Who has upgraded Epiphone P90s?

Discussion in 'Epiphone SG' started by Rob Millis, May 1, 2021.

  1. Rob Millis

    Rob Millis New Member

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    Hi all,

    I just picked up a lovely TV yellow Epi '61 50th anniversary Special. It was £200 on FB market place and has very minor wear and tear indeed. Been looking for a while and was prepared to spend more (been there before with missing the boat on a limited Epiphone; eventually I got a Royal Tan '61 Casino but it was more than the new retail price was!) which means I've got a bit of 'budget' left over.

    I've stuck a Bigsby on it already. This was always going to be done, so that was an expected cost. Now I'm thinking about the electrics.

    I was all set to pull the trigger on a set of Jason Lollar P90s but I really don't know - I'm not sure that the stock Epi units aren't just fine, and that more expensive stuff would just be 'different' rather than 'better'? They certainly don't offend my ears, the Epi units, but there's a difference between 'pleasantly surprised' and 'blown away'!

    I'm never sure what to make of pickups. Many think that you should immediately throw any budget ones away and put new ones in, and I do have experience of the Fralin/Lollar league stuff and it's lovely, but there's another thing: the number of times you read that a cheap set of GFS pickups is all you need to upgrade! I don't get that; I don't believe they don't come off the same production line as the Epi units I've already got! But I'm open to persuasion!

    Any experiences grateful. I should at that as a bare minimum, and first job, the old harness is going in the bin and a good quality one to '50s' spec going in. Maybe that'll be quite some improvement without new pickups.
     
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  2. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    I had a black '61 Special for a couple of years, and it never crossed my mind to replace the P90 in it. These are tone monster in that small thin body. The Epi P90 is amongst the best ones out there. I presently have Tyson Tone and Lollar, I also had Gibson and none shame the Epi P90. I doubt changing the harness for same value components will bring anything different. Chasing your tail here.

    I don't remember hearing a bad P90, different flavours certainly, but always good.

    Here's some clips from that '61 with OEM P90 through a small Fender Super Champ XD.



     
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  3. Rob Millis

    Rob Millis New Member

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    Thanks for that. I'll stick with the stock ones for now. I will do a new harness as the old one has been messed around with, and I'll do the 50s tone control that keeps better clarity at lower volumes.
     
  4. Les537

    Les537 Member

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    I prefer standard gibson p90s. My only epi with p90s right now is a casino. I absolutely hate the sound. They read about 13k resistance compared to gibsons which read around 8k. Compared to the p90s in my gibson LP and SG the epi p90s are very dark, very muddy, very fuzzy and flat. I could not replace them easy due to metal dog ear covers with metric hole spacing (sigh).

    I tried to sell the guitar because I hated the sound and hated the poly finish. The thing that really made me hate those p90s is the cheap chrome all tarnishing - feeling terrible to touch and ugly to look at.

    I couldn't get more than a few hundred for the guitar so I decided to go with option B - I sanded off the horrible poly finish and ordered some tyson tone low output 50s style dog ears to try. I've been waiting THREE MONTHS for those pick ups. I guess I better email that guy again since he hasn't responded since my first request for info at the 30 day of waiting mark.

    In short - I think epi p90s are trash and I'd recommend trying some others because they 100% don't sound comparable to gibson - at least the ones in my casino. I would not recommend Tyson tone unless you want to wait a few years for them.
     
  5. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    422295.png
    The Casino is known to have overwound P90s, You're not the first to complain about it. It is also discussed that the metal cover is of no help in that.

    All other Epiphone P90 are wound between 8k and 9k and are far from muddy, trash or whatever you want to call them. They are very melodic and responsive and clean well when voulme is rolled back. Very similar to Gibson's.
     

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