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Harmonic Design Z-90 pickups - anything else comparable?

jbp

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,568
Hey folks-

I've been reading up on these pickups and they sound like they might be a good fit for me. But it also looks like they've been around for awhile.

Is anything else comparable? Anything new on the radar?

I'm also curious if they pair well with other pickups and if so, what.
 

mad dog

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,981
There are a fair number of other HB sized P-90s to try. The Fralin P-92 is one I want to get, based on hearing a tele with that p/u in the neck spot. In that case, the bridge p/u was also Fralin wound. It was a Linholf tele. My guess is any of the good HB sized P-90s would work great in that kind of set up.

Outside of that, my experience is limited to two Z90s in a Guild Bluesbird-ish type guitar (Dearmond M-72.) All that good stuff I've read about them turn out to be true. If you're on the fence, just give them a try. Should they be not to your taste, some other tone hound here on TGP will gladly take them off your hands.
 

Strung Up

Member
Messages
1,595
Nope.

That's not to say that there aren't equally good humbucker-zized P90 "type", "inspired", etc. pickups, but I think Scott's really mapped out his own turf with these pickups. I personally don't think they're particularly P90-ish, but they cover a LOT of ground that other pickups don't.
 

Lolaviola

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,532
I've had a set of Z-90 in my Les Paul. I think they are very good, but hum like singles.
They do not remind me of p-90's at all. They are much flatter in their freq. response.
I put my humbuckers back in.
 
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Jahn

Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
28,931
They work great in chambered/semihollow guitars. Had a pair in a ES135, man that was good stuff.
 

Jon Silberman

10Q Jerry & Dickey
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
41,879
They are not true P90-sounding at all. If that's what your after, save yourself a boatload of dough with something like inexpensive GFS Mean 90s.
 

jbp

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,568
Can anyone compare them to the Fralin P-92? Based off description, the Fralins sound similar to the Z-90.
 

erksin

Senior Member
Messages
23,130
I hear the Z-90s as a cross between a P-90, a Jazzmaster, and a PAF. They really don't sound like anything else I've played.
 

kludge

The droid you're looking for
Messages
7,106
I'll join the chorus saying that they don't really sound like a P90, but rather have their own thing going. Absolutely AMAZING pickups. I normally have no tolerance for hum, but I put up with it for this pickup. They'll spoil you.
 

splatt

david torn / splattercell
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
25,558
the HD z90's (and, the vp90's) are
among my very favorite pickups.

neither seem quite like typical p90's
--- the vp's are the much throatier & vocal of the 2, imo ---
but..... as it turns out,
for my purposes,
i prefer them both over p90's.
fwiw.

dt / spltrcl
 

Jon Silberman

10Q Jerry & Dickey
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
41,879
I use to have two sets in two guitars. I replaced one set with GFS Mean 90s. Actually preferred them there for truer P90 tones. Sold the Z90s, recouped way more than the cost of the GFS PUPs so was happy in the end. Still have the other set of Z90s here. Won't be ordering anything more from Petersen, though.

 
Last edited:

mischultz

Member
Messages
1,086
No. Whether you love it or not is another question, but no. If anything they sound more like the large format G&L pickups than anything else I've heard, but even that's not a great comparison. Maybe if you drew a line from the Fender 57/62 pickup through the G&L MFD, the Z90 would be about the same distance on the other side. Just as big an idealized Leo flavor as you could ever hope to find.

Put them in the first guitar I built and recently put one into the bridge of an Ernie Ball SUB. It's pretty much the sound in my head, if that makes sense. Hope you have the same experience, 'cause it's lovely...

M
 

cameron

Member
Messages
4,178
Can anyone compare them to the Fralin P-92? Based off description, the Fralins sound similar to the Z-90.
I have a bridge Z-90 in my Les Paul and a set of P-92s in a PRS SE. The Z-90 is a very rude high output single coil pickup. It doesn't really sound exactly like a vinatage P-90, but it's got a lot of bite. The P-92 is a hum-canceling split coil pickup, which also doesn't quite sound like a real P-90, but in a different way from the Z-90. The Z-90 is as rude and in-your-face as a P-90, just with a different character, whereas the P-92 is almost sweet-sounding with a sophisticated sheen to it.

Both very good pickups.
 

jbp

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,568
Necro bump.

I started this thread years ago and have bought, enjoyed and sold some Z90s since then. I dig them A LOT, but I find them pretty noisy.

I seem to recall someone saying that Fralin's new Big Single might be in the same tonal ballpark as the z90.

Any new pickups that sound like the Z but are hum-canceling?
 
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tdump

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
593
Check these out: http://bg-pups.com/pure90/ . I have a set in my main guitar and love them. I've had a lot of people compliment the tone of that guitar, and it's gotta be the pickups because it sure isn't made of any kind of tone wood. You can get them reverse wind reverse polarity which is hum canceling when both pups are selected.
 




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