Really Low Output P-90s? Anyone Have / Like Them?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by e-flat, May 18, 2015.

  1. e-flat

    e-flat Supporting Member

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    I picked up a Gold Top Epiphone Casino on a whim last week... Feels great for an inexpensive hollowbody, and it has a great, deep acoustic / unplugged tone. The Epi P90s in this thing are horrendously dark and undefined, though, and clock in around 12K. I'm thinking of making this my first experiment in pickup winding :)

    In order to get some P90s in this thing that balance the guitar's plentiful low end, I'm thinking of rewinding the P-90s way way way on the low side with 42AWG, and replacing the stock mags with Alnico 3 (or possibly A2 in the bridge). I've also experimented with a pickup swap in the bridge (Fralin 8.4K) and while this helped to improve the definition, I still find that there is too much low midrange and bass for this guitar.

    I have also experimented with magnet swaps in the Fralin, getting rid of the original metal covers, removing the keeper bar, and pulling one magnet to decrease some of the lows. It's been a fun and informative experiment, but everything is telling me to rewind the originals to get to where I want to be.

    So my question is: How low is too low with a P90? Lots of my favorite Tele pickups are in the high 5K / low 6K range... but the 90 is a different beast. I'd like to eliminate a LOT of the bottom end & quite a bit of the mids as an experiment to see if I can bring some chime & shimmer out of this beast.

    So pickup gurus... How many winds would you suggest for a start ? (I can always dial it in from there...) Any other tips for brightening up a custom wind on this bobbin? I'm not married to the idea of keeping anything stock.
     
  2. SPROING!

    SPROING! Member

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    Those casino pickups are dark sounding not only because of being overwound but also because of the cheap plated brass covers.
    Nickel-silver covers will help some. Plastic covers will help even more.
    Magnets can help, too. I tamed a set of "hot" Duncans by ditching the ceramic magnets for A3 (neck) and A5 (bridge.) it helped a lot.
     
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  3. Zuhzuhzombie!!

    Zuhzuhzombie!! Member

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    I had a Les Paul with a coil tap that knocked the p90s down to about 6k output. They sounded fantastic. I plan on putting some 50s wind p90s in my ES330 at some point in time.
     
  4. copperhead

    copperhead Member

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    The unique Character of a p-90 comes from 10000 turns on a core similar to a humbucker ,the difference of coarse is the outer windings wound on the same fat coil ,that plus 2 opposing magnets create a untamed raunchy tone .
    a nice vintage tone - neck 9300 turns
    bridge 10000 turns
     
  5. Tony Bones

    Tony Bones Member

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    +1 to what SPROING! said about the plated brass covers. If you buy new covers, measure the spacing between the poles (from e to e.) Some are 50mm and some are 49.2. It's a tiny difference, but if you get the wrong size you'll need to open up the outer holes a little, and if you're OCD then it will bug you. Mojotone has both sizes, though for some reason the 49.2mm ones cost twice as much.

    Try that, then swap out the magnets. If you still want to tame them then just unwind some of the turns. It's a lot easier to take 2000 turns off than to take 12000 turns off then put 10000 new turns on. Besides that, if you've never worked with 42AWG wire before, then it will take a few tries to get 10000 turns down without breaking the wire.
     
  6. e-flat

    e-flat Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the input guys!

    I'm pretty set on winding these... been wanting to try it for a while anyway, and I have a spare sewing machine, turns counter (on order) etc so it should be a fun learning experience.

    As mentioned, I've already experimented with removing the brass covers (improved clarity & highs) but that didn't get me all of the way there since it doesn't affect the lows / mids. I have a couple sets of undrilled "blank" black plastic dogear covers on the way & will make some custom covers for the final pickups.

    A fellow TGPer has recommended 7K, and the above post about the 6K range is very informative too.

    Keep the input coming if you have any more suggestions, and thanks a bunch!
     
  7. SPROING!

    SPROING! Member

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    Good point. Also, the pole spacing on the neck pickup on a Casino is 48mm and it requires a short, angled cover.

    I went through the 49.2/50 business myself on a nickel cover. If you're careful and halfway decent with a needle file, you can make the alteration without too much visual OCD assault.
     
  8. omfg51

    omfg51 Member

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    I put some Artec Chromes in my Casino, they measure out at 7.5k in the bridge, and 7.8k in the neck. I paired them with some CTS audio taper 500k pots, and some orange drop. .022mf caps.

    It sounds awesome now, much better articulation, but still very fat, I love it.
     
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  9. smolder

    smolder Gold Supporting Member

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    Big fan of lollar low winds and his 50's wind.
     
