Results 1 to 19 of 19

Thread: P90 for Jazz?

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Posts
    40

    Default P90 for Jazz?

    Hi there,
    I have a Godin Core CT P90 that has Seymour Duncan SP90-1 on the neck. I really like combination of that neck pickup, chambered Gibson Les Paul style body, and carved top on that guitar. Especially since the body wood has the warmth of Mahogany. They use Spanish Cedar for body on this guitar which is a breed of Mahogany. Between the wood choice and the way the chambered body and Maple carved top are interacting, it has a warm tone but doesn't sound muddy at all. The tone is very clear and defined in the lower volume setting, without being overly spiky / too bright. P90 creates a nice complexity of the tone and with the hint of distortion at full volume, people may like it for older style rock or blues tones.
    In my case, I am in the path of doing mellow tone jazz and although I know this guitar is not the usual choice for jazz, but since when the volume is dropped to 7 or 8, I can avoid that distorted edge and create a nice clean tone to the amp on its clean tone settings, I am almost there but I would like if I could get slightly more body to the tone.

    Jazz players say I need to use Humbucker to achieve that extra body of tone. Since I really got used to that P90 tonal expression and transparency (almost acoustic like) on that guitar (that doesn't exist normally in Humbucker) I was wondering if I should change the SP90-1n to SP90 Stacked (https://www.seymourduncan.com/pickup...=5da897e5282a7) and also mod the pots to have push pull to have parallel / series option. I like the noise cancelling setup on this pickup, and also the idea of having parallel and series scenarios with push-pull option. Not sure which one (parallel or series) gives sort of Humbucker tone but that way perhaps I can keep the original P90 tone that I like in some scenarios and make it sound more like Humbucker if I need that extra tone body. Also I like that in one of the Parallel vs. series scenario I can run it like underwound pickup and get cleaner tone. Not sure if that sort of Humbucker tone is going to be good enough shift from traditional P90 tone toward Humbucker tone or not. I don't want to invest and go through modification of the guitar and eventually I find it's not quite a Humbucker tone. Anyone knows about these P90 stack pickups? Are they as good as SP90-1n by means of warmth, expression, and complexity of character? Are they able to give me extra body but with either the same or even hopefully less potential for tone distortion so I can run them with almost full volume to the amp and achieve a nice loud full body clean tone for jazz like a Humbucker?
    I appreciate your input.
    Thanks a lot,
    Arya44

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    75

    Default Re: P90 for Jazz?

    P90s are one of the original Jazz pickups so they can definitely do Jazz. A solid-body guitar is a little brighter, but they can still do Jazz. I'd try simple solutions such as raising the pickup height or rolling off the tone before trying anything else.
    Last edited by Golem; 10-17-2019 at 11:00 AM.

  3. #3
    Tone Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    102

    Default Re: P90 for Jazz?

    A lot of jazz players from the late 40s to 1957 and later used P90s. Jim Hall used one for most of his career. Other players like Tal and Barney replaced the P90s with CC pickups. I do find that Alnico II magnets work better to get a fullness in the low end. Cheap fix---buy two A2 magnets and swap for what you have in there now.

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Posts
    40

    Default Re: P90 for Jazz?

    Hi there, thanks for the reply. Yes they are alnico 5. Although P90 stack are alnico 5 as well. I don't know if the mod could be changing magnet to alnico 2. I have A2 humbucker magnet pieces. Not sure if that would work. The only A2 I know in Seymour Duncan range is Phat Cat although I believe the pickup housing on my guitar may be too small.
    Also I don't want to change it to A2 and later find that for some tones I would prefer the A5 (original tone). Very old jazz tones were on P90 but the tone is a bit different when you listen. It is cuter but not flattering like the jazz tone you get from let's say Gibson ES-175 with PAF humbuckers. To some extend of course the huge hollow body of ES-175 creates that tone but also the pickups are part of the equation.

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Posts
    40

    Default Re: P90 for Jazz?

