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Thread: P90 output

  1. #21
    Mojo's Minions blueman335's Avatar
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    Default Re: P90 output

    Quote Originally Posted by Coachmoe View Post
    Blueman, Thanks for the info. I've done some searching on the magnet swap and I think I'm going to try your A8 / A4 suggestion. Gotta think that magnet swaps are cheaper than buying new pickups.

    As far as the A8 / A4 combo, which one goes where inside the pickup. A video would help here.I also looked for some videos about swapping magnets in a P90 and there didn't seem to be much out there.

    What I haven't looked for yet is a supplier. Are these magnets made in the US or overseas? Any suggestions ?

    Thanks for your help.


    Many of us on this forum get our magnets from Addiction FX in the US, big selection, and good prices.

    I put the A8 closest to the neck (more string energy the further you get from the bridge), but that probably doesn't make much difference, if any.

    To swap: Loosen the strings a lot, enough so that the PU's can be lifted out. There's two long screws on top, holding the pickup to the guitar body, take those out, so the PU can be lifted up and turned over. There's two more screws that hold the baseplate to the coil, loosen those but not all the way, you just need some room to slide the magnets out. Push one out halfway with a small screwdriver, they may be held in place by a little wax. Be careful of damaging or severing any wires; they can be resoldered, but it's best to just be gentle in the first place. When the old magnet is out halfway, hold the new one up to it so the ends repel and sides attract. That your orientation. Slide the old one out all the way (pushing with the screwdriver) and slide the new one in. Repeat for the 2nd magnet. DON'T take out both old magnets at the same time, they have to have a certain relationship with each other (they have to be repelling each other). Put the 2 screws in the bottom of the PU, and then the 2 that hold it to the guitar.

    One of the benefits of P-90's is that there's 2 magnets per coil, versus a humbucker which has 1/2 magnet per coil. That allows you to be able to tweak your EQ much more than you can with a HB.
    "Completely Conceded Glowing Expert."
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  2. #22
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    Default Re: P90 output

    Blueman335,

    Thanks for the info. Couple more questions: Magnetized or un-magnetized and I am assuming the size is 2.50 x .125 x .50, and in the case of the A4, polished or rough?

    Thanks again for all of your help.

  3. #23
    LoveMachineologist jeremy's Avatar
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    Default Re: P90 output

    magnetized unless you have a way to magnetize them. that is the correct size. polished vs rough is preference. tonally the polished might be a little tighter/more focused sounding but its a subtle difference

  4. #24
    Mojo's Minions blueman335's Avatar
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    Default Re: P90 output

    I always get them magnetized and standard size. Roughcast have a slightly smoother high end, more noticeable in bridge PU's. I tend to use roughcast in the bridge slot and polished in the neck.

    For many of us, mag swaps have turned less-than-satisfactory PU's into keepers. There's no way a pickup maker can anticipate all the different guitar designs, woods, scale lengths, and genres his PU's will be used with. One-size-does-not-fit-all. The same HB will sound very different in a Strat thru a Fender amp than it will in an LP thru a Marshall. A stock magnet is right for some people, but it's only a suggestion of what a PU can do. Likewise almost all guitars come with the most basic, least versatile wiring possible. Another place to experiment with new tones.
    "Completely Conceded Glowing Expert."
    "And Blueman, I am pretty sure you've pissed off a lot of people."
    "Wait, I know! Blueman and Lew can arm wrestle, and the winner gets to decide if 250K pots sound good or not."

  5. #25
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    Default Re: P90 output

    Quote Originally Posted by blueman335 View Post
    I always get them magnetized and standard size. Roughcast have a slightly smoother high end, more noticeable in bridge PU's. I tend to use roughcast in the bridge slot and polished in the neck.

    For many of us, mag swaps have turned less-than-satisfactory PU's into keepers. There's no way a pickup maker can anticipate all the different guitar designs, woods, scale lengths, and genres his PU's will be used with. One-size-does-not-fit-all. The same HB will sound very different in a Strat thru a Fender amp than it will in an LP thru a Marshall. A stock magnet is right for some people, but it's only a suggestion of what a PU can do. Likewise almost all guitars come with the most basic, least versatile wiring possible. Another place to experiment with new tones.
    Blueman 335 and Jeremy,

    Ordered 2 each of the A4 and A8. Gigging out this weekend. Will make the swap next Monday. Thanks again for all of your help.

