Lollar or Rio Grande P-90's

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by superthumbs, Feb 22, 2006.


  1. superthumbs

    superthumbs Member

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    I don't post here that often because everyone already knows more than me, but I try and read here everyday.

    I just picked up a '94 Les Paul Special and I believe it has P-100's stock. I want to put some new P-90's in, but am having trouble deciding. The Lollars get great reviews here, but I am wondering about the Rio Grande set as well. The Rio Grande pup's seem to be wound hotter. I need something that responds well to picking dynamics and my guitar's volume knob. I will be playing through my Orange Rockerverb 50 head w/ 2x12 cab. I'm not necessarily looking for a vintage sound, I want something hotter than stock but definetly not metal. I tend to like medium output pickups in the humbucker world (I like the pickups in my SG standard 490R/498T), but really liked what I was getting out of this LP Special. I just need some added umph.

    Suggestions?
     
  2. Brudr

    Brudr Member

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    ANY decent P90 will give you more oomph than the tonesucking P100's. There are a great bunch of P90's on the market today. Lollars and Fralins are great for vintage tone (and I beleive you can get the Fralin's wound a little hotter on request). The Rio Grande's would be a little hotter as would a set of ceramic based Seymour Duncans. Go to the Seymour Duncan page and listen to some of the sound samples between "vintage" type P90's and hotter, ceramic types. That will give you some tone comparisons. I even think the stock Gibson P90 has some great tones. The only ones I really couldn't comment on would be Dimarzio's (no experience there).
     
  3. Mongoose

    Mongoose Member

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    I have A Rio Jazzbar P90, In A jr. And the thing Rips, Not as hot as the Blues bar But Much Sweeter on the clean end, And still Has Great grind When I Crank it up, The only P90 I Can compair this to was a 59 Gibson P90(Es330) I had rewound by Lindy( The Rio Still just sounds Better)


    :AOK
     
  4. Tinman

    Tinman Member

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    My experience with the Rios v. Fralins is nearly the opposite of Mongoose's. I made a guitar and initially installed the Rio Grande Jazzbar/Bluesbar set. The first time I plugged it in I was extremely dissapointed with how dark and muddy the guitar sounded. At that point I didn't know what was causing the problem. After trying different pots to no avail, I decided to try the Fralin set with a stock bridge and a 15% underwound neck. Now it sounds fantastic. Classic P90 sound. I really couldn't get any high end out of the Rio P90s. I really like Rios other pickups, but these things didn't match up well with this guitar. I may recall others commenting on the Rios being dark and muddy. Anyways, Fralin can wind them as hot as you want. I also have a guitar with Lollars. They are very similar to the Fralins. I'm not sure I prefer one over the other. Seymour Duncan makes some killer P90s as well. Stock Gibson P90s are also fine pickups.
     
  5. mainsale

    mainsale Member

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    I dropped a set of Lollar P-90's into my LP Special, rewired it like a 50's Gibson and changed the caps to Orange Drops and I couldnt be happier with it. If I was to do it again today, I'd do everything the same but move up to Hoveland tonecaps.
     
  6. Dday

    Dday Silver Supporting Member

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    No experience with the Rio's, but I have a LP Junior w/ a Lollar P90 in it, and I'm really pleased with the sound. Plus, Jason offered to rewind it (no charge) if I wanted any changes. I'm so impressed with it, and his customer service, that I just ordered a set of his blackface s-coils for my strat. Highly recommended.

    Dday
     
  7. KidMagic

    KidMagic Member

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    I have the Rio Grande Blues Bar / Jazz bar set put into a les paul custom (which was an improvement over the baby buckers). It had a maple neck, yet I still found the pups pretty dark. Wasn't super happy with it. I put a set of p90 Fralins, (15% underwound neck) in a don grosh (mahogy neck, and body w/maple top). Not sure if it's the guitar, but the grosh w/ the Fralins are more chimy, clearer, more musical. They don't overdrive an amp as early, but when using a high gain amp, or fuzz or a distortion pedal it doesn't matter - it sounds fantastic. I just find them more musical, more touch sensative - more like single coil than humbucker. While the Rio Grandes are darker, and lean more in the humbucker direction. It would be interesting to switch the pups in the two guitars, but that's not going to happen cause the LP got sold!
     
  8. suhr_rodney

    suhr_rodney Supporting Member

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    UPS is delivering a set of Lollar P90s today! I can't wait!!! :BOUNCE
     
  9. Mutley

    Mutley Supporting Member

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    I played my first Lollars in a Heritage H-137 a few weeks ago and loved the bridge pup. I recently put a set of Vintage Vibe P90s in my McInturff Zodiac and it's the best $135 I've ever spent. He offers a lot of different P90s and gives a 30 day no questions asked trial. Pete Biltoff is a gentlemen as well as a phyiscist. Good stuff.
     
  10. straightblues

    straightblues Member

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    I had a Rio Bluesbar in my Hamer Jr. that I just bought. It sounded very dark, sorta like my amp had a blanket over it. I immediatley ordered the standard wind from Jason Lollar and this thing now screams. More treble, more bite and more grind. Order the Lollars today. Jason's standard wind is perfect.

