Who likes P-90s?

Discussion in 'Vendor Classifieds' started by cooljuk, Aug 14, 2017.

  1. cooljuk

    cooljuk Transducer Producer Premium Member MLP Vendor

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    I'm a fan! Check out some of my P-90 work...


    Cool A3 P-90s through a Blackface:




    Cool A3 P-90s through a Marshall:




    Hot A5 P-90s through a Blackface:




    Hot A5 P-90s through Marshall:




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    Dogears with pure nickel silver covers with no copper flashing for you Casino lovers!
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    Don't ask me to make more of these again unless you are wealthy and generous, but staples P-90s CAN be done, with a great deal of manual labor and some custom plating. :D
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    ....aaaaaand the only REAL full size AWG 42 plain enamel wire on actual P-90 bobbins available in a humbucker size package. If you want a TRUE P-90 sound in a humbucker size chassis, I'm near positive I'm your only option.

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    For info and orders, reach out: (202)246-0147 or info@re-wind.net


     

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    Last edited: Aug 14, 2017
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  2. Alligatorbling

    Alligatorbling ★AstroCat★ Premium Member MLP Vendor V.I.P. Member

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    James winds such amazing pickups that id consider buying the p90s before even buying a p90 guitar, and build a guitar around the pickups.
     
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  3. Sickboy1020

    Sickboy1020 Junior Member

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    I've always been curious and since your a builder you seem like the one to ask. I've always thought as a general rule dog ears sound better than soap bars. My thinking is it's because they are drilled into the guitar instead of dropped in a hole. I know juniors probably benefit from not having a neck pickup pull on the string. Do you notice this as well or am I imagining things? Anyone have an opinion?
     
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  4. vintageguitarz

    vintageguitarz Member

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    IMHO as a former band/studio musican and now a FT Luthier, I never heard any difference between either of the same vintage Gibson made"Soap Bar" vs "Dog Ear" P-90's. But that is the problem, P-90's of different vintages are going to sound differently and whether they are in a slab body, a solid archtop like a LP or a semi hollow body guitar, aren't they? Certainly a 1950's Gibson ES-225 with dog ear P-90's isn't going to sound like a 50's LP Jr, is it? Or a LP Special with soap bars isn't going to sound like a LP Std with soap bars either. I've had personally dozens of originals with both dog ears and soap bars you can't really compare which sounds better. Gibson went thru some years like Fender did, making lousy PuP's in all configurations .... we wouldn't have Seymour Duncan, Lindy Fralin, et al if Gibson, Fender, etc were always perfect.

    BTW, not only Gibson used "Soap bars", Guild had a deal it made with Gibson in the 50's when Guild first got into making Electric Acoustics, they bought special windings Soap Bars to put on their Guild guitars until started making their own (I assume licenced from Gibson). This 1958 Guild "M-65 Cherry" (7/8th scale) has a '58 Gibson Soap Bar from the factory on it (I've had it out to verify) and I've worked on other 50's Guilds too with Gibson PuPs. Shown with my '62 Tremolux my pop ( a Jazz guitarist) bought new and gave to me in '66.

    I have a shoe box full of 50's and 60's dog ear and soap bar's that I have collected over the decades and use as a build come up and I have no preference except to "fit" the build or rebuild. My favorite is my 1959 Les Paul Jr, my pair of 50's ES-225's and my '73 Les Paul Special (last Kalamazoo MI made Gibby I bought at the factory store while on tour). I also have a 1990 '59 RI Les Paul Jr Special with 2 Soap Bars and I think it sounds like crap. Gibby goofs sometimes.

    62 Tremolux - 58 Guild M-65.JPG LesPaul_std80_LesPaul-Jr_58.jpg Twins_56_ES-225N_SB.jpg 1973 Gibson Les Paul Special Brownburst.jpg
     
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  5. cooljuk

    cooljuk Transducer Producer Premium Member MLP Vendor

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    The actual bobbins, the coils wound on them, the magnets and (usually) keeper bars for soap bars, and dog ears are going to be the same - within the normal realm of variance from one to the next and changes over time that Gibson did with both types.

