#1
I've recently bought a Gibson faded flying V - primarily bought as a stage guitar, but it'll also find use in the studio to contrast to my staple diet of strats and teles. Always wanted one, now it's time to tweak it to suit.

The only problem for me is that the pickups are a bit hot. I don't mind banging out a bit of old school Pantera/Slayer/Van Halen from time to time, but i'm more of a low gain canoodler in the style of Brian Setzer or Danny Gatton... a big box Gretsch might be a better starting point for my wants, but screw it - rules are for suckers... and I want a V.

Whatever pickup I choose, I don't want it to have the Les Paul muddieness (already got an LP, too heavy for me, not 100% in love with the sound), and i'd like a bit more dynamic rather than the levelled sound of the average humbucker. For this reason I think P90s are the way to go.


If there's any pickup gurus in the house, what would you recommend? I'm thinking about going for some GFS pickups (got em in a couple of my strats - 10/10 for tone), maybe a mean 90 in the bridge and a dream 90 in the neck.... but the Surf 90s have also caught my eye.... so too the Filtertron thingys. I've tried the SD Phat Cats before and was disappointed, so they'er off the list. I won't pay $100+ for a pickup either, so 'boutique' options are off the menu too.


Any suggestions or advice?
Last edited by ravenhaller at Jan 29, 2012,
#2
Mean 90s are nice in their own way but not quite the same as real p90s, they're like a big (read: lots of lower mids) detailed normal single coil, lacking p90 bite. I've heard great things about creamery hb p90s if you don't mind going over budget. The surf 90 is pretty interesting, it has a kinda scooped tone to it. I was expecting (and kinda hoping) for less bass and more jangle, but its still pretty good. It's based on a Dynasonic, but I don't have an axe with Dynasonics (yet) to compare it to.

Mean 90 in the neck and surf 90 in the bridge have pretty much identical output. I thought about the fillertron style pickups, but I couldn't stand the writing on them. Something I've read about all GFS humbucker size pickups is they tend to have a fair amount of bass, just something to keep in mind, but I don't have enough experience with them to actually vouch for that.
#3
I owned a set of fat pats. It was an upgrade from the stock epi pickups, but it would be a downgrade from stock gibson pickups.

I have nothing bad to say about them. For a 30$ set of humbuckers they're worth the money. But i wouldn't put them in even the cheapest gibson.
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#4
You say you like the Gretsch sound...why not get some TV Jones?

I might also give Lace Alumitones a try. Their main one sounds as silent as a Humbucker, but bright like a Single-Coil...but apparently, they've just made one that also sounds a bit more like a P90.
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Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Jan 29, 2012,
#5
Quote by mike_oxbig
I owned a set of fat pats. It was an upgrade from the stock epi pickups, but it would be a downgrade from stock gibson pickups.

I have nothing bad to say about them. For a 30$ set of humbuckers they're worth the money. But i wouldn't put them in even the cheapest gibson.


Agreed.
In a higher end guitar, you're best off spending real money on pickups. I put my GFS pickups in a low end Yamaha.
#6
Guitar force and bg both make nice custom pickups for a good price. As does Jeff at high order.
#7
literally just posted as another guy did. BG pickups. handwound in the states to any spec you want.
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#8
P90s sounds so freaking good. Also, considering you're a fan of Brian Setzer, what's good with those weird hollow body pickups? Like this, are those just fancy pants humbuckers?
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#9
Actual P90s will just fit into the humbucker routing on a Flying V, but I think the bridge pickup requires a shim underneath it from what I've read online. I've considered picking up another V to drop P90s in, only reason why I know this haha. Obviously you'd have to buy another guard or cut around on yours going this route..

Something more vintage-voiced in the humbucker department might work? Such as a Pearly Gates in the bridge. But that would interfere with the LP thing I guess since they're modeled after an LP..
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[thread="1166208"]Gibsons Historic Designs[/thread]
#10
I'll get a new pickguard to accomodate once I sort out the configuration. But first things first - a Gibson it may be, but throwing $500 on custom / boutique / fashionable pickups into a $750 guitar is overkill in my books... anyway - i'm sold on GFS having bought a couple of sets now... they may be cheap, but whatever - the tone is there and it's quality workmanship. But, i'm not an American so I don't feel the need to restrict myself to U.S. made options... that said I won't exclude them either if they fit the bill.

Just FYI - i'm not looking for 100% authentic replications, I just want to improve clarity, definition and dynamic over the current ceramic pickups. I really want to turn my V into one of these guys - love the tone, just not a fan of the LP shape

#11
$95 shipped gets you a pair of Gibson P90s, and buying used pickups is not a big deal in the slightest. Thats well below what you were planning to spend ($200 a set). Add in another $60 for a custom cut pickguard and you're there. V pickguards are retardedly expensive btw. Or you can cut your own for free, or cost of the tools. I mean, its well inside your budget and you're getting actual legit P90s from Gibson, not a copy from a budget guitar brand and it would be a few bucks more overall.

