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Low Output P90s

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  • Low Output P90s

    I took a chance on a vintage p90 at wound at 5.95k DCR for restoration purposes. Its "mid-late 50's" (more than likely A5 or A3). Just wondering what I should expect from it (neck or bridge pos.) since I've never owned a p90 wound that low. So far from searching other forums, it looks like it'll have more top end. The neck pickup is currently reading 7.78K. It crossed my mind to switch them around, but I'm also going to use a Seymour Duncan Pickup Booster.


    Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk


  • #2
    It will be clear sounding, but also very touch-sensitive, which is one of the reasons many people seek out low-output pickups. Let us know how this project turns out when the pickup shows up.
    Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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    • #3
      I have a similar reading on one of my vintage p90's that I bought. It puts out more signal than a high 7's pickup I had it paired with. Initially I put it in the neck, but it so overpowered the 7+ k one it ended up in the bridge, and balances well both from an output and tone perspective in that spot.

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      • #4
        ^^^ That gives me a bit of relief. I'm going to slap it in the bridge just to see how it does. Then change the pots to be "era correct".

        Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk


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        • #5
          Atleast. you're running P90's ...

          pickups of the gods \m/
          If somethings important- send a PM. I might be offline for long periods. Rock on!!!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by AlexR View Post
            I have a similar reading on one of my vintage p90's that I bought. It puts out more signal than a high 7's pickup I had it paired with. Initially I put it in the neck, but it so overpowered the 7+ k one it ended up in the bridge, and balances well both from an output and tone perspective in that spot.
            The extra high end on lower output pickups can fool your ear into thinking they're louder. I've noticed that on a few guitars that I've owned.

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            • #7
              It won't have "more" high end like you were told it would. What it will have is less low end and low midrange obscuring the high end. The e.q. balance will be more tilted toward highs. It will also be lower in output, theoretically, but that's with all other things being equal. It depends on the magnetic strength of the pickups being compared. It will likely sound quite a bit more like a Fender pickup than your typical P90. But it will still be stronger, because it is a steel poled pickup design, and uses two magnets.

              I would consider yourself lucky. It sounds like a very cool pickup that I'd love to own.

              By their very definition, lower output pickups are less "touch sensitive," not more. But what that means is that you can use more extreme dynamics with your right hand, without having them compressed. You can dig in a lot harder with lower output pickups, without turning the tone to mush. That's why players like me, with a very heavy, dynamic, and percussive right hand (mainly rhythm playing), treasure them so much.
              Last edited by ItsaBass; 08-24-2020, 03:37 PM.
              Originally posted by LesStrat
              Yogi Berra was correct.
              Originally posted by JOLLY
              I do a few chord things, some crappy lead stuff, and then some rhythm stuff.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by chadd View Post

                The extra high end on lower output pickups can fool your ear into thinking they're louder. I've noticed that on a few guitars that I've owned.
                All I know is that when it was first installed in the neck, it really overpowered the bridge and was just too thick. Of course its position in this case was the main problem. Once the position swap happened and was in the bridge, it was fatter than the other had been in the bridge.

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                • #9



                  Originally posted by ItsaBass View Post
                  IThe e.q. balance will be more tilted toward highs.
                  This also crossed my mind when reading threads on multiple forums, but again, I've never owned a p90 wound that low. Low 7K p90s with A3s, sure, but not 5.95K.

                  As tempted as I am to just keep the 7.78k p90 in the neck and route the bridge slot for a humbucker, I need to remind myself that these guitars get ravaged for conversions. I'll just keep the p90s and use a booster.



                  Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk

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                  • #10
                    Gorgeous guitar. Very early model converted to a wraparound tailpiece?

                    I absolutely love those frets. Either someone who really knew what they were doing re-fretted it, or they are original. They've usually been yanked and replaced with bigger frets, which kill the feel IMO.
                    Originally posted by LesStrat
                    Yogi Berra was correct.
                    Originally posted by JOLLY
                    I do a few chord things, some crappy lead stuff, and then some rhythm stuff.

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                    • #11
                      When you have an iconic and wonderful looking guitar like that you certainly don't want to ruin it with mods.
                      Is the 7k pickup a vintage one too??

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                      • #12
                        Now that is a Goldtop. Beautiful.

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                        • #13


                          Originally posted by ItsaBass View Post
                          I absolutely love those frets. Either someone who really knew what they were doing re-fretted it, or they are original. They've usually been yanked and replaced with bigger frets, which kill the feel IMO.
                          The frets are original. Still has the nibs, albeit shrunk. The inlays react to black light. Its going to need a refret soon. Will be keeping the frets thin, but the fretboard needs to be planed. Not sure how I feel about that.


                          Originally posted by AlexR View Post
                          When you have an iconic and wonderful looking guitar like that you certainly don't want to ruin it with mods.
                          Is the 7k pickup a vintage one too??

                          Yes, the 7k p90 is vintage as well. The bridge pickup is a Lollar. Doesn't sound bad, but is stale in comparison with the neck. I'm solely playing in the middle or neck position.

