Why do 1950s P90s vary in resistance/output?

blacknblues

Member
Messages
1,124
I have read that while Fender handwound single coil pickups back then, Gibson had a machine to do the winding on their P90s. While doing research on my next guitar it seems that the dogear P90s on 50s Les Paul Juniors seem to vary quite a bit in resistance. Wouldn't a machine consistently make pickups with same amount of winds?
 

cvansickle

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
12,673
Wouldn't a machine consistently make pickups with same amount of winds?
Not exactly. In those days, the winding machines didn't have automatic shutoff controls. It was up to the machine operator to know when to turn it off. Sometimes it was too soon, other times a little bit late. This accounts for the variances in the PAFs too.
 

cap10kirk

Member
Messages
9,869
At this point, it's a combination of things that will make two 50's P90s different. For one, the person operating the machine had to know when to turn it off, like cvansickle said. So some were wound hotter than others anyways. On top of that, you've got some that had a lot more use than others, some got more sweat in them than others, some of the magnets have lost more of their charge over the years than others, etc, causing even more difference between 50's P90s. The same goes for the original PAFs too.
 

tiktok

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
25,077
I have read that while Fender handwound single coil pickups back then, Gibson had a machine to do the winding on their P90s. While doing research on my next guitar it seems that the dogear P90s on 50s Les Paul Juniors seem to vary quite a bit in resistance. Wouldn't a machine consistently make pickups with same amount of winds?

Some machines, maybe. Not this one:

8417d1268236059-seth-lover-s-pickup-winder.jpg
 

Scumback Speakers

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
11,212
But they were wound differently within the same model. Les Paul Juniors in the 50s have pick up variances all over the place
Correct. My 59 Junior has a P90 that measures almost 10k of resistance through the pots/cap and with a 3 foot wire out of the input jack. I think the average signal loss at that point is probably .25-.4k, so that one is easily over 10.25k resistance. My 61 SG Special had them in the low 8.x area for both neck and bridge pickups.

The Junior sounded significantly better, so I had Jim Wagner make me P90's for the 61 SG Special. 10.2k bridge, around 8k neck. Sounds killer now, much better than with the stock P90's from 1961.

That same set is now available as the G90 pickups from Jim Wagner Pickups (WCR) www.jimwagnerpickups.com

http://www.jimwagnerpickups.com/G-90 set.html

You can hear the SG in this video below.

 




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