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Thread: P90 Stack or Virtual P90...

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    Default P90 Stack or Virtual P90...

    I'm thinking of putting either a P90 Stack or a Virtual P90 in a mahogany guitar and I'm wondering what the differences might be. The Duncan has stacked coils and the Dimarzio is a side by side so I'm thinking there should be some character differences. Both get good reviews in Harmony Central. I'm sure that "real" P90's sound better but I can't deal with hum and that's why I want one of these unless there's something else out there that I should consider. So what do you think? Anybody have experience with these?

    Also, Do the noisless P90's have tonal characteristics closer to humbuckers or single coil pickups? What pots and caps sould I use?

    Thanks, Mark

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    Default Re: P90 Stack or Virtual P90...

    Bump

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    . Aceman's Avatar
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    Default Re: P90 Stack or Virtual P90...

    Neither! P-90.

    The hum is sooo insignificant to me. You have to really be in the wrong situation for it to be an issue IMO. Are you playing distorted? How do you stand the hiss?
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    Default Re: P90 Stack or Virtual P90...

    Quote Originally Posted by Aceman View Post
    Neither! P-90.

    The hum is sooo insignificant to me. You have to really be in the wrong situation for it to be an issue IMO. Are you playing distorted? How do you stand the hiss?
    Aceman, you make a good point.
    I play both clean and distorted using amp and/or pedal distortion. I honestly hate the hiss but I can't do anything about that, I can however do something about the buzz.

    I have a vintage Gibson P90 in one guitar right now and it's buzzy like a typical single coil. I love the tone but not the buzz. That said, I have noisless pup's in my Strat and love them so I was hoping to get similar results with a noisless P90. I know it's sacrilidge to single coil purists to use stacked singles but it works for me.

    What is it about the noisless that you don't like? I understand that the noisless p90's sound more like a p90/bucker hybrid but that's fine with me if they sound good.

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    Default Re: P90 Stack or Virtual P90...

    I am currently playing with my first P-90 guitar and I experience the same thing.

    The hum is too much, no question. Moderate high gain and electrically noisy room kill this stuff, and they are much worse than vintage style Strat pickups.

    I like the sound of the real P-90ties, but to be honest, I know that there will be losses from the stacks, because I have a Strat vintage stack and Strat vintage single coils and the loss is significant.

    Now, the big question is: is the base sound of the "real thing" P-90ties so much better than humbuckers that it is even worth trying to go down that road of finding a hum suppressing alternative that isn't guaranteed to lose all the advantage in the first place? I really don't know. Sure they sound nice, but then so do my Antiquity humbuckers.

    I am slowly gaining the impression that a major part of the P-90 fuss going on is sparked by people who didn't go through the trouble of trying many high-quality humbuckers. Even Gibson USA ships a lot of humbucker guitars with lousy humbuckers. A Gibson with P-90ties has the one P-90 they make (which is a good one), unless it's a P-100 equipped guitar, in which case people rip they out and put real P-90ties in.

    So if you pick up two random Gibson, one with P-90ties and one with humbuckers, then the P-90 guitar has a much higher chance of having good pickups than the humbucker one.

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    Default Re: P90 Stack or Virtual P90...

    I guess that's why I 've seen so many P100's going cheap on ebay. What P90 are you using?

    The noiseless P90's must not be very popular since no one responded that actually used one.

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    Default Re: P90 Stack or Virtual P90...

    Quote Originally Posted by markmann View Post
    I guess that's why I 've seen so many P100's going cheap on ebay. What P90 are you using?

    The noiseless P90's must not be very popular since no one responded that actually used one.
    I have a SD vintage for bridge. The neck is still the stock PRS pickup which sounds pretty nice clean. Not so much when crunchy. Not sure yet whether I go any further with this experiment.

    Part of the mess is dimensions. The SD P-90 does fit the PRS route, but only without cover. Very funny. The P-100s are deeper than P-90ties, but for the "real deal" P-90 sound you are supposed to mount them hard on the floor onto the wood. Instead what you see is foam paddies in abyss style routes everywhere.

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    Default Re: P90 Stack or Virtual P90...

    Interesting. Thanks for the info, I'll have to remember that for future reference.

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    Default Re: P90 Stack or Virtual P90...

    Though I've never tried either pickup, between the two I'd pick the Virtual Vintage P 90 first. To my ears, Virtual Vintage technology sounds really good. It adds spunk, life, and mojo to the standard tone. I think P 90s sound more like single coils, but fatter and warmer than regular singles. When the bridge is distorted it can have kind of a HB vibe, but its really more in the middle, which I dig - brightness and cut of single coils, thickness of HBs.
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    Default Re: P90 Stack or Virtual P90...

    This is just my opinion, but in a really rally top notch guitar, youd be best served by Phat Cats(Duncans). I have a few Virtual pickups, and really, they are more of a niche pickup. They are excellent pickups but best paired wiht bright or otherwise Mid-range or special;ised guitars.
    I have all Duncans on my best guiatrs, But for my other modern and special wood guiatrs Dimarzio just has a range of pickups that is really exciting.
    I think There are a few Dimarzios still as good as Duncans for the very best guiatars, and thats the Dimarrzio PAF, and the SuperD. In fact , I would run a Seth Lover bridge and a Dimarzio PAF neck in my Les Paul someday.

