Gibson P-94

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by dallasblues, Feb 2, 2012.

  1. dallasblues

    dallasblues Member

    Messages:
    1,408
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2008
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    Hey guys. I'm thinking about changing up pickups in my ES-335. I like the sound of the '57 Classics that are in the guitar now, but they're still lacking something. My main amp is a '51 Fender Pro. It can be a tad dark on the tonal spectrum and I like the way my single coiled guitars sound when playing it. Anyone have experience with P-94's?
     
  2. Stringrazor

    Stringrazor Member

    Messages:
    1,532
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2004
    Location:
    Southern California
    I put a set of P94s into a '99 Epi Dot Deluxe (along with a Graphtec nut and Bigsby). The result was/is completely satisfying and exactly what I'd hoped for. The P94s are brighter than HBs but much fuller that than Strat single coils (but you probably know that already). They produce wonderful clean tones but also can really drive an amp or OD pedal well. They were absolutely perfect for the Dot and I have no doubt they'll sound great in your 335.
     
  3. dallasblues

    dallasblues Member

    Messages:
    1,408
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2008
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    Thanks! I think I'm going to order a pair next week and put em in. What kind of volume/tone pots do I need for these? 500k?
     
  4. Muddy T-Bone

    Muddy T-Bone Member

    Messages:
    64
    Joined:
    May 26, 2011
    Location:
    Folsom CA
  5. Stringrazor

    Stringrazor Member

    Messages:
    1,532
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2004
    Location:
    Southern California
    I left the stock 500k pots in and they work fine. FYI, my PRS SE II Soapbar came with 500k pots for the stock P90s.
     
  6. rumblebox

    rumblebox Member

    Messages:
    425
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2012
    Location:
    san antonio
    Are you gonna experiment with different magnets or leave them stock?
     
  7. bek

    bek Member

    Messages:
    1,350
    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Location:
    California
    As expensive as P94s are, you might consider getting a set from a custom winder. I recommend VintageVibe. Pete wound me a humbucker to my specs (sound-wise; he's in charge of the details) to match my ultra-low output single-coils in a Strat. That humbucker is anything but dull. You could have a very different humbucker made or a P90 size, as you have been thinking (which he also makes). I've also been happy with the work of Jon Moore from ToneForDays, but he's in Canada. No problem except a bit more time. Lots of people love the P94s but I found them a bit hot. So much depends on your amp and playing. If you keep the amp, then change the pickups. Maybe another amp would be a good solution. Maybe some Lollar Imperials?
     
  8. erksin

    erksin Member

    Messages:
    21,625
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2004
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    I had a set of P-94s and found them to be pretty dark and frankly lifeless - I tried messing with the heights, adjusting polepieces, nothing seemed to help. Sounded fine into a dirty amp or with a pedal, but clean stuff was just really dry with no dynamics to speak of.

    I played on them for over a year before I switched them out for a set of Harmonic Design Z-90s and the differences were pretty dramatic in terms of clarity, harmonic content, and overall complexity of the sound. Lots of detail so there isn't much room to hide, but they also have such a richness to their sound that the P-94s just plain lack. The Z-90s were at the time like $40 cheaper per pickup, not sure what either go for now.
     
  9. bek

    bek Member

    Messages:
    1,350
    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Location:
    California
    That's what I think, too. Too hot to have much character.
     
  10. JKjr

    JKjr Member

    Messages:
    780
    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2008
    Location:
    Raleighwood
    What they said. Plenty of better choices both HB and single. Just say no.
     
  11. dallasblues

    dallasblues Member

    Messages:
    1,408
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2008
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    Like I said... My old '51 Pro is pretty dark sounding. Perhaps is the octal preamp tubes or the 15" Jensen that makes it so. I absolutely love it with my single coil equipped guitars tho. Another thing to consider is the pots that are currently in my 335. For some reason, my guitar came with 300k (or 250k?) pots installed instead of 500k. It's the satin finish 335... I think I bought it new in '07. I suppose upgrading to 500k would open things up with the '57 Classics. Which would make a bigger change tonally? Changing pots, changing pickups, or both? I feel a major pain in the ass project any way it goes here.
     
