Best P-90s for <$125 a set?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by George Jetson, Jul 17, 2006.


  1. George Jetson

    George Jetson Member

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    Hello fellow gear heads, I'd like to replace the no-namer p-90s in my Dillion '57 Goldtop replica, but I would rather not spend almost as much on the replacement pups as I did on the whole guitar. Its a great axe, (Dave Stephens apparently agrees) but the pups can get a little squealy and harsh at times.

    From the research I did, I've narrowed it to these makers:
    Dirty Dog - $125/set
    JS Moore - $125/set
    Vintage Vibe - $125/set

    So my question to the collective experience on the forum is, has anyone tried any of these p-90s and if so, whaddya think?

    I am looking for more of a vintage blues tone than a modern sound. A little rough around the edges, but controlled. Not muddy, but nice and fat with those killer harmonics we all crave. The Dillion '57GT is most often paired straight into my cranked-up '67 Super Reverb. Resistance ratings and website sound clips can only take you so far.

    Other suggestions for makers meeting my budgetary restraints also cheerfully appreciated.:D

    p.s. (yes I will also be upgrading the electronics in the Dillion)
     
  2. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

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    I can tell you Vintage Vibe pickups are as good as anything out there. I haven't tried the others you mentioned though. I've had good results with Mighty Mite p-90s and you can find them on ebay for around $30. I wouldn't put them in the same league as VV but they might be close enough for rock.
     
  3. walpow

    walpow Guest

    I put a set of Mighty Mites in a hollowbody I built from parts (mostly '60s Japanese stuff) and was stunned by how good they sound. I'm perfectly willing to accept that others may sound better, but for 25 or 30 bucks, they might be worth a try.

    Nathan
    http://walpow.com
     
  4. Crazyquilt

    Crazyquilt Guitar Dad Silver Supporting Member

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  5. George Jetson

    George Jetson Member

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    Hi,

    Thanks, I considered GFS, MM and other inexpensive sets too. The OEMs on the Dillion probably aren't as bad as I make them out to be. What I really want is a "next level" tone improvement. I aiming for second tier-level stuff, like the VVs.

    Thanks for your suggestions.
    GJ
     
  6. George Jetson

    George Jetson Member

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    CQ,

    Thanks for the tip. I have no idea how these compare to the others I've listed. Do you know if their pups are handwound or machine wound? From the description on their website, I'd say the ones in the Dillion (also Korean-made) are probably similar (at least sonically) to the OEMs that they are dumping for $19 a set.

    Might be worth a gamble for that attractive price, about the same as Mighty Mites and GFS. I wonder if it will give me the WOW factor I'm looking for though?:crazyguy

    GJ
     
  7. Crazyquilt

    Crazyquilt Guitar Dad Silver Supporting Member

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    I figure the OEMs are nothing special; I wouldn't bother with them.

    I don't think the VVs are second tier; Biltoft is a pretty widely respected pickup maker.

    I would assume the $65 Reverend P-90s to be machine wound, as is most everything outside of the "boutique" world.
     
  8. bullfrogblues

    bullfrogblues Supporting Member

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    I bought a used set of Fralins for $80, there are deals out there.

    Allan.
     
  9. n8b

    n8b Member

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    Based on this, I think the Vintage Vibes with Alnico V magnets will fit. I've had my set for a few months now and I'm still as happy with them as the day I installed them. They aren't muddy like some of the overwound types, and when I back off the volume I don't experience treble loss (even without a treble bleeder). The set is well balanced also, so the neck doesn't overpower the bridge.

    Also, Vintage Vibes construction is top notch, very neat flatwork, great looking bobbins, and clean potting and solderjoints. I have a tele set with a custom abalone top on the bridge p/u that is sweet looking. Definitely pro quality pickups, not second-tier at all.
     
  10. George Jetson

    George Jetson Member

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    Sorry, I meant the Reverend model(s) are worth looking into at $65/set. I listened to the clips on the site, not really the tones I would set up for, but they might be good nonetheless. Sounds like the VVs might be worth pursuing, based on comments so far.