P90s will just fit inside the humbucker routing






Here's the link for the P90s
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Genuine-Gibson-P90-Pickups-Set-2-/220943695923?pt=Guitar_Accessories&hash=item3371454033
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[thread="1166208"]Gibsons Historic Designs[/thread]
Last edited by Flux'D at Jan 30, 2012,
#12
try the dream 180's, or maybe the dream 90's.

Quote by ravenhaller
I've recently bought a Gibson faded flying V - primarily bought as a stage guitar, but it'll also find use in the studio to contrast to my staple diet of strats and teles. Always wanted one, now it's time to tweak it to suit.

The only problem for me is that the pickups are a bit hot. I don't mind banging out a bit of old school Pantera/Slayer/Van Halen from time to time, but i'm more of a low gain canoodler in the style of Brian Setzer or Danny Gatton... a big box Gretsch might be a better starting point for my wants, but screw it - rules are for suckers... and I want a V.

Whatever pickup I choose, I don't want it to have the Les Paul muddieness (already got an LP, too heavy for me, not 100% in love with the sound), and i'd like a bit more dynamic rather than the levelled sound of the average humbucker. For this reason I think P90s are the way to go.


If there's any pickup gurus in the house, what would you recommend? I'm thinking about going for some GFS pickups (got em in a couple of my strats - 10/10 for tone), maybe a mean 90 in the bridge and a dream 90 in the neck.... but the Surf 90s have also caught my eye.... so too the Filtertron thingys. I've tried the SD Phat Cats before and was disappointed, so they'er off the list. I won't pay $100+ for a pickup either, so 'boutique' options are off the menu too.


Any suggestions or advice?
#13
WTF is all this P90 junk?

GFS actually makes a Gretsch Pickup copy, actually like 6.

http://www.guitarfetish.com/GFS-Retrotron-Series_c_99.html
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#15
I ordered mine through WD Music, it was about $50 shipped I think. You would have to email them about having one made for P90s though.

None of the guitars pictured in my last post are mine btw , I did replace the white guard for a black 3 ply though. And ordered a 2ply truss rod cover from eBay for around $15. I had to take a little off the bottom of the truss rod cover for it to fit my V, but the pickguard was a direct replacement without modification to anything.
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[thread="1166208"]Gibsons Historic Designs[/thread]
Last edited by Flux'D at Jan 30, 2012,
#16
first off, im pretty sure that some of the TV jones pups are about as hot as gibsons, which is why some of the best gretsch sounds are actually hard/ classic rock....aka AC DC. yes, the AC DC sound is malcolm young on a gretsch. angus just does the solos, thats his SG cutting through.

2nd, dont put those budget pups in a good gibson (by that i mean higher level than a studio). what you want is some lower output bareknuckle p-90s.

if you cant pay that, there are plenty of upgrades from GFS. or, sell your gibson pups and use that towards the bareknuckles.

im not really sure what the les paul muddiness is. you mean like jimmy page? like peter greene? like santana? like everyone in skynrd?

gibsons arent muddy if the rest of your gear is quality and set right. in fact, historically, most famous gibson players have had quite a bright sound.

...actually most strat players i can think of have a dark sound by their amp / setup (gilmour, clapton, van halen....)
#17
edit:

ever heard of lonnie mack? he used a stock flying V straight into an amp. and he gets some of the best tones out of it, especially clean / bluesy tones

its all about the setup and playing style man
#18
^There's very little useful info in those two posts, for the record..

Lonnie Mack was the man by any measure, but when I thought Blues and Flying V... Albert King always came to mind. I also like how he strung his guitars backwards

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[thread="1166208"]Gibsons Historic Designs[/thread]
Last edited by Flux'D at Jan 30, 2012,
#19
Just a follow up. My stock Faded V is now pimped out and sounding like porn. GFS Mean 90s x 2. Such an awesome axe - I shoulda got a V years ago.

#20
Flying V are awesome!
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#21
Flying V are awesome! PRS Flying V would be amazing.
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#22
The V looks great man! I see you swapped the truss rod cover as well, very nice . I'd recommend swapping the tuners to something else btw, they're not the best things out there. I couldn't get mine to keep the G-string in tune after some bends, and I string my axes up in the 'correct' fashion too. It wasn't the nut giving me problems either.
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[thread="1166208"]Gibsons Historic Designs[/thread]
#23
I've never had problems with the standard tuners. Its just that they aren't that high ratio, so getting them to perfect pitch takes a few tries.
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#24
They worked fine for me except on the G-string. It just wouldn't hold tune through a bend for anything
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[thread="1166208"]Gibsons Historic Designs[/thread]
#25
I've found the low E to be a bit on the loose side but it still holds tune okay

I will be honest though; they look cool, but they're not the best tuners in the world.
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#26
Here's an easy (and cheaper) solution: change magnets, lower your pickups.

