#1
Hey everyone,

I am saving for a PRS SE Santana. I'm thinking of replacing the neck humbucker with a p90 with the size of a humbucker, because I love p90's in the neck position for cleans and solo's . I'm going to use it with a TS9 and a Big Muff (and delay/wah if necessary). The humbucker is for rhythm sounds.

So my question is: does it matter which p90 I use with the humbucker? How would it sound if I use both pickups at the same time?

Cheers!
Gear:

Ibanez S420 > Boss TU-3 > Crybaby > Ibanez TS9 > Marshall Shredmaster > EHX Big Muff Pi > TC Alter Ego X4 > Peavey VK 112
#2
I have a guitar with that array, and I matched the overall general character of the 2 pickups so that I wouldn't get RADICAL differences in volume, etc. when switching or blending. The tonal differences are still quite apparent, though.

I like the mix, too, and am considering altering one of my other guitars to this configuration.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Jun 9, 2015,
#3
Quote by Timon 95

So my question is: does it matter which p90 I use with the humbucker? How would it sound if I use both pickups at the same time?


I just put together a Telecaster with a Gibson made bucker size P90 in the neck with the stock Tele bridge pickup. I prefer the look of an original soapbar to gibson's silver trim around the edge, but I don't horribly mind that because I got a great deal and the pup itself sounds phenomenal, especially in the mid position with the bridge and the P90 going at the same time. Absolutely love the combination of the P90s warmer, darker characteristics and the brightness and slight twang of the tele bridge.

However I am unsure how the P90 neck would sound in conjunction with a 'bucker in the bridge. I know the Lou Pallo signature LP has a P90 neck with a humbucker bridge. You can find some demo videos of it online I'm sure.

If anything, I think your tone will be deep in the warm, buttery smooth category with that setup.

As far as which P90 to get, that largely depends on your budget and preference. How nitpicky you are with different sounds of pickups. I'd stick with the original Gibsons, Lollars, or Lindy Fralin if you're willing to dish out the $. Wouldn't trust SD in the P90 realm.

Good luck!
~GEAR~

'93 Fender Duo Sonic Reissue

'84 ProCo Smallbox RAT->Fulltone OCD->Akai E2 Headrush->Acoustic Model 470/Acoustic 105 4x12
#4
They're noisy, just modded my guitar with Joe Bardens and the noise difference is staggering.
I'd say grab a PAF Joe instead and call it a day. Sounds like buttah, and much less noise.
Last edited by diabolical at Jun 9, 2015,
#5
It's not the most common configuration but there are quite a few guitars that come stock with that setup, many of them quite nice. The Les Paul BFG, Lou Pallo signature, Neil Young's guitar if you count a mini bucker, Nik Huber Krautster II, Reverend Double Agent, a lot of the Duesenberg catalog, etc. Lots of high-end and refined guitars seem to have it, which might tell you something.

Anyway, matching the pickups shouldn't be too hard, they usually sound good mixed and you can get away with most combinations as long as they're not wildly mismatched. If the middle position sounds weird and tinny you probably have a phase mismatch, just reverse the hot and ground wires on the P-90 and it should sound better.
#6
Yeah, that makes sense, I'll look into that too. And I don't know much about PAF's, I just have played some guitars that had P90's in them. In the neck they sounded beautiful and I really didn't have that much noise...

Would it sound weird if I switched from rhythm to lead (or back) if the tonal differences are that big?
Gear:

Ibanez S420 > Boss TU-3 > Crybaby > Ibanez TS9 > Marshall Shredmaster > EHX Big Muff Pi > TC Alter Ego X4 > Peavey VK 112
Last edited by Timon 95 at Jun 9, 2015,
#7
Not really that weird, in most cases. People put JBs in strats with low-output single coils all the time, have teles with neck humbuckers, Ibanez type guitars with two hot humbuckers and one single coil in the middle - you can get away with all sorts of pickup combinations, and the humbucker/P90 isn't even that weird. I don't think you'll have any issues.
#8
Quote by Timon 95
Yeah, that makes sense, I'll look into that too.

Would it sound weird if I switched from rhythm to lead (or back) if the tonal differences are that apparent?


I wouldn't think so for that setup. The tonal difference is palpable on my setup, but I don't like switching pickups mid song. I tend to switch between the pups inbetween songs to get a larger variation in the overall sound.