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker saladin's Avatar
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    Default Re: P90 Stack or Virtual P90...

    The Dimarzio DLX-90 is a killer sounding set of pickups. I've tried a few of the Yamaha guitars that shipped with those pickups and was very impressed by the tone. Does it sound like a P-90? In the ballpark, a little fuller and certainly alot quieter!!! I love the tone of single coils but I can not stand the hum. (might have been all the acid in the 80's)
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    Default Re: P90 Stack or Virtual P90...

    Quote Originally Posted by markmann View Post
    I'm thinking of putting either a P90 Stack or a Virtual P90 in a mahogany guitar and I'm wondering what the differences might be. The Duncan has stacked coils and the DiMarzio is a side by side so I'm thinking there should be some character differences. Both get good reviews in Harmony Central. I'm sure that "real" P90's sound better but I can't deal with hum and that's why I want one of these unless there's something else out there that I should consider. So what do you think? Anybody have experience with these?

    Also, Do the noisless P90's have tonal characteristics closer to humbuckers or single coil pickups? What pots and caps sould I use?

    Thanks, Mark
    Let me way in my opinion here. I have used various P90's in my LP Deluxe/ I always went back to the stock mini-humbuckers though. Anyway, I tried a Custom P90. I didn't like it. It was too grainy-sounding to me. The Vintage model is a true-blue P90 in tone. I also had the Duncan P90 Stacks. They were very cool indeed; but not very P90 in tone. They were loud and fat; really fat. I also had to route the pickup cavities a little deeper as they are pretty tall. I can't speak for the DiMarzios; although, I did have a Contemporary Strat in the 80's that had a DiMarzio Soapbar humbucker kind of like a DLX Plus. It sounded great and split great; but its tone was full humbucker. The P100s (Gibson) absolutely suck...

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    Default Re: P90 Stack or Virtual P90...

    Quote Originally Posted by alex1fly View Post
    Though I've never tried either pickup, between the two I'd pick the Virtual Vintage P 90 first. To my ears, Virtual Vintage technology sounds really good. It adds spunk, life, and mojo to the standard tone. I think P 90s sound more like single coils, but fatter and warmer than regular singles. When the bridge is distorted it can have kind of a HB vibe, but its really more in the middle, which I dig - brightness and cut of single coils, thickness of HBs.
    OK, so a vote for the Dimarzio. I'll assume at this point that the Virtual P90 and the DLX 90 have the same mojo as the other VV pickups. Reviews are positive and corrispond to the discription on the Dimarzio site.

    Thanks, Mark

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    Default Re: P90 Stack or Virtual P90...

    Quote Originally Posted by saladin View Post
    The Dimarzio DLX-90 is a killer sounding set of pickups. I've tried a few of the Yamaha guitars that shipped with those pickups and was very impressed by the tone. Does it sound like a P-90? In the ballpark, a little fuller and certainly alot quieter!!! I love the tone of single coils but I can not stand the hum. (might have been all the acid in the 80's)
    Hey saladin, what wood was the Yammy made of? The reason I ask is because the Dimarzio's come in different flavors and it looks like the Virtual P90 is a bit on the crisper side than the DLX-90. Since I'm putting this pup in a mahogany guitar I might actually want a slightly brighter pup.

    Thanks, Mark

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    Default Re: P90 Stack or Virtual P90...

    Quote Originally Posted by Butch Snyder View Post
    Let me way in my opinion here. I have used various P90's in my LP Deluxe/ I always went back to the stock mini-humbuckers though. Anyway, I tried a Custom P90. I didn't like it. It was too grainy-sounding to me. The Vintage model is a true-blue P90 in tone. I also had the Duncan P90 Stacks. They were very cool indeed; but not very P90 in tone. They were loud and fat; really fat. I also had to route the pickup cavities a little deeper as they are pretty tall. I can't speak for the DiMarzios; although, I did have a Contemporary Strat in the 80's that had a DiMarzio Soapbar humbucker kind of like a DLX Plus. It sounded great and split great; but its tone was full humbucker. The P100s (Gibson) absolutely suck...
    Thanks Butch, I checked out the Dimarzio tone chart and the DLX+ is voiced a little different than the VP90 and DLX 90, seeming to move farther away from the P90 tone, so what you said makes sense.

    Your "really fat" comment makes me want to steer away from the P90 Stack since that's not what I'm going for.

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    Default Re: P90 Stack or Virtual P90...

    Howdy,

    A selfish BUMP.

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    Default Re: P90 Stack or Virtual P90...

    the correct answer is P-Rails
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    Default Re: P90 Stack or Virtual P90...

    Here is a thought.

    The DiMarzio Bluesbucker uses widely unbalanced coils for partial hum-cancellation. It ought to be possible to attenuate the lower coil of a P90-style Stack to achieve a balance between operational quietness and true single coil tone.
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    Default Re: P90 Stack or Virtual P90...

    Check out the BKP Nantucket 90, Supermassive 90, or 'Pig 90.

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