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Thread: Some info on Gibson P-100 pickups that might interest you

  1. #1
    DLT
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    Default Some info on Gibson P-100 pickups that might interest you

    Because P-100 pickups look identical to P-90 pickups, many people mistakenly think that they are also single coil pickups, and that they are something like a P-90’s on steroids. Nothing could be further from the truth. In order to understand how this guitar sounds, it is important to have some understanding of exactly what a P-100 pickup is, and what it is not. The P-100 is often mistakenly thought to be a “hotter” or more powerful version of the classic single coil P-90 pickup. This is far from the truth. The P-100 is not a single coil pickup at all, in fact it is a “stacked humbucker,” designed to look like a standard P-90. The P-100 pickup was designed to be the same size as a P-90, and to fit in the same cover as a P-90, but it is a humbucking pickup and not a single coil pickup like a P-90. The P-100 is often referred to as a “Vintage Vertical” pickup because it is capable of producing a very warm, vintage humbucking sound.


    All early pickup designs were single coil designs, such as the P-90, which itself debuted in 1946. Single coil pickups have, you guessed it, a single coil of wire, and although they are specifically designed to pickup the sound of the strings on a guitar, they can act like an antenna, and may also pickup unwanted radiation or signals from the air, such as 60 cycle hum from electrical house wiring, electric appliances, and florescent lighting. Humbucking pickups on the other hand have two coils, and each coil has wiring that is wound with opposing electrical polarity. The polarity of the noise signal, or unwanted hum, that is picked up is thus negated or “bucked” because the signals are going in opposite directions, and the result is that they cancel each other out. Typically, humbucking pickups have two coils that are side by side. However, the P-100 is a “stacked” humbucker, and it has two reversed single coil pickups or wound bobbins of wire that are stacked one on top of the other, which serve to cancel out unwanted noise and hum. A “stacked” humbucker does not sound exactly the same as conventional side by side humbucker, nor does it sound the same as a single coil pickup. The P-100 has slightly less high frequency response than a P-90, but much more so than a conventional side-by-side humbucker, without the “midrange” hump associated with humbucking pickups. However, because of its humbucking design, it also has a fatter, warmer, and richer sound than could ever be gotten from a P-90, and it is also a “hotter” pickup as well.


    How hot is the P-100? Well, for comparison purposes, a P-100 has more output than a Gibson Burstbucker Pro, a Burstbucker # 2, a 490R, and/or a 1957 PAF Classic Humbucking Pickup. On the other hand, a P-100 has less output than a Gibson Burstbucker # 3, 498T, 496R and/or a 500T Humbucking Pickup. The P-100 has the same output as a 1957 PAF Classic Plus and a P-94T Pickup.


  2. #2
    LoveMachineologist jeremy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some info on Gibson P-100 pickups that might interest you

    and this is why the p100 sucks...

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    Mojo's Minions blueman335's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some info on Gibson P-100 pickups that might interest you

    There's so many HB guitars today, that the few that have P-90's should be appreciated for that fact, and should remain true P-90's. They have unique, wonderful tones. I don't know why anyone would put an HB, stacked or side-by-side, in a P-90 slot. If you want an HB sound, use one of the thousands of guitar models that have HB's. I don't think I've seen a favorable post here about P-100's. It's a compromise that pleases very few. P-90's that fit an HB slot: great idea! HB's that fit a P-90 slot: dud.

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    DLT
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    Default Re: Some info on Gibson P-100 pickups that might interest you

    Quote Originally Posted by blueman335 View Post
    There's so many HB guitars today, that the few that have P-90's should be appreciated for that fact, and should remain true P-90's. They have unique, wonderful tones. I don't know why anyone would put an HB, stacked or side-by-side, in a P-90 slot. If you want an HB sound, use one of the thousands of guitar models that have HB's. I don't think I've seen a favorable post here about P-100's. It's a compromise that pleases very few. P-90's that fit an HB slot: great idea! HB's that fit a P-90 slot: dud.
    Just one. I am the only one here who likes P-100's.

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    MonkeyDungologist dr. ad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some info on Gibson P-100 pickups that might interest you

    Quote Originally Posted by DLT View Post
    How hot is the P-100? Well, for comparison purposes, a P-100 has more output than a Gibson Burstbucker Pro, a Burstbucker # 2, a 490R, and/or a 1957 PAF Classic Humbucking Pickup. On the other hand, a P-100 has less output than a Gibson Burstbucker # 3, 498T, 496R and/or a 500T Humbucking Pickup. The P-100 has the same output as a 1957 PAF Classic Plus and a P-94T Pickup.
    this is quite interesting, i'm assuming this info came from gibson?

    i think this illustrates that the p-100 isn't meant to sound like a p-90, is intended as a soapbar-sized humbucking alternative and where it sits on the tonal spectrum, relatively speaking.

    i'm assuming this was intended as a p100 info thread... do we really need to hate on it here? let's not forget SD do make a stacked p90 as well.

