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View Full Version : The Best P-90 Guitar Is... What???


VanStone
05-12-2006, 02:42 PM
I'm thinking something pretty inexpensive like:

- PRS SE Soapbar II
- Epiphone 1956 Goldtop
- Hamer SATP90
- Gibson Faded Doublecut (with the new Satin Black finish)
- Fender TC-90 Thinline
- Washburn WI66PROG

Others?

V

walpow
05-12-2006, 05:14 PM
Godin LG SP90.

CNP
05-12-2006, 05:30 PM
Gibson R4 Custom (actually it has an "alnico" single coil neck pickup. My favorite guitar.

mainsale
05-12-2006, 05:33 PM
I think what you are asking is what is the best P-90 guitar under $500-600 aren't you? Most of the outstanding P-90 guitars I know are around $3k with one or two around $1500.

JustAHack
05-12-2006, 06:02 PM
The mighty Gibson Custom Shop '54 goldtop. (http://www.gibsoncustom.com/flash/products/lespauls/54/1954Goldtop.html)

In one package, pretty much everything loveable about: simple effective solidbody guitars, Gibsons, P-90s, single coils, mojo, and wrap-tail bridges. I adore mine, if you can find one and are willing to cough up the cash. Worth every cent, big time. Wilcutt Guitars (http://www.willcuttguitars.com/) gave me a very nice deal.

But the PRS SE Soapbar II, (http://prsguitars.com/showcase/current/sesoapbar2.html) and Gibson Les Paul Faded DC (http://gibson.com/Products/GibsonElectric/Gibson%20Electric%20Guitars/LesPaul/Double%20Cuts/Faded%20Double%20Cut/) have their own very worthwhile P-90 vibe. If you don't like them, you very probably won't like P-90s at all. A low-cash reality check in both cases, both are under $700 new. I started with the DC for $650 new, and then added the Gibson '54 a year later. I haven't sold my DC, because it's still very cool and I won't let it go.

I own a Gibson Les Paul DC Faded and have played a PRS SE Soapbar II extensively, and they are both amazing guitars for the money, or any money, for that matter. Either one a great start.

rbisherw
05-12-2006, 06:29 PM
Gibson R6.
It is mine and you cannot have it !

Good luck with your search, there are many great choiceshttp://i52.photobucket.com/albums/g7/humbuster/2006%20guitars/2006newguitars009.jpg

justonwo
05-12-2006, 06:37 PM
I love my new Gibson SG Classic. It's just above the prices you're looking at, it's very well constructed, and has tone just as pleasing as my R6.

Plus, it's lightweight, looks cool, and allows easy access to the upper frets. One of the best guitars available for the money. I'd consider this one very seriously. (And it has a nice nitro finish which I don't think the faded series has).

sanhozay
05-12-2006, 06:49 PM
Epiphone Casino

loudguitarz
05-12-2006, 06:57 PM
I have a TV Yellow Gibson Faded Double Cut that I use on the road for slide. For the money, it is a great guitar.

Luke V
05-12-2006, 07:18 PM
Well, the best is a 50s LP Jr or Special.

That said, the MF LP jr. is a great guitar, for $600 or so.

CNP
05-12-2006, 07:34 PM
[quote=VanStone]I'm thinking something pretty inexpensive like/quote]
Whoops-- I overlooked the "inexpensive" criterion. An R4 Custom'll run ya about $2K used and about $3K new.

BadJaxx
05-12-2006, 07:46 PM
the Gibson LP faded P90 just felt crappy to me....a buddy played it and it sounded good...i just couldn't get beyond the feel and playability...

the Soapbar SE is very nice....good feel and playability if you like the wide/fat neck...adds to the tone but ya gotta be comfy with the big neck...

i've read great reviews of the Godin and almost bought one...didn't care for the looks...

read great reviews of the Epi 56 LP Goldtop as well...best reviews of any of the regular Epi LPs...

but i'd recommend a used USA Hamer Special P90....very well made quality guitar...1 piece mahogany body....you don't see that much anymore...$500 ~$600....i'll put them up against anything in that price range...
i just sold one cuz i bought a Hamer Studio Goldtop with the P90s replaced with Mini buckers...which i prefer...

karmadave
05-12-2006, 11:17 PM
Tokai LS-80S. About $700 shipped from Japan. Any Goldtop Les Paul-type guitar, with P90s, is a thing of beauty!

-KD

opdev
05-12-2006, 11:44 PM
My vote (in your list) goes to the Gibby DC.

My absolute favorite is my 1960 Historic LP Special. An amazong guitar.

I'm sure I'd like (love) an R4 as well.

