Other Guitars

P-90 or Humbuckers

1

Thinking of getting an Eastman “Les Paul” inspired solid body. What are people’s thoughts on the two pickup choices? I’ve never had a Les Paul and I’ve never owned a guitar with either pick up configuration. I’m leaning towards the P-90s. But being a lefty and living out and away from civilization my opportunities to play both are slim to none. Thanks.....

2

Each has its fan club and diehards. Partly because of what/how I play now but also general preferences I am a dual coil humbucker guy altho I still say Hi Lo tron is best single coil in history. Very few agree w/me tho.

3

An example of the Gold Top

4

and the 59 inspired Humbucker offering

5

As you can see, I'm a P-90 guy. My Edwards LP copy actually came with a pair of Duncan Seth Lover 'buckers stock. The Seth's are really great sounding 'buckers but I just like the tone of P-90's better....so in went the Armstrong P-90's in a humbucker mount. I don't think you can go wrong either way but I just prefer the sound of P-90's, especially in a LP. IMO, you can play anything with P-90's and they sound right and good.

6

P90s sound better in my opinion. Humbuckers lack tone. But then humbuckers have their place. But if I had a choice I’d say P90s.

8

As you can see, I'm a P-90 guy. My Edwards LP copy actually came with a pair of Duncan Seth Lover 'buckers stock. The Seth's are really great sounding 'buckers but I just like the tone of P-90's better....so in went the Armstrong P-90's in a humbucker mount. I don't think you can go wrong either way but I just prefer the sound of P-90's, especially in a LP. IMO, you can play anything with P-90's and they sound right and good.

– Gretschadelphia

I'm right there with you Gretschadelphia. I have Lollars in my Edwards LP clone delver the warmth when needed but single coil clarity also and love the tone.

Hipbone - I think my favorite may be the Gibson '59 tribute humbuckers in my '14 Les Paul Traditional. Massive range of tonal goodness. However, my Tokai LP clone LS-135 has the equivalent of the PAF humbuckers. IMO, these are limiting. Nice warm jazzy tone when clean but can also sound too "muffled". I'm thinking of swapping them out for either Hilotrons or Dynasonics.

Hipbone - Those Eastman LPs are top quality so have fun matching the right pickups!

9

I don't know if you can get them aftermarket but a Korean made D'Angelico with TV Jones DA-Tron pickups landed on my doorstep on Friday. It's going on to a friend in the U.K. who ordered it but I'm I'm really impressed with these pickups which also switch to a single coil mode that sounds really sweet.

11

Like them both but if you twist my arm, P90'S.

12

So what are DA'Trons? I see the ones on the DeAngelico website and they have one coil with a bar and the other with what appear to be screws. Anyone try them?

13

if you want to "sound like a Les Paul," humbuckers are your only option. if you find them lacking, use lighter strings; humbuckers do not like the string gauges typical of GDP folks. I've found that .009s are optimal. i really don't see the point of P-90s in a LP, which doesn't seem to differ significantly from any bog-standard solidbody with P-90s. if you're going to play a LP, play a proper LP. otherwise it's really not worth the expense and you might as well drop P-90s in a $200 Washburn or a early Pro Jet.

14

I have a very similar Tokai sunburst LS-135, and contrariwise really like the stock PUs. the LP Special in my avatar photo has the stock P-90s. I've never considered a pickup swap in either, since they sound just like they're supposed to in my ears. but then, i own guitars with at least eight different types of pickups so i feel no need to try and universalize the Tokais.

15

i really don't see the point of P-90s in a LP, which doesn't seem to differ significantly from any bog-standard solidbody with P-90s. if you're going to play a LP, play a proper LP. otherwise it's really not worth the expense and you might as well drop P-90s in a $200 Washburn or a early Pro Jet.

I don't really get that comment, except for maybe you're saying you don't like P90's and you don't seem to think them worthy of a nice guitar. I don't have any use for humbuckers for the sounds I want to hear or the music I play, and I'd love to own a nice Les Paul with P90's, as quite a few of my favorite players/guitar tones are P90 Les Pauls. Freddie King, Mickey Baker, Carl Perkins, Lowman Pauling, Hubert Sumlin,Guitar Slim and more.
My late buddy/guitar tech had a 54 and a 56 Les Paul, P90 goldtops, and I can assure you they were far from "any bog standard solidbody with P90's"!

16

So what are DA'Trons? I see the ones on the DeAngelico website and they have one coil with a bar and the other with what appear to be screws. Anyone try them? You'd really need to ask TV Jones but they seem similar to SuperTrons. The DA-Trons are controlled by a six way switch which permits each pickup to be played on its' own or both together in either dual coil or single coil modes. What you don't get is an option for a mix of a dual coil with a single coil.

I found them to be very clear in sound in both modes and equal to many humbuckers that I've tried.

I assume that they're an exclusive deal between TV Jones and D'Angelico as there seems to be a similar arrangement for split coil humbuckers with Seymour Duncan and D'Angelico too.

17

I'd say humbuckers if you're more of a rock and roller, P90s if you're more of a roots and blues man. Both options are great.

18

Another vote for P-90s. I've never owned or played an Eastman, but have read great things about them. There's a 330-like Eastman hollowbody with dog ear P-90s that is giving me major gas.

Good luck.

19

A P90 LP is a sexy machine...sonically and aesthetically IMHO.I’ve had both and wished I’d kept my p90 LP.

20

not at all, Walter. as i said above, i love my Tokai Les Paul Special with P-90s. it just seems counterproductive to me to spend north of $2000US for a P-90 Les Paul Standard when IMO humbuckers are the ur-Les Paul sound exemplified by everyone from Duane Allman to Steve Jones to James out of Manic Street Preachers. it makes no sense to me, any more than spending elephant dollars for a 2xHB Stratocaster or Tele. of course, I'm accustomed to folks here bashing PAFs because they don't fit the early/mid-50s sound many of y'all prefer. if that floats your boat, mazel tov!

21

but then, spending $2000+ on any solidbody seems wack to me unless the workmanship is equivalent to a 1970s Alembic.

22

if you want to "sound like a Les Paul," humbuckers are your only option. if you find them lacking, use lighter strings; humbuckers do not like the string gauges typical of GDP folks. I've found that .009s are optimal. i really don't see the point of P-90s in a LP, which doesn't seem to differ significantly from any bog-standard solidbody with P-90s. if you're going to play a LP, play a proper LP. otherwise it's really not worth the expense and you might as well drop P-90s in a $200 Washburn or a early Pro Jet.

– macphisto

Have to say I agree with you on that point. Got one with 490s, plenty of range and tone. Just select either bridge, neck, or both and play with the volume and tone knobs until you hear something you like.

Of course, it doesn't sound like my Gretsch guitars, but I didn't buy it to sound like a Great Christmas any more than I bought a Telecaster to sound like a Less Paul. Each guitar has it's own voice.

23

What the...? That was supposed to say "Gretsch", not "Great Christmas". Damn spell check...

24

On the other hand, the first LP had P90s, unless the books I've seen got it wrong. I just prefer humbuckers on 'em.

25

well, a Gretsch would make for a Great Christmas.

of course the earlier LPs had P-90s, but that sound was never as popular to the typical user after the early 1960s. and JMO you can get close enough to that sound with a mahogany slab solidbody e.g. a Les Paul Special with a good set of P-90s. a Tokai or Edwards in that vein is less than $850. i will however note that i've played several of the Epiphone P-90 goldtops and they uniformly killed. i just wouldn't spend Gibson dollars on one.


Register Sign in to join the conversation