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NGD - My First P90s

Genghis

Power User
OK, so I posted this..."elsewhere", but thought I'd post it on my other favorite forum as well!

Well, it started as a trip to GC with my buddy to look at a Strat he had checked out, but it evolved into something completely different. I have been a long time humbucker player, and then mostly Super Strat for the past several years at least. Been wanting a Les Paul guitar, not necessarily Gibson, but something decent sounding to get me in the ball park anyway. I was even thinking Agile or Epiphone as options. I've also wanted to check out P90s to see if the noise would drive me nuts and if they have enough oomph for my kind of music, which can be fairly hi-gain at times.

After my buddy decided against the Strat, I noticed a couple of Gibson Les Paul's with P90s in a clearance sale on the wall... P90 equipped. I asked to check one out and we both played it a bit. Noise was crazy at first, but I figured out quickly that it was only because I was right on top of the amp. As soon as I turned away, it was fine. Really liked the tone, even with hi-gain. Played around for a bit, then start asking about picking it up. Then noticed, a little scratch on the lower section. Since it was already pretty heavily discounted, they wouldn't knock any more off the price, but we checked out the other one and it was in pristine condition. Long story short, I'm the proud owner of my first P90 equipped Les Paul.

To top off the story, I got a call from my buddy on the way back home (a 3 hour drive or me), and he got to thinking it over and decided he didn't mind the little scratch on the bottom, so he went back and nabbed that one!

I really like the guitar as is, but I'm considering some higher output pickups, maybe Fralin Noiseless (even though the gate in my FX8 cuts things out well), or maybe something along the lines of Bare Knuckles Stockholm. I still want a somewhat traditional P90 vib, but a bit more oomph and slightly less piercing highs for when I do push the gain. Any recommendations there?





 
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dr bonkers

Fractal Fanatic
Vendor
Congratulations on your new axe.

I am a big fan of the Lollar P-90 50's Soapbar and Jazzmaster. My guitar hoarder friend has an LP and a Jazzmaster with them respectively. They are such good pickups they handle cleans, edge of break-up, and sheer stupid amounts of gain with equal aplomb!
 

Genghis

Power User
Thanks doc. Really stoked on this. For the price it's great and I like the satin finish on the neck better than that sticky gloss finish a lot of the more expensive Gibsons seem to have.

I'm just starting the research on the pickups, and Lollar is in the lead at this point. These sound pretty good for clean and edge sounds, and not bad for hi-gain, but I really need to change the EQ on my amp too much when I bounce from my SuperStrat type guitars over to this. I think I really could go for slightly brighter on the neck pickup and quite a bit thicker on the bridge. If I read the specs right on the Gibson site, I think the neck may be in the 8K range for DC resistance with the bridge being slightly lower, and that is quite the opposite of how I'm thinking I want things.
 

Genghis

Power User
D'oh, Fralin was the noiseless one that I was looking at. Lollar was another one I read some things about, as well as my old standby for humbuckers, Bare Knuckles. Stayed up too late playing and got up too early this morning and got them a little mixed up.

As for the muddiness in the neck, I just looked at it closer and thought "this thing looks a little high", so I lowered it almost an eighth of an inch and I think I can live with that now. Just need to check it out at volume. Unfortunately, the bridge is up pretty high and I'd like a bit more output there.
 

Genghis

Power User
The noise is half the charm. Love p90s.
Ha, yeah, I hear that. I'm digging this. Got the neck pickup dialed in well at this point. And I use a gate in my FX8 for the noise anyway, so it really doesn't but me. Still want a bit more output for the bridge pickup though, so I think that will eventually get swapped out.
 

Rick

Fractal Fanatic
I had an SG with the regular Fralin P90s, and they sounded great. The P90 is it's own animal, so I'd suggest working on setting your amp to bring out the grinding tone these things are known for (they also have a really nice, round clean tone you'll love). I don't have any Lollar picdkups, but several friends universally praise them, players with a good ear for tone. Ever since I heard Leslie West's tone on songs like Mississippi Queen, I was sold on the P90 Les Paul sound. Congrats on a nice guitar!!
 

dpeterson

Axe-Master
Ha, yeah, I hear that. I'm digging this. Got the neck pickup dialed in well at this point. And I use a gate in my FX8 for the noise anyway, so it really doesn't but me. Still want a bit more output for the bridge pickup though, so I think that will eventually get swapped out.