  12. Stringrazor

    Stringrazor Member

    Messages:
    1,532
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2004
    Location:
    Southern California
    If it's still too dark when you open them up all the way, changing them out isn't going to do much. I'll try to record a few clips if my Dot w/P94s direct into a '69 SFDR when I get a chance. I couldn't disagree with the naysayers more. I think they are very responsive and dynamic. There are probably better pups available (there's always something better....). I did get mine used (here) so I don't know about competitive price. I just got some mini-HBs that I'm happy with from GFS (Guitar Fetish) so if you're looking to say some $, you might try HB-sized p90s from them.
     
  13. dallasblues

    dallasblues Member

    Messages:
    1,408
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2008
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    I'd love to hear those clips for sure! I just can't decide where to start. I guess I could order some pots and solder them in to see if they brighten things up enough. If not, maybe the P94's are worth a shot. Do you have 250k or 500k pots with your P94's?
     
  14. Calloway

    Calloway Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,672
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2005
    Location:
    Austin,TX
    for me 500k pots is best with the p-90's. I have a set of the GFS mean 90's which are a little darker than the dream 90's and they sound amazing in my SG. People here in Austin have come up to me (guys with high dollar pups in their guitars) and ask me who hand wound my pickups. They are amazed when I tell them they are GFS and cost $75 a set. I put Antiquities in my 335 conversion and they are quite bright and perfect for that guitar. If I got another 335 I would surely consider some P-90's however.
     
  15. erksin

    erksin Member

    Messages:
    21,625
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2004
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    A SFDR is a VERY different amp than a '51 Pro...
     
  16. Stringrazor

    Stringrazor Member

    Messages:
    1,532
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2004
    Location:
    Southern California
    OK, fair enough - it is a bright amp to begin with. I'll also use my '65 Ampeg Jet with the original speaker. That one is pretty dark too.

    Will have to wait for the w/e. Pulled the dot out and the strings are dead (sound like flatwounds but they're not)....
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2012
  17. dallasblues

    dallasblues Member

    Messages:
    1,408
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2008
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    Okay... I've been doing a little research. Some possibilities are... Gibson P-94, Harmonic Design Z-90, Vintage Vibe HS-90, Bareknuckle Mississippi Queen. They all look like quality pickups and have seen a few video bits of them on youtube.

    I don't dislike my '57 Classics that are in my 335 right now. They're really nice for that particular sound. I just think my ear is geared more towards a single coil sound. To me, humbuckers are often smoother and more compressed than single coils. I like bite, punch, and pick attack. Am I off on this assessment? Would changing my pots to 500k, while keeping the '57 Classics, give me any more of that?
     
  18. snakestretcher

    snakestretcher Member

    Messages:
    4,297
    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2008
    Location:
    Exeter, England
    A friend just replaced the neck 'bucker in his Silhouette with a Mississippi Queen, mated with a BareKnuckle Mule in the bridge. Brilliant pickups.
    Also if you speak to Tim at Bareknuckle he'll wind pickups to your taste-given the restrictions of verbal tone descriptions!

    A semi-hollow will smooth out the gritty grind you hear in a single coil in a solid-body to a certain extent, so a MQ should sound smooth but with a definite bite to the top end-rather than the more compressed attack of a humbucker. I love Teles for that 'immediacy'.
     
  19. dallasblues

    dallasblues Member

    Messages:
    1,408
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2008
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    I suppose I'm looking for a pickup that's warm and fat like a bucker, but has clarity and punches like a single coil. To my ears, P-90's fit that mold. I just don't care for a compressed sound. I absolutely need expressiveness.
     
  20. erksin

    erksin Member

    Messages:
    21,625
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2004
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Then you shouldn't be looking at a straight up P-90 sound IMO.

    The nice thing about the Z-90 is that it has the ability to morph into several different types of pickups just based on where you have your guitar's volume knob - they can be thick and smoky sounding like a PAF at full up, roll back a little and it'll still have some mid bark like a P-90 as the clarity increases, roll back some more and you'll get close to Jazzmaster type sounds.

    Most P-90s I've tried (not a huge amount, but enough) need to be set fairly low to kill the compression and at that point they don't really bark all that well which is IMO the whole reason to play a P-90 in the first place.
     

Share This Page