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P90 vs Humbucker

#1 User is offline   daveinspain 

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 12:13 AM

Hi just wondering what is the major tone difference between the P90 and Humbucker pick-up... I know its single coil vs double coil and they look way different but what would you use one for over the other????
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#2 User is offline   ibis 

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 12:46 AM

Hi Dave,
I think I'm qualified to reply as I own a 2006 [P90] SG Classic and a 1997 [57 Classic] SG 61 'Reissue.

I love the sound of both but they are different. The P90 has much more bite and treble than a HB. It growls. It is different to a Strat single coil in that it is phat and full of midrange. In essence, it is midway between a Strat s/c and a HB.

I play in a classic rock covers band and happily use the P90 SG to cover all the material, whether it was recorded on Les Pauls or Strats. It can fake both sounds. Whereas, if I take a HB equipped guitar, I have to take a Strat with me for the Richie Blackmore / David Gilmour moments in the set.

That said, the P90's in my SG Classic were disappointing. Gibson use 300K pots in this model and these limited the treble bite. Things improved when I replaced them with 500K pots. Eventually I went the whole hog and put in a set of Jason Lollar P90's (not an easy option, considering how the pups are built up to attach to the scratch plate), which sounded just as I remembered vintage P90's.

A reviewer once described me as having a "Snarling SG barely on the leash". I'm not sure if that was a compliment or not!

BTW the factory P90's are not humcancelling when both pickups are on, whereas most aftermarket replacements eg Lollar, Duncan, Bare Knuckle are.

I love my P90 SG, it is God's own guitar when it comes to playability, I just wished Gibson could have done a better job with the pups and pots. Lets hope their R&D department reads these forums!

#3 User is offline   matiac 

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 07:28 AM

Any singlecoil pickups gonna have a thinner, brighter sound than a humbucker, the nice thing about a P90 is that while bright, it's also fat sounding. I had a guitar a while back had P90s of questionable lineage, and they were altogether different from the Strat I also had at the time. Of course, with any singlecoil, you have the inherent "60 cycle hum", but that's what they make noise gates for I guess. They both have there place in different styles of music, some people like 'em, some don't. I fall into the former category, I gotta get another P90 guitar. So the difference is...Humbucker=fat sounding, no hum, Singlecoil= thin, bright sound, with hum.
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#4 User is offline   GKingN 

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 10:48 AM

How does mini-humbuckers sound?

#5 User is offline   matiac 

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 12:35 PM

I dunno, if they sound like they do on a Firebird, I'd say they sound pretty bangin'!
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#6 User is online   saturn 

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Posted 09 March 2008 - 04:25 PM

As you can see by my avatar, I have both a LP with humbuckers and as SG Classic with P90's.

My opinion of the P90's is that they sound great clean or with some real natural overdrive/distortion but not real great with too much gain. When distorted they have a real nasty growl which is cool for gritty blusey type sound. To me, chords and double notes sound much better than single notes with P90's.

#7 User is offline   TheLiveSoundGuy 

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Posted 10 March 2008 - 12:43 AM

Question that has been bugging me for sometime...Can a P90 be dropped into a guitar that came with full size humbuckers without modifications to the guitar? Would I just need a fatter trim ring since the P90 is smaller?
I have an Epi Sheraton I have been wanting to put P90's in for some time now.


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#8 User is offline   1992mustang 

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Posted 11 March 2008 - 01:38 AM

Quote

Hi Dave,
I think I'm qualified to reply as I own a 2006 [P90] SG Classic and a 1997 [57 Classic] SG 61 'Reissue.

I love the sound of both but they are different. The P90 has much more bite and treble than a HB. It growls. It is different to a Strat single coil in that it is phat and full of midrange. In essence, it is midway between a Strat s/c and a HB.

I play in a classic rock covers band and happily use the P90 SG to cover all the material, whether it was recorded on Les Pauls or Strats. It can fake both sounds. Whereas, if I take a HB equipped guitar, I have to take a Strat with me for the Richie Blackmore / David Gilmour moments in the set.

That said, the P90's in my SG Classic were disappointing. Gibson use 300K pots in this model and these limited the treble bite. Things improved when I replaced them with 500K pots. Eventually I went the whole hog and put in a set of Jason Lollar P90's (not an easy option, considering how the pups are built up to attach to the scratch plate), which sounded just as I remembered vintage P90's.

A reviewer once described me as having a "Snarling SG barely on the leash". I'm not sure if that was a compliment or not!

