Whats wrong with Gibson P90?

mdubya

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mdubya

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P-90s, especially modern Gibson A5 P-90s, can be very sensitive to height and pole screw adjustments.

Modern A2s are less sensitive but not as powerful as the A5s, at least, in my experience.


Criticism of modern Gibson P-90s: they can be too scream-y and shrill with volumes and tones all the way up, and they can be dark and boxy sounding with low value pots.

Praise: dial in heights and volumes and tones, and they sound better than most, if not all, PAF style pickups available.

Do P-90s fit my playing style or does my playing style evolve to match my favorite tones of the P-90s I love? :hmm:

All 4 of my Gibson P-90 guitars sound great to me. Do they nail and match, exactly, vintage unobtanium tone? I really don't know or care.

It takes a very special humbucker guitar to come close to the tones of my stock Gibson P-90s.
 

Joe A

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Ok my question is what's wrong with Gibsons own P90s.

Im in the market for a set of P90 pickups. When I do a google search for best P90 pickups or top 10... Every other brand Seymore to Toneriders comes up but never Gibson. You would think the people who invented them would at least make the list?

What am I mussing because Id prefer having Gibson in my restored Goldtop rather than another brand.

Thoughts anyone
You're seeing marketing... & it's working effectively on you :) The P-90 is like the wheel & these other companies are trying to re-invent it. They can change a few things... attempt at lower noise etc

Over the last 30 years I've tried too many P-90's to count. Over time I always end up going back to the original. That's just me though.
 

mdubya

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Here's an audio comparison.

Which of these P-90 sets sound better, in this 2017 R4? The first set (neck, middle, then bridge) or the second set (neck, middle, then bridge)?

Listen here:
2017 Gibson R4 P-90 Comparison


Same guitar, strings, setup, amp, mic, settings, pickup and pole heights, etc.
The first set sounds more brilliant and sparkly and would probably record better and catch more peoples ears. Set 2 sounds OK to me. Not bad, and I might prefer that tone solo at home playing for my self.

Comparisons are tough because maybe one would sound different of best if everything else wasn't exactly the same?

*****

I like to use my Tom Holmes 450/455 sets (both of which you have had your hands on) as an example. Everybody raves without knowing what they are when I record with them. In the room, they border on being painfully bright and aggressive. Volumes and tones rolled down, they fatten up a but and become much sweeter.

Some people play with volumes and tones on 5 ~ish all the time, but many do not and would not like my pickups.
 

heavypic

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OP - Wish I could help. I only played Gibson P-90s briefly in a 2019 LP Special at a LMS. I am currently installing Stew Mac Parson Street (SMPS) P-90s in my 1998 LP Special in lieu of the stock P-100s I've done a lot of forum reading lately about Gibson vintage P90s and other aftermarket P90s. Some say Gibson used whatever pickup materials were currently available from suppliers at the time including magnet types (A3 vs A5) over the years...I don't know...who can really say. Others say given customary components used for P90 builds that the tone doesn't vary much between brands. In other words most P-90s with A5 mags and the same coil wire and number of winds will likely sound very similar in the same guitar. Guitar V/T and amp adjustments can be tweaked to taste.

As such, my first P90 experiment with this guitar will be with the SMPS given their relative 'affordability' and advertised vintage specs (SMPS P-90 Original/RWRP Pickups, unpotted, A5 mags, enameled AWG42 coil wire, 1.97" (50mm) polepiece spacing, braided single-conductor hookup wire, original-spec nickel-plated polepiece screws, wound to 8.0K ohms). The build quality is very good...no complaints. The actual pups I ordered are the #5436-Neck RWRP at 7.83K; and #5414-Bridge at 8.35K. They also offer 'Modern' P-90s that are wax-potted with poly-coated coil wire and wound a bit hotter (8.7K). I also have some A2, A3 and A4 mags on-hand to experiment if needed. I will be using 500K CTS pots all around and .022 OD caps for starters.

Just a more affordable alternative. I have no affiliation with Stew Mac. Their online reviews and forum reviews are favorable. Wish I could tell you how these pups sound but I haven't yet finished the install. I can say this...one of two of the SMPS plastic covers would not fit into the stock pickup rout as the cover corners are a bit 'squared' - so I used the stock P-100 covers instead.

Good luck deciding. I hope you find what you like on the first try...
 

E.X

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Not sure you can tackle this in such a general manner..

