PAFs or P90s?

Discussion in '"Vintage" Instruments' started by yucatown, Feb 5, 2020.

  1. cap10kirk

    cap10kirk Member

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    Easy choice, I'll take P90s over humbuckers every time.
     
  2. barsinister

    barsinister Member

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    p90--I have a RI 58 335 with buckers sounds lovely though..I wouldnt kick a p90 OR a PAF outta bed..
     
  3. telelion

    telelion Member

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    I've posted this before but it's worth hearing again even if you haven't seen it. There is no way a PAF can do this and shows how incredibly versatile a P90 can be in the right hands. Frank Reckard with his Jr. with Emmylou.
     
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  4. crashbelt

    crashbelt Member

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    My PAF equipped 59 335 and 60 355 are the greatest sounding pure blues guitars I can imagine.

    But I choose a 59 LP Special and 62 SG Special for gigs every time. The 59 comes out for slide numbers and the 62 for everything else. Those P90s can clean up well when they need to, and do that amazing Pete Townshend blues/rock raunch thing like nothing else when driven hard. They don't need pedals - just a great late 50s tweed amp.

    P90s edge it for me.
     
    drlucky likes this.
  5. eddie101

    eddie101 Gold Supporting Member

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    Like’em both myself but please keep in mind that the great Michael Bloomfield traded his ‘54 GT for a ‘59 burst, and as they say the rest is History ;)
     
  6. Tony Done

    Tony Done Member

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    P90s, no contest at all. I like bright, clean single coil sounds and adjustable pole pieces.
     
  7. valcotone

    valcotone Silver Supporting Member

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    It's interesting to theorize what might have happened if Clapton had bought the P90 Goldtop like he wanted (inspired by Freddie King), rather than the humbucker model he settled for (if I recall the story correctly)....

    Personally, P90s all the way for me. My favourite pickup.
     
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  8. Laurent Brondel

    Laurent Brondel Supporting Member

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    There is something cool that happens with P-90's when you roll the volume off on a dirty amp, the tone becomes cleaner of course, but clearer and scooped in the EQ with a bit of a boost in the high end, it's a cool thing if you have a minimal setup (say a pedal or two) and want to switch between clean and dirty tones.
    Now, the design of the wide coil make those the noisiest pickups ever in venues where the wiring is marginal (say where the lights and PA are on the same breaker, or where there are heavy RF's).
     
  9. vortexxxx

    vortexxxx Supporting Member

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    Keep in mind that earlier P-90s were more polite than slightly later ones and in the early 60's they changed again. I've had ones from all the periods and I'm probably in the minority in preferring early 60s P-90s to earlier ones or later ones. As much as I love that sound, one particular longmagnet PAF was my favorite of all. I wasn't a huge fan of the sound when they switched to the shorter magnets.
     
  10. JKjr

    JKjr Member

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    I'm just the old fat guy who hasn't gigged regularly for decades, so please take this with a grain of salt.
    I love P90s. You can hear them getting stronger as the years progress as a rule. I haven't had my "54 LP for a long time, but I remember it being almost like a fat tele. My "65 LP special has more mids and will push an amp. And a friend has my '62 SGjr (because I really needed $50 back in the day). It sits squarely in between. But that also doesn't mean there was any consistency whatsoever. My friends '56 LP is a screaming monster. But they ALL sound great and mirror the guitar they are in.
    To me a PAF is a moving target. They are all over the place. The weaker(?) ones are tele-ish and sound just like the guitar they're in. And the hottish ones are brutes with their own flavor no matter the guitar. Everyone has their favorites. Then add in the 3x5 variable. IMHO they come heavy and a bit slow but fuller, or light and fast with a prominent treble voice. The right PAF in the right guitar is wonderful, but you don't always get that.
    So if I had to choose one, I'd go P90/solidbody/wraptail. They all sound good. But if I found the right ES I'd rock it. It's just harder to find a great one.
    Hollow guitars present their own problems. Like lots of gain?
     
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  11. eddie101

    eddie101 Gold Supporting Member

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    According to George Gruhn, it was none other than Bloomfield who started the LP/burst mania rather than EC. I was surprised with his answer but I must give him the benefit of the doubt since he's the walking String Encyclopedia. :)

    Anyway, as stated, if Bloomfield liked those P90s so much he would not have traded his 54 (plus $100 IIRC) for a '59 w/PAFs.
     
  12. sickboy79

    sickboy79 Member

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    P-90s for me. My favorite pickups of all time. Not that I don't love PAFs but, there's just something about them and they just work for me and can cover so many styles so well.
     
  13. davess23

    davess23 Member

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    Tonally a good P90 into an old tube amp is pretty much heaven for me.

    There's loving your tone and then there's playing in clubs with neon signs and/or wiring issues that excite P90 hum. I love my P90s (1997 R6 with stock pickups) but I'm just a home player and jammer these days. I think a lot of people who traded in their P90 guitars in favor of PAFs back in the day were worrying less about tonal preference than about their need for a quieter gigging guitar.
     
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  14. jiml

    jiml Supporting Member

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    Back in the mid 90s I played a 56 Goldtop with P90s. Probably the best sounding vintage instrument I have ever played. It had it all, balls, clarity, open, big, bold, sizzle, I was blown away.

    I've played a lot of PAF loaded guitars too, but none sounded as good as that 56.

    It was selling for $7k back then, I didn't have the means to buy it at the time, wish I could go back in time!

    I just snagged a P90 loaded Les Paul, a bit of a basket case, I'm going through sets of modern winder P90s now, trying to recreate the tones of that 56.

    Probably should buy some old P90s instead of searching for newer stuff..
     
  15. eddie101

    eddie101 Gold Supporting Member

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    Having some old wood would help, too. A while back, I too tried to recreate some burst magic; using a killer set of original DW PAFs on aged replica LP body but the experiment failed again and again. It was a true learning experience for me - yeah, it takes two to tango indeed :)
     
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  16. jiml

    jiml Supporting Member

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    A fools errand, chasing vintage tones.

    The piece I have now is old wood, not sure if from 70s or 50s though.
     
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  17. eddie101

    eddie101 Gold Supporting Member

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    Journey to seek the ultimate tone is both lonely and $$ like trying to find the love of your life ;)

    Got old wood? I’d jump on that project in a NY minute!!
     
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  18. jwalker99

    jwalker99 Member

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    Its a P90, its tele,

    “its a floor wax, its a dessert topping”
     
  19. RickC

    RickC Gold Supporting Member

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    Am I the only one? PAF ES in a heartbeat. And I've owned a 50's P90 LP for decades. I just like ES's better than LPs and PAFs better than P90s
     
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  20. drlucky

    drlucky Member

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    P90's...no contest.
     

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