  6. #26
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    Default Re: P90 output

    The a8/a4 combo is typically for the bridge slot only. It thickens and adds slight output to the naturally thinner and weaker bridge position.
    A2 and a3 are more typically employed for the neck slot, with a4 used sometimes too. That
    Position typically has enough thickness and the output is high enough even in vintage pickups. What you want from the neck is clarity

  7. #27
    Mojo's Minions blueman335's Avatar
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    Default Re: P90 output

    Quote Originally Posted by AlexR View Post
    The a8/a4 combo is typically for the bridge slot only. It thickens and adds slight output to the naturally thinner and weaker bridge position.
    A2 and a3 are more typically employed for the neck slot, with a4 used sometimes too. That
    Position typically has enough thickness and the output is high enough even in vintage pickups. What you want from the neck is clarity

    Right, I'd never use an A8 in any neck PU, too dark & powerful in a slot that's inherently dark & powerful.

    In the neck slot I use A5, A4, and A3 in P-90's and for HB's also add UOA5 & A2 to the mix. After having Phat Cats, it's soured me on A2's in P-90's. Just not the tones I want from them, especially in the clarity department.
    "Completely Conceded Glowing Expert."
    "And Blueman, I am pretty sure you've pissed off a lot of people."
    "Wait, I know! Blueman and Lew can arm wrestle, and the winner gets to decide if 250K pots sound good or not."

  8. #28
    Ultimate Tone Member Francois's Avatar
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    Default Re: P90 output

    Anybody has experience with Duncan's Hot P90 ?

    I am thinking of replacing PRS SE Soapbars with those...
    Smartphone Zombies won't shred

  9. #29
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    Default Re: P90 output

    I find most neck P90s are pretty much fine with the stock magnets. Maybe I'll switch out one of the A5s with an A4 if it's too scooped, or an A3 if it's too bassy, but most of the time I keep them stock.
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  10. #30
    Mojo's Minions blueman335's Avatar
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    Default Re: P90 output

    Quote Originally Posted by Francois View Post
    Anybody has experience with Duncan's Hot P90 ?

    I am thinking of replacing PRS SE Soapbars with those...

    I have experience with their SP90-2 & SP90-3. Both have ceramic magnets as stock, which I don't understand. All of the P-90 fans I know want vintage alnico tones. If you're playing metal and like ceramics, you probably don't have P-90's. I pulled the ceramics, put in alnicos and got some good tones.

    I'd recommend to anyone with P-90's: you can change your EQ more by swapping magnets than by buying new pickups. You can mix and match magnets to dial in your tone.
    "Completely Conceded Glowing Expert."
    "And Blueman, I am pretty sure you've pissed off a lot of people."
    "Wait, I know! Blueman and Lew can arm wrestle, and the winner gets to decide if 250K pots sound good or not."

  11. #31
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    Default Re: P90 output

    Quote Originally Posted by Francois View Post
    Anybody has experience with Duncan's Hot P90 ?

    I am thinking of replacing PRS SE Soapbars with those...
    FYI, PRS SE P90's seem to have been designed to be brighter than vintage correct ones : they contain relatively light stamped keeper bars, short A5 magnets and short screw poles. I've swapped these parts for 2 RC A4 mags, a milled keeper bar and 6 regular screw poles in one of these puppies once. The result has been pleasing enough to avoid the purchase of a new P90.

    FWIW.

    Non related footnote: in a P90, Id avoid to mary an A3 mag to another mag made of any other alloy. AlNi3 retains a much weaker charge than AlNiCo 2, 4, 5, 8 and IMHO, this difference is not a promise of stability for a design in which magnets repell each other. YMMV.
    Duncan user since the 80's...

