Any P90 Converts Here?

HEMI Cooper

Active member
As much as I love humbuckers, P90's capture the note separation that I has always evaded me. The more I dig into recording history, the more I find that players used P90 loaded guitars in the studio. One of my all-time favorite lead tone is Steve Hunter's lead work on Aerosmith's version of Train Kept A' Rollin. He used an old SG with a single P90 for those tracks. That fat midrange tone just can't be had by anything else. Not that I've found anyway... I've been able to get-by using clever equalization, but the P90 gets it with no nanny devices. I'm using them in a LP Deluxe now. I'd love to find an old SG with P90's at a good price.
 

braintheory

Well-known member
I’m a huge p90 fan. They have a snarl that no other pickups have and maybe the most organic sounding variety of pickups. Much more raw, open and wild sounding than humbuckers, but noisy and less tight. My favorite guitar I’ve owned or tried yet has been hands down this ‘57 Les Paul Jr I have that was fitted with a neck pickup from the same period. My ‘64 SG jr is also in my top 3. Those old JR’s are amazing guitars. Unfortunately I’ve not yet heard a non-vintage p90 yet that holds a candle to the vintage ones and I’ve tried MANY including some of the very best winders today. Lots of guys today make great sounding humbuckers and Strat pickups, but getting the p90 or tele right seems to be much harder for whatever reason
 

Findthetone1

Well-known member
I've only had one P90 guitar and should've never sold it. There's an attitude from those pickups you just can't find anywhere else.
 

HEMI Cooper

Active member
I’m a huge p90 fan. They have a snarl that no other pickups have and maybe the most organic sounding variety of pickups. Much more raw, open and wild sounding than humbuckers, but noisy and less tight. My favorite guitar I’ve owned or tried yet has been hands down this ‘57 Les Paul Jr I have that was fitted with a neck pickup from the same period. My ‘64 SG jr is also in my top 3. Those old JR’s are amazing guitars. Unfortunately I’ve not yet heard a non-vintage p90 yet that holds a candle to the vintage ones and I’ve tried MANY including some of the very best winders today. Lots of guys today make great sounding humbuckers and Strat pickups, but getting the p90 or tele right seems to be much harder for whatever reason
Try Tyson Tone 57 Wind. I can't compare them to vintage; due to lack of experience, but others say they match the old ones. They have a hotter 60's version as well. Charlie Starr use the 57's in his Gibson.
 

braintheory

Well-known member
Try Tyson Tone 57 Wind. I can't compare them to vintage; due to lack of experience, but others say they match the old ones. They have a hotter 60's version as well. Charlie Starr use the 57's in his Gibson.
I’ll have to look them up. Haven’t heard of that brand. Doesn’t matter to me though who uses them or what others say, just matters what my ears think if I try them. I’ve played some newer p90’s that still sounded great on their own and have the p90 flavor, but the vintage ones made them sound pathetic in comparison. They’ve spoiled me, but the same can be said about a lot of vintage gear, but p90’s especially and speakers
 

HEMI Cooper

Active member
I believe the vintage Gibson 2 x P90's came non-RWRP. Makes no difference with a single P90, of course... but, it sure seems to affect the tone in a 2 x P90 guitar. At least to my ears it does.
 

braintheory

Well-known member
I believe the vintage Gibson 2 x P90's came non-RWRP. Makes no difference with a single P90, of course... but, it sure seems to affect the tone in a 2 x P90 guitar. At least to my ears it does.
Could be. I’ve always much preferred the sound of the single pickup JR’s to the 2 pickup specials, but my 2 pickup ‘57 LP Jr has been the one exception so far. I’ve compared it to several other ‘50’s Jr’s and while they all sounded great, mine was consistently the clear winner. It’s wired out of phase intentionally with its neck pickup for sort of a Peter Green-ish vibe and was originally a one pickup guitar. My ‘64 SG Jr though is a regular one pickup
 
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Ventura

Well-known member
UGLIEST PICKUP 🤣
MOST AMAZING SOUND 😆🤩

Love me some P90s - they're fucking amazing through pretty much any amp, and all styles of music except clickety-clickety-math-metal, YMMV, IMHO.
 

braintheory

Well-known member
UGLIEST PICKUP 🤣
MOST AMAZING SOUND 😆🤩

Love me some P90s - they're fucking amazing through pretty much any amp, and all styles of music except clickety-clickety-math-metal, YMMV, IMHO.
Defintiely the ugliest pickups! I never even have them a chance for many years because of how cheap and bad they look

I actually think with the right setup I can even make them work for clickety math metal (the Tele can actually be great there too), but certainly wouldn’t be my first choice lol
 

Meanjoegreene

New member
I love p90s for rock and hard rock tones especially rhythm.

