So is it true P90 pickups aren't good for heavy metal?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by JoeNewbie, Apr 24, 2011.

  1. JoeNewbie

    JoeNewbie Member

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    I've always been against Les Paul Juniors. I thought they were cheap guitars for posers. Well, that's until I got my custom shop reissue...

    It's brutal, it's thick, and whether I play it clean or with very heavy distortion, I get amazing results.

    Now, I also play a P90 through an R4 Custom, and it just sounds terrible cranked up. The aggression is all gone and I sound like a confused jazz player. Bad... ;)

    Is it "normal" that the P90 sounds so different in my guitars?

    Are there any other Junior fans who use their instrument for the heavier end of the spectrum?
     
  2. m@2

    m@2 Supporting Member

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    i use a LP junior with one P90 (made by edwards) for fairly heavy music \m/ \m/
     
  3. memiller

    memiller Member

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    P90's are excellent for heavier music. Good midrange cut, full low end, high output. What else could you want?

    They don't sound good in every guitar, but no pickup does.
     
  4. TattooedCarrot

    TattooedCarrot Supporting Member

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  5. Jim S

    Jim S Supporting Member

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    It is not true.
     
  6. vortexxxx

    vortexxxx Silver Supporting Member

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    Classic 70's Black Sabbath = P-90s
     
  7. Stinky Kitty

    Stinky Kitty Member

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    Any pickup can do metal if there is enough "goosage" coming from other avenues. Stick a decent distortion pedal in front of a P90 or play a low output P90 through a Soldano SLO and it will sound mighty fine.
     
  8. JoeNewbie

    JoeNewbie Member

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    I agree 95%... ;)

    I have enough pedals around here to have a total processed and unnatural sound... But yet my RI Strat and RI Tele will only take a certain amount of distortion before I sound like Sonic Youth. My ES-175? Forget it. Same with the R4 Custom.

    I love my Junior... ;)
     
  9. theruley

    theruley Member

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  10. tbonesullivan

    tbonesullivan Member

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    My Hamer p90 specials + mesa boogie DC-5 with the EQ on and in a V: pure metal mayhem. If you want more proof, just listen to some Mountain. Leslie west pulled out some of the raunchiest rock tones I've ever heard from his LP Jrs.
     
  11. LocustXReign

    LocustXReign Supporting Member

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    Not at all. It's always been my secret weapon.
     
  12. Deathmonkey

    Deathmonkey Member

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    I think the only knock on P90s as a metal pickup is the hum, especially with super high gain amps. But if you can ignore or tame that, go nuts. Green Day and Stone Temple Pilots get great heavy tones from P90s. I dunno if they'd work for super-technical Death metal, but I'm sure someone could make em work.
     
  13. Bobby D

    Bobby D Member

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    only "old guys" like P-90s (thread from last year) :munch
     
  14. LocustXReign

    LocustXReign Supporting Member

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    Proper death metal is all about amp specifics IMO, how you eq it, and a low tuning goes a long way. I've put an LP jr through a 5150, an Engl, and a few other sundry high gainers for fun, and it pulls it off just fine.
     
  15. V-man

    V-man Member

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    Take this FWIW since it isnt a "true" A-B, but I did a Gibson V single-bucker project last year, and settled on the P-rail as the lone pickup, giving me 4 tonal options in one. The P90 setting is warm and syncs well with a clean channel or with a little TS-9 boost through a Marshall, but when the gain is up and the muting and harmonics ensue, it is thin and neutered for a tight metal sound. I almost always click over to the humbucker at this point. The only "metal" the p90 does for me is early Danzig, and even then, it depends.
     
  16. TD Moyer

    TD Moyer Member

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    I had Ilitch Chiliatchhi (inventor of the Suhr backplate system) "silence" my '56 Gibson Historic LP w/ P90s...absolutely amazing how quiet it is without messing with my tone at all.

    Made it possible for me to crank my Paul through my Naylor amp loud as balls without the crazy noise & hum that was there before...

    Back to the point - a good P90 guitar can do pretty much anything you want it to but all pickups are not created equal. I've owned a Collings 290 that should've been amazing but was so "polite" it was, well, boring. To contrast, I've owned my '56 for ages and also owned one of Elliot Easton's old custom shop Juniors - both of which have the best, growly, aggressive P90s I've ever heard. Damn the booteek pups, an old Gibby P90 will do it all.
     
  17. Nico.

    Nico. Member

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    Ok. I tried the new SG's with P90's, and not only are they bad for heavy metal. I don't think you can play with more than moderates amount of gain, period.

    Compared to say my other pickups: Suhr Aldrich, BKP Rebel Yell, Mules, JB, etc the P90's are really terrible under lots of gain. They flub out like you wouldn't believe, no low end, no note separation, and huge amounts of noise.
    Having said that they work beautifully for clean and lightly overdriven sounds.
     
  18. CharlyG

    CharlyG Play It Forward Gold Supporting Member

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    In my day, heavy metal was Mountain , Black Sabbath, etc.

    P90s were used by them........

    Mississippi Queen was done on a Paul Jr with a P90 in the bridge.
     
  19. bluzkat

    bluzkat Member

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    That's cuz us 'old guys'... know *stuff*!! :p


    :cool:
     
  20. Halowords

    Halowords Member

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    Would it depend on what you classify as "heavy metal?" Nothing against the Black Sabbath, Green Day, or Stone Temple Pilots examples, they may all be great examples of bands with nice P90's tones, I'm not sure any of those are what come to mind when I think "Heavy Metal." Black Sabbath and Stone Temple Pilots have a slightly driven Classic Rock sound, and Green Day is a Post Punk band turned pretty standard Rock band/love letter to John Lennon. Sure, you could use P90's for a "Metal" band, but might not be the best choice for something like Opeth, Slipknot, Meshuggah, or Neurosis. That said, I've read Isis used P90's to some extent.

    Overall, there is some that I think humbuckers would be a better choice for, but Isis did some pretty heavy music (and some nice lower-gain melodic stuff) so there is some that I'm sure P90's would surprise people with. Still, I'm not buying Green Day or STP being very convincing arguments for the opinion that "P90's are great for Metal" and think there is a lot of metal where it would be a stretch for P90's to be considered the ideal first pickup choice.

    -Cheers
     

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