    The mounting method is different and the guitars they went in are different. Sometimes the spacing between the coil and baseplate is different to adjust the height. The other difference you may find is that the pole screws on some are longer than others. This was to better reach the strings with the dog ears that couldn't be raised up.

    Now, of course, Gibson used different types and sizes of magnets, the wire varied, and machine calibration was always being corrected/adjusted, etc. Even the pole screws changed a bit in chemical makeup and head shape. The keeper bars changed, too. So, much like PAFs, you can get some great differences in sound from one soapbar to the next or one dog ear to the next, especially if you have a fair amount of time between the manufacture of each.

    If you want to isolate the guitar and mounting method and simply compare the sonic profiles of a given dog ear and a given soap bar, you would have to swap the coils, magnets, keeper bars, and pole screws between the two pickups/guitars and see if the difference in sound followed the pickups or the guitars. I'd say 9 out of 10 times the answer will be "both." Put the same set of pickups in two guitars and I'm sure the guitars will each sound a bit different, especially if the construction of the guitars is widely different. Put two different dog ears in the same guitar and they may also sound different, with the chances of that increasing greatly if they are from different eras.

    If you want to break it down to something much simpler to illustrate the same point, consider the difference in sound in mounting a Tele neck pickup to a pick guard with machine screws or to the body with wood screws. There's probably at least some difference, in most cases. To Fender, and 99% of musicians, it was just a simple matter of the pickup being a pain in the ass to adjust with the wood screw/body mount method.

    Better? Worse? No such thing in musical preferences. Different? Sure!
     
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  6. cooljuk

    cooljuk Transducer Producer Premium Member MLP Vendor

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    My favorites are undoubtedly my 1959 Dogear (from an ES-125) in my Pelham Blue Junior. This is what the "P-90 A5 Hot" bridge above is designed after. Or, my early 50's P-90s with the early "6 rough sides" A3 magnets, which, as you may guess, is what the "P-90 A3 Cool" set above is designed after. Both very strong and distinct voicings, great for different things. I couldn't choose just one.



    I actually give Gibson some credit for those. It's a rather difficult task to screw up a P-90 sound so bad. They must have put a great deal of time and effort into that. ;)
     
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  7. vintageguitarz

    vintageguitarz Member

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    Cooljuk, may have to get together with you in the future if you do rewinds of original Gibson made P-90's and early Humbuckers. Every so often I get in a total rebuild of an early Gibby someone owns, abused or neglected and the PuP's are bad. Where are you located? I'm in So Cal.
     
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  8. kakerlak

    kakerlak Senior Member

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    I don't think Guild ever used any Gibson pickups. Those '53-'62 soapbars and dogears were made by a NY company called Franz. Guild started using DeArmonds in the early '60s and, by '63, began producing their own in-house humbuckers. The Franz pickups tend to be more in the mid-5k resistance range, a little lower output than P-90s, brighter and jumpier:
     
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  9. cooljuk

    cooljuk Transducer Producer Premium Member MLP Vendor

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    I sure do. That type of work has become a big part of my business and the knowledge I've gained through it has become a big part of my own pickup designs. Here's a photo gallery of some vintage repair work that I've remembered to break the camera out for. There are some REALLY cool pieces in the gallery. Plenty of 50's and 60's P-90s and PAFs among them: http://www.re-wind.net/risa/index.php?/category/1

    I'm located right on the Front Range of the Rockies in Colorado Springs. Just a day's mail away from L.A. You're welcome to reach out any time. (2O2) 246-O147 or info@re-wind.net
     
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  10. vreaux

    vreaux Junior Member

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    Love P 90's, especially in the neck position. Are you located in the DC/MD/VA area?
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2017

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