GFS Mean 90’s in a 5120?


I'm thinking about it. Have any of you tried it? I might try the bridge only first. Are there any pitfalls with installation I need to be aware of before deciding?


I think you will love it. A Mean 90 is a standard humbucker size and slightly smaller than a Gretschbucker so you won't have to alter your guitar in any way to make them fit. I would think the hardest thing about installing them is getting all of the wiring out and back in place. I built a parts Strat with a Gretschbucker in the bridge and a Mean 90 in the neck and I love the tones it produces in every switch position.


I've got Mean 90s in my SG and absolutely love them. Super versatile pickups, especially for the money.

I want to try an Eddie Cochran setup with the Surf 90s I have in my 5120. Surf in the bridge, Mean 90 in the neck. Just need the time (more about patience) to do the swap.

Of all the pickups I've ever tried, the Mean 90s are in my top 3, beating a few varieties of TV Jones, and Dynas. Seriously good pups, go for it, you won't regret it.

FWIW, I've owned or installed about 8 sets of GFS Pups, and have completely rebuilt a guitar with all GFS parts and haven't had any issues. Don't let the price fool you, it's good stuff.


Ripley - do the chrome covers on the Mean 90's muddy up the tone at all? I like P90's with clarity. The thing I like about the Dream 90's (currently my fav.) are the open covers (chrome with plastic tops). I've always much preferred P90's in plastic covers versus chrome.


I find Mean 90s to be good but a little on the dark side. I also find Surf 90s to be a little bright to my liking. The Dream 90s, IMO, are a nice middle ground.


Well, I've used the Dream 90's on a lot of guitars, and really love them. Bright and tele-like if you want it, but still built with alnico bar magnets, so you can back off the tone just a bit and get a good ballsy tone, too. The trick with Dream 90's is to adjust the polepieces so they are protruding just a bit from the top - gives 'em more twang. Then I individually adjust them to even out the string response.


My Mean 90s are the gloss black, not sure if it's metal or plastic to be honest with you.

Generally I like really bright pickups, and these don't disappoint. My favorite sound is the middle position. The bridge alone (as I have them adjusted) is a touch thin in the bass, and the neck alone is lacking some highs, but together they are great. Again I have to stress this is partially because of how I have them set up. I've gotten better sounds out of each pup individually, but to get the middle tone I wanted I had to compromise a bit.

I've heard the dreams, and they are good pups, but just not exactly what I'm looking for.


I tend to like bright pickups as well and the Gretschbuckers don't have it. Pole adjustments didn't do it. I have blown the guitar budget for the year so TV Classics or any other expensive pickups are off the table for now. I think the Mean 90's and maybe a tone cap change might bring the guitar to life cheaply enough and I will sort out any loss of gretsch-y-ness later. I have always wanted a guitar with P90's and I am curious of the result - it doesn't seem the Mean 90's are popular in hollow bodied guitars.


I just put a dream 90 at the neck of my 5120. Damn nice!


My poorly done sound sample is here.


– Unclegrumpy

My poorly done sound sample is here.


– UncleGrumpy

Thanks for the link, UG, your demo was great. Now I am wondering if a Dream 90 neck and Mean 90 bridge might be a better way to go. I really love the tone you were getting for chords.


Timbog - I think that combo sounds right for you. Having the Dream 90 in the neck will give you a nice bright & clear neck tone. Like I said, the models with the chrome and plastic tops are the most transparent sounding.

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