P90 to Humbucker Conversion

Discussion in 'Pickups' started by SG NOOB, Sep 7, 2020.

  1. SG NOOB

    SG NOOB Member

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    Most likely this has been covered here and elsewhere, and I have searched, but I am looking for a quick and up-to-date answer, so I´d appreciate any help.

    I am mulling over the idea of switching the P90s on my SG to humbuckers.

    What are the latest "non-invasive" options? No routing, only simple soldering please.

    I would be very grateful for brands, models, and even links if possible.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. plankton

    plankton Well-Known Member

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    Mini humbuckers will drop right in, not quite the same sound as full size HBs but close.

    Personally I'd keep the P90s.
     
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  3. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    It always break my heart to see a guitar go from P90 to ... something else. ESPECIALLY a SG.

    Do you want to do it because they're noisy ?
     
  4. SG NOOB

    SG NOOB Member

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    The P90s just don´t match with "my sound," the rest of my gear, etc... I know I should probably just sell the guitar and buy one with humbuckers, but I love how the guitar plays, feels, looks, etc... I would be willing to sell the guitar but it is a hard sell where I live. I would never get the guitar´s value if I sold it.

    My other guitars at the moment are a Jaguar and a Mustang. The Jaguar is the Johnny Marr model which has a humbucker switching option. I love how that sounds and would like to imitate that but with the SG.

    I might look into the mini humbucker option mentioned above. Any brand recommendation?
     
  5. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    Many builders make humbuckers that will drop right in a P90 route. The choice is yours, from $39.99 for a set to $150 for a single one.

    Google P90 sized humbucker.
     
  6. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    Neck Pickup: Stock Gibson P-90
    Bridge Pickup: Kinman Nasty 90 Heavy (zero-hum)

    [​IMG]

    Mini Humbuckers sound thin to my ears.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2020
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  7. everdying

    everdying Well-Known Member

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    does gibson still make the p100?
     
  8. Bad Penguin

    Bad Penguin Well-Known Member

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  9. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    The worst anemic soulless pickup ever invented.
     
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  10. Bad Penguin

    Bad Penguin Well-Known Member

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    It was never meant to sound like a 'bucker. Just a sh*tty P90ishlike pickup without hum. Sorta. Somewhat. In a way.
     
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  11. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    I love the sound of single coil P-90's for cleans, but not for hi gain use.

    Single coil P-90's for cleans = no 60 cycle hum
    Humbuckers for hi gain use = no 60 cycle hum

    Dual pickup guitars.
    Pickups don't have to be the same type.
    Single coil P-90 at neck position.
    Stacked P-90 at bridge position.
    That's my favorite combo.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2020
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  12. PAFHumbucker

    PAFHumbucker Well-Known Member

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    Kent Armstrong stealth P90s are a drop in noiseless replacement. Guitarfetish sells "gold foil" humbuckers in a P90 shell. You can just take off the fake foil and cover and use regular P90 covers. The GFS pickups are 35 a pop.
     
  13. plankton

    plankton Well-Known Member

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    You could also try Firebird style pickups which are a bit different to regular mini hums, or there's some Filtertron style pickups out there that might work. It all depends on the sound you want.
     
  14. SG NOOB

    SG NOOB Member

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    Thanks for all the replies. A lot to think over...
     
  15. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    I'll echo what the good doctor said, leave the P-90s in that SG...
    and get another one that has a different sound, and play the hell out of all your instruments.
    What you said above is the most critical point:
    "but I love how the guitar plays, feels, looks, etc..."

    THAT, my friend, is the most important thing about any guitar. The rest is just EQ.
    You could get an EQ pedal and adjust the tone of the SG, and leave your normal settings
    for your other instruments. Cheaper than new p'ups and not invasive at all.

    Having an instrument that you love how it plays and feels and looks... that is actually
    priceless. Many guys incontinently sell their SG, and then buy and sell guitar after guitar
    after guitar trying to find that remarkable combination again... Don't sell your SG, and
    don't rip it apart either. If you've got one like you describe above, you treasure that one.

    An SG will NEVER sound like a Jaguar, that's why we love to have different instruments.
    If you feel that the SG doesn't fit with "your sound" then I suggest that you expand your
    sound to include the SG/P-90 combination.
    SG/P-90 is a classic tone that can play any
    genre from Blues through rock an roll, Punk, into Jazz, Reggae, Country... There are a few things
    it won't do, but that's what your other guitars are for... do play the songs the SG isn't
    perfect for.

    I personally own and LOVE an SG with mini hums... they do not sound thin, unless you set
    your EQ and your amp to make them sound thin. MY SG with Minis has a full rich tone that I absolutely love. Mine doesn't sound like any other instrument, which is why I like it so much.
    I believe in valuing and utilizing guitars for what they are, and not trying to make them
    into something they are not.

    An SG with P-90s has so much to offer, it seems a shame not to put it to work.
    But mini hums will drop right in, and sound great IMHO.
    See if you can play an SG with mini hums at some place that sells them.
    That's how you know.
     
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  16. SG NOOB

    SG NOOB Member

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    Thanks for that. I was starting to think similarly. I played around today with some stuff I have, like a compressor for example, and I am starting to think that I can make it work.
     
  17. sgberry

    sgberry New Member

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    Sell this guitar and buy SG with humbuckers.
     
  18. pedecamp

    pedecamp Well-Known Member

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    Mini humbuckers are your only drop in solution but if you dont like them your only options are route the guitar for humbuckers or sell the guitar.
     
  19. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    Mini Humbuckers are not the only drop in solution.

    Kinman, Fralin, Duncan, DiMarzio, etc all make P-90 size humbuckers. Whether they be stacked or side by side is up to you.

    From my experience, P-90 size humbuckers sound fatter and punchier than Mini Humbuckers.

    P-90 sized humbuckers have more surface area compared to a Mini Humbucker. With a Mini Humbucker, some of the surface area is lost because of the pup mounting ring that has to fit inside the pup cavity. With a P-90 size humbucker, the entire pup extends flush to the sides of the pup cavity because there is no pup mounting ring.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2020
  20. Zman28

    Zman28 New Member

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    I pondered this question back in the 80s. I have an original 1968 SG Special. I took it to a guitar shop and asked about changing it to HBs. The tech flat out told me NO. He said put that money into a HB equipped guitar and leave the 68 as is with the P90s. He was totally right. I can see now that would have been a terrible thing to so. I now have a pristine 1968 SG that is all stock with beautiful sounding Vintage P90s. As others have said keep it and buy a HB guitar. You will not regret it. I have owned this guitar for over 50 years.
     

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