Talk to me about P90s?

Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by volktar, Sep 2, 2019.

  1. volktar

    volktar Member

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    I've been thinking for a long time I needed P90s in my life. Always loved em, never had em. I'm digging this SG Special, but I think it might need to become that P90 guitar.

    What would be a good set to drop in? I'm assuming it would need to be soap bar vice dog ear to drop right in. I love Fralin Pickups, but not sure I want to drop the dough on them not knowing if I'll really fall in love with them or end up swapping back to minis.

    Any thoughts? Who out there has swapped in P90s on their special?
     
  2. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    Soapbars should drop right in. Good move ! You don't need to go full boutique to get a good set. I never heard a P90 that sounded bad.
     
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  3. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    I have a Fralin hum-cancelling P-90 in my LP Junior DC.

    In my SG Classics I have the stock P-90 in the neck position for cleans and Kinman zero-hum P-90 in the bridge position for hi gain use.

    I could not be any happier with both pickup configurations. Traditional Humbuckers and Mini Humbuckers are now obsolete to me after discovering the Fralin and Kinman P-90’s.

    IMO, having P-90 equipped guitars free of hum is priceless.
     
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  4. plankton

    plankton Well-Known Member

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    Do it, P90s are awesome!

    That being said, if you can afford a nice set of hum cancelling ones then definitely go for those. I really need to upgrade the P90s in my Tokai LP Special to Kinmans.
     
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  5. Dave Johnson

    Dave Johnson Well-Known Member

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    I took this Special that had mini hums.
    [​IMG]
    Did a little routing
    [​IMG]
    And gave it a trio of P90's, a nice gloss lacquer finish and a Bigsby B7 as well.
    [​IMG]
    To say it's an improvement is an understatement.
    Many good sounding P90's available that won't break the bank.
     
  6. SG John

    SG John Well-Known Member

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    I love the P-90s in my '62 Special and '68 Junior. SG and P-90 = Awesome!!!
     
  7. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    Oooo laaa friggin laaa ! ! ! That is like Olympic level improvement ! ! !
     
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  8. Dave Johnson

    Dave Johnson Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, It was time well spent for sure.
     
  9. volktar

    volktar Member

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    Beautiful job on that special!

    I have been thinking about Lindys hum canceling 90 for a while... how much does the hum cancel aspect affect their tone?

    I'd have to get a matching pair... I tend to use the neck pickup for 80% of my jams
     
  10. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    A hum-cancelling P-90 sounds thicker and darker, which I actually prefer compared to a traditional single coil P-90. With a hum-cancelling P-90 you are getting a pickup that sounds different from a traditional single coil P-90.

    The tone controls on the guitar, type of amp, amp settings, mic, mic placement, speaker, speaker cabinet, EQ settings in the mix are going to have a much greater impact on the overall sound than swapping pickups of the same type.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2019
  11. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    So more like a humbucker ... ?

    You got a comparing clip ?
     
  12. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    Yes, like a stacked humbucker in a P-90 package. There also exists a version where the coils are side by side instead of stacked. Not sure if that makes a sonic difference or not.

    After doing A/B test with one SG with 490's and the other SG with P-90's, the P-90's (single coil and hum-cancelling) sounded thicker and darker to my ears compared to the 490's. I will record a comparison of both and post soon.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2019
  13. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    I suggest a couple of possibilities:

    1. Keep your Gibson with the mini hums, and buy another guitar
    that sports P-90s. Personally, I am a fan of both, and like to have
    both tones within my reach. I have a Gibson SG special with minis,
    and would NEVER change that one, it sounds great.
    April 05-20-19@100.jpg
    So I bought an Epiphone ES-339 P-90 pro, and after doing some work
    on it, have become totally bonded with this instrument. I love the tone
    and the neck and the size and the balance and the weight and all.
    Highly recommended.
    Caledonia 2016@100.jpg
    You can also get SG juniors with one P-90, or an Epiphone Les Paul Special l
    which has two... like this one:
    https://www.musiciansfriend.com/gui...DmYXl0VSu8Vf-uR20wWjje45O7gjOibRoCEcIQAvD_BwE

    The above link shows you to an instrument which seems like a cheap POS
    but is actually a whole lot more guitar than you think, and gives you all the
    P-90 rawk and kerang that you might need. Spend a little money on setup
    and you'll play something that will surprise your friends and/or rivals.

    Bolt on neck? so what! Plywood body? No Problem!
    Lack of Gibson elegance? ...Git Stuffed!
    These are the punk responses of course, but they are always valid, especially when your "inexpensive" Epiphone sounds and plays so good.

