How to put a Firebird pickup in a P90 route?

SkyslideMG

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2011
Messages
129
Reaction score
52
I know the p90s routes on Les Pauls can accommodate minihumbuckers and Firebird pickups, but its my understanding Firebird pickups don't fit into Les Paul Deluxe mounting rings because their legs are different.

Guitar Fetish has some kit with rings, screws and foam and part of the instructions for Firebird pickups involved snapping part of the legs off and punching a new hole in the remaining part of the leg. Is there a less destructive way to put a Firebird minihum in a p90 route?

I'm trying to put a Seymour Duncan Sm-1n into a Les Paul '56 RI. I also posted this at thegearpage but I didn't know if anyone here would have a better idea about this. Thanks
 

SKATTERBRANE

Banned
Joined
Nov 26, 2008
Messages
21,430
Reaction score
12,401
The Firebird mini-bucker route or an Epi Crestwood route is nothing like a P90 route. A Les Paul Deluxe mini-bucker route is EXACTLY like a P90 route.

Depending on the year of your R6 (early ones have deeper routes, later ones have vintage style routes) you may be able to simply put your Firebird pickup in a Deluxe style pickup ring (which is merely a P90 cover with the center routed out). You will either need a plate or bar if you are using machine screws, or you may have to use wood screws and drill directly into the pickup cavity.

In any case you have to figure out how to have the ajustment/mounting screws move freely in the pickup feet. This involves spacers, or springs, etc. There are several ways to do all of this. Hard to explain in text only. It really needs to be a video or at least an illustration.
 

SkyslideMG

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2011
Messages
129
Reaction score
52
I should have specified, this is an Epiphone '56 RI with P90s- I have a TV Jones p90 in the neck right now so the route seems ok, but I don't know about depth.
 

SKATTERBRANE

Banned
Joined
Nov 26, 2008
Messages
21,430
Reaction score
12,401
If your R6 has springs under the P90s, and are screwed into nuts embedded into your pickup cavities, you may not have to cut your mini-bucker's legs. If you have a newer R6 that has the P90s screwed in directly into the wood, and you cannot ajust the P90 heights, then you probably have to do the Guitar Fetish way.

Trying to figure out what is the best way to swap between minis and P90s and the various routes used in various models and/or years of guitars requires that they give me pictures or at least they have an understanding of their guitar from a technical standpoint. It can be very frustrating. I can usually accommodate them once I know what they have.

A Firebird mini, route (like early 60s Epi Crestwoods, Wilshire, Sheraton, Riviera and 72-78 SGs) are much smaller than a P90 route. They are shaped like full sized humber routes, but smaller. The Les Paul Deluxe is route is exacly like modern P90 routes--all 1969 to present USA model Les Pauls and early Historics through 2008? (not sure yet).
 

SKATTERBRANE

Banned
Joined
Nov 26, 2008
Messages
21,430
Reaction score
12,401
I should have specified, this is an Epiphone '56 RI with P90s- I have a TV Jones p90 in the neck right now so the route seems ok, but I don't know about depth.

Okay, is the P90 mounted solidly into the cavity with wood screws or does it have springs under it and mounted with machine screws so you can adjust the height?

When someone says Les Paul, I always think they mean GIBSON. I do not know anything about Epiphones.
 

SKATTERBRANE

Banned
Joined
Nov 26, 2008
Messages
21,430
Reaction score
12,401
Doesn't the Seymour Duncan Sm-1n already have short legs? If so, this entire thread is moot.

Anyway, you need Deluxe style mounting rings and all the appropriate spacers, springs and screws and possible a drill or the proper plate or bar to mount the minis.
 

SKATTERBRANE

Banned
Joined
Nov 26, 2008
Messages
21,430
Reaction score
12,401
Here is a 2 part video series on how to put minis where only P90 were before. He is working on a Les Paul with modern style P90 routes:

[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_a0szX-Oq5o&feature=related]Installing mini humbuckers Part 1 - YouTube[/ame]
 
Joined
Feb 3, 2007
Messages
12,299
Reaction score
5,633
Doesn't the Seymour Duncan Sm-1n already have short legs? If so, this entire thread is moot.

Anyway, you need Deluxe style mounting rings and all the appropriate spacers, springs and screws and possible a drill or the proper plate or bar to mount the minis.

The SM-3b does, so it stands to reason...
 

SKATTERBRANE

Banned
Joined
Nov 26, 2008
Messages
21,430
Reaction score
12,401
Sometimes I think I am over-zealous. I think Seymour Ducan, or DiMarzio have large enough customer service staff to be able to help customers mount pickups. I an mot sure why I feel compelled to do their job.
 

