Vintage P90 compared to a current run P90.

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Last, Dec 20, 2009.

  1. Last

    Last Member

    Mar 14, 2009
    St. Louis, MO. USA
    I put a vintage P90 in my '57 LP Jr. Historic & I'm now able to get an almost Fender (think Tele or Strat) twang sound. It still delivers that raw P90 sound everyone raves about when dialed up but found this so unique I just had to find out others opinions.

    With the modern P90 pup it was pure raw rock.

    Thing is I've never heard anyone ever experience this sonic ability when describing vintage P90 pickups.

    I'm running through Fender amps & know this can attribute to that sound but I was using a Fender amp with the modern P90 & couldn't get that twang no matter how hard I tried.

    Odd or unwritten fact?
  2. Tidewater Custom Shop

    Tidewater Custom Shop Performance Enhancing Guitarworks Supporting Member

    Jul 22, 2008
    Under a stack of textbooks
    Dunno about facts, but I can state my opinion (which IS fact to me!). My '71 SG Special has killer P90s in it... far surpassing ANY modern P90 I've used in previous platforms.

    I've run thru:

    '06 Gibson P90s (LPDC)
    Lollars (LP Standard - yep, the one that came with P100s in '89)
    Fralins (SG Special - newer '07 model)
    Seymour Duncans (LPDC - damn close to vintage IMO)
    Wolfetones (SG Special - same as newer '07 above)

    I play thru a 50w JCM800, a BFDR, 68 Bassman, or 5E3.

    Don't get me wrong, the above mentioned are stellar pickups for sure... and maybe it's just the synergy of all materials and components in the '71 SG (all stock). But these pickups are superior - and I try to remain totally objective... again, it's my opinion and I only measure performance with my ears and gut.
  3. treeofpain

    treeofpain Silver Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2007
    Columbia, SC
    I have a 55 LP Special and used to own a 58 as well. The vintage P90's sound nothing like a modern Gibson P90. Sort of like the difference between a vintage strat pickup and an American Standard strat pickup.

    I also had a set of Lollars in an early 70's LP Deluxe that sounded really good and vintage-like.
  4. Radagacuca

    Radagacuca Member

    Jul 21, 2006
    see my signature...
    my experience:
    the vintage p90 in my sg are very low output which makes them very twangy. the newer ones in my r6 (and the fralins i tried) are more powerful so they are less twangy but more growly and raw.
  5. Mattbedrock

    Mattbedrock Silver Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2008
    Brevard County, FL
    My '65 Firebird III had a trio of vintage P-90's in it, but the center one was nearly dead. I replaced it with a new Gibson P-90. It is really quite different sounding. Like Rada says, it is growly and raw, while the old pickups have a more delicate, crystalline tone. The three in combination are fun.
  6. Jan Folkson

    Jan Folkson Member

    Jul 22, 2006
    I spend a lot of time and my friends vintage shop and when I got my used '97 LP JR Historic, I compared it to 5 vintage ones and mine was right in the middle of the pack, tone wise. We were all pretty surprised how close they were. I was planning on putting a vintage PU in but changed my mind.

  7. Amp360

    Amp360 Senior Member

    Feb 23, 2009
    Ellicott City, MD
    The problem is you have all these Chinese companies making pickups that share nothing with the original except for the size and cover.

    I have a 53 Gibson with P-90s and it's a great mellow sounding guitar. It has a warm sound but it isn't aggressive or twangy at all. I have the Lollars in my ES-330 and a SG Jr that I bought and they're a little louder - but nowhere near some of the copies I've seen - and sound very, very good. Kind of twangy and with a nice overdrive but they also have that great clean sound which I love a P-90 for.
  8. dspellman

    dspellman Senior Member

    Mar 26, 2008
    Chris Kinman makes the point (correctly, I think) that manufacturers of current P90's have actually *reduced* the power of the P90 to cut down on the noise problems. This has also been my evaluation... I've got just one vintage P90; a pickup taken out of an early 50's ES-175. The best P90's I've heard recently are the Lollars that are in the Collings 290.

    Kinman claims to have managed to keep the original P90 power and sound while producing a noiseless version of the pickup. If his strat pickups are any indication (also noiseless) there's good reason to believe his claims.
  9. Whiskeyrebel

    Whiskeyrebel Member

    Mar 28, 2007
    Center Line MI
    I have a guitar with an old P90 in the neck and a recently-made Gibson dogear P90 at the bridge. When I got the guitar - a SG Melody Maker - the stock bar-magnet PU was in the neck. An old P90 was in the bridge, with a chrome dogear cover like a Casino would have.

    I liked the P90 enough to get another one for the neck. I had a little trouble squeezing the new dogear into the tight quarters up by the neck so I installed it at the bridge and moved the oldie up to the neck.

    The brand new one in the bridge sounds just like the old one did.
  10. davess23

    davess23 Member

    Mar 18, 2006
    Swampscott, MA
    My '97 R6 has a very nice set of P-90's. They sound much like the older ones I've had.

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