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The best guitar with p90 pickups for 2024

When it comes to shaping the sound and tone of your guitar, few components are as crucial as the pickups. Often described as the ‘heart’ of the guitar, pickups play a pivotal role in defining the instrument’s voice. For those seeking a unique and versatile sound, P90 pickups offer an intriguing option. In this article, we will delve into the best guitars equipped with P90 pickups for 2024, providing insights and recommendations for musicians looking to enhance their sonic palette.

Definition of Guitar Pickups

Guitar pickups are transducers that capture the vibration of the guitar strings and convert them into an electrical signal. This signal can then be amplified and manipulated to produce the desired sound. Pickups are typically mounted on the guitar’s body beneath the strings, and they come in various types, including single-coil, humbuckers, and P90s. Each type offers distinct characteristics that influence the overall tone of the guitar.

guitar pickups

Importance of Pickups in Guitar Tone and Sound

The significance of pickups in shaping a guitar’s tone cannot be overstated. Here are some key reasons why pickups are essential:

  • Sound Quality: The type and quality of pickups directly impact the clarity, warmth, and overall sound quality of the guitar. For instance, single-coil pickups are known for their bright and crisp tone, while humbuckers provide a thicker and warmer sound.
  • Versatility: Pickups determine the guitar’s versatility across different music genres. Musicians can choose pickups based on their playing style and the specific tones they wish to achieve.
  • Noise Reduction: Some pickups, like humbuckers, are designed to reduce unwanted noise and hum, providing a cleaner sound. This makes them ideal for high-gain settings and genres like hard rock and metal.
  • Customization: Guitarists can customize their instruments by swapping out pickups to tailor their sound. This flexibility allows for a personalized and unique sonic experience.

In conclusion, understanding the role of pickups in guitar tone is essential for any musician. By exploring the distinctive characteristics of P90 pickups, we aim to help you find the best P90-equipped guitars for 2024, ensuring you achieve the perfect tone for your musical journey.

What are Guitar Pickups?

Guitar pickups are a fundamental component of electric guitars, serving as the bridge between the instrument and the amplifier. Understanding what pickups are and how they work is essential for any guitarist looking to achieve their desired sound. This section will cover the definition and purpose of guitar pickups, the different types available, and their importance in shaping a guitar’s sound.

Definition and Purpose of Guitar Pickups

At their core, guitar pickups are transducers that convert the mechanical vibrations of guitar strings into an electrical signal. This signal can then be amplified, processed, and ultimately heard through speakers. The primary purpose of pickups is to capture the nuances of a player’s performance and translate them into electric signals that retain the character and dynamics of the original sound.

There are several key components that make up a guitar pickup:

  • Magnet: Typically made from materials like Alnico or ceramic, the magnet generates a magnetic field around the guitar strings.
  • Coil: A wire coil is wound around the magnet. As the guitar strings vibrate, they disturb the magnetic field, inducing an electrical current in the coil.
  • Poles: Metal poles that focus the magnetic field onto the strings, enhancing the pickup’s sensitivity and accuracy.

Different Types of Guitar Pickups

There are several types of guitar pickups, each offering unique characteristics and tonal qualities. The three most common types are single coil pickups, humbuckers, and P90 pickups.

TypeDescriptionSound Characteristics
Single Coil PickupsThese pickups consist of a single magnet and coil. They are known for their bright, crisp, and clear sound.Bright and articulate, often associated with Fender guitars and genres like rock, blues, and country.
HumbuckersFeaturing two coils wired in opposite directions, humbuckers are designed to cancel out electrical hum and noise.Thicker, warmer, and fuller sound, popular in genres like hard rock, metal, and jazz.
P90 PickupsA type of single-coil pickup with a wider bobbin, offering a unique blend of single-coil clarity and humbucker warmth.Versatile tone with a distinctive midrange growl, suitable for a wide range of genres from classic rock to punk and blues.

