Billy Zoom's Jet Set

Les Pauls

1

Billy, do you like Gibson Les Pauls at all? I know you don't like humbuckers but I'm referring more to the early to mid-fifties goldtops/black beauty P90 versions?

2

Mid 50's, P90 versions...yes. But they're still ugly.

3

I just ordered a P90 56 style goldtop, never played a Gibson before, but I'm pretty excited. I've heard some great sounds from those, humbucker versions not so much...

4

I bought a goldtop a few years ago and changed the humbuckers to Kent Armstrong P90's. Added the Bigsby recently. By far the best Les Paul I ever played.

5

Pt.....Great looking LP. I don't know how they sound, but the Armstrong P-90's you replaced the stock 'buckers with are the best looking examples of P-90's in a 'bucker sized cover. Do they nail the P-90 tone?

6

I love mine, very different than my duojet though. It's a rescued '71and one of the easiest guitars I have to play (the other being the duojet).

7

Pt.....Great looking LP. I don't know how they sound, but the Armstrong P-90's you replaced the stock 'buckers with are the best looking examples of P-90's in a 'bucker sized cover. Do they nail the P-90 tone?

– Gretschadelphia

They certainly do. I have several guitars with P90's. I like these the best.

8

I cant wait for my 2018 Classic to arrive, I pre-ordered from Sweetwater and it looks like two weeks or so til it ships. I gotta stop watching Social D vids, Mike Ness has killer P90 tone and makes me want it now!

9

It's worth the wait. You'll love it.

10

You can also get those Kent Armstrong P90's in gold or chrome Humbucker-size. I have a gold one on my 6122.

11

You can also get those Kent Armstrong P90's in gold or chrome Humbucker-size. I have a gold one on my 6122.

– Billy Zoom

I saw TV Jones makes a dyna in soapbar cover, would they be too bright in a solid guitar like a Les Paul?

12

I have a Kent Armstrong P-90 in my LP JR. I find it a bit hotter and growlier (grindier?) than the P-90's in my SG or in my Riviera P-93. Les Pauls were always too heavy weightwise for me, hence the SG; not to mention my guitar hero Pete.

13

The Armstrong P-90's in the 'bucker sized covers are also reasonably priced. Armstrong pu's are very under rated IMO. For anyone with a MIC/MIK Epi Casino looking to upgrade, Armstrong is the only one I am aware of that makes vintage wound chrome dog ears that have the correct cover height and drop right in w/o risers/shims, etc.

14

For anyone with a MIC/MIK Epi Casino looking to upgrade, Armstrong is the only one I am aware of that makes vintage wound chrome dog ears that have the correct cover height and drop right in w/o risers/shims, etc.

I'll keep that in mind. I like the stock pups in my Casino for casual use, and at its price point - but they can squeal like schtückened pigs at gig volume, and if the Casino were my primary ride (it's good enough to be otherwise), I'd have to do something about it. I'm sure the Armstrongs have improved definition and clarity as well.

15

Armstrong might be the only one to do replacement pickups with chrome covers that fit, but the metal covers were a pretty lousy idea to begin with. I can see how someone could be attached to the look, but the plastic covered ones just sound better usually. Lollar and some other pickup makers offer plastic cover replacements for Korean made Epi Casinos.

The P90's in those Korean Epi Casinos are also strangely overwound - over 10K - as if a stock P90 needed to be any hotter?

16

I'd actually be happier with cream-colored covers, Walter. Last time I looked I couldn't find any to fit.

17

As an Epi Casino owner and modder, I will point out that you can also mail your chrome covers to Lollar Pickups and they'll wind a set into those covers. Since no one wants those crazy-hot stock jobs, I scored an extra set for $25 online and saved having a pickup-less guitar while they did this.

The "50s wind" option really sound nice in my Casino.

This wasn't at all about Les Pauls, but supposedly those "50's wind" are designed to emulate the pups in Sean Costello's '53 Goldtop. How's that for trying to stay on task?

18

What about the dog ear P90s with black plastic covers that Gibson fits to the reissue ES330 -- will they not drop into a Casino? I always thought the ES330 and Casino had more or less the same carcase.

Best guitar I ever owned was a blonde ES330 bought new in Liverpool in 1963 -- perversely it had chrome (maybe nickel) pickup covers!

Just to stay (sort of) on topic, for many years a 1972-ish Les Paul Deluxe with cream soapbars was my main gigging guitar -- a bit on the heavy side but it balanced OK on the strap and sounded terrific for just about anything. Currently I'm enjoying an early '90s LP Special, again with two P90s and, again, lovely to play. The stock ToM and stud tailpiece have been replaced with a Badass wraparound job -- solid as a rock and offering full intonation.

19

What about the dog ear P90s with black plastic covers that Gibson fits to the reissue ES330 -- will they not drop into a Casino? I always thought the ES330 and Casino had more or less the same carcase.

Unfortunately the Casino dogears are different. The neck pickup has a narrower string spacing and the cover heights are different, too. I have a pair of AlNiCo Artecs (they are said to be unlabelled Kent Armstrongs) for my Peerless made Casino laying around that I bought black plastic covers with the right spacing for. It doesn't work without making spacers/adapters.

20

Ah, thanks Sascha -- I should have known it wouldn't be so simple!

21

Oh yeah, Les Pauls.

I don't think any electric player escapes guitarhood without having at least one. They do come in several types, which have very different sonic characteristics.

There's the ubiquitous maple over mahog with humbucks, which has never lit me up personally (notwithstanding its giant footprint in rock, and the players I like for whom it's top choice). The closest I've kept in the herd is a mid-70s Deluxe with mini-hums.

Then there's the original-recipe maple-over-mahog with P90s. Gotta like and respect it, but I haven't personally met a Gibson example I can quite love. The 50s Tribute I dated awhile, a lovely in honey burst, is for sale.

I get on better with the mahogany-slab-with-P90 members of the family, the red-headed (sometimes TV-blond) Special and Junior stepchildren. My roots are inevitably rock, so it was probably Leslie West who first showed me this particular light. I'm partial to the red doublecut Special, and a recent inexpensive Faded model suffices.

(For whatever reason, I've found more joy in Less Pauls NOT of Gibson manufacture, again usually with P90s, usually inexpensive - old Electras, Dean Evos, Michael Kelly Patriots, Agile. An exception to the P90 rule is a purely wonderful Agile arched-mahog-over-mahog cherry stain wondermachine with 'buckers, just the sweetest Lester I've played, and all of 219.00 new.)

Back in the Gibson domain, I suppose the uneven-doublecut thinline Les Paul Signature model with Lo-Z pickups qualifies as a Les Paul (it says so on the headstock), but it bears almost no cosmetic, construction, or sonic similarities with the rest of the Les line. I guess it's the Les Paul for people who don't like the shape, pickups, build, or tone of the classic buckerpaul. Mine's the Epiphone reissue.

OK. Respect to Les Pauls.

22

Well the lower half of the body is Les Paul shaped isn't it? The Sig model always struck me as a 335 on the top with a Les Paul on the bottom. Here in Australia there is a very popular singer called Paul Kelly who often plays one. Paul Kelly is an Aussie institution.

I LOVE P90 Gibsons. I am still blissfully happy with my 2015 ES-225RI with wonderful dogears, and would like another '54 style Les Paul to replace the one I sold a few years ago. Just today I was playing a friend's '59 LP Junior - great sounding guitars.

23

Armstrong P90's don't sqeal. I'm pretty sure TV jones won't either. Seymour DeArmonds do.


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