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Non-Altered P90 Archtop Installation (into HB Hole)

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  • Non-Altered P90 Archtop Installation (into HB Hole)

    Is it possible to mount a true P90 into the HB spot on an L5 without enlarging the existing cutout? I'm definitely not screwing a dogear to it. I don't have a real P90 in hand but I keep looking at the P90/HB overlays online. (I am building HB sized P90s, too--but worried about the authenticity of the sound. [I grew up playing a '54 LP Custom.]) It looks like a plate could be made and mounted to the existing HB surround screw holes. Then the P90 could be mounted on top of it (with some cutout for the screws to drop through if necessary). The P90 looks like it's only 3/4" thick, so it seems I'd have tons of room to do this before getting too close to the strings. It looks like I'd have some front-to-back gap(s) to fill, however. Surely someone has already attempted to do what I've described. No point in re-inventing the wheel (or breaking it). Do we have a template or a kit out there? Thanks, Mark

  • #2
    P90's are longer and narrower than a humbucker and the mounting is substantially different. There are quite a few humbucker sized P90 pickups out there.

    https://4de0lh3q29ec37w0f73eq5lg-wpe.../08/SP90-1.gif
    https://4de0lh3q29ec37w0f73eq5lg-wpe...ttom-Plate.gif

    https://www.bareknucklepickups.co.uk/pickups/hsp90
    https://www.creamery-pickups.co.uk/c...html#humbucker
    https://www.riograndepickups.com/singles-for-humbucking
    https://www.guitarfetish.com/Humbucker-Sized_c_578.html
    Last edited by idsnowdog; 08-02-2020, 03:22 PM.

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    • #3
      Why not a Phat Cat?
      Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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      • #4
        Thanks friends! Alteration of the P90 shape is said inevitably to alter the tone. I'm interested in the possibility of mounting a P90 without alteration to the shape of its core and windings. The guitar is a nice L5 Studio in Alpine White. I don't want to drill any additional holes or enlarge the existing HB hole. Mark

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        • #5
          How about a P-Rail, which has more of a P90 shape (with some bonus sounds). It sounds about as close to a P90 as a humbucker-sized pickup can.
          Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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          • #6
            Originally posted by LMark View Post
            I'm interested in the possibility of mounting a P90 without alteration to the shape of its core and windings. I don't want to drill any additional holes or enlarge the existing HB hole. Mark
            You're not going to make a larger rectangular P90 fit in a smaller square humbucker hole. Look at the dimensions below.

            Dimensions:
            https://4de0lh3q29ec37w0f73eq5lg-wpe.../08/SP90-1.gif
            https://4de0lh3q29ec37w0f73eq5lg-wpe...ttom-Plate.gif
            Last edited by idsnowdog; 08-03-2020, 05:06 AM.

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            • #7
              A couple things just don't make sense here:
              1. You want to use a genuinely shaped P-90 because you think that altering its shape is going to change its tone.
              ...Do you realize that there is a lot of difference in tone in various true P-90s? There is not just one sacred tone?
              ...Do you realize that there are many humbucker-sized P-90s that will duplicate those tones exactly of any "real" P-90?
              2. You are not going to "drill any additional holes or enlarge the existing HB hole" in your L-5.
              ...But you're willing to mount the P-90 on top of your guitar and do a lot of work to fill-in the "gaps" of the existing humbucker route.
              ...You think that somehow you're going to mount a P-90 on top of your guitar and it will sound like a P-90 mounted correctly....... and it will look OK?
              3. You imply that you're advanced enough to be making some humbucker-sized P-90s of your own,
              ...But you don't understand the size and shape differences? That makes no sense.
              ...And what do you hope to accomplish by this feat? You are already convinced that you can't get a "genuine" P-90 sound from that altered shape. So, why?
              4. "worried about the authenticity of the sound. [I grew up playing a '54 LP Custom.]".
              ...You're judging all other P-90s (including humbucker-sized P-90s) by that "authentic" P-90 tone, but I guarantee that even if you took those exact same P-90s from your LP and put them in your L-5 they will sound DRAMATICALLY different.
              5. You say "No point in re-inventing the wheel".
              ...But that's exactly what you are doing by making your own bucker-sized P-90 pups.

              I hope that you also realize that in your L-5 you're probably going to need a P-90 that is wax potted (that may not have been necessary in your LP).

