p90 or ASAT special?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by rorschah, Sep 8, 2005.


  1. rorschah

    rorschah Member

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    I'm stuck. Help me decide, please. I'm going for the sensitivity of single coil, with more of the harmonic richness and warmth, but NO MUD.

    I right now mostly play a strat and a tele, though the new ES125 with one p90 is getting a lot of playtime (thanks, TGPers, for that recc!). Through Fender-style stuff. A lot of fingerstyle blues and jazz, and a some punkier, grimier stuff. Deepest love is probably for the tele - its strange harshnesses, its resonance, its ability to crunch and sign - and the ES125 - with the ability to park it at the sweet spot and shift from clean, very harmonically pretty notes to total driving, roaring distortion. But way too big and delicate for gigging for me.

    The tele is great clean, but I've realized that some of my favorite filthier noises - Robert Nighthawk, a lot of old Chicago blues, Neil Young's crisp, crackling garage-y stuff - come from p90s. So I was sort of set on p90s. Was going to get a Guild Blues 90 or a Les Paul Jr or Special.

    On the other hand, I managed to play an ASAT special semihollow, and I totally dug it. Very rich, very open. Didn't try it dirty at the time.

    So which should I get? Can the Special get as mean as a p90? I've only got a little experience in the stores with solidbody/chambered p90s and the ASATS, and am stuck on the fence. Hard. I wanna hear from you guys that have been playing them for a while.

    Thanks!

    -thi
     
  2. cvansickle

    cvansickle Supporting Member

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    Another option is the Aerodyne Tele. It's got a P90 in the neck position and a slightly arched top. I've played one, and I think they're pretty good.

    The ASAT pickups are a different animal. They have some of the P90 characteristics but they're more hi-fi sounding. And yeah, they have power in a dirty setting.
     
  3. sears

    sears Member

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    The Axis Sport has a P90 version that's worth playing. Like the ASAT and unlike the Gibsons and Guilds it's Fender scale. I had one and decided I was more of a LP Jr. kind of guy, but it's still a toss-up and I couldn't justify owning both. I'd like to have it back and someday I might.

    Doesn't Gibson make a Hawk with P90s, set neck, semi-hollow and Fender scale?
     
  4. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    My favorite neck pickup of all time is the ASAT Special neck pickup. It has lows, mids, and highs, not to mention lots of output. Those pickups are really unique in their output and frequency response, as usually you trade off one for the other. I also really like the neck/bridge setting on ASAT Specials, especially with a bit of gain. It has a nice high end "shimmer" that sounds really rich to me. The bridge pickup by itself is nice, but I'd like it more if it had more body to it.

    P90s are different animals, as they don't have the same high end response as the MFD pickups. I find that they work really well with an overdriven amp, though they also sound great clean. They aren't as hi-fi as the MFD pickups.

    Incidentally, I recently (as in yesterday) received a new pickup for my ASAT Junior. It is a P90 type pickup that Lollar built to fit in the MFD bridge pickup housing. Now I have the best of both worlds with the MFD neck pickup that I love and a bridge pickup that is punchier than before. The bridge sounds ballsier than before and sounds wonderful with some gain.

    My suggestion would be to try guitars with both types of pickups with the rest of your equipment to see what you like.

    Here are some shots of my new pickup for anyone who is interested:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Bryan
     
  5. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    Gibby P90s and ASAT Specials are my favorite pickups. I don't know what to tell you because they both sound fantastic.

    Interesting pickup there, Bryan. I happen to love the stock Special bridge PU but that's intriguing.
     
  6. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    I've been a fan of the ASAT Special pickups for a long time, but the bridge pickup on the ASAT Junior was a bit weaker than I wanted. After asking for opinions on guitarsbyleo, Gabe suggested that I contact Jason Lollar to see what he could build for me. So far I'm quite pleased with how it turned out. I still have the chimey, full sound of the neck and neck/bridge, but the bridge now has a more focused tone and sounds incredible overdriven. It is a nice change for an instrument that I've owned for seven years.

    Bryan
     
  7. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    I could see how that might work well in a Junior. I have a plain ol' ash Semihollow and the bridge PU sounds pretty good to me.
     
  8. Grap

    Grap Member

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    I have an ash/maple ASAT Special and it's the bightest guitar I own. It takes really well to effects and even to high(ish) gain stuff.

    Another guitar that lives in that single coild but not as Fender makes 'em zone is the Yamaha SGV-800. It has two big AlNiCo single coils that have a bit more "push". Weird guitars though!

    Cheers - Steve
     
  9. Crazyquilt

    Crazyquilt Guitar Dad Silver Supporting Member

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    rorshah --

    I've got an Aerodyne Tele (and an ES125, for that matter.) The Aerodyne is a wonderful hybrid of Tele bridge & P90. The Black Dove P90 is fairly clear, not as harsh as some P90s can be. Of course, you could always replace it, if you didn't like it.

    Something else you might look into is a Reverend Slingshot or Slingshot Custom. I've got an SSC with a Bigsby & maple neck; right now, it's my #1. Cleans up very well, but can also roar gloriously. Scale length/feel is Fenderish, but it has a hollow body. If you don't go for the phenolic or (my preference) aluminum bodies, Reverend just came out with a new MIK line of chambered alder instruments.
     

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