Humbuckers vs. P90's

Discussion in 'Gibson Les Pauls' started by CookieMonster, Oct 24, 2010.

  1. CookieMonster

    CookieMonster Member

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    I know this comparison has been talked about over the years......
    But i was thinking about getting a LP Special .....but what doo you think.....Humbuckers or p90's?
     
  2. Rev 48

    Rev 48 Senior Member

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    It's a bit like saying do you like Steak or Chicken
    They are different and I love em both 'specially when they spicy hot!
     
  3. logen99999

    logen99999 Senior Member

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    i think it's a valid debate. here's what i think.

    some of the old style PAF accurate humbuckers sound very close to p90s without the hum PLUS they're more versatile.

    granted p90s are amazing sounding rock and blues pickups but lets say you're playing some slow quite jazz. in that setting the hum can be really noticeable. humbuckers can play both hard blues rock and jazz and there's no hum to speak of. and they sound great.

    so that's my case against p90s. they're good, but not as versatile as humbuckers.

    there are some not so subtle tonal differences between p90s and humbukers that can sway your preference back and forth, but that's mostly subjective. and like i said there are some humbuckers that sound very close to p90s. after all gibson's original design was aimed at replicating p90s tone without the hum. hence the hum canceling humbucker design.
     
  4. TheImmaterial

    TheImmaterial Senior Member

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    1 guitar with humbuckers
    1 with P90s

    What was the question?
     
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  5. macdog

    macdog Senior Member

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    If it's a Special it really should have P90s. They're awesome.
     
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  6. marc1kim

    marc1kim Senior Member

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    P-90s are magical, The fattest sounding pick-up I've heard. They're noisy when played high gain, but a MXR smartgate will fix that. These guys use P-90 equipped Deluxes, juniors, and Specials: (notice the noise in the beggining where he cranks the guitars volume)
    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdZb2inh4YM]YouTube - Social Distortion Don't Take Me for Granted[/ame]
     
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  7. circusboy28

    circusboy28 Senior Member

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    It's all good - only you can decide what you prefer.
     
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  8. marc1kim

    marc1kim Senior Member

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    I think P-90s are a great pick-up when you want a signal that isnt colored too much by the pick up itself...but great for when you use your outboard gear to color the sound.
    Here's Phil X on some P-90 equipped guitars (mainly through a little vintage tube combo and a Bad monkey pedal):
    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLiD-Rp1E1Q]YouTube - ERUPTION by Phil X 1958 Gibson Les Paul TV Junior SOLD 00959[/ame]
    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8OusW0kWIM]YouTube - 1960 Gibson Les Paul TV Special 00847[/ame]
    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhnUGAPJooU]YouTube - 1958 Gibson Les Paul TV Special 00850[/ame]
    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BQ--FbUeYY]YouTube - 1959 Gibson Les Paul Special 00740[/ame]
    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FInjFmM8qR0]YouTube - 1955 Gibson Les Paul Junior 00794[/ame]

    Hope this helps to give you an idea of p-90s
     
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  9. SingeMonkey

    SingeMonkey Senior Member

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    It's really good to have both. It's true that an Alnico II humbucker has characteristics in common with a P90, but they're still dramatically different sounding pickups.

    The P90 has a lot more bite and grit. But curiously, it can also make a guitar sound weirdly natural - acoustic. Especially at low gain. At high gain it just has the rub-your-face-in-it magic. They're so different from humbuckers that it's kind of weird to prefer one or the other on any objective grounds. Even for jazz they're great because they sound so naturally acoustic.

    On a Junior or Special, you've also got to realise that it's a very different kind of guitar to a carved-top LP. So that's going to be a big factor. Here's a juicy example:

    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4hmybejx44]YouTube - Catalinbread WIIO: Knob Turner Functionality[/ame]
     
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  10. Drew224

    Drew224 "Obvious BS Artist" V.I.P. Member

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    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFu8i6EKncA]YouTube - Gibson Les Paul Junior[/ame]

    Satin junior into an Orange tube amp. :thumb:
     
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  11. The_Sentry

    The_Sentry Senior Member

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    The answer: Get BOTH....

    Buy a guitar that's fitted for humbuckers and upgrade it with Seymour Duncan P Rails! :naughty:

    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZhJXcSVnfs]YouTube - Seymour Duncan SHPR-1 P-Rails pickups[/ame]

    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p933WODqe8Q&feature=related[/ame]
     
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  12. Saiko

    Saiko Senior Member

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    P90s in a Special IMO.
     
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  13. wild turkey

    wild turkey Senior Member

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    Out of both that i had, id go the p 90 but be prepared for some hum. Do sone good shielding on it & woull get rid of most of it
     
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  14. ToneQuest75

    ToneQuest75 Member

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    Hmm, I've been thinking about this comparison alot myself lately. I have one guitar that has P90's (Tokai Goldtop). My other 2 guitars both have hums. Lately I've been leaning back towards favouring humbuckers. Having said that I may try some different P90's in my Tokai, as the stock ones seem a little too 'polite' to my ears. Maybe some Gibson P90 Soapbars? Decisions, decisions....:thumb:
     
  15. Gin&Pentatonic

    Gin&Pentatonic Senior Member

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    A guitar with a decent set of P-90's like ones made by Fralin or Lollar and a good shielding job is like my guitar Holy Grail. I have a Les Paul special with Fralin noiseless P-90's. I also shilded the cavities to make it even quietter. I can roll the volume all the way up to 10 and it's dead silent.

    It's my favorite sounding guitar out of all the ones I own. The P-90's to my ears are the perfect happy medium between buckers and hot single coils, leaning more toward the single coil side. I play mostly Texas blues and Robben Ford kinda stuff, lots of lead, and the P-90's suit it perfectly.
     
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  16. HOT-BRIT

    HOT-BRIT V.I.P. Member

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    When the first humbuckers were developed by gibson they were voiced to copy the tone of the p-90
     
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  17. Bountyhunter

    Bountyhunter Senior Member

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    I have both. I love both. :thumb:
     
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  18. Naukuga

    Naukuga Senior Member

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    Humbuckers Vs P90's: The best argument to convince your wife that you *need* another guitar.
     
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  19. Mstele97

    Mstele97 Senior Member

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    P-90's are bad ass. I need to get a Special to go with my GT p-90 LP....that being said I love humbuckers as well. I think it is what you play or what you are in the mood for. Whatever you choose will not be the wrong choice.
     
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  20. lunchbox

    lunchbox Senior Member

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    A Special should really only have P-90's.

    I used to play only humbuckers. But recently I bought a Special, and I now like the P-90's a lot better. More mid-range bite than hummers. They just sound grittier, nastier. Like a hummer with attitude.

    Also, I'm not really sure what everyone is talking about with the P-90 humming issue. Mine don't do it at all, and I play overdriven rock.
     
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