Importance of Pickups in Shaping the Sound of a Guitar

The choice of pickups significantly influences a guitar’s tone and overall sound quality. Here are some reasons why pickups are crucial:

  • Tonality: Different pickups offer varying tonal characteristics, allowing guitarists to achieve specific sounds. For instance, single-coil pickups provide a bright and snappy tone, while humbuckers offer a thicker and more powerful sound.
  • Noise Reduction: Humbuckers are designed to cancel out unwanted noise and hum, making them ideal for high-gain settings. In contrast, single coils can be more susceptible to noise but offer a distinct clarity.
  • Versatility: Pickups determine the guitar’s versatility across different music genres. Musicians can tailor their sound by choosing pickups that align with their playing style and the genres they perform.
  • Dynamic Range: High-quality pickups capture a broader dynamic range, translating subtle nuances in playing into the amplified sound, which is crucial for expressive performances.

In summary, understanding the different types of guitar pickups and their impact on sound is vital for any guitarist. This knowledge will help you make informed decisions when selecting a guitar with P90 pickups, ensuring you achieve the perfect tone for your musical needs in 2024.

What are P90 Pickups?

P90 pickups are a unique type of guitar pickup that have gained a cult following among musicians for their distinctive tone and versatility. In this section, we will delve into what P90 pickups are, their history and development, compare them to other types of pickups, and discuss their pros and cons.

Explanation of P90 Pickups

P90 pickups are a type of single-coil pickup known for their wide bobbin and unique tonal characteristics. Unlike regular single coils, P90s offer a thicker and grittier sound that sits between single-coil clarity and humbucker warmth. This makes them incredibly versatile and suitable for a variety of musical genres.

P90 pickups are constructed with:

  • Wider bobbin: This gives P90s their distinctive midrange punch and growl.
  • Single coil: Despite being a single-coil pickup, P90s manage to reduce some of the noise typically associated with single coils.
  • Magnet and coil configuration: The combination of Alnico or ceramic magnets and a specific winding technique contributes to their unique sound.

History and Development of P90 Pickups

The P90 pickup was first introduced by Gibson in 1946 as a response to the demand for a more powerful and versatile pickup than the existing single-coils of the time. Initially, P90s were the standard pickup for Gibson guitars until the advent of the humbucker in the late 1950s.

Throughout the years, P90 pickups have been used in a wide variety of guitars, from solid-body models like the Gibson Les Paul Special to semi-hollow body guitars like the Gibson ES-330. Their enduring popularity can be attributed to their unique tonal qualities and the ability to adapt to different musical styles.

Comparison to Other Types of Pickups

When comparing P90 pickups to other common types of pickups, such as single coils and humbuckers, several key differences emerge:

Pickup TypeCharacteristicsSound
P90 PickupsSingle-coil with a wider bobbinThick, gritty, and versatile with a distinctive midrange growl
Single Coil PickupsSingle magnet and coilBright, crisp, and clear
HumbuckersTwo coils wired in opposite directions to cancel noiseThicker, warmer, and fuller sound

These differences in construction and design result in each type of pickup offering distinct tonal qualities:

  • P90 Pickups: Known for their versatility, P90s can handle everything from jazz and blues to punk and rock. They have a unique ability to produce both clean and overdriven tones with equal aplomb.
  • Single Coil Pickups: Favored for their bright and articulate sound, single coils are often associated with genres like rock, blues, and country. However, they can be more prone to noise and hum.
  • Humbuckers: Designed to eliminate noise, humbuckers offer a thicker and more powerful sound, making them ideal for high-gain settings like hard rock and metal.

Pros and Cons of P90 Pickups

Like any type of pickup, P90s come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages:

ProsCons
Versatility: P90s are suitable for a wide range of musical styles, from jazz to punk. Distinctive Tone: They offer a unique midrange growl that sets them apart from other pickups. Dynamic Range: P90s excel at capturing the nuances of a player’s performance, making them highly expressive.Noise: While less noisy than regular single coils, P90s can still be prone to hum and noise, especially in high-gain settings. Limited Availability: Not all guitar models come with P90 pickups, potentially limiting options for musicians. Price Point: High-quality P90 pickups can be more expensive than their single-coil or humbucker counterparts.