                          Unfortunately, the guitar had a refin, I'm assuming it happened in the '70s. Pots date to the 20th week of 1976. The bridge slot looks altered. IMO, the angle of the wraparound looks off. And of course, the trapeze was removed. You can see the route for grounding wire of the trapeze. It also had a neck reset.

                          I was able to bargain down on the price due to the changes and non original parts. The finish on the back of the guitar and headstock are original. No breaks. A lot of natural wear in the back. I am tempted to refin the gold, but as I asked in MLP, there doesn't seem to be anyone who shoots a proper goldtop.

                          Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk



                          Last edited by YeRedHouseOverYonder; 08-25-2020, 11:59 PM.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by YeRedHouseOverYonder
                            The frets are original. Still has the nibs, albeit shrunk. The inlays react to black light. Its going to need a refret soon. Will be keeping the frets thin, but the fretboard needs to be planed. Not sure how I feel about that. The guitar is an early-mid '53 Les Paul.
                            Just so you know, the exact fret wire used for those is no longer made by anyone.

                            It started out extremely low and flat topped; it wasn't just hand milling that made it that way, as some people state. It was about .070" wide and about .025" tall when new.

                            You can take modern fret wire and have a very dedicated luthier hand modify it to the correct dimensions and shape. Dunlop 6250 or 6270 are you best bets as a starting point.

                            As for leveling the board...you don't necessarily need to do that. Luthiers do it as a matter of course, but it's not a requirement, even when major fingernail divots are present.

                            Despite the many things severely dinging its value, I would pay the money to send it to someone top notch.

                            I knew it had been refinished and many parts replaced. Looks like top only, though. As for refinishing the top...I wouldn't...but if I didn't, I wouldn't go with gold top. I might just strip down to bare wood, dye it yellow, and clear coat it. Three piece top, most likely.

                            Faber makes a nice intonated wraparound, for "player" purposes. It starts as a regular wraparound tailpiece, and is carved out for intonation. In other words, it looks like something someone could have had their tailpiece modified into back in the '50s, to improve intonation.
                            Originally posted by LesStrat
                            Yogi Berra was correct.
                            Originally posted by JOLLY
                            I do a few chord things, some crappy lead stuff, and then some rhythm stuff.

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                            • #15


                              Originally posted by ItsaBass View Post

                              Just so you know, the exact fret wire used for those is no longer made by anyone.

                              It started out extremely low and flat topped; it wasn't just hand milling that made it that way, as some people state. It was about .070" wide and about .025" tall when new.

                              You can take modern fret wire and have a very dedicated luthier hand modify it to the correct dimensions and shape. Dunlop 6250 or 6270 are you best bets as a starting point.

                              As for leveling the board...you don't necessarily need to do that. Luthiers do it as a matter of course, but it's not a requirement, even when major fingernail divots are present.

                              Despite the many things severely dinging its value, I would pay the money to send it to someone top notch.

                              I knew it had been refinished and many parts replaced. Looks like top only, though. As for refinishing the top...I wouldn't...but if I didn't, I wouldn't go with gold top. I might just strip down to bare wood, dye it yellow, and clear coat it. Three piece top, most likely.

                              Faber makes a nice intonated wraparound, for "player" purposes. It starts as a regular wraparound tailpiece, and is carved out for intonation. In other words, it looks like something someone could have had their tailpiece modified into back in the '50s, to improve intonation.
                              Yup, definitely found out there isn't anything remotely close to it now. I prefer Jescar over Dunlop frets for durability. Closest Jescar frets are .078" x .050" which gives me some leeway for the luthier to level the frets without leveling the board. The inlays are already shrinking and I don't want to replace them. There isn't any fretboard wear that would hinder playing. I will say that the low/thin vintage frets really allow you to feel the fretboard as you bend. The perks of having Brazilian boards shine here. I have a Korina Flying V w/ Brazilian that is a pleasure to play. Low/thin "vintage" frets on that one too. So I agree that it may kill the vibe of the guitar to go both taller and wider.

                              I'm in Los Angeles, so I'm taking this Bonamassa's luthier (one of them) on Sunset Blvd. Neeley Guitars has worked on a ton of old les pauls for tons of famous people, but also works with the 'little guys'. He repaired my friend's broken headstock back in the day (SG). He did mention leveling the board, may pick his brain in person/address the inlay concern.

                              The guitar is probably an early-mid 1953 Les Paul based on the trapeze, routing channel, and serial. The top refin is flaking unnaturally, which is why I'm debating a refin. It's been 90-100 F* in L.A, so I'm already sweating on this guitar. One of the flakes (which raise up and stick out) came off from playing. I had a '88 AVRI strat which the gold finish rubbed off rather than flake. I can't see a center seam with the finish, so it may be a 2-3 piece.

                              I'd be lying if I said that I didn't intend to modify this once I bought it. It would be easier to mod than preserve, but I'm going to do just that. Since I saved a large chunk of change due to the non original parts/refin, I have some old pots, the low wind p90, and knobs in route. Looking for low priced control plates at the moment. Will keep the tuners and bridge modern for functionality. Might go hipshot/mojoaxe. I do want a hybrid faber with titanium/brass tone bars.

                              Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk





                              Last edited by YeRedHouseOverYonder; 08-26-2020, 12:54 AM.

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