I believe with the humbucker and the P90 will balance eachother out. Seems to have a good response from people who've tried that configuration.
~GEAR~

'93 Fender Duo Sonic Reissue

'84 ProCo Smallbox RAT->Fulltone OCD->Akai E2 Headrush->Acoustic Model 470/Acoustic 105 4x12
#9
Quote by Roc8995
It's not the most common configuration but there are quite a few guitars that come stock with that setup, many of them quite nice. The Les Paul BFG, Lou Pallo signature, Neil Young's guitar if you count a mini bucker, Nik Huber Krautster II, Reverend Double Agent, a lot of the Duesenberg catalog, etc. Lots of high-end and refined guitars seem to have it, which might tell you something.

I know there's a G&L like that, and I think PRS has one, too.

Godin has one as well- one of the Empires- and they recently released one of their Icons with those P-Rail all-in-ones installed.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#10
Quote by thief_of_fire
I wouldn't think so for that setup. The tonal difference is palpable on my setup, but I don't like switching pickups mid song. I tend to switch between the pups inbetween songs to get a larger variation in the overall sound.

I believe with the humbucker and the P90 will balance eachother out. Seems to have a good response from people who've tried that configuration.


I see your point about the mid song pickup switching, but I really think I have to because I need to switch between heavy rhythm and smooth clean/solo sounds. But if the P90 and the humbucker will balance each other out, then I guess there's nothing to worry about except that I have to match them properly, right?

Just a question about that: can a neck P90 match with both passive and active pickups? I'm not sure if I want to upgrade the bridge pickup or not, but I want both combinations to sound good because I don't want to buy two neck P90's haha.
Gear:

Ibanez S420 > Boss TU-3 > Crybaby > Ibanez TS9 > Marshall Shredmaster > EHX Big Muff Pi > TC Alter Ego X4 > Peavey VK 112
#11
Quote by Timon 95
But if the P90 and the humbucker will balance each other out, then I guess there's nothing to worry about except that I have to match them properly, right?


Correct. It's a little counterintuitive, but a P90 neck and a humbucker bridge have more similar tonal characteristics than a P90 neck and a single coil bridge, even though the P90 is also a single coil. P90/Humbucker combo seems to be used quite a bit and has high praise.

I don't think its going to sound that much different than a dual HB guitar, but that's just me.

Quote by Timon 95

Just a question about that: can a neck P90 match with both passive and active pickups? I'm not sure if I want to upgrade the bridge pickup or not, but I want both combinations to sound good because I don't want to buy two neck P90's haha.


Can't speak to what combos are best, but I will say I have seen people using P90 necks with EMG bridges. I'm not one for active pickups.
~GEAR~

'93 Fender Duo Sonic Reissue

'84 ProCo Smallbox RAT->Fulltone OCD->Akai E2 Headrush->Acoustic Model 470/Acoustic 105 4x12
Last edited by thief_of_fire at Jun 9, 2015,
#12
I also have a humbucker P90 guitar. In my case, the pickups were chosen to sound reasonably similar to each other in tone and output. The middle position is fine. As t-o-f noted, a typical P90 a vintage style humbucker go well together, mine are both a bit towards the hot side.
#13
Use a Rio Grande Dirty Harry Humbucker and one of their Humbucker sized P90's.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
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Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
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Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
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Cathbard Amplification
My band
#14
Quote by Cathbard
Use a Rio Grande Dirty Harry Humbucker and one of their Humbucker sized P90's.

A good beefy combo, that. You could also go with a pair of the Dirty Harry HBs and coil split them- I'm probably doing that with a Malden Bad Karma.

For those who don't know them, the Dirty Harry HB is made by combining 2 of Rio Grande's singlecoil-sized P90s in one HB housing, so when you split them, it behaves like a singlecoil P90.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#15
i lost out on a Gibson BFG that had a p90 in the neck a year or so ago. i liked it a lot. i would love to put one in in one of my guitars, but most of my guitars are at where i like them .

in all honest (not disrespecting anyone), i think danny would defensibly be one of the top to listen to regarding this. he has more guitars than am and he has quite a few cool one offs.

danny... you need a new amp
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#17
Quote by trashedlostfdup


in all honest (not disrespecting anyone), i think danny would defensibly be one of the top to listen to regarding this. he has more guitars than am and he has quite a few cool one offs.