In conclusion, P90 pickups offer a distinctive and versatile tone that appeals to a wide range of musicians. Understanding their unique characteristics, history, and how they compare to other pickups can help you make an informed decision when choosing the best guitar with P90 pickups for 2024.

How are They Different from Single Coil or Humbuckers?

guitar humbucker pickups
Guitar with Humbucker pickups

When choosing the best guitar with P90 pickups for 2024, it’s important to understand how P90 pickups differ from other common types of pickups, such as single coils and humbuckers. This section covers the differences in sound and tone, technical aspects and construction, advantages and disadvantages, and tips on how to choose between P90, single coil, or humbuckers for a guitar.

guitar single coil pickups
Guitar with Single Coil pickups

Differences in Sound and Tone

The sound and tone of a pickup greatly influence the overall character of a guitar. Here’s how P90 pickups compare to single coil and humbuckers:

  • P90 Pickups: Known for their distinctive tone that sits between the brightness of single coils and the warmth of humbuckers. P90s offer a grittier and more pronounced midrange, making them suitable for genres like rock, blues, and punk.
  • Single Coil Pickups: Famous for their bright and clear sound. Single coils are often associated with genres like country, blues, and classic rock. They can produce a very articulate and crisp tone but are more prone to noise and hum.
  • Humbuckers: Designed to cancel out noise, humbuckers deliver a thicker and warmer sound. They are ideal for high-gain settings and genres like hard rock and metal. Humbuckers produce a fuller sound with more bass and less treble compared to P90s and single coils.

Technical Aspects and Construction of P90 Pickups

Understanding the technical aspects and construction of P90 pickups helps in appreciating their unique sound characteristics:

FeatureP90 PickupsSingle Coil PickupsHumbuckers
Coil ConfigurationSingle coil with a wider bobbinSingle coilTwo coils wired in opposite directions
Magnet TypeAlnico or ceramicAlnico or ceramicAlnico or ceramic
Noise ReductionModerateLowHigh
Tonal CharacteristicsThick, gritty, midrange-focusedBright, clear, articulateWarm, full, less treble

Advantages and Disadvantages Compared to Single Coil and Humbuckers

Each type of pickup has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, which can influence your choice depending on your musical needs and preferences:

Pickup TypeAdvantagesDisadvantages
P90 PickupsVersatility: Suitable for a wide range of genres. Distinctive Tone: Unique midrange growl. Dynamic Range: Captures nuances of playing.Noise: Can be prone to hum in high-gain settings. Availability: Not as widely available as other pickups. Price: High-quality P90s can be expensive.
Single Coil PickupsBrightness: Clear and articulate sound. Genre Flexibility: Ideal for country, blues, and classic rock. Lightweight: Typically lighter than humbuckers.Noise: Prone to hum and interference. Thin Sound: May lack the fullness of humbuckers.
HumbuckersNoise Reduction: Cancels out hum and noise. Full Sound: Thicker and warmer tone. High Gain: Ideal for rock and metal.Weight: Heavier than single coils. Lack of Brightness: Less treble and articulation.

How to Choose Between P90, Single Coil, or Humbuckers for a Guitar

Choosing the right type of pickup for your guitar depends on various factors, including your musical style, tone preferences, and budget. Here are some tips to help you decide:

  1. Identify Your Musical Style: Consider the genres you play the most. If you need versatility, P90s are a great choice. For bright and clear tones, single coils are ideal. If you play high-gain genres, humbuckers are the way to go.
  2. Consider the Tone You Desire: Think about whether you prefer a bright, midrange-focused, or warm tone. P90s offer a balanced tone, single coils are bright, and humbuckers are warm.
  3. Evaluate Your Budget: High-quality pickups can be an investment. Determine your budget and look for the best options within your price range.
  4. Test Different Pickups: If possible, try out guitars with different pickups to see which one feels right for you. Pay attention to the pickup heights and how they affect the sweet spot of the tone.

By understanding the differences between P90 pickups, single coils, and humbuckers, you can make an informed decision and find the best guitar with P90 pickups for 2024 that suits your needs and preferences.