  12. #32
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    Default Re: P90 output

    Quote Originally Posted by blueman335 View Post
    I put an A8/A4 magnet combination in bridge P-90's, which increases output, mids, and warmth. Much fuller, richer sound than the stock A5's. Balances better with the neck. A common observation about Gibson P-90's is that the neck usually seems louder, or that the bridge is bright & thin compared to the neck. A magnet change can fix those issues. When you buy new pickups hoping for the best, you can spend a lot of money and still have the tones you were trying to get away from.
    UPDATE!!!!!

    Blueman335, Just did the A8 / A4 swap in my Goldtop and what you said above is EXACTLY how my Goldtop changed.

    I used it on my gig last Saturday night and it sounded pretty good having did some pickup height adjustment per Zombiwoof's suggestion.

    However, after the magnet swap it's like having a brand new guitar. When I bought the magnets I ordered 2 A8's because I had a new SG Special coming in. I'll be swapping the magnets out in that one as well.

    Thank you so much for all of your assistance. As I said previously, a magnet swap was much better than buying a new set of pickups.

    Also thanks to everyone else that contributed to this post.

  13. #33
    Mojo's Minions Laughing Kookaburra's Avatar
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    Default Re: P90 output

    Quote Originally Posted by Francois View Post
    Anybody has experience with Duncan's Hot P90 ?

    I am thinking of replacing PRS SE Soapbars with those...
    I've used the same as Blueman, the SP90-2 and SP90-3 in a couple of Hamers. I sold one of them for reasons other than the pups, still have them in the second recently purchased one. They do sound good for hot ceramics; I like them better than many hotter humbuckers. I enjoy the "getting out the rawk" attitude that they have.

    However, they don't clean up well, unlike the A5 P90 in my LP Jr. And that lower output Jr P90 can rock in its own way just as well. Much more versatile.

  14. #34
    Mojo's Minions Laughing Kookaburra's Avatar
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    Default Re: P90 output

    Quote Originally Posted by Coachmoe View Post
    UPDATE!!!!!

    Blueman335, Just did the A8 / A4 swap in my Goldtop and what you said above is EXACTLY how my Goldtop changed.

    I used it on my gig last Saturday night and it sounded pretty good having did some pickup height adjustment per Zombiwoof's suggestion.

    However, after the magnet swap it's like having a brand new guitar. When I bought the magnets I ordered 2 A8's because I had a new SG Special coming in. I'll be swapping the magnets out in that one as well.

    Thank you so much for all of your assistance. As I said previously, a magnet swap was much better than buying a new set of pickups.

    Also thanks to everyone else that contributed to this post.
    Good to hear! I may have to pursue a similar solution with my ceramics.

  15. #35
    Mojo's Minions blueman335's Avatar
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    Default Re: P90 output

    Quote Originally Posted by Laughing Kookaburra View Post
    I've used the same as Blueman, the SP90-2 and SP90-3 in a couple of Hamers. They do sound good for hot ceramics; However, they don't clean up well, unlike the A5 P90 in my LP Jr. And that lower output Jr P90 can rock in its own way just as well. Much more versatile.

    That's something that a lot of us have run into, ceramics don't have the tones we're looking for. Sound harsh & stiff, and don't clean up well. For me, putting an alnico in place of a ceramic has always improved the tone. Alnicos can 'rawk.'
    "Completely Conceded Glowing Expert."
    "And Blueman, I am pretty sure you've pissed off a lot of people."
    "Wait, I know! Blueman and Lew can arm wrestle, and the winner gets to decide if 250K pots sound good or not."

  16. #36
    Mojo's Minions ItsaBass's Avatar
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    Default Re: P90 output

    Quote Originally Posted by blueman335 View Post
    [Ceramics] sound harsh & stiff, and don't clean up well.
    This is so often repeated, but it's just not true. All magnets really do is provide a field of a certain strength. They don't have a "tone" of their own. It's a designer's job to build a pickup around a certain magnet strength.

    Written by arguably the biggest guitar pickup genius we have ever known: http://www.billlawrence.com/Pages/Pi...gy/magnets.htm
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  17. #37
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    Default Re: P90 output

    A lot of the single coil-sized humbuckers use ceramic magnets, but they don't have 'typical' ceramic sounds.
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