What value and brand cap would y’all use for a p90 bridge with 500k pot? I’ve modded a guitar and wanna see if replacing the cap will help get a little extra.
 

Donnie B.

Well-known member
Steve Hunter's lead work on Aerosmith's version of Train Kept A' Rollin.

Do you know if his was a single pickup guitar?
You a fan of Leslie West when he was with Mountain.
He was a big fan of the single P90 at the bridge.
His best tone imo.

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HEMI Cooper

Active member
Do you know if his was a single pickup guitar?
You a fan of Leslie West when he was with Mountain.
He was a big fan of the single P90 at the bridge.
His best tone imo.

View attachment 77559
That's what Steve Hunter said... SG with a single P90. He was hanging-out in the studio lounge, when Bob Ezrin came in and asked Steve and David (Lindley) if they could help him with a couple of tracks, to which they agreed. Yes, I'm a huge Leslie West fan.
 
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HEMI Cooper

Active member
I love p90s for rock and hard rock tones especially rhythm.

What value and brand cap would y’all use for a p90 bridge with 500k pot? I’ve modded a guitar and wanna see if replacing the cap will help get a little extra.
I use the stock caps that Gibson installed with the mini-humbuckers. Sounds fabulous! My other guitar is a 2018 R7 with Custombucker pickups. Best sounding humbucker loaded LP I've ever owned. Has the rolled edge neck binding, same as the original 1950's era Gibson.
 

Donnie B.

Well-known member
That's what Steve Hunter said... SG with a single P90.

The idea goes (and it makes total sense) that because P90s have such strong magnets,
using two can actually kill some note sustain. Seems a number of guys around the same time
came to the same conclusion and I think it's why there were so many late 60s/early70s
single P90 rockers.

You got Cooper's Welcome to my Nightmare? That's all Hunter and Wagner.
 

IndyWS6

Active member
I have an SG Jr with a single P90 and a Les Paul Special with dual P90's. They both sound great. I just hate trying to managing the hum. I generally play in Madison Spare Bedroom by myself or in a garage with some friends, so it's hard to get any distance from the amp...
 

Donnie B.

Well-known member
I just hate trying to managing the hum. I generally play in Madison Spare Bedroom by myself or in a garage with some friends, so it's hard to get any distance from the amp...

Not sure you've tried this or not, but here in Madison DB's Bedroom I've found that adjusting the angles rather than
distance can help. Angle the amp 30 degrees left and then I turn 30 degrees right.
Never eliminates it but can bring it down quite a bit.
 

IndyWS6

Active member
Not sure you've tried this or not, but here in Madison DB's Bedroom I've found that adjusting the angles rather than
distance can help. Angle the amp 30 degrees left and then I turn 30 degrees right.
Never eliminates it but can bring it down quite a bit.
Yup... Generally spend the first few minutes trying to figure out where the sweet spot is.
 

HEMI Cooper

Active member
The idea goes (and it makes total sense) that because P90s have such strong magnets,
using two can actually kill some note sustain. Seems a number of guys around the same time
came to the same conclusion and I think it's why there were so many late 60s/early70s
single P90 rockers.

You got Cooper's Welcome to my Nightmare? That's all Hunter and Wagner.
I suppose if the neck pickup were too close to the strings, it could stifle string vibration. The additional routing in the body would be a more likely candidate, maybe a combination of both? Same goes for the Firebird.

On Alice Cooper... Great stuff, though I prefer the original lineup.
 

HEMI Cooper

Active member
I have an SG Jr with a single P90 and a Les Paul Special with dual P90's. They both sound great. I just hate trying to managing the hum. I generally play in Madison Spare Bedroom by myself or in a garage with some friends, so it's hard to get any distance from the amp...
I use the original black box MXR (Rockman) Smart Gate to dial-back the noise. Not all the way, as that's part of the P90 vibe. If I'm using a high-gain rig, I generally stick with humbucker pickups.
 
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