Styles of Music Suited for P90 Pickups

When choosing the best guitar with P90 pickups for 2024, it’s essential to consider the styles of music that P90 pickups are particularly well-suited for. This section provides an overview of different music genres, types of music that typically use P90 pickups, examples of popular songs featuring P90 pickups, and how P90 pickups contribute to the sound of certain music styles.

Overview of Different Music Genres

P90 pickups are versatile and can be used across a wide range of music genres. Here are some of the most common genres where P90 pickups shine:

  • Rock: Classic rock, punk rock, and hard rock.
  • Blues: Traditional blues, modern blues, and blues-rock.
  • Jazz: Smooth jazz, bebop, and jazz fusion.
  • Indie: Indie rock and indie pop.
  • Alternative: Alternative rock and alternative metal.

Types of Music That Typically Use P90 Pickups

P90 pickups are known for their distinctive tone that sits between the brightness of single coils and the warmth of humbuckers. This unique sound makes them suitable for various types of music:

  • Classic Rock: The gritty and midrange-focused tone of P90 pickups is perfect for classic rock music. Bands like The Who and The Beatles have famously used P90 pickups.
  • Blues: The dynamic range and responsiveness of P90 pickups make them ideal for blues guitarists. The expressive and soulful tones are well-suited for blues solos and rhythm playing.
  • Punk Rock: P90 pickups can deliver a raw and powerful tone that is perfect for punk rock. The aggressive midrange cut helps punk guitarists stand out in a mix.
  • Jazz: Jazz guitarists appreciate the clarity and warmth of P90 pickups. They provide a smooth yet articulate tone that works well for jazz chords and solos.
  • Indie Rock: The versatility of P90 pickups makes them a great choice for indie rock guitarists who need a wide range of tones from clean to overdriven sounds.

Examples of Popular Songs Featuring P90 Pickups

Many iconic songs feature the distinctive tone of P90 pickups. Here are a few examples:

  • “I Can See for Miles” by The Who: Pete Townshend used P90 pickups to achieve the powerful and punchy tone in this classic rock anthem.
  • “Revolution” by The Beatles: John Lennon’s Epiphone Casino, equipped with P90 pickups, delivers the raw and gritty tone in this rock classic.
  • “Paranoid” by Black Sabbath: Tony Iommi used P90 pickups to create the heavy and dark tone that defined early heavy metal.
  • “Blue Suede Shoes” by Elvis Presley: Scotty Moore’s Gibson ES-295 with P90 pickups provided the bright and twangy tone in this rockabilly hit.

How P90 Pickups Contribute to the Sound of Certain Music Styles

P90 pickups contribute to the sound of various music styles in unique ways:

  • Rock: The midrange punch and articulate tone of P90 pickups make them ideal for rock riffs and solos. They cut through the mix and add a raw edge to the sound.
  • Blues: The dynamic response and warmth of P90 pickups allow blues guitarists to express subtle nuances in their playing. They provide a smooth and creamy overdrive when pushed.
  • Jazz: The clarity and balance of P90 pickups make them suitable for jazz. They deliver a warm and rounded tone that is perfect for complex jazz chords and smooth solos.
  • Punk Rock: The aggressive and punchy tone of P90 pickups helps punk guitarists achieve the raw and energetic sound that is characteristic of the genre.
  • Indie Rock: The versatility of P90 pickups allows indie rock guitarists to experiment with a wide range of tones, from clean and jangly to overdriven and gritty.

By understanding the styles of music suited for P90 pickups, you can make an informed decision when choosing the best guitar with P90 pickups for 2024. Whether you play rock, blues, jazz, punk, or indie, P90 pickups offer a unique and versatile tone that can enhance your musical expression.

Price Range of P90 Pickups

When considering the best guitar with P90 pickups for 2024, understanding the price range of P90 pickups is crucial. This section delves into the average cost of P90 pickups, factors that affect their price, a comparison with other types of pickups, and tips for finding affordable P90 pickups.

Average Cost of P90 Pickups

The cost of P90 pickups can vary significantly based on brand, build quality, and specific features. On average, you can expect to pay between $50 and $150 for a single P90 pickup. High-end models, such as those from well-known brands like Seymour Duncan or Bare Knuckles, may cost upwards of $200 per pickup.