Beyond a certain limit of 'loud', definitely beyond a certain limit of 'overdrive'/'boost', everything sounds so damned close to one another that it's all moot.
Which leads us to how and what with you play, amp/pedals-wise and whether clean is a factor in your personal style.
Leading to what clean really is for you, because most folks' "clean" is a distorted, unnatural Fender or Vox sound. That's not clean; you hear the amp rather than the guitar.
Ending with whom's 'opinion' you read that so affected you and whether you even know how they tend to play..

In decent guitar pot positions (nothing maxed) and with a decent, clean amp (notice lack of quotation on clean here) i find P90s to be the best combination of dynamic+expressive+transparent+pleasant sounding. Many things to tackle in sound.
Followed ever so closely by filtertrons, folowed by humbuckers, last (and worst) being single coils. Mini-buckers or narrowfields as PRS calls them i cannot rightly say, as they tend to be all over the place; bad hole to fall in and for no gain at all in my book.

The above on a purely accoustical level. New in the guitar world, old and professional in the sound department :)

Now as to P90s, i think Gibson makes some really good ones* and unless you're in for half a grand of an upgrade? Don't even bother.
Don't know how good your sound system is, but listen to comparisons between original P90 LPs and current R6 ones. I actually like the R6 ones more. Bit smoother, creamier, without lacking in detail, but just as loud and harsh when you push them.
Overall however, best i've heard is a Collins+Throbak P90s combo. Out of my league unfortunately.

* just occured to me i typed R7, now corrected :)
 
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TrackerDan

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I own a 2019 Gibson Les Paul Special dual P90 in TV yellow. The pickups
on this guitar sound magnificent. I am blown away at how good P90's sound now compared to the old factory ones.

I owned an original 1954 Gold top in the 70's. Spotlessly clean. The pickups sounded like shit and did so through out the 70's while I was doing the majority of my studio recording work. I hated that guitar. It sounded right maybe once. It finally was stolen and I recieved my insurance money and never looked back. Anyway I am 100% behind the new Gibson P90's. They sound great!
 

no jimmy p

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Ok my question is what's wrong with Gibsons own P90s.

Im in the market for a set of P90 pickups. When I do a google search for best P90 pickups or top 10... Every other brand Seymore to Toneriders comes up but never Gibson. You would think the people who invented them would at least make the list?

What am I mussing because Id prefer having Gibson in my restored Goldtop rather than another brand.

Thoughts anyone

A few years ago , I bought a P-90 from Jason Lollar . During the course of our conversation , he said that one could do a lot worse than buying a Gibson P-90 . He said they are surprisingly good , and rates them #2 , next to his of course ....
 

LPCrafty

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99% of Gibsons depreciate in value. Unless it's a vintage instrument or some rare special limited run that happens to get a cult following. Modern Gibsons don't appreciate in value.
Not correct. I paid $1400 for my Classic in 2004. They are regularly selling for $2k or more now at only 17 years old. Every guitar made now will be "vintage" in 20-30 years. In the '90s, music stores couldn't give away '70s Les Pauls and Strats. Now they are commanding premium prices.
 

cooljuk

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Not correct. I paid $1400 for my Classic in 2004. They are regularly selling for $2k or more now at only 17 years old. Every guitar made now will be "vintage" in 20-30 years. In the '90s, music stores couldn't give away '70s Les Pauls and Strats. Now they are commanding premium prices.
Really?




The average selling price of all the sold 2004 Les Paul Classics listed on Reverb is $1801.625


Sum = 14413
Count = 8
Average = $1801.625


$1400 calculated for inflation from 2004 to 2021 is $1,938.67.


You LOST $137.045 on your investment.


Gibson isn't making 250 guitars of a given model in a year, now. They are probably making at least that many in a week. Age isn't a determining factor of value. It's supply VS demand.
 

sonar1

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I prefer the modern Gibson P-90 to aftermarket versions I’ve experienced.
But in sets I like them to humbuck. Eli’s version usually does, Gibsons don’t unless you get inside them and change wires, reverse magnets etc.
Nobody got time fo’ dat!
 

mdubya

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I prefer the modern Gibson P-90 to aftermarket versions I’ve experienced.
But in sets I like them to humbuck. Eli’s version usually does, Gibsons don’t unless you get inside them and change wires, reverse magnets etc.
Nobody got time fo’ dat!

But all the magic is in the hum! :p
 


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