danny... you need a new amp



ARGH! Ya got me!
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#18
Quote by Fumble fingers
here's my USA , G&L Fallout in action , P90 and Duncan JB


Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#19
The Humbucker/P-90 combination certainly worked for Tom Scholz of Boston:



As far as I know, he is still using it. He stuck a DiMarzio Super Distortion in the bridge position and kept the original Gibson P-90 in the neck position.
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
#20
the P90 is a deeper sound than my Seymor Duncan JB ..... they sound good together or separate , on my guitar they balance real well , switching mid song would be fine , I don't see a problem with doing that ...... I like my Fallout P90/JB so much I might get another one for a back up , might get a 1 3/4 or 1 11/16 nut this time instead of the standard 1 5/8 though , I been digging the wide necks here lately
#21
I can't speak for all them other high end guitars, but I've only tried one guitar with the combination (I see them all the time, not weird to me at all): the Yamaha Pacifica 611. Very nice guitar, very nice sound. It has an SP90-1n in the neck and a TB-14 in the bridge. The TB-14 isn't quite the metal pickup (can do, but it isn't voiced optimally), but it is a very prominent pickup in modern hard rock. The SP90-1 is a reproduction of the original '46 Gibson coils. It's quite the mismatch, still sounds amazing. The actual volume differs from pickup to pickup, but it is made up for in the tonal differences i.e. both the pickups would sound just as loud as each other in a mix if you take 'cutting through' into account.
The above post is in terms of 'YMMV' and 'IMO', etc...

Quote by Offworld92
This debate is exhausting to read.
The guitar world is drowned in fairy dust.
We need to start at the very beginning. What is tone.
#22
This one has been on my radar for a while:
http://fret-king.com/black-label/elise-gg-gordon-giltrap.html#.VXf7WWK9KSM

Not only does it have the (standard) P90 in the neck partnered with a bridge HB, it also has piezos that you can use independently, or blend with the standard pickups with the flick of a switch. Sounds like fun to me!
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#23
All right, I've looked at your suggestions and I've narrowed the choices for the P90 down to the Gibson P94 and the Rio Grande Bastard. So now it depends on which one can get me the brightest clean sound. What do you think?

As for what humbucker to go with it, I'm not so sure. I need something I can really hear me picking the notes with. I've looked at the Dirty Harry, but won't it be a shame if I can't split it? The guitar only has a 3-way switch...

Oh and is there a way I can play U2 songs like Pride and Where the Streets have no name with this kind of pickup combination and guitar? I mostly play spacey music and heavy rock but sometimes I like playing that kind of stuff

@Dannyalcatraz: That is one awesome guitar you found there!
Gear:

Ibanez S420 > Boss TU-3 > Crybaby > Ibanez TS9 > Marshall Shredmaster > EHX Big Muff Pi > TC Alter Ego X4 > Peavey VK 112
Last edited by Timon 95 at Jun 10, 2015,
#24
Why can't you split it? Just buy a switched push/pull pot and wire it in.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#25
This is a fairly traditional combination of sounds.

Don't be arsed with getting them to match in volume; or if you do, modify the humbucker and leave the P90 alone. You'll want a fairly standard (as in traditional output) P90. If you get a hotter version, you'll get a huge amount of noise.

There are noiseless P90's on the market, of which the Kinman series noiseless P90 is the hands-down most like an original P90 in character, while eliminating tradtiional P90 noise.

I use a Variax for a lot of P90 sounds. These guitars model (as you're probably aware) various guitars, using Piezo pickups and electronics to do so. One of the great things about them is that you can finally play single coil sounds with no noise. Cool beans.
#26
Quote by Timon 95
All right, I've looked at your suggestions and I've narrowed the choices for the P90 down to the Gibson P94 and the Rio Grande Bastard. So now it depends on which one can get me the brightest clean sound. What do you think?

As for what humbucker to go with it, I'm not so sure. I need something I can really hear me picking the notes with. I've looked at the Dirty Harry, but won't it be a shame if I can't split it? The guitar only has a 3-way switch...

Oh and is there a way I can play U2 songs like Pride and Where the Streets have no name with this kind of pickup combination and guitar? I mostly play spacey music and heavy rock but sometimes I like playing that kind of stuff

@Dannyalcatraz: That is one awesome guitar you found there!