    BTW, I have Lollars in two other guitars as well and have used them for several years now.
     
  11. mrmojorisin

    mrmojorisin Member

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    No comparison. The Lollar P90's just kill the Rio P90's. They arent even in the same league. Rios sound muddy and dark compared to the Lollars. The Lollars make the Fralins sound kind of anemic too. Only other option in same league is the Harmonic Design VP-90's IMHO. Lollars sound a bit more vintage and organic, but HD's are significantly quieter (some innovative shielding technique).
     
  12. big mike

    big mike Fixed Bias Moderator Staff Member

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    Way different. The lollars are bright and crisp and jangly, the Rio's are fat and warm and smokey, with much more output.

    They're both good. Depends on what you're trying to do with them.
     
  13. eric102673

    eric102673 Member

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    WOW. If I didn't know better, I'd think the Rios just BLOW based off of the reviews here. The fact of the matter is there hasn't been a bad P-90 mentioned in this thread (except for the 100 of course). I am a self confessed P-90 whore and have tried so many flavors of the pickup in so many guitars I can't even keep track any more.

    What I've found is that there's a P-90 for every taste and a guitar for every P-90. It just comes down to your own ears and the individual guitar that the pickup is going into. As Mike says, the Rio is smokey and it doesn't have the crisp high end of other P-90s. I happen to think this pickup is an absolute miracle in a solid limba guitar. Seriously. It overdrives brilliantly and never gets raspy or hot. It's thick and fat with a rich round tone.

    The lollar is a brillian vintage type pickup. it breaks up VERY smoothly and has a great snarl. The Lollar lacks the low end of the Rio though. The Rio has a very deep rich bass, where the Lollar really is lacking in the low end.

    HDs have the low end AND the top end sparkle but I don't like them for heavier overdrive because IMO that extra top end sparkle becomes raspy/fizzy in a less than pleasant way.

    For cleans I've found the HDs have the upper hand. They have a rich deep bass and a lovely upper register chime and sparkle.

    For overdriven tones I love the Rios in just the right guitar. Because they don't have that upper high end sparkle you can push them into a heavier sweeter overdrive that kills for rock and blues tones. I think they can be a little bottom heavy in certain instruments, and in others with an otherwise darker tone, they can be a bit dull as mentioned above.

    Gibson P-90s are really ragged and wooly, but have a high end crispness all their own. They call to mind a vintage pickup but they are not as smooth nor as complex in nature.

    If the lack of low end is acceptable, I think the Lollars are a great all around P-90. They don't quite have the low end of some others, but they really sound great in a variety of instruments.

    FWIW my 59 Jr with the original Gibby P-90 has the overdriven richness of the Lollar with the full spectrum of tone of the HD but is a little more jagged and "woody" in flavor. Dunno how much of that is the pickup and how much of that is the wood, but since it's all original I'm not pulling it out to find out. ;)

    I've not found the "perfect" P-90 yet. If I could somehow combine the low end of the Rio with the Lollars ability to overdrive so smoothly and still retain it's lovely fat clean tones that'd really be something. As it is, some pickups just rule in some guitars and not so much in others. They all have their own place. It's up to you and your ears to decide what that is.

    -e.
     
  14. Neill

    Neill Member

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    nvr tried the rios but im digging the lollars im using... great clarity with great crunch ... through my tweed bassman the sound i very crunchy and wide sounding with a definite lower mid heaviness. the bridge is where i live for crunchy sounds... the neck i prefer for clean tones as it is bass heavy.
     
  15. superthumbs

    superthumbs Member

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    Wow! That was the kind of description I was hoping for. The low end is important to me, but my guitar is solid mahagony so I don't know if this would make the Rios sound muddy. Maybe I will just try both the Lollars and Rios and decide for myself. It doesn't look like I would take too bad of a hit when I throw the unused pups on the bay.
     
  16. Tinman

    Tinman Member

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    The guitar I wrote the previous post about is solid mahogany, and the Rios absolutely did BLOW in that guitar. I can dig dark and smokey, but these were dark and muddy. I don't think anyone would like the sound this axe was producing. I was ready to love the Rios. I have Rios in three other guitars, two Teles and a Strat, and I love 'em. I can't recommend the P90s though.
     
  17. superthumbs

    superthumbs Member

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    That's what I was worried about, especially when I am using an amp that tends to be on the darker side as well. I think I will have better luck with the Lollars to start off, possibly the HD's.
     
  18. suhr_rodney

    suhr_rodney Supporting Member

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    Excellent post Eric. Thank you! :BEER
     
  19. 54GT

    54GT Silver Supporting Member

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    I had a Rio in a mahogany Koll Jr and had the dark/muddy problem. I had Lollars in another guitar and love them but wanted to try something different. Stephens Design makes a really nice P90 - a somewhat different vibe than the Lollar but very tight and does the clean-to-scream thing very well with a Marshall or similar amp. Worth a look, and Dave is a great guy who works with you on what you need.

    Corey
     
  20. keith_t4e

    keith_t4e Member

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    What would you all recomend for a Gibson LP special single cut currently with two P100s.
     

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