Vintage PAFs vs. vintage P90s: could you reliably tell the difference?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by belair, Jan 30, 2012.

  1. belair

    belair Member

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    Although I can't find where he is quoted saying this, it's generally accepted that Seth Lover designed the humbucker to sound just like the P90, but without the hum of course.

    So let's turn the clock back to say, 1957. And let's say you have your back to a guy playing a 1956 Les Paul with P90s alternatively with a 1957 Les Paul with PAFs. Imagine the guitars are as close to identical as possible, and the player is playing at typical 1957 gain levels through a 1957-ish amp.

    How reliably do you think you could tell one from the other?

    I'm wondering a couple of things here:

    Is there really that much difference between vintage accurate P90s and PAFs, and if so, is that difference greater that the difference between individual pickup and guitar differences from the time period?

    And has the difference been exaggerated by all the different P90 and PAF so-called "clone" pickups on the market today?

    When a guy swears by P90s or PAFs, is he really swearing by the particular pickup he's playing, as opposed to any organic sound difference between P90s and PAFs in general?

    I'll be the first to admit that my tired old ears probably could not reliably tell the difference.

    What do you guys think?
     
  2. vortexxxx

    vortexxxx Member

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    I have a vintage paf and vintage p-90s. If I wire the p-90s in humbucking mode they sound really close to a vintage paf.
     
  3. belair

    belair Member

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    CAn all p90s be wired that way?
     
  4. Derelict

    Derelict Member

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    with the tone knob rolled back on the P90? hard

    with the tone knob wide open on the P90? easy
     
  5. vortexxxx

    vortexxxx Member

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    They can but I've never tried it with a new P-90. The vintage P-90s generally sound a bit different from what is currently out there so I'm not sure what new p-90s would sound like wired in humbucking mode (middle position with both pickups on.)

    For those guys who like p-90s but not the noise, this is worth a try.
     
  6. EADGBE

    EADGBE Member

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    I thought P-90s were basically large single coil pickups?
     
  7. DonP

    DonP Member

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    Humbucking P90 pair?

    Wouldn't you need a reverse wound, reverse polarity P90 to go with the regular one?

    And how would you wire it? Two 8K P90's would make a 16K humbucker. In parallel, they'd only be 4K.
     
  8. Wills

    Wills Member

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    Not necessarily, if they were wired in series you could probably get a pretty fat humbucking-like tone (four way switching).
     
  9. vortexxxx

    vortexxxx Member

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    My early 60's P90s were wired in humbuckng mode. I wouldn't have thought of even trying to wire them this way
     
  10. SW33THAND5

    SW33THAND5 Member

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    Yes I can. They both sound gravely in their own way.
     
  11. Jura

    Jura Member

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