              Look,
              There is no one single "authentic" P-90 sound.
              You are going to destroy your guitar trying to do what you are planning...you obviously don't have the luthier skill or experience to do such a thing.
              There are MANY humbucker-sized P-90s already available that are absolutely excellent sounding (as good as any "authentic" P-90 made). idsnowdog listed several very good sources.
              It's a simple task to just buy a bucker-sized P-90 and mount it right in your L-5 without altering or hurting it in any way, and get that genuine P-90 tone that you're looking for.

              I am a real big P-90 fan myself, so I get your desire to put them in your guitar. I totally love the bite and aggressive tone that is part of the P-90 sound. There are some general distinguishing characteristics among nearly all P-90s but a lot of variation in tone exists as well. I love the fact that there are 2 magnets in a P-90 which allows me to customize them even more than a bucker. I love the versatility of guitars with humbucker routes, and I love the fact that there are many humbucker-sized P-90s available to choose from to get the exact P-90 tone that I'm after from nearly any guitar.

              You've got lots of choices available to you to get your guitar sounding like you want (and looking good, too). Don't muck it up with your hair-brained idea of mounting a P-90 to the top of it.
              Originally Posted by IanBallard
              Rule of thumb... the more pot you have, the better your tone.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by idsnowdog View Post
                P90's are longer and narrower than a humbucker and the mounting is substantially different. There are quite a few humbucker sized P90 pickups out there.

                https://4de0lh3q29ec37w0f73eq5lg-wpe.../08/SP90-1.gif
                https://4de0lh3q29ec37w0f73eq5lg-wpe...ttom-Plate.gif
                So it can't be done.

                The bobbin of the P90 is much too long to fit in a humbucking pickup size cover or into a humbucking size mounting hole in the top of an L5 guitar.

                That's why none of the P90 in a humbucker size pickups I've owned actually sounded exactly like a real P90.
                “Practice cures most tone issues” - John Suhr

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Lewguitar View Post
                  That's why none of the P90 in a humbucker size pickups I've owned actually sounded exactly like a real P90.
                  Not necessarily. You just haven't found the right one yet.

                  Originally Posted by IanBallard
                  Rule of thumb... the more pot you have, the better your tone.

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                  • #10
                    Some claim that alteration in dimensions and surface area affects the tone. I acknowledge the claim, but I'm not certain if the claim is accurate. I'm exploring the possibility of placing the P90 on top of the existing HB hole without altering the archtop cavity or making another screw hole (e.g., for a dogear). I don't think I have to place the entire P90 into the HB hole, although the pole pieces might extend down into that area. Thanks again for comments and recommendations so far. So far we haven't found anyone who has done or attempted to do this, or knows someone who has done or attempted to do what I've described. Best, Mark

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by LMark View Post
                      So far we haven't found anyone who has done or attempted to do this, or knows someone who has done or attempted to do what I've described. Best, Mark
                      I don't think anybody has been, or would be crazy enough to want to do such a thing. Especially when so many better options are available.

                      Originally Posted by IanBallard
                      Rule of thumb... the more pot you have, the better your tone.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by LMark View Post
                        Some claim that alteration in dimensions and surface area affects the tone. I acknowledge the claim, but I'm not certain if the claim is accurate.
                        I also believe that's true. But that doesn't mean that the tone from those alterations can't be corrected in other ways (wire type, type of wind, number of winds, magnet types, type or size of bobbins, depth/height of pup, etc).

                        Originally Posted by IanBallard
                        Rule of thumb... the more pot you have, the better your tone.

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                        • #13
                          the only p90s i have are old gibsons and the turns dont go out to the edge of the bobbins. in theory, you could probably shave off a little from each end without changing the architecture of the wind. not sure if its enough to fit in a bucker rout though and there is still the issue of mounting

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                          • #14
                            If we are talking about mounting the pickup on top of, instead of inside the route the pickup would be too tall.

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                            • #15
                              The dimensions. Actually an overlay pic (about the 7th post here: https://www.tdpri.com/threads/p90s-a...geable.251660/) is what piqued my curiosity. It seems that it might be possible to modify the base plate so that it drops into the HB hole. The bottom of the bobbin would then sit on the top of the instrument. It might be possible to pin it down with a skirted screw, using the existing HB surround holes. Since the windings commonly come nowhere near the perimeter of the bobbin, it might be possible to trim the bobbin to account for the arch. In this scenario I'd be worried that if anything the PUP ends up too far from the strings: they sit a mile off the top of an L5.

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