Raymund
05-13-2006, 12:11 AM
Iīve tried out these new faded Gibby Specials and Juniors and all didnīt have tone. Even the CS Junior was a disappointment.
Try to find a used mid 90ies Gibson Les Paul Special (those with the bound neck) which are far superior and replace the P-100īs with Lollar or Gibson P-90īs - a match in heaven. Those you can find used between USD 600,- and 900,-.

Another option would be a used Hamer Special.

Troubleman
05-13-2006, 12:20 AM
It ain't cheap, but a 1958 Gibson Les Paul Jr - single P-90. If it's value didn't go into the "stupid money" range, I'd play out with mine. Second - one of the 80's Reissue 1955 Gibson Les Pauls. I dunno about the modern iteration, but back in the 80's I had one that was killer. Absolutely Leslie West approved. At the time I had to have a "real" Les Paul (maple top with humbuckers) so I (stupidly in hindsight) sold it. Not sure what they go for these days.

Peace,

jb

m1911
05-13-2006, 05:04 AM
I was on the lookout for a nice P-90 Guitar this past winter and actually stumbled accross a Gibson Historic R6 (GoldTop). It's a Brand New (NOS) 2003 Leftover with a Brazilian Board. I paid $3000.00 even for this guitar, but I think an 06' (without Brazilian) would be around $2200.00 It has the same size neck as an R7 which made it an easy choice. Good Luck.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v99/m1911/R6GoldTop1.jpg

Jimi D
05-13-2006, 06:12 AM
I've got a PRS SE Soapbar (the original singlecut) that's a hell of a guitar for the money - the only mods I've done to it are to replace the volume and tone pots (the originals were crap), and it sounds damned good, plays even better. You might also want to look around for an Ernie Ball Music Man Axis Sport or Super Sport with MM90 pickups - being bolt-ons with swamp ash bodies, these guitars have more of a "Tele-on-steroids" vibe, but they still growl good when pushed, and they've got the best neck in the industry. I owned the Godin LG with Duncan SP90s in it for a while, but I didn't like the wide/thin neck carve, and it always sounded kind of anemic to me - the mahogany body/maple neck bolt-on construction, probably... Of course, you can't go wrong with an LP DC if you find one you like, though you might have to have some fret dressing done...

M@tt C
05-13-2006, 08:01 AM
You could pick up a used Guild Blues 90 for around 1k or so...chambered mahogany body with a maple top, set neck with Duncan P90's. GREAT sounding and playing guitar, with outstanding quality. The pup's may be a bit hot for some folks, but that's an easy tweak.

ivers
05-13-2006, 10:52 AM
I'm diggin' the vibe I get from the Ornetts P90 gold top. Haven't tried them though.

http://www.guitarjapan.com/ornetts/spec/GM5SC.html

Rusty G.
05-13-2006, 11:17 AM
I've got to second the PRS Soapbar. I picked one up the other day on a whim and I'm very pleased with it. It's got a great big wide fat neck, which I really like. They can be picked up relatively cheap and sound great. Now, the top isn't anything to write home about, and it doesn't come with the Gibson "mojo", but it's a great player guitar.

Good luck!

rooster
05-13-2006, 11:38 AM
I'm pretty partial to mine. Heritage H150CM Classic with Bill Lawrence L-495s.

http://2kdlive.com/Photos/John%20Sage%20and%20Sand%202.jpg

rooster.

VanStone
05-13-2006, 02:19 PM
Hmm, the PRS SE II seems to be getting a few votes of confidence here. I do like big necks. However, how is that heel on it? It looks like that square chunck on the back of the neck down by the body is pretty significant. Does it get in the way much?

V

George Johnson
05-13-2006, 02:54 PM
Of the ones on your original list, the SEII would be my choice as well. :AOK

WordMan
05-13-2006, 04:18 PM
A great P-90 guitar starts with great acoustic tone - the P-90 is especially sensitive to the tone that begins in the bones of the guitar. Pick any individual guitar that sounds toneful when played unplugged. Strum an open G - can you hear a rich, detailed layering of individual notes that sound separate-yet-integrated? Check the tuning of the strings and try again, then shift to open D, and then other more complex chords.

If you hold out and compair a bunch of guitars, eventually it will become obvious which ones sound good unplugged. Then try 'em plugged in and the P-90 tone will have the spank and bite it should. Don't be afraid to roll off the tone pretty hard on the bridge pickup - 4 - 6 is expected.

If you know all this - more power to ya and sorry for lecturing. If you are really looking for a great P-90 guitar and haven't made the connection between the acoustic sound of the guitar and the P-90 tone, then I hope this helps....

WordMan
05-13-2006, 04:19 PM
...and compair...

That's "compare" - *smack's forehead*

VanStone
05-13-2006, 04:42 PM
Well this would be my first foray into the wonderful world of P-90s. So thanks for the great info, WordMan. If acoustic tone is the key,should I perhaps be looking at a semi-hollowbody? Epihpone ES-295, Casino, or Wildkat maybe?

