coil.

Since both coils are needed for mounting, this may be a case to where the only option, if even viable, would be to have a custom PU winder make a 3x3 split single coi from an existing PU.

But, I think the answer may be, "you can't get there from here" and go for something close to vintage PAF.

So there something unique about the fly's mounting system that makes it so you can't use regular humbucker sized pickups?

The DiMarzios made for the fly mount with two extra long pole piece, the A pole oon one coil and the B on the other, they go all the way through the bobbin and into the mount on the guitar. It's a very proprietary system that requires two coils

SD made the PUs for the Mojo series, but they mount differently. On a side note, SD P90's, including the Phat Cat, always had their own thing going on anyway, a little different from Gibson in tone.

Dimarzio mount...
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Last edited:

11 Gauge

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Most P90s are fairly mid-heavy (compared to, say, a tele pickup) but they get brighter as the wind count goes down.
It seems to me that many (or maybe even most) P90s tend to have very high inductances, even if compared to many PAF-type humbuckers.

The high inductance must be responsible for a lower resonant peak than what you'll find with many other types of pickups.

Anyway, with specific regard to what's being discussed here, it seems to me that at least the most common/popular pickups that attempt to mimic a P90 with PAF dimensions all tend to result in something with an inductance that's significantly lower. I don't recall seeing published inductances for SD Phat Cats, but I wouldn't be surprised if they spec'ed out at something in the ballpark of what the Tonerider Rebel 90s have. Tonerider only seems to have published the specs for the R90 neck, and it's 3.4H, so the R90 bridge will be a bit higher than that...

...So, if there's any way to potentially find out which drop-in DiMarzios for the Fly might have inductances of at least 3.4H or so (which could potentially be a problem, because DiMarzio doesn't publish those particular specs, either), I'd actually give those a shot. I know that the Humbucker From Hell and EJ Custom models can be ruled out, as they have unusually low inductances for PAF-type humbuckers.
 

rand z

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Most traditionally designed, aftermarket P90's, sound pretty much like the Gibson P90"s that they're modeled after.

Though there are, generally, minor differences in their frequency spectrum(s).

Maybe your after something different?

There's lots out there to choose from.

The Parker thingy does make it more challenging.

Good luck!

imo
 

Swirling Snow

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When Seth Lover designed the first PAF, he was trying to make it sound like a P-90 to maintain the "Gibson sound" the big band guys wanted. He failed. As much as Gibson wanted them to go away, P-90s survived on their own merits. The big thing, of course, is they are single coils without the cancelations inherent in double coils. More bass and clear treble.

So.... if it must be off the shelf, try a DiMarzio that's known for working well when split. If needed, you can make a capacitor network to boost the mids. I think that will get you about as close as you can get without changing the two bobbins for one big bobbin.
 

11 Gauge

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I still feel like it needs to be reiterated that the OP isn't really looking for a true P90 sound - he actually wants the Phat Cats sound, or as similar as possible.

Most folks who've used both Phat Cats and P90s have concluded that as cool as the Phat Cats sound, they don't sound like P90s.

Because of that, I think we can safely disentangle ourselves from any more discussion about 'true P90 sonics'.

I've also already tried to highlight that it looks like most or all of the PAF-dimension P90-alikes seem like they are incapable of having the same inductance as a P90. My best guess is that most of them will probably have only roughly half the inductance of an actual P90. Tonerider's P90s have inductances of 6.6H or 6.9H, while their Rebel 90 only has an inductance of 3.4H.

...So, based on that, I'm kind of guesstimating that there's potentially some DiMarzio humbuckers, probably those that are wound for the neck position, that probably have inductances right around or slightly above 4H - that's probably as close as the OP is going to get, to matching the actual Phat Cats. I'm also guessing that the bridge position ones are probably all going to be around 5H or higher.

My guess is that pretty much limits the DiMarzio offerings to probably the PAF 36th Anniv. (particularly for the neck), and maybe the Air Classic for the neck. I'm guesstimating that the inductance of models like the PAF Joe and PAF Pro are going to be too high.
 

feldkeen

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For the price it might be worth a shot at guitar fetish for humbucker size P90s. I have no experience with them however I just know they are cheap.
 

11 Gauge

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For the price it might be worth a shot at guitar fetish for humbucker size P90s. I have no experience with them however I just know they are cheap.
See post #6 above - it contains an explanation of why only select DiMarzio pickups can be used in the Parker Fly.

It also makes clear why no PAF-dimension P90'ish thing will work, because a pole screw in each humbucker bobbin also secures the pickup directly to the guitar body.
 

kiwi blue

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I know very little about the Fly design. Going only by what's in this thread about the pickup mounting system it looks like you are confined to an HB footprint and also confined to dual coils. A normal HB size P90 won't work.

So from the list that DM supplied, I would be looking at the Bluesbuckers. They are designed to sound P90ish (I say "ish" because it isn't exact and can't ever be, but the Phat Cats don't exactly nail the P90 sound either). It's done by putting most of the windings on one coil. The secondary coil is much smaller and is mostly there for noise cancelling. The idea is it gives you single coil dynamics even if not the exact tone.

I don't have any Bluesbuckers, but I do have a pair of Roswell's clones of the Bluesbucker. My experience of them mirrors everything I've read about the DM Bluesbuckers. I really don't get on with normal humbuckers. I much prefer the dynamics and tone of single coils, eg, Tele bridge pickups, P90s, Charlie Christians, and the like. But I'm happy with these Bluesbucker type pickups. They feel like playing single coils and sound fine.

If you do go down that track, bear in mind these Roswells are extremely sensitive to height adjustments (and from what I've read the same is true of the DMs). Much more so than any other pickup I've had. Once they are in the ballpark, you need to spend some time making very fine adjustments. They can easily sound too aggressive if they're only little higher than the sweet spot.
 

fender4life

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To me with distortion they sound a lot more like a humbucker than a single coil but with a slightly extended top end bite and the ability to get downright chimey and much more single coil like with the volume rolled back and a treble bleed. But the more driven the more HB like they sound to me. At least thats how they sound in a special to me and i have only had P90's in LP specials. Curious how they sound in a tele, and always wondered if they might be the ultimate strat bridge pickup to cure the thin sound issue a lot of people have with the start bridge tone. (tho i personally don't have that issue)
 




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