    Here's another Epi:
    http://www.epiphone.com/Products/SG/1961-SG-Special.aspx

    I like the idea of this one a lot. It's got the wrap-over bridge coupled with
    the P-90 pickups. A classic SG tone... think Pete Townshend and early Who.
    Epiphone P-90s have no flies on them, and if you get this guitar set up by
    someone who knows what they are doing, it should give great service.

    2. To answer your original question: If you MUST destroy your excellent
    SG with mini humbuckers to get the P-90 tone, check out Rose Pickups
    in California. I bought a pair of their P-90s to upgrade my Epiphone ES
    guitar, and am very happy with what they made for me. I bought the Rose
    Pickups "Eden" P-90s. The neck pickup has a lovely woody jazzy tone that
    sounds great in my ES-339, and the bridge pickup is hotter and is pure
    rock an roll. It's got all the grit and growl of classic P-90 tone. So I recommend
    Rose pickups with no reservation.
    https://www.rosepickups.com/new-products/eden-p90
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2019
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  14. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    Here's one more possibility: maybe the best one...

    Keep your SG with Mini hums and get one of the excellent Gibson SG special "50s Tribute" guitars. These are so desirable that they are now selling for more than they cost new. Check this out:

    https://reverb.com/item/26879051-gi...gn=673000280&utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=google

    Players scoffed when Gibson introduced the SG '50s Tribute" guitar
    (with P-90s) because there were like, no SGs in the fifties!

    But in spite of the closed minded response, these are much more than excellent
    guitars. They are a limited edition, and Gibson stamped the back of the headstock with the word "prototype" ...which means they are totally unique.
    Not only that, but the SG with P-90s is one of the classic guitar tones of all time.
    So this limited edition is an excellent example of one of the best SG designs ever.

    I like to describe it as a really dumb name for a really good guitar.
    Others have apparently figured this out, so the used market seems to be
    a bit pricey. Get one while you can, these are likely a good investment.
     
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  15. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    I meant between a basic P90 and a stacked P90.

    Aren't Fralin's and Kinman's basically the same construction as the unfamous Gibson P100 ? If not, what's the main difference ?
     
  16. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    I am not familiar with P-100's sound or construction.

    According to the Kinman site there are a little over 200 components inside their zero-hum P-90's.
    https://kinman.com/model-products.php?pid=6

    The demo that sold me on the Kinmans was this one.


    My first guitar was a 1969 SG Special with P-90's. I really liked everything about that guitar except for the hum of P-90's. For years I played guitars with humbuckers only to avoid hum.

    When I saw hum-cancelling P-90's (Fralins & Kinmans) online, I really missed my old SG Special and thought how great it would have been to have these hum-cancelling P-90's back then. I got me a couple of SG Classics and tried the Kinman zero-hum P-90 in the bridge position and was very happy with the results.

    I never went into the pickup swap with the expectation or intention of them sounding like original P-90's or wanting a vintage sound. I just wanted a bridge pickup for hi gain use without the hum and not have to route the pickup cavities. The zero-hum Kinmans fit the bill for me.

    To me a good pickup is a good pickup when it has a medium output, wide range of frequencies and no hum.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2019
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  17. Chuteboxehero

    Chuteboxehero Active Member

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    Question for those of you that have gone the hum cancelling P90 route. Under what circumstances are you having issues with noise or hum? I've played modern P 90s and old P 90s and have never had an issue with excessive hum. Is this in a live setting involving mics and other instruments?
     
  18. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    Issues with 60 cycle hum and P-90's or any single coil pickup occurs when using hi gain. It's the nature of a single coil pickup and why humbuckers were invented. I don't want to hear 60 cycle hum in between palm mutes or rests. I want to hear the silence between the notes as well as the notes.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2019
  19. Chuteboxehero

    Chuteboxehero Active Member

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    I get what you're saying. I do think the improvements made to tube amps, cables and even the way a house is wired eliminate a lot of the causes of 60 cycle hum. I play high gain with my 67 special all the time and it isn't any worse than any of my other guitars as far as hum or feedback is concerned.
     
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  20. Derald

    Derald Member

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    There are a lot of those '50's SG Tributes around on Reverb that you can pick up for $500 or so. I'd say get another guitar and keep the one you have.
    Another thing you can do is use a boost or pedal to get a different sound out of those mini-humbuckers. I know it's not exactly the same, but my '13 SG with Mini-hum plus a SoldiGoldFx BC183 boost into my Origin 20 really gets a ripping P90-type sound. Love that tone so much that I've sold off 3 or 4 guitars and have kept that '13 SG the whole time. I think I paid $499 from Zzounds two years ago on closeout.
     
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