    Thanks again.
     
  11. Turnipfarmer

    Turnipfarmer Member

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    i have heard the Kent Armstrong P-90's and they sound good, and are low priced. I think reverend may have had Kent make their pickups as well- but with a better balance between neck and bridge, so I would give those Reverends a shot!
     
  12. BoyMambo

    BoyMambo Member

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    I have not tried Wolfe's P90's, but I recently installed a set of Wolfetone Legends, and I have to say that they are great pickups and Wolfe's service is second to none.

    http://www.wolfetone.com/newmodels.html
     
  13. George Jetson

    George Jetson Member

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    Thanks for the recommendation, but they don't meet my budget of <$125/set.
     
  14. George Jetson

    George Jetson Member

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    Thanks for the tip, I am trying to keep an open mind (and ear) to all makers within my budget. It's great to get some feedback on ones like Kent Armstrong, Duncan, MM and other mass-produced brands. I'm all about the tone (within my $pending limit), not the name on the back.

    I hope I didn't offend anyone by calling the VVs "second-tier", it's certainly not a slight against their quality, as I have no experience with them to make that kind of judgment. I was really talking about price points. First tier are the Bare Knuckle, Stephens Design, Harmonic Design, Lollar, Voodoo and Wolfetones of the world, then the ones I am looking at and then the mass-produced tier.

    The Reverends are starting to look better to me as a low-cost alternative. I wonder how muddy their "hot" ones are? I tend to stay away from grossly overwound pups because they start to lose clarity, but I do like the sound of p-90s with a little dirt and grind to them.:cool:
     
  15. NB_Terry

    NB_Terry Member

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    I'm very happy with my dirty dog pickups. Wound to approx 8k. They're especially nice for clean warm sounds, lots of chime as well.
     
  16. George Jetson

    George Jetson Member

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    Thanks for the input. I found out from Tom that the direct price is actually $100 a set. Not too shabby. I think I am looking for some more on the Leslie West end of the scale though. :JAM

    GJ
     
  17. George Jetson

    George Jetson Member

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    Finally heard back from Joe at Reverend about the two types of P-90s they are offering. From his description, it sounds like the regular output ones are more along the lines of what I am looking for. You can always add dirt to a pickup's sound with a pedal or amp, but it is very difficult to remove it. Still contemplating.:YinYang
     
  18. kenoflife

    kenoflife Supporting Member

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    Any one have opinions about the Rio Grande P90s?
    I have a pair that I never put in a guitar, had them about 5 years...:confused:
     
  19. George Jetson

    George Jetson Member

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    Hi, In my research I looked at these too, but they are beyond my budget limit. From what I read and listened to, these are pretty overwound, so I think you'd be more on the modern sound end of the scale than vintage.

    I'm just about ready to wrap it up and make the plunge. Here are the final contenders in order of preference:

    Vintage Vibe P-90s - I really like what I've read and heard about these. The only pickups so far that have addressed the issue of hum. Also like the fact that you can swap out the Alnico V and Ceramic VIII magnets.

    Reverend P-90s - It's hard to find out much about these, because they are not normally marketed as a stand-alone purchase. There's a lot of good comments about the sound of the guitars that are equipped with these pickups.

    Seymour Duncan Antiquity P-90s - The only Alnico II equipped pickup I've found. Definitely way over on the vintage sound end of the scale, maybe too far. Intriguing, but I'm a little concerned about the signal output since P-90s usually have to be so close to the strings anyway. On the plus side, the Alnico IIs should have a little less string pull and give more sustain.

    :messedup
     
  20. The Pup

    The Pup Supporting Member

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    Thread Resurrection!!!

    I've been using these Dirty Dog P-90s for a number of years and they are the real deal.

    Nice vintage chime and grind...simply wonderful!

    I have guitars with Fralin, Lollar, SD Antiquity, and vintage Gibson P-90 pickups; and these Dirty Dogs hit the spot!
     

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