Factors That Affect the Price of P90 Pickups

Several factors influence the price of P90 pickups, including:

  • Brand: Established brands like Gibson and Seymour Duncan often command higher prices due to their reputation and quality.
  • Materials: The type of magnets, wire, and casing materials used can affect the cost. For example, pickups with Alnico magnets tend to be more expensive than those with ceramic magnets.
  • Construction: Hand-wound pickups generally cost more than machine-wound pickups due to the labor-intensive process.
  • Features: Additional features like wax potting and shielding can increase the price.
  • Country of Manufacture: Pickups made in the USA or Europe often have higher price tags compared to those manufactured in Asia due to labor and material costs.
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Comparing Prices to Other Types of Pickups

When comparing the cost of P90 pickups to other types of pickups, it’s important to note the following:

Pickup TypeAverage Price RangeNotable Brands
Single Coil Pickups$50 – $150Fender, Seymour Duncan
Humbuckers$75 – $200Gibson, DiMarzio
P90 Pickups$50 – $150Seymour Duncan, Gibson

As illustrated in the table, the price range for P90 pickups is comparable to that of single coil pickups and slightly lower than humbuckers, making them a cost-effective option for guitarists seeking a unique sound.

Tips for Finding Affordable P90 Pickups

Here are some actionable tips for finding affordable P90 pickups:

  • Shop Online: Websites like Amazon and Reverb often offer competitive prices and discounts.
  • Consider Used Pickups: Purchasing used pickups from reputable sellers can save you money. Platforms like eBay and local classified ads are good places to start.
  • Look for Sales and Promotions: Keep an eye out for sales events, such as Black Friday or holiday promotions, where you can snag pickups at a reduced price.
  • Buy in Sets: Some retailers offer discounts when you purchase a set of neck and bridge P90 pickups together.
  • Explore Lesser-Known Brands: While big names like Gibson and Seymour Duncan are popular, lesser-known brands can offer similar quality at a lower cost. Brands like GFS and Wilkinson are worth considering.

By understanding the price range and factors that influence the cost of P90 pickups, you can make an informed decision and find the best value for your budget. Whether you’re upgrading your current guitar or buying a new one with P90 pickups, these tips will help you get the most bang for your buck.

10 Guitars with P90 Pickups

For those seeking the distinctive tone of P90 pickups, here is a curated list of 10 guitars equipped with P90 pickups that are worth considering in 2024. Each guitar is briefly described, highlighting key features and specifications of the P90 pickups, along with recommendations for different budgets and music styles.

1. Gibson Les Paul Special

gibson les paul special

The Gibson Les Paul Special is a classic choice for P90 aficionados. Equipped with Gibson P90s, this guitar offers a warm, vintage tone.

  • Key Features: Solid mahogany body, rosewood fretboard, and dual Gibson P90 pickups
  • Recommended For: Classic rock and blues enthusiasts

2. Epiphone Les Paul Special

epiphone les paul special

The Epiphone Les Paul Special provides an affordable alternative to its Gibson counterpart, featuring similar design and P90 pickups.

  • Key Features: Solid mahogany body, rosewood fretboard, and Epiphone P90 PRO pickups
  • Recommended For: Budget-conscious players seeking vintage tone

3. Fender Mustang 90

fender mustang 90

The Fender Mustang 90 combines the classic Mustang design with modern P90 pickups for a unique sound.

  • Key Features: Alder body, maple neck, and Fender MP-90 pickups
  • Recommended For: Indie and alternative rock musicians

4. PRS SE Soapbar

prs se soapbar

The PRS SE Soapbar offers the high build quality PRS is known for, with the addition of soapbar P90 pickups.

  • Key Features: Mahogany body, maple top, and PRS-designed P90 pickups
  • Recommended For: Versatile players who need a reliable gigging guitar

5. Yamaha Revstar RS502

yamaha revstar rs502

The Yamaha Revstar RS502 is renowned for its distinctive look and sound, featuring custom-wound P90 pickups.