V

WordMan
05-13-2006, 06:01 PM
Well this would be my first foray into the wonderful world of P-90s. So thanks for the great info, WordMan. If acoustic tone is the key,should I perhaps be looking at a semi-hollowbody? Epihpone ES-295, Casino, or Wildkat maybe?

V

Great question, but not that easy, V. It's not as simple as "by sounding 'acoustic,' does that mean 'loud'?" I am not sure how to describe it. It is more that, regardless of whether it is a solidbody, semi-hollow, or full-on hollow, it is more 'how does it actually sound?' Does the sound seem complex and 3-D? It is one of those frustrating wine-tasting situations. When some idiot says "do you detect the raspberry grace notes in the top of the nose?" you want to smack the bastard. But, when you can clearly taste a great wine, you may not know a grace note, but it is obviously great. Does the guitar jump out at you in an obviously different way? If you can figure out why it jumps out, it may be that it's acoustic tone is good. Listen for it.

It just so happens that a P-90 loves that kind of guitar. The fact that you are interested in it means you hear the difference. Really try to break it down and listen for it.

In my experience, modern Gibson Faded Series guitars are flat and compressed - they don't have the basic tone foundation required for a P-90 to stretch out. If you aren't sure, then for a more modern guitar, a semi or full hollow-body is likely to have the resonance a P-90 needs to nail it, but if you are a solidbody guy (when you know, you know) then finding the right, resonant solidbody that can handle P-90's is a very good thing...

Again, sorry for geeking out. Play the thing.

Rusty G.
05-13-2006, 06:07 PM
Of the ones on your original list, the SEII would be my choice as well. :AOK

Really light guitars. Feels like something that you could grab and wring the tone right out of the neck. It comes with those lousy PRS 9.5's, which are a little too meek for me. Try 10's or better for real fat tone.

Now, I'll say it again. This is a budget guitar, with a better neck on it than guitars that cost several times as much (i.e. read Fender/Gibson).

If you want something top of the line, then a R6 or R4 custom shop is the cat's meow.

George H
05-13-2006, 06:33 PM
I agree w/ rbisherw & m1911. My R6 is the lighest of my LP's (just over
8lbs) & rings like a bell. Absolutely LOVES my EL84 amps.

http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y254/57GLDTP/4GibsonHistorics.jpg

GH:)

Rusty G.
05-13-2006, 08:29 PM
My brother's got a Cloudnine R6 with Lollar P-90's and plays it through a Fender Bass Breaker (custom shop model with 2 X 12's). It weighs less than a strat and sounds better than any other combination I have ever heard for classic rock.

Sniper-V
05-13-2006, 10:53 PM
A lot of nice ones out there, but I sure like mine...


http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y287/Sniper-V/02fullincase.jpg

LHanson
05-13-2006, 11:01 PM
Without any experience with other p-90 guitars, I'm really pleased with my PRS soapy II. Maybe too light, if that's possible, but I have picked up heavier ones.

thintele
05-13-2006, 11:21 PM
mmmmm...
56 Goldtop
Lp JR
Epi Casino
PRS McCarty soap bar

pick yer poison ...and yer budget

jtg116
05-14-2006, 05:41 AM
I like Melancon, great feel that really has a grind. Light and comfortable.

http://www.lilypix.com/photos/data/17e62166fc8586dfa4d1bc0e1742c08b/3642_p53784.jpg

CS'56
05-14-2006, 07:35 AM
I've owned and played many HIGH$ guitars. I LOVE my Soapbar II. Find a good one and save you the rest of your $ for something else. My luthier had it last week, He ownes a lot of vintage guitars and has played most of my exspensive gear. Out of all my guitars including a custom hand made Strat, he had more interest in my cheap little Soabar II. :D

retro
05-14-2006, 12:59 PM
I went guitar shopping yesterday for LP's as I need a humbucker git and also ended up playing quite a few P90's, Hamer, Single cut LP's and SG's and of them all, I was most impressed with one of the double cutaway faded LP's. It was resonant unplugged, lively, played really well everywhere on the neck and just had a great feel. Just one of those great finds. Sounded killer through a Maz and Badcat. Did I mention it was great unplugged?

It wasn't what I was looking for, but I might have to go back on Monday.

BigDoug1053
05-14-2006, 02:01 PM
I love my LP Special Faded DC. Here's my review:

http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=135186&highlight=LP+Special

and some pics:

http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=137528&highlight=bigdoug1053

m1911
05-14-2006, 02:50 PM
A lot of nice ones out there, but I sure like mine...


http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y287/Sniper-V/02fullincase.jpg

Damn Sniper!.....NICE....bet that's a screamer!
Mark

retro
05-14-2006, 03:06 PM
I love my LP Special Faded DC. Here's my review:

http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=135186&highlight=LP+Special


Nice review and very much exactly my impression. And of all the P-90 guitars I played the faded DC LP really stood out above the others in the shop.

