School me on Gibson Les Paul '50's Tributes w/ P-90's

Custom Deluxe

Member
Messages
4,811
OK, I'm thinking of picking up a LP '50's Tribute with P-90's. Can anyone who owns one school me on these guitars? I'm a Fender guy, but feel the need to get a Gibson. Not sure I'm 100% sold on the P-90's v. humbuckers in a Les Paul.

Any thoughts, opinions, etc. welcomed.
 

dazco

Member
Messages
14,979
When i first got a P90 LP i thought i found the ultimate pickup. Crazy as it sounds i now don't like them at all and think they are very limited. Maybe there are good ones out there but the gibsons seem to be the standard and are much loved as a proper P90 sounds. But what i found over time is they nave such a midrange peak that cleaner tones aren't near as full sounding as humbuckers or even fender singles. I'd turn down to clean up and the result was like cleaning up but also jacking the 1k slider and the sliders directly left and right of it on a graphic EQ way up. Just a narrow peaky sound that could not come close to being near as good as any of my other guitars. On 10 was the only way they sounded good, but even then they were a sort of one trick pony. You sound like me....fender guy who felt he needed a gibson. Thats exactly what made me buy my LP Jr special P90. But if you're a fender guy and you love and use the guitar's volume pot to get those in between and clean tones, i don't think you will appreciate P90's. I was going to sell mine for the last year but didn't want to take a huge loss so it never sold. Loved the thing other than that sound and tried one set of boutiques which i hated, and i didn't want to keep losing one more of them. But when i didn't sell just this week i tried something....i put A3 and A2 magnets in them. I am now going to keep it ! It sounds far better now and when i turn down it's worlds better. But the thing is, they no longer sound a lot like P90's, but thats just what i wanted. So IMO i would say stick with humbuckers and split them to get the more jangly open tones. I do that with my PRS and the split sounds i use probably more than 1/2 the time. Very versatile. But P90's IMO are just a one trick pony. If you like P90 raunch then you may like them, but i wouldn't recommend them to anyone wanting a versatile tone, especially if you are used to fenders with a lot of volume knob twiddling.They are just the total opposite of "open" when you turn down to clean up. With the different mags i have changed that.

Some will disagree so not sure whether my advice is right for you. But i can say that coming from being a total fender guy who uses them in the classic way, i much prefer good humbuckers that can be split over P90's any day because i can get a lot more of the type of versatility i get from fenders plus the option of the full thick less open and focused humbucker tone too. By the way, i didn't want it to sound like a fender, don't get me wrong. But i DID want the neccasary tonal components needed to get what i needed out of it and the magnets got me that more open airy versatility it didn't have before.
 

Custom Deluxe

Member
Messages
4,811
When i first got a P90 LP i thought i found the ultimate pickup. Crazy as it sounds i now don't like them at all and think they are very limited. Maybe there are good ones out there but the gibsons seem to be the standard and are much loved as a proper P90 sounds. But what i found over time is they nave such a midrange peak that cleaner tones aren't near as full sounding as humbuckers or even fender singles. I'd turn down to clean up and the result was like cleaning up but also jacking the 1k slider and the sliders directly left and right of it on a graphic EQ way up. Just a narrow peaky sound that could not come close to being near as good as any of my other guitars. On 10 was the only way they sounded good, but even then they were a sort of one trick pony. You sound like me....fender guy who felt he needed a gibson. Thats exactly what made me buy my LP Jr special P90. But if you're a fender guy and you love and use the guitar's volume pot to get those in between and clean tones, i don't think you will appreciate P90's. I was going to sell mine for the last year but didn't want to take a huge loss so it never sold. Loved the thing other than that sound and tried one set of boutiques which i hated, and i didn't want to keep losing one more of them. But when i didn't sell just this week i tried something....i put A3 and A2 magnets in them. I am now going to keep it ! It sounds far better now and when i turn down it's worlds better. But the thing is, they no longer sound a lot like P90's, but thats just what i wanted. So IMO i would say stick with humbuckers and split them to get the more jangly open tones. I do that with my PRS and the split sounds i use probably more than 1/2 the time. Very versatile. But P90's IMO are just a one trick pony. If you like P90 raunch then you may like them, but i wouldn't recommend them to anyone wanting a versatile tone, especially if you are used to fenders with a lot of volume knob twiddling.They are just the total opposite of "open" when you turn down to clean up. With the different mags i have changed that.

Some will disagree so not sure whether my advice is right for you. But i can say that coming from being a total fender guy who uses them in the classic way, i much prefer good humbuckers that can be split over P90's any day because i can get a lot more of the type of versatility i get from fenders plus the option of the full thick less open and focused humbucker tone too. By the way, i didn't want it to sound like a fender, don't get me wrong. But i DID want the neccasary tonal components needed to get what i needed out of it and the magnets got me that more open airy versatility it didn't have before.
Thank you for the detailed explanation. I have a Melody Maker Jr. (Like a LP Jr. but with the T-O-M bridge). Certainly gives me that P90 raunch when I need it. I play a Tele so I know exactly what you are describing. Maybe this guitar isn't for and I should look for one with buckers.
 

dazco

Member
Messages
14,979
If you do, think about splitting them with a push/pull or do a spin-a-split with a tone pot. The versatility i get from my H/H PRS like that is so good i can get anything i need out of that one guitar. I'm also a tele player and while splitting a gibson doesn't of course sound the same, it DOES give you the same dynamic details and open-ness and thats really whats most important. If i were to own a H/H without splitting i'd start looking for a very low output HB at least.
By the way, before i hit the mark with a magnet swap i had been looking at P90 sized HB's, but from what i read they were all designed to sound like P90's, just w/o the noise. No one seems to make a set thats made to sound like HB's for those who find they wish thier P90 guitar had HB's instead.
 

analogsystem

Member
Messages
1,095
Dazco,
I'll respectfully disagree with you. My experience and observations are that P90s are very versatile and some of the most sensitive pickups to volume / tone knob changes. From Grant Green to Neil Young, there are lots of great sounds to be found. I play with the knobs more on my P90 axe than any other!
 

gibsonES330

Senior Member
Messages
877
I had a 50's Tribute for a little while - I thought the P90's sounded good in it and the guitar had a unique (but not very Les Paul-ish) tone due to the chambered body (mine sometimes sounded like a semi-hollow body guitar), but the truly awful finish, the cutting-board-style, multipiece body, lack of binding, and cheap Nashville bridge really turned me off, so I sold it.

As these guitars don't have the iconic Les Paul tone, I wouldn't want one as my only Les Paul - they are more like cheap beater guitars that you have as a backup. Just my opinion. :)
 

broken_sound

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,290
If you enjoy your MM Jr. this is Gibson's next step up in quality and functionality. Play a few in the store and see how it fits in.
 




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