The pickups that are in there stock are already about as low-output as you can get for humbuckers. There are a few specialist styles of pickup (wide range in a humbucker size, filtertron in a hum size, etc) pickups that are lower in power, but those aren't the sort of thing you can pick up cheaply at GFS or any similar site.

Want a more mellow tone with less output? Change the neck pickup's alnico V magnet for a II or III one. The III is the weakest and about as bright as the V; the II is very, very slightly stronger (but still weaker than the V) and has the warmest tone. Then change the ceramic magnet in the 500T bridge pickup for an alnico IV or V one. V has a slightly scooped tone; IV has a pretty balanced tone, in the middle of other alnico magnets. You could even try a alnico II there but the way the coils are wound might make that a bit muddy.

You could even get slightly degaussed magnets or ''aged'' ones to get even less output and a more subdued tone.

Then simply lower the pickups. This instantly improves clarity, harmonic response, sustain and lowers output.

GFS pickups are not going to be more responsive than the stock ones. Gibson pickups, as generic and unsuitable for specific applications as they are, are at least built very well from a technical standpoint. GFS pickups (and similar brands like Axesrus, Irongear and Tonerider) have had a fair bit of time and money spent on R&D compared to the pickups that are shoved in Epiphones and Squiers, but they're still wound in Korea, using cheaper parts and in greater numbers with less care. If you put in GFS pickups you'll be downgrading the guitar; a magnet swap is cheaper and wil be an actual improvement.


Edit: totally didn't read the last half of the thread. Ah well, my advice still stands for any future purchases/other players.
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Last edited by MrFlibble at Mar 6, 2012,
#27
^Do you realize TS already swapped pickups, and that the 496R/500T are both ceramic? AND that the 500T is the highest output pickup that Gibson makes?
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[thread="1166208"]Gibsons Historic Designs[/thread]
#28
Quote by Flux'D

Lonnie Mack was the man by any measure, but when I thought Blues and Flying V... Albert King always came to mind. I also like how he strung his guitars backwards

That guitar isn't "strung backwards", it's left handed.

(Note the tone and volume controls on the bottom. A right handed guitar places the tone and volume up the top when strung for a right hander).

That said, are you saying he played with the bass strings on the bottom? 'Cause that would be "strung backwards".....

This Wiki photo shows him with a right handed V:
Last edited by Captaincranky at Mar 6, 2012,
#29
Quote by Captaincranky
That guitar isn't "strung backwards", it's left handed.

That said, are you saying he played with the bass strings on the bottom? 'Cause that would be "strung backwards".....
Your post contradicts itself in a rather confusing manner..

In my picture he is playing a left handed guitar. That is strung backwards. See how the high E is the closest string to him? It's backwards. How are you confused
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[thread="1166208"]Gibsons Historic Designs[/thread]
Last edited by Flux'D at Mar 7, 2012,
#30
Quote by Flux'D
Your post contradicts itself in a rather confusing manner..

In my picture he is playing a left handed guitar. That is strung backwards. See how the high E is the closest string to him? It's backwards. How are you confused
I'm not confused per se. I thought, (in your photo), the strings were fatter at the bottom, which would make the left handed guitar he's playing strung for a right handed player. I have known a person that used to just take a RH guitar, flip it over without restringing [, leaving the bass strings toward the floor.

It does seen sort of a paradox to get a left handed instrument, then restring it the "wrong way", right handed. I suppose it does make sense in that with a lefty playing an actual left handed guitar, you wouldn't foul the tone, volume, and pickup selector with your arm, no matter which way the strings were on the guitar.
#31
Albert King is one of the reasons I love V's so much - a schoolyard hero of mine. When all my friends were frothing over Kurt Cobain and Metallica, all I wanted to learn was 'answer to laundromat blues', 'she caught the katy' or 'breaking up somebody's home'.

I understand how/why he plays like he does. Technique is all based on how you first learnt to play guitar. I'm actually left handed, but play right handed as I had no access to lefty guitars when I was learning. An option is to flip it around like Albert K or Dick Dale does... but that never occurred to me. When I finally had enough cash to buy a left handed guitar I never bothered as I was already settled how I was.

Albert did originally play a righty V upside down, but the black and white pic is his Gibson custom built 'Lucy' he played through much of the '60s/'70s.

As for GFS pickups... love 'em or hate 'em, I don't care - my ears don't lie. I've owned enough guitars to know good tone is good tone - the will to spend $$$$ on a $$$$ solution is just ego placation. Got GFS options in three of my guitars now, and they're all tone weapons. I wouldn't hesitate for a second to put GFS pickups in ANY guitar.