    many players (ie p-90 fanatics) avoid soapbar-sized humbuckers altogether, but i can see how they'd be a very useful option for someone on a budget who can't afford, or someone who simply doesn't want, 16 different guitars with different pickup configurations.

    mini-humbuckers are similarly sized, don't sound like p90s or PAF-sized humbuckers, and they don't receive the same amount of hate-mail as stacked soapbars; was the p100 promised to "sound just like a p90 without the hum"?

    dimarzio have soapbar-sized HBs in their line-up and some of them (not all) sound quite good, the SD custom shop offer them as well; they can't be all bad.

    and DLT isn't the only guy who likes them; i'm sure i've seen 1 other guy post who likes them too

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    Master of his Domain Agileguy_101's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some info on Gibson P-100 pickups that might interest you

    Quote Originally Posted by dr. ad View Post
    this is quite interesting, i'm assuming this info came from gibson?

    i think this illustrates that the p-100 isn't meant to sound like a p-90, is intended as a soapbar-sized humbucking alternative and where it sits on the tonal spectrum, relatively speaking.

    i'm assuming this was intended as a p100 info thread... do we really need to hate on it here? let's not forget SD do make a stacked p90 as well.

    many players (ie p-90 fanatics) avoid soapbar-sized humbuckers altogether, but i can see how they'd be a very useful option for someone on a budget who can't afford, or someone who simply doesn't want, 16 different guitars with different pickup configurations.

    mini-humbuckers are similarly sized, don't sound like p90s or PAF-sized humbuckers, and they don't receive the same amount of hate-mail as stacked soapbars; was the p100 promised to "sound just like a p90 without the hum"?

    dimarzio have soapbar-sized HBs in their line-up and some of them (not all) sound quite good, the SD custom shop offer them as well; they can't be all bad.

    and DLT isn't the only guy who likes them; i'm sure i've seen 1 other guy post who likes them too
    From what DLT said, my opinion is that the P100's sound nothing like P90's, and therein lies the problem.
    Quote Originally Posted by Edgecrusher View Post
    Happy with an Epi? Great! Want an R9? Great! Like paying a thai hooker to strap up and roto root your backside cause you think it makes you hit the high notes better? Great! If they are happy and go out and play some kick ass music then its all good in my book.
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    MonkeyDungologist dr. ad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some info on Gibson P-100 pickups that might interest you

    ^ read it again bud.

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    Default Re: Some info on Gibson P-100 pickups that might interest you

    P90=Awesome, P100= FAIL
    Oh my God! ,Whatever ,Etc.

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    Default Re: Some info on Gibson P-100 pickups that might interest you

    Quote Originally Posted by Chas View Post
    P90=Awesome, P100= FAIL
    This pretty much sums it up.
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    Ultimate Tone Slacker Sanford's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some info on Gibson P-100 pickups that might interest you

    Do all "noiseless P-90s" suck? I haven't tried any, but I'm curious. A lot of people have posted that if it weren't for the noise they would like P-90s, and a lot of other people have stated that hum-canceling versions just don't have the same tone. I'm wondering if the real magic of a P-90 is that it can be noisy; that without the 60 cycle interference the pickup loses something. Kinda like translating Mexican jokes into English: almost funny.

    So, aside from the coil construction and dual magnets, is the P-90 mojo in the noise?

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    25's Nemesis Benjy_26's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some info on Gibson P-100 pickups that might interest you

    The P100 sucks at making P90 noises, but I think there is a time and place for it. I think a lot of players don't care for it because it looks like a normal P90 but doesn't sound like one. I think that if it were to look different, or even be marketed differently, some more people miight get into it. Jazzers who don't want a tone quite as growly as a P90 but want to avoid the wooliness of a PAF might dig the P100. Imagine taking a Custom 8 back to the late 60's, slapping a nickel cover on it, and throwing it in sunburst LP's. It's likely most players would find it too muddy, loud, and brash. Compared to their stock PAF's (what they knew and loved back then), it would get a lot of bad press and not be nearly as popular as it is among some of you guys that frequent this very formu.

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    Default Re: Some info on Gibson P-100 pickups that might interest you

    Yeah, I think it's a good idea for people who think humbuckers are too fat and that P-90s have too much presence might like it. It's a mid ground thing. Obviously it's an option if you don't like hum either. I haven't used them. I've only used stock Gibson P-90s. How are the stacked Duncans though? Are they P-90s? Or are they basically P-90s?

    I like P-90s in the neck. I use the Dimarzio BluesBucker which is probably like a P-100 which it seems like judging by the P-100s description. I plan on using the VV solo in the neck as people say it's like a P-90 but is a Strat single coil size and its stacked. I hate the look of an H P-90 look where as I like the HS look. Might sound stupid but I don't want a guitar I hate looking at. I'm not a "P-90 guy" so it's not a big deal for me but I like that P-90s are a mid ground between humbuckers and Strat single coils. I like that tone. Fat but single coil overtones. It's more bitey in my opinion. But anyways I'm curious about the stacked Duncan P-90s in case I want to try a dual P-90 Les Paul one day.