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  10. Davo17

    Davo17 Member

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    Go for it-I'd try something in the 5K range. Other things will help too-you could wire it with 50's wiring, 500K pots, and you can mod a TBX pot to be a bass cut (so you get a no-load tone pot AND a bass cut). I also like to keep P90's set as low as you can get them. You sound like a tinkerer so this would offer more tones. Also, there is a cool 6 or 9 way toggle switch that would also get you out of phase and series tone while keeping the guitar looking stock.

    BTW-what changes did you notice by removing a magnet or trying A3 mags?
     
  11. Simto

    Simto Member

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    Lollar 50's wind are the best P90's I've tried.
    Put them in my Fano JM6 instead of the normal Fralins which I found too clunky for anthing but full on distortion
    The Lollars have made the the most versitile and best sounding guitar I have (it was the best playing on top of that so now it's even more amazing)
    They're twangy and more single coily than other P90's I've tried but they still have the beef I love and they scream like a P90 should!

    I only have one recording of them and that's in a high gain setting so you can hear they can handle that.
    Lots of beef but a ton of clarity too

     
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  12. clmazza

    clmazza Supporting Member

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    I dig low output p90s! I have a set of Throbaks in my 56 LP.... 7.3k neck and 7.6k bridge. The guitar sounds amazing. Go for it!
     
  13. Mutley

    Mutley Supporting Member

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    My WildKat (two P90s, metal covers) is gonna be re-wired this weekend. I got plastic covers twice 'cause, yes, I didn't know the neck spacing was narrower than the bridge. It was very dark so we'll see how it sounds after the re-wire. There was an ungodly amount of unneeded wire in the guitar. Is your Casino Chinese made, too? The Alpha pots in mine were 500k linear pots so those are gone too in favor of audio taper. I got the wire & pots from Stew-Mac. I'll have to re-shape the pup covers to match the arch of the top. I hope it works and I'll post here to let you know if you're interested.
     
  14. SPROING!

    SPROING! Member

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    If the covers are plastic, they should flex and screw right down with no reshaping needed.
     
  15. Mutley

    Mutley Supporting Member

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    They will flex, but there's too much pull on the cover screws and I don't want them to pull out. Dremel and a sandpaper cover, oh . . . . and a steady hand would help too. Shouldn't have to take too much off and let the flex work me the rest of the way. Hopefully the OP gets his Casino worked out. My Kat has a lot going for it. Oh yeah, I already put a roller bridge on my Kat and I've put some small washers under the Bigsby to reduce the steepness of the break angle at the bridge and a graphite nut. Shoot, I hope that's all. It's starting to sound like a real project. Thanks for chiming in, Sproing!I need all the help I can get.

    OP did your Casino come with a Bigsby?
     
  16. e-flat

    e-flat Supporting Member

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    No Bigsby on this Casino... Just the straight trapeze-style bridge.
    I've got CTS 500KA pots on the way & a Switchcraft switch to pop in... Fun fun. Fingers crossed that it goes smooth. I anticipate a few pickup swaps so I'm probably just going to wire it up so that I can desolder & resolder at the pickup openings rather than messing with pulling the whole mess every time I rewind or try a new PU :)
     
  17. e-flat

    e-flat Supporting Member

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    I believe it's a Chinese Epi... Pardon my ignorance , but how can you tell on these? I don't see a stamp, label etc. It's a Goldtop version with cherry back & sides. (I assumed those were all Chinese since they are recent, but you know what they say about assuming)
     
  18. Dave Wakely

    Dave Wakely Member

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    Another vote for Lollar low wind 50s: very articulate and balanced, and very responsive to picking attack. Clean, some people find them too polite (I'm English, I don't have that problem!), but that's what pedals are for, no?
     
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  19. GiorgioV

    GiorgioV Member

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    I have Gibson's low output p90s in my Reissue ES330 (it's a 2013). It was the first model they put these on. I don't know the specs but I LOVE them, they sound amazing regardless of music genre (Yes I also play heavier stuff on it).
     
  20. Mutley

    Mutley Supporting Member

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    My Kat had a sticker on it. I'm not sure if they're all MIC now or not. My guitar just had a load of unneeded wire in it. The Casino is pretty much the higher end compared to the Kat, so hopefully yours doesn't have all that. I got Alpha pots. Didn't want to drill out for the CTS, although it wouldn't have been such a big deal. Didn't want to take the chance of a big piece of the poly chipping off like it did at one off the pups. It's small and not very visible, but it just jumped off without any real persuasion.
     

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