What's weird to me is I do not like the TV yellow at all and I wanted a humbuckered LP; Yet that yellow faded DC LP is actually haunting me now...

JingleJungle
05-14-2006, 03:30 PM
Surprised no one came up with Reverend yet.
Great P90s and great tone circuit. Nice price.

Now beat 'dat !

JJ

JSD
05-14-2006, 03:30 PM
Another option for ya, how about a Tokai P-90 GT....:BEER

http://www.jsdguitarshack.com/images/love_rock_gt_p901.jpg

fatback
05-14-2006, 03:54 PM
It might blow your budget, but after trying one out recently, the next guitar I'm ordering is a 2-P90 Lentz.

:AOK:dude

WordMan
05-14-2006, 04:57 PM
Look, I am NOT trying to cause trouble - beauty is in the eye of the beholder - but to my ear a Faded LP Special Doublecut - and I have owned one and played a bunch - it not great. Really flat and compressed and not supportive of P-90's at all...

LHanson
05-14-2006, 06:16 PM
Another option for ya, how about a Tokai P-90 GT....:BEER

http://www.jsdguitarshack.com/images/love_rock_gt_p901.jpg


Had an opportunity to buy one of those with a bigsby, for $500. Sure wish I had.

CS'56
05-14-2006, 06:38 PM
No matter what brand you get, it's really hard to beat a Set neck, all mahogany guitar with P-90's

Thwap
05-14-2006, 06:41 PM
A lot of nice ones out there, but I sure like mine...


http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y287/Sniper-V/02fullincase.jpg


Dude....that just kills me. I'm gassin bad for a 58 VOS Doublecut Junior. Where'd you score that bad boy.

utterhack
05-14-2006, 06:42 PM
Nice review and very much exactly my impression. And of all the P-90 guitars I played the faded DC LP really stood out above the others in the shop.

What's weird to me is I do not like the TV yellow at all and I wanted a humbuckered LP; Yet that yellow faded DC LP is actually haunting me now...

Sounds like you were over at Truetone... I had the exact same experience with that TV Faded. There's something raw about the "cheap" finish and unbound neck that I find strangely compelling.

Like you, I made the mistake of using it "just to test amps" and it got under my skin... wonder what they'd let it go for...

James
05-14-2006, 06:46 PM
Hello,

New member here. One of my all-time favorite guitars, which happens to be a P90 guitar is the old 90s-era Valley Arts Larry Carlton signature model. I love 'em to pieces and was introduced to the joy of Lollar P90s in the last one I bought from another TGP member (thank you Rick!)

:)

I love P90s; a very different voice to Strat-style single-coils and humbuckers.

all best,
James

ruby7829
05-14-2006, 07:30 PM
In the lower price range (or any price range) I gotta say +1 on the SG Classic. Fat neck, nice and light. Just amazing. I actually like the feel of it better than my Gibson '56 Goldtop. It's just really a lively guitar.

retro
05-14-2006, 08:32 PM
Sounds like you were over at Truetone... I had the exact same experience with that TV Faded. There's something raw about the "cheap" finish and unbound neck that I find strangely compelling.

Like you, I made the mistake of using it "just to test amps" and it got under my skin... wonder what they'd let it go for...

Oh oh, sounds like a race Monday morning...LOL.

Mojoman
05-14-2006, 08:37 PM
When I think P90 anymore I think two words - Ron Thorn!:BEER

utterhack
05-15-2006, 12:06 AM
Oh oh, sounds like a race Monday morning...LOL.

:BEER

I'll have to forfeit. Stupid day job...

nsriley
05-15-2006, 06:28 AM
I've heard great things about these from MF. $599 too but looks like they were popular they are sold out as of now. :(

http://img3.musiciansfriend.com/dbase/pics/products/0/0/4/404004.jpg

-Peace
-Nate

mad dog
05-15-2006, 08:47 AM
The one that ruined me forever on P-90 guitars was a friend's '55 LP special. Stripped, hand-rubbed finish. He let me use it whenever I wanted. Years later, several guitars later (including an SG junior and very nice SG special), I realized what a remarkable instrument that was.

So P-90 remains a mythical guitar place for me. Someday I'll find one that hits me like that LP. It'll be fun trying.

nsriley
05-15-2006, 08:55 AM
I have bad P90 GAS right now.........with no cash......but man this is tempting....from MF....

http://img3.musiciansfriend.com/dbase/pics/products/9/2/9/273929.jpg

-Peace
-Nate

retro
05-15-2006, 12:14 PM
:BEER

I'll have to forfeit. Stupid day job...

:Devil






Ah I cant get in today either...LOL