I have a fralin slightly overwound non noisles in my les Paul jr. Sounds glorious.
 

dr bonkers

Fractal Fanatic
Vendor
D'oh, Fralin was the noiseless one that I was looking at. Lollar was another one I read some things about, as well as my old standby for humbuckers, Bare Knuckles. Stayed up too late playing and got up too early this morning and got them a little mixed up.

As for the muddiness in the neck, I just looked at it closer and thought "this thing looks a little high", so I lowered it almost an eighth of an inch and I think I can live with that now. Just need to check it out at volume. Unfortunately, the bridge is up pretty high and I'd like a bit more output there.
You can always add an EQ block or pedal for when you want to use the P90 guitar versus your other guitars that are not similarly equipped, so that you have makeup gain or an EQ curve that more jives with your amp setting for the other guitars.

A different guitar with a different set of pickups is supposed to be a different color and sound. Otherwise it's like a painter getting different paints and trying to make them look in the same color gamut as his old paints; it kind of defeats the purpose of adding different colors to your palette.
 

Genghis

Power User
You can always add an EQ block or pedal for when you want to use the P90 guitar versus your other guitars that are not similarly equipped, so that you have makeup gain or an EQ curve that more jives with your amp setting for the other guitars.

A different guitar with a different set of pickups is supposed to be a different color and sound. Otherwise it's like a painter getting different paints and trying to make them look in the same color gamut as his old paints; it kind of defeats the purpose of adding different colors to your palette.
Yeah, I'm actually using eq and drive blocks in my gain scenes in all my patches, so i am experimenting with a new patch for this guitar. Don't want it to sound the same as the others, but looking to get a little thicker lead tone from,the bridge. Getting closer now.

Neck pickup sounds great since i lowered it. Probably gonna stick with that, and may even stick with the bridge pickup.
 

Genghis

Power User
Well, thanks for the comments and the pickup suggestions!

At this point, I dialed in a different drive setting from the FX8 in front of my TC-50 for both my hi-gain tones, lead and rhythm. Also made a few small adjustments to the EQ's I use for those two tones and it is sounding great in all positions. It doesn't sound like a humbucker, and that wasn't my goal. Just wanted to get the most I could out of the P90s for the gain as well as the clean and light gain sounds. It's really sounding amazing now.

And to top it off, I cranked up the amp on my hi-gain lead sound in that patch and got just the faintest humming feedback; no microphonic squeal whatsover. So I think these pickups are going to stay.
 

1poorplayer

Power User
Well, thanks for the comments and the pickup suggestions!

At this point, I dialed in a different drive setting from the FX8 in front of my TC-50 for both my hi-gain tones, lead and rhythm. Also made a few small adjustments to the EQ's I use for those two tones and it is sounding great in all positions. It doesn't sound like a humbucker, and that wasn't my goal. Just wanted to get the most I could out of the P90s for the gain as well as the clean and light gain sounds. It's really sounding amazing now.

And to top it off, I cranked up the amp on my hi-gain lead sound in that patch and got just the faintest humming feedback; no microphonic squeal whatsover. So I think these pickups are going to stay.
.... probably your best bet. Enjoy the style pickups that it came with. I have a tendency of making different guitars sound very similar. My fine tuning always gravitates toward the same sound that's in my head.
If you dial in your setup right , you may just find the lower output pickup will add some clarity and definition to your high gain. I prefer low output , so I can have more control. Nice guitar.
 

Warrior

Power User
Never had P90's but regardless, I'm a fan of giving the stock pups a chance to grow on me.....get to know them to get the most out of them before making the decision to switch them. In a high end guitar, a lot of thought has gone into fitting the right pickups with the guitar.

You may be surprised by what you discover.

I have a 79' Les Paul K.M. Model I bought new when I was 16. Swapped out the bridge pickup several times. The original bridge pup ended up on a couple of friends guitars at different times over the years and always sounded kick ass. I regret ever swapping it out

I got the pickup back but it's got paint splattered on it. I'm considering cleaning it up and putting it back in.
 
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Genghis

Power User
Did some recording and the noise does make me have to clamp down with the gate a bit more than my others, IF I use a lot of gain, but really, I went through my FX8 and created a couple of new patches... one that is similar to my other more gainy patches and can work for when I want to push that guitar into metal territory, and a second which will get a lot more use for this axe that really accentuates what it does best, the low to mid gain and clean sounds. These pickups will be fine and are really much better than I expected for such a value priced Gibson.

Ironically, I very much prefer the satin finish on the back of the neck to the sticky gloss finish Gibson uses on most of the more expensive models, and the lack of fancy binding is really growing on me, so I'm pretty stoked with what i have at this point.
 
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