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Old 03-15-2013, 03:08 PM   #1
Funky_Cheese
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Soapbar Replacement Noob Question

Hi. New here. New to the guitar as well. I had a question regarding soapbar pickups and replacing them. My guitar has soapbar pickups. If I wanted to switch these out at a future time. Am I just limited to soapbar pickups? Please forgive the ignorance. Thanks for your time and patience.
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Old 03-15-2013, 03:14 PM   #2
dannyalcatraz
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There are non-soapbar pickups that are soapbar sized, but they aren't very common and they tend to be pricier. Not ridiculously so, but...

Honestly, do a little internet search and you'll find them from all kinds of makers, from the budget lines (inexpensive, but still pricier than many others from the same manufacturer) to as pricey as you can imagine.
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Old 03-15-2013, 10:13 PM   #3
MrFlibble
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Even some soapbar pickups won't fit. You need to see if yours has the very round Gibson-style cover and baseplate or the slightly squarer one commonly used on lower-end guitars; you also need to check the screws for mounting line up, as many soapbars need threaded inserts and don't screw directly into the wood, which is a common misconception.

If you can explain what guitar it is you have, specifically, we could work out what sort of pickups will fit.

But yes, dannyalcatraz is right, there are many pickups made to fit in soapbar routes. Humbuckers, mini-humbuckers, Fender-style single coils, Jazzmaster pickups, Firebird pickups, Wide Range humbuckers, stacked P-90s, active humbuckers; all can be bought in a soapbar size.
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:42 PM   #4
randywolf244
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both before me are right, but the ones that will fit are kinda overpriced, my suggestion is just get a used guitar for about the price of the pups and never ahve to worry about it. what model is it though? has nothing to do with answer im just curious
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:47 PM   #5
Renots024Young
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Lol what's a soapbar pickup?
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Old 03-16-2013, 10:14 AM   #6
Funky_Cheese
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Thank you all for the replies. It is very much appreciated. The guitar I have is an Epiphone Les Paul Special I w/P90 pickups. I originally bought it to play bluesy type stuff and hard rock type music. Which I try to play...Starting to get it down pretty decent....

So I then heard about drop d tuning and kinda went crazy when I found out how easy it was to play some of my fav's. Which brought me to the idea of the pickups. So...In reality, would it just be more feasible to get a guitar more aimed at metal then worrying about the pickups? Thanks again for everyone's time.
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Old 03-16-2013, 03:01 PM   #7
dannyalcatraz
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Full disclosure: I have a guitar collection in double digits.

So it should come as no surprise that I prefer to have guitars designated for certain tunings or techniques, as opposed to retuning and fiddling about with my EQ, strings and truss rods all the time. It costs money, but it saves time and hassle. It also- generally speaking- expands your overall tonal options.

Most of my guitars are equipped with humbuckers; some splittable. That means they sound sort of like single coils, but not quite. But by the end of this year, I'll have tripled or quadrupled the number of axes with single coils I have, and simultaneously, will have added 2 with P90s.*

In addition, I will be going from owning one guitar with a tremolo to having 4.

Don't give up on the idea of swapping pickups- it may be right for you at some time. But if you want to play music in a diverse variety of genres and tunings, adding an additional guitar (or ten) to your arsenal may make more sense.

That is one of the reasons why you'll see guitarists performing live using several guitars over the course of the evening.

OTOH, some guys who play diverse styles find its more practical for them to pick an oddball tuning and simply leave their guitar in it...and relearn all of their stuff in that new tuning. (Robert Fripp did that early on...)






* one of which will be a guitar that used to have a pair of HBs.
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Old 03-16-2013, 10:58 PM   #8
MrFlibble
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Beat me to it. Was gonna say all that. Ah well, it had to happen eventually.

Only thing I'll add is that if you do swap the pickups, the Epi LP Special with P-90s has, I believe, the slightly squarer style of P-90, with a routing around the edges and threaded insert mounting. Common replacements like those made by Seymour Duncan make should fit but the slightly more unusual replacements—such as minibuckers or DiMarzio's P-90-size humbuckers—won't be able to mount properly. In fact Seymour Duncan are the only brand that I've ever gotten to fit perfectly in the Epi routings. They do a 'stack' P-90 which is hum-cancelling, good if you're using a lot of distortion though a bit pointless with low gain. It should also have a little more power to it than the stock pickup.

Just bear in mind that a pickup swap may not be right for you anyway. There's only so much that a pickup swap can do, in any guitar. It's just some wire and some magnets. Most of your tone is dictated by your amp and the kind of response you get from a guitar is really down to the design of the guitar and the strings you're using. If you decide that low-tuned metal is what you want then the LP Special may simply never be right for you, no matter what pickups you stick in it. Similarly if you did change it to suit drop-tuning then you might have trouble getting it to sound good for that "bluesy stuff" you mentions.
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Old 03-16-2013, 11:44 PM   #9
dannyalcatraz
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Yeah- change pickups as a tweak, not as an initial goal. The only reason I'm swapping out the stock HBs in my Dean for a custom HB & P90 set from Vintage Vibe is that the guitar itself is solidly made and feels great, but subsequently purchased guitars have revealed the stock pickups to be hot but muddy. Since I now have other guitars that do that Dean's job better, I'm using it as a platform to visit other tonal regions.
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Old 03-17-2013, 11:19 AM   #10
Funky_Cheese
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Thanks again everyone. I appreciate your time. I decided to leave the guitar as is and, decided to browse for another one. The idea of having a couple different ones aimed at the styles I want to play is more reasonable than what I had originally had in mind.

Not to stray off topic, but, could anyone recommend a "decent" guitar for metal in the $100-$200 range?

I don't know if it helps but the amp I have is a Peavey Vypyr 15 watter. Thanks again.
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