    Quote Originally Posted by SoPhx View Post
    A lot of jazz players from the late 40s to 1957 and later used P90s. Jim Hall used one for most of his career. Other players like Tal and Barney replaced the P90s with CC pickups. I do find that Alnico II magnets work better to get a fullness in the low end. Cheap fix---buy two A2 magnets and swap for what you have in there now.
    Would Humbucker A2 magnets exactly the same as what used in P90 pickups? I mean dimension-wise or how they are made for strength of magnet. I have to learn how this works. I like the idea that it is a quick fix so if I don't like it, I can always go back to original magnets.

  6. #6
    Ultimate Tone Slacker Blille's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Posts
    2,091

    Default Re: P90 for Jazz?

    I play mostly jazz and P90s are my favorite pickups. My main guitar is an ES-330 a la Grant Green. The key more than the magnet is making sure that they are lower output. A2 or A3 will work better than A5, generally.

  7. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Posts
    40

    Default Re: P90 for Jazz?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blille View Post
    I play mostly jazz and P90s are my favorite pickups. My main guitar is an ES-330 a la Grant Green. The key more than the magnet is making sure that they are lower output. A2 or A3 will work better than A5, generally.
    Oh great! Thanks for letting me know (all you guys!) that P90 is just fine. I imagine the small amount of hum shouldn't be an issue for me. Normally I change my position and face in a way that the guitar axis is almost perpendicular to the amp and that takes care of most of the pickup noise. Having a full noise-cancelling situation with the stacked P90 would be ideal, but I don't think it's worth to spend the money for the whole new pickup. Magnet cost is pretty low even if I have to buy new A2 magnets if the ones I have (humbucker magnets) don't work. I have to ask a repair guy in town that is pretty good. Would I get less output with A2? If so, does it mean I can maximize the volume (right now running around 7.5 out of 10) and still get a cleaner tone compared to A5 (current situation)? If changing magnet to A2 reduces the output, would it mean the ratio of output signal to noise / hum would drop (i.e. I hear more noise) or the noise goes down to the same extent as signal (i.e. no difference in noise after compensating for volume drop). Thanks a lot.

  8. #8
    Ultimate Tone Slacker Blille's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Posts
    2,091

    Default Re: P90 for Jazz?

    Quote Originally Posted by arya44 View Post
    Oh great! Thanks for letting me know (all you guys!) that P90 is just fine. I imagine the small amount of hum shouldn't be an issue for me. Normally I change my position and face in a way that the guitar axis is almost perpendicular to the amp and that takes care of most of the pickup noise. Having a full noise-cancelling situation with the stacked P90 would be ideal, but I don't think it's worth to spend the money for the whole new pickup. Magnet cost is pretty low even if I have to buy new A2 magnets if the ones I have (humbucker magnets) don't work. I have to ask a repair guy in town that is pretty good. Would I get less output with A2? If so, does it mean I can maximize the volume (right now running around 7.5 out of 10) and still get a cleaner tone compared to A5 (current situation)? If changing magnet to A2 reduces the output, would it mean the ratio of output signal to noise / hum would drop (i.e. I hear more noise) or the noise goes down to the same extent as signal (i.e. no difference in noise after compensating for volume drop). Thanks a lot.
    What youíre going to get with a magnet swap from 5 to 2 is more warmth and a sweeter high end, rather than lower output. For jazz I would not go for stacked hum cancelling P90s. Hum is rarely a really problem since you play clean and you give up on tone, I wouldnít worry about it at all. As long as you stay a bit away from your amp you should be fine. If you play in a place with neons or poorly grounded electric systems that would be a different thing. What you want is lower output P90s. The ones that ship in many new instruments are too hot for jazz. Donít know the one you have. You can alleviate that by lowering your pickup. I have my P90 flush with the pick guard in my tele, for example.