I REALLY like the Rio Grandes, but which you should buy depends on what you intend to play through it the most. Lots of companies making good P90s and HB-sized P90s right now.

Cathbard has lived & gigged with his Rio Grandes for a while now, so he'd be the ace for describing them tonally.

Mine came from The Creamery. While it is capable of great subtleties, it can also deliver a nice punch to the throat, if need be.

Others on my short list come from Vintage Vibe, RailHammer, Lollar and a few others.

So, what's your budget, and what's your desired tone?

As for playing U2, remember that The Edge is primarily a HB guy. For a long time, all he had was his V. So I don't think you'd be barred from playing those songs properly, as long as the rest of your rig can clean up nicely.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#27
The Rio Grandes are on the dark side of things. The Dirty Harry (I have the tele single coil variety) sits somewhere between a SD Quarter Pounder and a SD Hot P90 in tone. The other one I use is a Bluesbar. It is darker in tone than the SD Hot P90 that it replaced. The Hot P90 ended up in the neck but I never use it.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#28
Wow, I haven't thought about push/pull-pots yet.. is that recommendable for splitting the bridge humbucker? I kind of need a single coil sound for one song that I wrote, so if the humbucker can do that nicely, that would be great.

I primarily play music that's in between Muse, Pink Floyd and Dream Theater in style, that's what I need the humbucker for, but if I want more versatility into one guitar I thought it would be cool
if I could also split the humbucker into single coils.

I once tried a Les Paul 50's tribute and I really liked that neck P90. It was so clear! but still nice and warm and with some delay (and for solo's some fuzz) it sounded heavenly

About my budget: I don't think I'll get anything to my liking if I don't spend around $150 for each pickup, right? I'll have to save, but if that's what necessary to get my desired tone...

And thanks for the U2 tip, no more problems there, then!
Gear:

Ibanez S420 > Boss TU-3 > Crybaby > Ibanez TS9 > Marshall Shredmaster > EHX Big Muff Pi > TC Alter Ego X4 > Peavey VK 112
Last edited by Timon 95 at Jun 11, 2015,
#29
Push pull pots are a very common way to do it.

Good pickups cost good money. I've given up on cheap pups. You want quality, spend the money.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#30
FWIW, I actually have one guitar with a push/push pot for splitting. It is different, and I kinda like it. In some ways, it is easier to use than a push/pull- zero grip needed, just a tap or swat- but that same ease of use could also make it easier to trigger accidentally.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#31
Ooh thanks for pointing that out! I've never had push/pull of push/push pots before so I'm kinda new to that, but push/push seems great for me! The accidentally triggering won't be a problem for me, I'm a pretty careful guy haha.

I think I'll go with a Gibson P94R in the neck, but will the Rio Grande Dirty Harry humbucker go nice with it? Can it give me a really strong attack?
Gear:

Ibanez S420 > Boss TU-3 > Crybaby > Ibanez TS9 > Marshall Shredmaster > EHX Big Muff Pi > TC Alter Ego X4 > Peavey VK 112
#32
I have mixed single coils with buckers many times and not noticed a big problem with balance. When I did see a volume difference on one guitar I built (differences between single coil pickups) I simply adjusted the pickup heights slightly to get them even. More important is the tonal quality from each of them, to me.
Last edited by Blademaster2 at Jun 30, 2015,
#33
Never actually used the humbucker version of the Dirty Harry but the music in the "My band" link in my sig is a tele s/c Dirty Harry through what is essentially a SLO (RM100 with a SLO preamp module) if that helps.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#34
Quote by Blademaster2
I have mixed single coils with buckers many times and not noticed a big problem with balance. When I did see a volume difference on one guitar I built (differences between single coil pickups) I simply adjusted the pickup heights slightly to get them even. More important is the tonal quality form each of them, to me.


That makes sense, thanks! And Cathbard, your songs are pretty cool! Great sound but it's not what I'm looking for.
My main questions (and more! ) are answered now, I think now all I have to do is do my own research on bridge humbuckers.

Thank you very much, everyone! This has been great help
Gear:

Ibanez S420 > Boss TU-3 > Crybaby > Ibanez TS9 > Marshall Shredmaster > EHX Big Muff Pi > TC Alter Ego X4 > Peavey VK 112
#35
FWIW, even though they'll only tell you about their own products, I have found that contacting the pickup manufacturers can be a good source of info on matching pickups.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!