  • Key Features: Mahogany body, maple top, and custom-wound VP5+ P90 pickups
  • Recommended For: Rock and blues players looking for a unique aesthetic

6. Epiphone Wildkat

Wildkat Royale

The Epiphone Wildkat is a semi-hollow body guitar that blends vintage style with modern features, including P90 pickups.

  • Key Features: Semi-hollow mahogany body, maple top, and Epiphone P90 pickups
  • Recommended For: Jazz, rockabilly, and blues musicians

7. Gibson SG Classic

gibson sg classic

The Gibson SG Classic is equipped with P90 pickups that deliver a powerful, raw sound ideal for rock music.

  • Key Features: Mahogany body, slim taper neck, and dual Gibson P90 pickups
  • Recommended For: Hard rock and punk rock players

8. Godin Kingpin P90

godin kingpin p90

The Godin Kingpin P90 is an exceptional choice for jazz and blues, featuring a unique archtop design.

  • Key Features: Canadian wild cherry body, silver leaf maple neck, and Godin Kingpin P90 pickups
  • Recommended For: Jazz and blues guitarists

9. Gretsch G2655 Streamliner

gretsch g2655 streamliner

The Gretsch G2655 Streamliner is a semi-hollow body guitar with a distinctive Gretsch sound, enhanced by P90 pickups.

  • Key Features: Laminated maple body, nato neck, and Gretsch P90 pickups
  • Recommended For: Rockabilly, jazz, and blues players

10. Harley Benton SC-450P90 GT

harley benton sc 450p90 gt

The Harley Benton SC-450P90 GT is a budget-friendly option that doesn’t compromise on quality, featuring P90 pickups.

  • Key Features: Mahogany body, rosewood fretboard, and Roswell P90 pickups
  • Recommended For: Beginners and budget-conscious players

Each of these guitars offers a unique take on the P90 pickup sound, catering to a variety of musical styles and budgets. Whether you’re looking for a high-end Gibson or a more affordable Epiphone, there’s a P90-equipped guitar out there for every player.

Conclusion

In this comprehensive guide, we explored the fascinating world of P90 pickups and their impact on guitar tone and sound. Here’s a quick recap of the key points discussed:

  • Definition and Purpose: P90 pickups are a type of single-coil pickup known for their distinctive tone, sitting between the sharpness of single coils and the warmth of humbuckers.
  • Comparison to Other Pickups: We compared P90s to single coils and humbuckers, highlighting their unique characteristics and construction.
  • Music Styles: P90 pickups are versatile, suited for genres ranging from classic rock and blues to jazz and punk rock.
  • Price Range: The cost of P90 pickups varies, with options available for every budget, from affordable models to high-end brands.
  • Top 10 Guitars: We listed 10 guitars with P90 pickups, providing detailed descriptions, key features, and recommendations for different budgets and styles.

When it comes to final thoughts and recommendations, P90 pickups offer a unique sound that can truly elevate your playing experience. Their distinctive tone makes them a great choice for musicians seeking something different from the usual single coils or humbuckers. Whether you’re playing a Gibson Les Paul Special or an Epiphone Wildkat, P90 pickups deliver a sound that’s both vintage and versatile.

For those considering making the switch or adding a P90-equipped guitar to their collection, remember to take into account factors such as build quality, body type, and price point. Each of these elements can significantly influence your overall experience and satisfaction with the instrument.

We encourage you to try out P90 pickups for yourself. Visit local music stores, test different guitars, and find the sweet spot that resonates with your musical style. Experimenting with pickup heights and configurations can also help you discover the perfect tone.

In conclusion, P90 pickups are a fantastic option for guitarists looking to achieve a distinctive tone that stands out in any mix. With options available across various price ranges and body styles, there’s a P90-equipped guitar out there for every player. Embrace the unique sound of P90 pickups and elevate your musical journey in 2024!

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mike mater

Owner / Operator / Guitar Nut

Mike Mater

Welcome to my corner of the web. My name’s Mike and I’m avid guitar junkie.

I’ve been playing guitar for over 20 years, since I got my first acoustic from the local music store. Times have changed, but my love of the instrument hasn’t.

I’ve played solo, in bands and for an audience of enraptured dogs & cats.