BTW the factory P90's are not humcancelling when both pickups are on, whereas most aftermarket replacements eg Lollar, Duncan, Bare Knuckle are.

I love my P90 SG, it is God's own guitar when it comes to playability, I just wished Gibson could have done a better job with the pups and pots. Lets hope their R&D department reads these forums!

On a parallel issue here . . . I have a 2004 LP Junior and I just installed a Lindy Fralin P 90, wound 10% over. Sounds great! You mentioned the 300k pots on the SG classic; any idea what an LP Junior has? Perhaps I should change to the 500k, if I have 300k now . . .
Sam

#9 User is offline   ibis 

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Posted 11 March 2008 - 05:56 AM

Quote

On a parallel issue here . . . I have a 2004 LP Junior and I just installed a Lindy Fralin P 90, wound 10% over. Sounds great! You mentioned the 300k pots on the SG classic; any idea what an LP Junior has? Perhaps I should change to the 500k, if I have 300k now . . .


I emailed Gibson before I dismantled the SG Classic and bought new pots. They confirmed the value in mine.

#10 User is offline   Gibsonian67 

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Posted 21 February 2010 - 04:20 PM

I own the SG Classic with P-90's and a Les Paul with 490R and 498T Humbuckers. The P-90's have a very nice clear sould that sounds great and a nice growl when overdriving a tube amp. They can also replicate many of the "Classic Rock" sounds from the 60's such as Pete Townshend, Carlos Santana, the Beatles (Day Tripper!) etc. The Humbuckers are more powerful/louder and give you some great clean or distorted sounds for playing lead such as Jimmy Page, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Slash, Billy Gibbons, etc. Both pickups sound GREAT, but they are both very different from each other. I think I will change the pots and the pickup selector switch in my SG Classic now after reading some of the other comments. It's never a bad idea to improve your tone!
PS: These two guitars and a good Strat are "must have" guitars...

Larry in Georgia

#11 User is offline   NeoConMan 

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Posted 21 February 2010 - 04:41 PM

Yep.
I'm a big fan of P-90's myself.

Welcome aboard Larry!

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#12 User is offline   uyasgali 

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Posted 22 February 2010 - 01:08 PM

I love my P90's. Lots of natural crunch and grit.

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#13 User is offline   Munro 

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Posted 27 February 2010 - 03:07 PM

I'm having P90s installed in my Special next month. It's like a brain transplant.

#14 User is offline   tbonesullivan 

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Posted 27 February 2010 - 10:41 PM

p-90s get that lovely buzz-saw sounding overdrive. Lots of treble. If you like a lot of The Who's early stuff (and later stuff) a p-90 equipped guitar will get you there.
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#15 User is offline   Dub-T-123 

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Posted 28 February 2010 - 06:44 AM

Quote

I'm having P90s installed in my Special next month. It's like a brain transplant.


That's really cool. Keep us posted.

If I got a modern Special I'd definately put p90s in.
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#16 User is offline   GuitarJunkie 

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 06:01 AM

Check this out...



Quite a range of tones for 1 pick-up, 1 volume, 1 tone.

#17 User is offline   chillaxboi 

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 11:57 AM

I'm very interested on buying a Gibson SG Classic, most of all because my favourite tone of all time is Santana's from his first 3 albums, when he used one of those. For those with a Gibson SG Classic, is it good out of the box for that kind of tone? (with a proper tube amp, of course)

Here's a video of Carlos playing one a Black SG with P 90's in 1970:



#18 User is offline   SGSpecialguy 

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 11:54 PM

Quote

I'm very interested on buying a Gibson SG Classic, most of all because my favourite tone of all time is Santana's from his first 3 albums, when he used one of those. For those with a Gibson SG Classic, is it good out of the box for that kind of tone? (with a proper tube amp, of course)

Here's a video of Carlos playing one a Black SG with P 90's in 1970:





and who can forget Santana's tone on "Soul Sacrifice" from Woodstock, classic tone indeed !! I sure liked his tone better then than I do now with his PRS's !!!

#19 User is offline   cowgard 

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Posted 15 May 2010 - 05:04 AM

I had an Epiphone Riviera P93 with P90s and loved the sound but didn't care for the guitar so much. I have several Humbucker guitars. If I decide to put P90s in one of them, does anyone make a good P90 that will mount easily into a humbucker cavity? David

#20 User is offline   G McBride 

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Posted 15 May 2010 - 05:19 AM

I have a DC Les Paul special with P90 pups and just got a Nighthawk with a P90 neck and Burstbucker 3 Bridge. I love the P90's and have wanted this set up for a long time.

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