  9. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Posts
    40

    Default Re: P90 for Jazz?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blille View Post
    What youíre going to get with a magnet swap from 5 to 2 is more warmth and a sweeter high end, rather than lower output. For jazz I would not go for stacked hum cancelling P90s. Hum is rarely a really problem since you play clean and you give up on tone, I wouldnít worry about it at all. As long as you stay a bit away from your amp you should be fine. If you play in a place with neons or poorly grounded electric systems that would be a different thing. What you want is lower output P90s. The ones that ship in many new instruments are too hot for jazz. Donít know the one you have. You can alleviate that by lowering your pickup. I have my P90 flush with the pick guard in my tele, for example.
    Well I think the info is in Seymour Duncan Website for SP90-1n spec: https://www.seymourduncan.com/pickup/vintage-p90-neck
    It shows DCR: 8. Is there any other vintage P90 pickup that has lower output? Can you give an example?
    Regarding the distance from the strings, as you pointed, I will drop the height to the pick guard height, see what the difference will be? Would I loose on the fullness of the tone? I'm trying to make it cleaner sounding / less hot, but also want to maximize on the fullness of the tone.
    How about string kind / gage? I was told that flat wound string 12-50 works better for jazz. I guess I can do both of those things.
    I appreciate your feedback.

  10. #10
    Aceman is MR SPEED JB_From_Hell's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Yellow Springs, Ohio
    Age
    40
    Posts
    19,064

    Default Re: P90 for Jazz?

    Quote Originally Posted by arya44 View Post
    Jazz players say I need to use Humbucker to achieve that extra body of tone.
    Jazz players also say you shouldn't bend strings. Do what works for you. My early '50s ES-175 has a single P90 in the neck, and I'd be happy to let anyone who thinks you need a humbucker to get a full tone take it for a spin.

  11. #11
    Ultimate Tone Slacker Blille's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Posts
    2,091

    Default P90 for Jazz?

    Quote Originally Posted by arya44 View Post
    Well I think the info is in Seymour Duncan Website for SP90-1n spec: https://www.seymourduncan.com/pickup/vintage-p90-neck
    It shows DCR: 8. Is there any other vintage P90 pickup that has lower output? Can you give an example?
    Regarding the distance from the strings, as you pointed, I will drop the height to the pick guard height, see what the difference will be? Would I loose on the fullness of the tone? I'm trying to make it cleaner sounding / less hot, but also want to maximize on the fullness of the tone.
    How about string kind / gage? I was told that flat wound string 12-50 works better for jazz. I guess I can do both of those things.
    I appreciate your feedback.
    You should be good. Forgot about your OP where you referenced it. The best thing about lowering a pickup is that itís easily reversible test high, then low and see where you like it. I like it low with poles a bit up.

    Flatwound makes a big difference in tone. If youíre not used to thick strings, donít sweat the gauge and use what you prefer. Doesnít make such a big difference IMHO.

    Quote Originally Posted by JB_From_Hell View Post
    Jazz players also say you shouldn't bend strings. Do what works for you. My early '50s ES-175 has a single P90 in the neck, and I'd be happy to let anyone who thinks you need a humbucker to get a full tone take it for a spin.
    YOU HAVE A 50s ES-175 WITH A P90?! How could I not know about that?! Man, Iíll get one one day. How do you like it?
    Last edited by Blille; 10-17-2019 at 08:09 PM.

  12. #12
    Administrator Mincer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Tampa Bay area, Florida, USA
    Posts
    22,910

    Default Re: P90 for Jazz?

    Man, if all you had was a Strat, and you played jazz very well, it wouldn't matter. Use what you have, and don't worry about it. Jazz is a rebellious music, anyway.
    Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

    My Guitar, Gear, and Music Webpage

    Gear pics and more on my Instagram.

  13. #13
    Mojo's Minions blueman335's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    19,413

    Default Re: P90 for Jazz?

