P90 Stratocaster (w/ Pics)

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Scott Auld, Aug 1, 2008.

  1. Scott Auld

    Scott Auld Staff Member

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    If you remember this thread (An Old Strat Comes Home), you will recall that the guitar I bought when I was a teenager and foolishly let go has returned home after 14 years away.

    I took the guitar to Mitchell's Musical Magic in Sunrise last week, and Mitch and I spent some time talking about what we wanted to do with this guitar. My requirements were simple: I wanted it to be a guitar that fit my style of playing (clean- to mildly-overdriven blues) and be a little different from stuff I already have.

    The mid-80s Made in Japan guitars are heavy, solid, heavy, (did I mention heavy?) and have been getting a pretty good reputation lately. These are the guitars that were made during Fender's transition from CBS-owned to employee-owned, when they did not have a US factory for production. During this time, ALL Fender Stratocasters were made in the Japan factory.

    It took some thinking before we stumbled on the idea of putting P90 pickups in. I have never had a P90 guitar before, so I got pretty excited about it, and I left with the agreement that Mitch would put a pair of old P90s he had in his drawer into the guitar. It required a commitment, in that once the pick guard was cut for P90s, there was no going back to stock. (The body was already routed with pickup cavities that would hold the soapbars).

    Mitch did some other work as well, a lot of it things that non-guitarists would never notice. He replaced the caps. He tossed the (broken) original nut and installed a roller nut, shimmed with a piece of old bakelite.

    Mitch wired the toggle switch to activate the bridge pickup no matter where the 5-position switch is. (The factory-original toggle originally split the bridge humbucker into a single-coil). This is neat because now I can enable both P90s at once with the middle single-coil off if I want, or can have all three pickups on, or just one at at time. Actually, every possible combination of pickups is now available. The single tone knob (I know, weird right?) affects all pickups.

    He rolled the edges of the fingerboard, something that a lot of people don't think about and that really makes a difference once you do it. It makes the guitar feel more worn-in and familiar.

    Mitch balanced the floating bridge so that it hovers parallel to the body, just enough float for me to do very slight vibrato.

    I picked the guitar up from Mitch on the way home from work last night and left right away to go to the Mark Knopfler concert, so I have really not had much time to play the guitar and get to know the pickups. That will take time. One thing I can say about them is that they do clean up very nicely when the volume is rolled down to 9 or 8. Is this typical of P90s? They stay fairly bright, they just lose a little bite, which is very sweet.

    I'm looking forward to getting to know the guitar over the next few days, playing it through all of my amps, and generally reacquainting myself with it. I will be going to the shop today to pick up a set of strap buttons for it - it had a worn-out pair of Schallers that needed replacing.

    Here are a few pics I took this morning:

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    Thanks for reading & looking. :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2008
  2. Anthony M

    Anthony M Silver Supporting Member

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    Beautiful Guitar! I want one....
     
  3. snarkle

    snarkle Member

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    That's a really good idea, and a very handsome guitar...I want one, too.

    After all, you can never have too many Strats.
     
  4. Stormin

    Stormin Supporting Member

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    Scott - that looks awesome!

    Did the back of the neck on that used to be finished in black lacquer? I've never seen a contemporary Strat neck that wasn't entirely black.

    Enjoy it,

    Stormin!
     
  5. Scott Auld

    Scott Auld Staff Member

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    Thanks fellas

    Stormin, the face of the headstock is painted black, but the back of the entire neck is natural, which is how it was when I got it in '87.
     
  6. Scott Auld

    Scott Auld Staff Member

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    I need to talk to Mitch about the screws he used to hold down the roller nut. They look old/stripped.
     
  7. mike@nortoncable.com

    mike@nortoncable.com Member

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    :AOKon the color! Hows the neck shape?
     
  8. LocustXReign

    LocustXReign Member

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    Love it man!

    Check out mine!
    Mid 80's tokai that my Dad and I spruced up to my specs as a bonding project:

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Scott Auld

    Scott Auld Staff Member

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    It's the same as all the rest of my Strat necks. I think it would be called a C profile. Definitely not V. What was on the American Deluxes in the late 90s? That's the same neck profile as this one.
     
  10. Scott Auld

    Scott Auld Staff Member

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    That is nice, Locust. I see you have a P90 in the middle spot as well.
     
  11. rogue.guineapig

    rogue.guineapig Member

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    totally sweet guitars guys!!
    I'm really diggin the look of Scott's MIJ...totally awesome!
     
  12. Scott Auld

    Scott Auld Staff Member

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  13. Catoogie

    Catoogie Senior Member

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    I hated that guitar when you showed pictures of it on the other thread, no offense, I just always hated that model for some reason.

    Let me know applaud and congratulate you on what I think is one REALLY COOL looking guitar. You made some good decisions!!!! Awesome!
     
  14. BuddyGuit

    BuddyGuit Supporting Member

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    I'm very interested in your report on how the P90s sound in your very fine looking guitar!
     
  15. Mike9

    Mike9 Supporting Member

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    Hoochie Momma - that's some sweeeeet Strat-O-Lovin' you got there. Makes me want to build one - Hmmmmm . . . . I have a hardtail body just waiting to called into service. :AOK
     
  16. suhr_rodney

    suhr_rodney Supporting Member

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    Cool guitars! I'm a big fan of P90s. To join in the fun, below is a Suhr I ordered last year. It was inspired by a TGP member's 3 P90 Suhr S. Quality P90s are very cool in most any guitar. I was initially turned off by the Gibson P90/P100s of years past, but exposure to better interpretations converted me!

    [​IMG]
     
  17. cnardone

    cnardone Member

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    Both of those guitars are hot. Too bad they don;t make chrome covers for P-90s. I think that would look cool with the bucker on the Suhr.

    cmn
     
  18. Scott Auld

    Scott Auld Staff Member

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    Catoogie, that is cool that you like the choices. It would not bother me at all if you had said you don't care for it before, we all have our preferences :)

    Soon, I want to hear it through a few more amps first


    Well get to it man. Get yerself some P90s :)

    That is sweet!

    Thanks C :)
     
  19. ManliusGuitar

    ManliusGuitar Member

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    there are chrome P90 covers out there, you kinda have to look for em, but they are out there!

    mick
     
  20. Scott Auld

    Scott Auld Staff Member

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    I've played these pickups for a few days through a few amps now.

    The P90 has a lot of bite. Volume turned full up, Tone knob turned full up, the pickups are very growly and aggresive. I keep finding myself playing pre-Eliminator ZZ Top stuff on it.

    Turning the Volume knob down from 10 to 8 or 7 cleans up the guitar quite a bit. There is a lot of different tones in this guitar now.

    S
     

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