SkyslideMG

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2011
Messages
129
Reaction score
52
People don't typically put a Firebird pickup into a Les Paul, normally its a epiphone/deluxe style minihumbucker if they do that. The current P90 is mounted directly to the wood. The previous pickup had removable foam to adjust height I presume. I don't have the SD pickup in hand right now, but I want to figure out what I would need.

I suppose I could call them but its also 8pm and I want to figure out what to order so I'm not waiting to figure out what additional parts I would need.
 

SKATTERBRANE

Banned
Joined
Nov 26, 2008
Messages
21,430
Reaction score
12,401
As long as the Firebird pickup and the Deluxe pickup has the same length legs (short) then they mount EXACTLY the same. A REAL vintage Gibson Firebird pickup has long legs:

Firebirdpickuproute.jpg


Firebirdpickuprouteneck.jpg


Since your Seymour Duncan has short legs, it would not need to be butchered like GFS recommends. It would simply need to me mounted properly in a Deluxe style ring.
 

SkyslideMG

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2011
Messages
129
Reaction score
52
I went and got a LP deluxe mounting ring from a luthier that used to work at Gibson in Kalamazoo. The person at SD said the firebird pickup should work with a deluxe mini HB ring. I also got foam and the pickup comes with screws and springs. I think I'l make a video of the installation, which seems simple but doesn't seem to be a common mod.
 

SKATTERBRANE

Banned
Joined
Nov 26, 2008
Messages
21,430
Reaction score
12,401
I went and got a LP deluxe mounting ring from a luthier that used to work at Gibson in Kalamazoo. The person at SD said the firebird pickup should work with a deluxe mini HB ring. I also got foam and the pickup comes with screws and springs. I think I'l make a video of the installation, which seems simple but doesn't seem to be a common mod.

Well not to many people do this mod, but it is just the same as what Gibson does at the factory when installing deluxe minis in a P90 route.

In fact the Deluxe was born because someone at Gibson figured out that all you need to do is route out a P90 cover and you could use it to mount a mini into a Les Paul with P90 routes, and in 1969 the Les Paul Deluxe was created.

There are a lot more people putting P90s in to repace mini-buckers than the other way around. P90s have more versatility and potential.

Just guessing here, but I would say P90s sell about 10-20% of what humbuckers do, and minibuckers sell about 10-20% % of what P90s do.
 

SkyslideMG

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2011
Messages
129
Reaction score
52
I wouldn't want a normal Les Paul mini humbucker. Its about getting a Firebird-type sound out of my Epi Les Paul. I love p90s, but with my experience with Firebirds, one of the coolest slide tones is a great bright & hollow neck pickup with slide being played in Open-D. Its certainly a specialized application.
 

SKATTERBRANE

Banned
Joined
Nov 26, 2008
Messages
21,430
Reaction score
12,401
I wouldn't want a normal Les Paul mini humbucker. Its about getting a Firebird-type sound out of my Epi Les Paul. I love p90s, but with my experience with Firebirds, one of the coolest slide tones is a great bright & hollow neck pickup with slide being played in Open-D. Its certainly a specialized application.

My point is that the procedure is identical. The pickups are the same as far as mounting considerations are concerned. Early minis had long legs, and sometime in the late 60s they went to short legs.

Some minis are very slightly wider though.
 

Dougie

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2008
Messages
2,013
Reaction score
1,117
If the legs of the pickup are threaded, that would cause a lot of difficulty right there. Deluxes didn't have threaded legs, they had spacers on top of the legs that held the pickup in proper height orientation to the mounting ring, then a nut was soldered underneath the leg to keep it in place, the whole thing was adjusted up and down by threading the bottom of the pickup height screw into a threaded metal base which was screwed into the bottom of the rout. Duplicating this method is tedious, and bothersome, but it can be done and it works. Frankly it's a PITA and unnecessary.

Another way is to enlarge the holes in the legs so the long height screw turns easily and doesn't actually thread it's way through the pickup leg, make a pair of spacers to go on top of the legs (and under the mounting ring) that's the right length to hold the pickup's height in the ring correctly, and use the springs underneath the legs to push it all upward. If you got enough wood, those height screws can be screwed right into the wood without using any metal mounts in the bottom of the rout. The foam blocks could also be used to add stability if you want to use them, if the springs aren't stout enough.

If you have routs for wiring where the screws need to touch down and there is no wood, then you would have to use a threaded base which is held into the bottom of the pickup rout with screws, but same principle with the springs pushing against the plate instead of the wood.
 

Pooshoes

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2011
Messages
21
Reaction score
1
I've put a firebird pickup in my les Paul JR with no routing necessary. The 495t had the chrome ring around it and two screws attached to the body and two screws needed to be much longer and attached to the bottom of the pickup cavity. They are very hot, punchy, pickups that cut through and clean up very nicely when volume is rolled back. I won't go back to the p-90....
 

Latest Threads



Top