    I swap magnets in P-90's and Phat Cats, preferring A5/A5 in the neck for a little less mid scoop & low end (as twin A5's can sometimes have), and an A8/A4 for more mids, warmth, and output in the bridge, to better balance with the neck's EQ and output.

    P-90's have 2 bar magnets per coil; HB's have 1/2 bar magnet per coil. You can fine tune your EQ much more with a P-90. For me, the A2's in Phat Cats lack the virtues of great P-90 tone: crisp highs and a firm piano-like low end. When the PAF was first invented in 1955, the goal was a noiseless P-90, which is the 'gold standard' of electric guitar tone. Gibson was very disappointed in the duller highs and muddy low end, and put it on hold for 2 years, until competitive pressure on noiseless pickups forced them to start using their PAF in 1957.
    "Completely Conceded Glowing Expert."
    "And Blueman, I am pretty sure you've pissed off a lot of people."
    "Wait, I know! Blueman and Lew can arm wrestle, and the winner gets to decide if 250K pots sound good or not."

  14. #14
    Aceman is MR SPEED JB_From_Hell's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Yellow Springs, Ohio
    Age
    40
    Posts
    19,064

    Default Re: P90 for Jazz?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blille View Post
    YOU HAVE A 50s ES-175 WITH A P90?! How could I not know about that?! Man, I’ll get one one day. How do you like it?
    I’m aware the bridge is backwards It hasn’t been restrung in awhile, and I intend to correct it at that point.

    The neck is pretty great. It’s incredibly worn, and feels very nice. Sound wise, this thing straight into my Super Reverb is pretty tough to beat. The frets are horrendous, extremely small, very worn, and that nasty old parking bump shape. At some point, I’m going to have it refretted with stainless, and I’ll replace the non-functioning tone pot.

    Name:  389265D0-BB6A-449A-8EF8-1994AEC0B75E.jpg
Views: 51
Size:  51.8 KB

  15. #15
    Ultimate Tone Slacker Blille's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Posts
    2,091

    Default Re: P90 for Jazz?

    Oh man, what a beauty. Even with its current shortcomings enjoy it!

  16. #16
    Aceman is MR SPEED JB_From_Hell's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Yellow Springs, Ohio
    Age
    40
    Posts
    19,064

    Default Re: P90 for Jazz?

    Thanks. It’s in really rough shape, but that neck is super sexy. If you’re ever in the SW Ohio area, hit me up and you can take it for a spin.

  17. #17
    Ultimate Tone Slacker Blille's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Posts
    2,091

    Default Re: P90 for Jazz?

    Quote Originally Posted by JB_From_Hell View Post
    Thanks. Itís in really rough shape, but that neck is super sexy. If youíre ever in the SW Ohio area, hit me up and you can take it for a spin.
    Thank you! I did check your location to see if you were anywhere in Cali by chance lol

  18. #18
    my banana hammock hosts a leetle peppercini and has hit the skids Aceman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    I came from outer space - that's how I know your name!
    Age
    52
    Posts
    34,861

    Default Re: P90 for Jazz?

    Love a P90 neck Jazz tone. Fat, cutting, awesome.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bad City
    He's got the crowd on his side and the blue jean lights in his eyes...

  19. #19
    Ultimate Tone Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    New York
    Age
    37
    Posts
    564

    Default Re: P90 for Jazz?

    I put a stacked p90 set in both positions of a epi Les Paul awhile back. Itís a 55 custom one with Gibson p90ís so it was good sounding, my main complaint was the bridge was too thin and bright sounding.

    The p90 stacks are noiseless in series and parallel, the parallel sounding p90 and the series getting humbuckerish sounds. The problem I had was neither were great, the p90 sound lost some of the complexity and sparkle it had. the series humbucker sound was pafish but not amazing, just ok. I was not blown away by either. Maybe swapping out the ceramic mags for an a5 would help some.

    A better choice would have been get the kinman set which is p90 only but noiseless or get a hotter bridge and live with the noise. At least for me.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •