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Advice on P90 specs & wiring


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Morning all,


WARNING - newbie post!


I'm just about to get my fist Gibson as I "need" a guitar with P90s (so I can play Danny Kirwan's part on Fleetwood Mac's Oh Well properly! [wink] )


I tried out a LP 60s Studio satin finish and found the sound I was looking for on the bridge (sorry i'm speaking Fender, ooops, and now I probably just swore), I mean treble pickup position. I really liked the fret size and feel of the fretboard, and the 'both' pickup position was nice, but the neck / rhythm pickup didn't really do much for me and neither did the satin finish. I then tried a BEAUTIFUL Pelham blue Junior which seems to tick all the boxes as i don't see me using the rhythm pickup that much, however I have a couple of reservations which I'd like advice on in you can help.


Firstly, when I played the Junior I felt the fretboard needed a damn good oiling. Having later discovered that this was an Obeche board, as opposed to what was probably baked Maple on the 60s that may explain it, but I preferred the baked Maple, so what is the verdict on these Obeche boards? Also do Gibson use different fret sizes on these two models? The Junior's frets felt taller to me, again I preferred the 60's frets. My fingers may well be lying to me but perhaps you can help clear up my confusion.


Secondly, is there any difference in the wiring of the two models when playing in the treble position? The Junior sounded a bit brighter to me, and I was wondereing if there was a difference in capacitors / no capacitior or something going on, as again I marginally preferred the sound to the 60's?? Could this be caused by the differences in the bridges?? Any suggestions?


Many thanks



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I believe Gibson is using the same pots for eveything these days- as in a 300k for volume and 500k for tone. Don't take that as fact, I am making a guess as that is what the website says about both guitars and that is what seems to be the case with others as well.


There is something "pure" about a single pick-up guitar, in that you don't have a switch or the wiring connected to it, and you don't have the additional magnet pull on the strings. But differences are less than what you might get from different pots or pick-ups.


What makes a bigger difference, and probrably what you are hearing, is the difference between INDIVIDUAL guitars. In fact, normally, a LP will be brighter sounding than a Jr., mostly because of the maple top compared to the full mahogony construction of the Jr. or the Special. Add to that chambering on the LP's these days AND the maple fingerboard, and MOST LP's should sound brighter than MOST Jr's. But regardless of what "spec" it is built to, it still comes down to the individual guitar. I have played plenty of Jr.s/Specials that sound brighter than a lot of LP's.


P-90's are an amazing pickup, and can sometimes seem like a one-trick-pony if you just plug in and go. But if you do adjustments on the amp, and ESPECIALLY use the volume and tone controls on the guitar, it can be one of the most versital, from a T-Bone Walker clean to a ZZ-Top grind. No pedals needed for that.


There is a lot more vesatility in a one-pup Jr with just the bridge pup and use of the volume and tone controls than what is usual for most guitars, so I would'nt overlook that. But with soap-bar types (as opposed to the dog-ear mount on the Jr and most hollow-bodies), you get height adjustment, which you will NEED to do with the neck pup. There is also a lot more wiring options if you are a tweaker.


Regardless of what "spec" you think you want, it is more important to find the individual guitar that you like. I would also consider the Specials as well when trying them out. The P-90 that Gibson makes is a quality pickup, so it is worth buying a Gibson for that. It doesn't matter if it is a faded studio or a Custom shop, you still get the same pups. So if you find a particular guitar you like, it WILL work for you regardless of what it is, so long as you like THAT guitar.

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I say pay for the things you Can't change. The body, the neck, the frets (can be changed but expensive), the fretboard and the finish (once again doable, but expensive). Pickups, electronics and bridges can be changed easily. If you don't like the neck pickup in the 60's tribute, don't use it, or replace it. That's all I can really offer in terms of advice.

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What fantastic and excellent advice! Glad I found you guys. Couldn't quite square the guitar with the Maple board and Maple cap sounding deeper than the brighter Mahogany and Obeche combination in my little brain, but you are quite right, it may very well have been down to the individual guitars and pickup heights being different.


As far as tweeking is concerned I'm on my 3rd (Fender, (sorry)) build and have just painted the last one (white blonde) myself from scratch, so wouldn't mind having a go a grain filling and possibly lacquering the Obeche fretboard on the Junior if necessary, or spraying the body Pelham Blue on the 60s. I know a man who can do a refret / reboard if necessary.


I have my heart firmly set on Pelham Blue gloss and, if I'm honest, prefer the simpler look of the pickguard and lightening wraparound bridge on the Junior (I already have the tune-o-matic on my trans black 60s tribute Epi with Gibson Classic 57s and Gibson switching - so that's not swearing on this forum is it?), but just need to work out the most sensible route there.


Any ideas on those fret sizes??


Would you care to elabourate on the electrics tweeks available?? (Do I hear the buzzing of Bumblebees perhaps???)

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