Harmonic Design Super 90, P90 tone?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Sam Evans, Nov 7, 2004.


  1. Sam Evans

    Sam Evans Compliance Officer Gold Supporting Member

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    Anyone using this p/u? Is it really a P90 soul in a Tele p/u body? I'd love some of those chainsaw upper-mids in a Tele p/u.

    Everything I've tried so far is too smooth in the low end, not enough bite. Thoughts?

    Sam
     
  2. Ogre

    Ogre Member

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    I have a Harmonic Design VP90 in the bridge position of my McInturff Taurus Sportster. It's not the same pickup, but you could get an idea of what they do.
     
  3. illinimax

    illinimax Gold Supporting Member

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    Love that tele pickup, but only after I put in higher value pots (500k) and a smaller tone cap (0.015). Make sure you adjust the pickup height to dial it in to your liking.
     
  4. Sam Evans

    Sam Evans Compliance Officer Gold Supporting Member

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    Gotta check out your VP90, Bill.

    What's it it sound like, illin? Big, full,dark,bright,krang etc....

    Sam
     
  5. illinimax

    illinimax Gold Supporting Member

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    Full, with no ice-pick. Warm sounding with stock pots and caps, more balanced with the values I mentioned before. Plenty of 'krang' for me (like that term). Great tele pup for a hot blues or country-rock tone.
     
  6. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    I've tried the HD VP90's. They're okay in a vintage kind of way, but for more rip-roarin' P90 mojo I'd suggest the hotter Seymour Duncans. I know they're not real boutiquey, but DAMN, do they ever sound good! I have a set in a Hamer Special.
     
  7. roushc

    roushc Guest

    I seem to think that the hot Duncan p90s mush out a bit too much with lots of gain. I've been thinking about grabbing a pair of HD VP-90s for my CS Tele Jr.
     
  8. george4908

    george4908 Member

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    The two posts above illustrate a point I've made elsewhere about the SD P-90s as used in the Fender Tele Jr. They're the same ones that Hamer used in the Specials -- but Hamer used the more typical 500k pots that Gibson used, whereas Fender used the 250k pots. This, more than anything else, accounts for the difference, and why Tele Jrs. sound muddy to some, and the Hamers clearer. Swap out the pots before you swap out the pickups and you may be in for a pleasant surprise.
     
  9. roushc

    roushc Guest

    Ya know, I actually have a pair of CTS 500k pots sitting right next to me, but I have no idea how to solder.

    Should I suck it up and take it to a tech, or is there a book I can find to help? I'm a total electronics idiot.
     
  10. illinimax

    illinimax Gold Supporting Member

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    I spoke with Scott at HD one time and he felt that higher pot values were a must with the s90 tele bridge pickup, or alternatively use a TBX tone control with a volume bypass cap.
     
  11. Bluewail

    Bluewail Silver Supporting Member

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    I have a set of the Harmonic Design VP90's in a Les Paul Custom, a Custom Shop version from the early 90's. They sound phenomenal. While they certainly aren't wimpy in terms of output, they are so open and airy that you'd swear they were a lot lower output that they really are. The bridge pickup is fat but retains a good amount of high end. The neck pickup gives that warm ES-5 kinda' vibe. Both pickups together is just too good to be true. Spanky enough to play R&B or country. Only caveat is the string height adjustment. First of all follow their recommendations and adjust them pretty close to the strings. I actually got longer screws and springs from Gibson to push them up closer. Secondly, I've alway found that P-90's empahsize the G string output, perhaps because the mounting screw acts as a sort of extra pole piece. I have mine set-up to compensate for that through the pole screw adjustments. I also have the bridge pickup noticebly louder than neck to add to the chime when both are on. Having had the Seymour Duncan 90's I can tell you there is NO comparison.
     
  12. shallbe

    shallbe Deputy Plankspanker Gold Supporting Member

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    I have the Super 90 in a Tele with an alder body. It does get very close to a P-90 sound---but actually closer in an ash Tele. I had it in that guitar as well, and the ash has more upper mid zing. It is also as loud as a P-90, but not overwound sounding at all.

    Regarding the VP90's-----I replaced the Seymore Duncan's in my Tele JR with the HD VP90's. What an amazing difference. Louder, clearer, but with much more sensitivity and dynamics. Just a great pickup, IMO.

    The Duncans to me (Custom bridge and Hot Soapbar neck) were noisy, flat and dark. The Custom was like a bad humbucker----how much worse does it get than that? Take my view of Seymore Duncan with a grain of salt. I thought the Lil' 59 Tele bridge pickup was the worst thing I've ever heard. IMO, there are too many GREAT options out there to ever consider at Duncan again (HD, Lollar, Wagner, Fralin, etc, etc.)
     
  13. stan p

    stan p Member

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    I wonder how a VP90 in the bridge would match with a PAF-bucker in the Neck. Worth trying? Did anyone?
     
  14. Jon Silberman

    Jon Silberman 10Q Jerry & Dickey Gold Supporting Member

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    I replaced the Super 90 in my '52 RI with a Fender Nocaster Reissue bridge PUP and am much happier. My tech Phil Jacoby, a confirmed Tele-phile, put it best: "A Tele should sound like a Tele and the S90 doesn't."

    Of course, if you don't want your Tele bridge tone to sound like a true Tele, YMMV.
     
  15. Garygtr

    Garygtr Almost as good! Silver Supporting Member

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    I agree with that in principle-it's easier to get a fat, hot sound out of a lower output pickup with the aid of a pedal or two than it is to get a spanky clean sound out of a high output pickup.
    But, if you dig that fatter P-90 sound, you might want to consider having Scott make you a tapped version of the Super 90. I had one a couple years ago, and it worked out great. The tap gave the pickup an output somewhere near the output of his Vintage + pickup, which is still hot but not ridiculously so. Used in conjunction with a 4 way switch, you can have neck only/neck and tapped bridge/tapped bridge/full output bridge. If a "best of both worlds" scenario exists, this is it IMHO.
     

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