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    Guitaris Maximus Stratman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some info on Gibson P-100 pickups that might interest you

    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy View Post
    and this is why the p100 sucks...
    LOL - But so true!
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    Fuzzy. Guitars the guy who invented fire's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some info on Gibson P-100 pickups that might interest you

    Quote Originally Posted by DLT View Post
    Just one. I am the only one here who likes P-100's.
    You might just be...

    It really is a terrible pickup...
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    Default Re: Some info on Gibson P-100 pickups that might interest you

    Howdy,

    DLT: Thanks for the primer on the P-100. I gave 'em a chance in my Gibson LP Sp...then replaced them with SD Vintage P-90s. If you like the P-100, that's alright by me. Enjoy.
    Eggman

    PS: I couldn't agree more with Jeremy! LOL

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    Default Re: Some info on Gibson P-100 pickups that might interest you

    I personally like the P-100, but it does not get P-90 tones at all. The P-100 is a thick and meaty sounding pickup. High output, but not overly bright. It's too compressed and dark to sound like a P-90. It has a smoky quality to it, too. Awesome for stoner/doom rock.
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    Mojo's Minions blueman335's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some info on Gibson P-100 pickups that might interest you

    Quote Originally Posted by Benjy_26 View Post
    Imagine taking a Custom 8 back to the late 60's, slapping a nickel cover on it, and throwing it in sunburst LP's. It's likely most players would find it too muddy, loud, and brash. Compared to their stock PAF's (what they knew and loved back then), it would get a lot of bad press and not be nearly as popular as it is among some of you guys that frequent this very forum.
    Not necessarily. I play late 1960's classic rock & British blues, and I use C8's in SG's and 335's, & C5's in LP's. The added mids of an A8 is nice in a thin-bodied or semi-hollow guitar, and a bright PU's sound full in LP's. I'm trying to create the sounds of 40+ years ago, without the benefit of a Plexi stack, so I use PU's, magnets, and pots to get a sound similar to what they were doing. My tone standards haven't changed in all this time, I just go about getting it in a different way.

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    Slam Dunk da Funk Funkfingers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some info on Gibson P-100 pickups that might interest you

    Quote Originally Posted by Sanford View Post
    Do all "noiseless P-90s" suck? I haven't tried any, but I'm curious. A lot of people have posted that if it weren't for the noise they would like P-90s, and a lot of other people have stated that hum-canceling versions just don't have the same tone. I'm wondering if the real magic of a P-90 is that it can be noisy; that without the 60 cycle interference the pickup loses something. Kinda like translating Mexican jokes into English: almost funny.

    So, aside from the coil construction and dual magnets, is the P-90 mojo in the noise?
    I was on precisely this case about six weeks ago. Bought a pre-owned Gibson LP Junior Special. Almost liked the neck pos P100 but, compared to my Squier Tele Custom II, it was not doing the do.

    Solution number one - SD P90 Stacks with coils wired in parallel. Meh. (Sorry, Mr. D!)

    Tried experiment of wiring a Kent Armstrong replica dogear P90 to a jack socket and dangling it over the vibrating strings of the Gibson. Yowza!

    Solution number two - SD P90s. RESULT - Happy Fingers! Happy ears too.

    FWIIW, when I posted about my Gibson back in March, somebody mentioned an article on modifying P100s. http://www.blueguitar.org/ The modifications described are within the grasp of the experienced PU tweaker. The question you have to ask yourself is, why go to all that trouble?

    Sometimes, the least troublesome answer really is the correct one. If you want that P90 sound, go directly to the source. Ideally, about 10% overwound.

    EDIT: Another thought. P90s have a metal baseplate. P100s do not. They just slot inside the plastic PU cover with the lower edge flush to the rim of the cover.
    Last edited by Funkfingers; 05-25-2010 at 07:52 AM.

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker hamerfan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some info on Gibson P-100 pickups that might interest you

    Quote Originally Posted by Sanford View Post
    Do all "noiseless P-90s" suck? I haven't tried any, but I'm curious.
    This stack humbucker / noiseless single coil thing is quite a complicated construction. But it seems that recently some luthiers have come up with a decent solution.

    The Fralins Hum Cancelling P90 http://www.fralinpickups.com/humbuckers.asp

    and the Kinman P90 hx http://www.kinman.com/Shop/p90.php seem to have a

    good solution.
    I get the feeling the A8 will blow your skirt up more so -Edgecrusher

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    Default Re: Some info on Gibson P-100 pickups that might interest you

    The P100 I took apart once had two coils wound to about 9.5k and then wired in parallel. It really was an attempt to approximate the P90 sound without the hum, but it sounded so bad and became so unpopular that they stopped making it. My Pastor's Special came with P100's and I cut the bottom coil out of the circuit in both pickups -- whaddaya know, now it sounds like it has real P90's, complete with noise.

    And no, noise is NOT part of the P90 mojo. It is the one blemish on said mojo. In taking away the noise, the P100 stack also takes away the sizzle, snarl and liveliness -- in a word, the HEART -- of a P90.
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