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HB sized vs soap bar P90's

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  • HB sized vs soap bar P90's


    Planning my next project and want a P90 guitar again. I had one, a strat with Lindy Fralin's, loved it.

    This time, I am planning on getting an LP type and want P90's in it. Do not want a Gib LP because of the expense and weight. I have a model in mind, and it did have a soap bar P90 version, unfortunately, it is no longer available and impossible to find used.

    There are LOTS of HH LP type guitars available, many at big discounts. SO, the question: Are some of the better HB sized P90's significantly different in tone that soap bar P90's, or similar enough?

    Has anyone A/B'd both? Can find vids comparing P90's to HB's, but none comparing HB sized P90's to soap bars.

    A lot of players say that it is impossible to get a true P90 under an HB cover. Duncan and Fralin say that their HB sized P90's are true P90's. Specs (wire, magnet, DCR) of the Fralin HB sized P90 are identical to their soap bar P90.

    Would it be worth waiting to find this elusive soap bar model or not? Right now, the same guitar in HH is $100 off!

    Would it be worth routing the HB route to accommodate a P90, then using a pickup ring to mask (there are only a couple available)?

    Appreciate all inputs.

    Last edited by navigate40; 06-13-2019, 06:03 AM.

  • #2
    Epiphone make a Goldtop with P90's or the Gibson tribute also has P90's .PRS SE have a few guitars with P90's. Buying a cheap guitar than putting big buck pickups is a waste.
    Last edited by jtr654; 06-13-2019, 10:10 AM.


    • #3
      I agree. Thinking of an LTD. The ones I have seen seem to be as good as better epi's. PRS is nice, but not sure I like their wide fat neck. The epi gold top is not weight relieved at all and is too heavy for my liking.


      • #4
        I just ordered a set of HB sized noiseless P90s from Tom Anderson. I doubt there are many sets better. The model is the PH series.


        • #5
          I tried one of those Artec HB sized single coils. You really cant call them P90's because they aren't a P90.
          A HB sized single coil has a wider footprint which affects the tone. Granted maybe not a huge amount but enough for someone who knows both can tell the difference.

          I have P100's in my LP. I have P90's in other guitars. The 100's have an extra stacked coil to remove hum. Tone wise they are between a P90 and Mini Humbucker for gain and tone. makes them slightly less aggressive compared to a P90 and maybe a bit more compressed when using pedals, but they are comfortable to use.

          I have a Epi Dot which had lifeless sounding Humbuckers in it. Tried a bunch of different pickups in it and finally settled using Mini Humbuckers with Full sized adaptor rings for mini's. It wound up sounding nearly identical to the 60's Epi Riviera I used to own. Regular P90's obviously wont fit because the holes are too wide.

          If you want to try out a P90 sized HP I suggest you try one of those inexpensive Artec for $15 and see if its something you like before spending top dollar on custom jobs. That will at least let you know how the instrument sounds and plays with one and you can always sell it for what you pair for it so long as you take care with its install and removal. Like I said, for me it wasn't my cup of tea. The P90 has a unique mid tone which is the result of its bridge to neck width under the strings.


          • #6
            Thanks for the comments, I really appreciate them.
            I have an SD Phat cat and liked it a lot. BUT.... I don't have a true P90 soap bar to A/B it with. And....I ultimately took it out of the guitar I had it in to replace it with SD Alnico II Pro HB's. So...….that might tell me something...I don't know.
            Struggling with this.
            I have 4 electrics, 2 with HB's, 2 SC's. Love them all. Thinking about a P90 to round things out and give me something that fills a niche.


            • #7
              How much are you looking to pay? I have an Epi Les Paul Special with soapbars. It was real cheap and it was my go-to until the bridge PU went out. I just gotta fix it.

              The soapbars are "real" EPI soapbars and I have always felt that they sounded fantastic.

              Of course, my preferences ( I do not gig so I do not really like spending a lot on my instruments) may differ and what I find good you may find intolerable. It is not a carved body and only has one tone and volume control, yet if you wanna go cheap it is one avenue you can look into.
              Sprinkles are for winners...


              • #8
                I was thinking about getting a very cheap LTD 256, to use as a donor, for the project. But...made the mistake of playing it and a PRS back and back .
       looking at PRS SE models. Stretches the budget for the project, but, in the end I would have a higher quality guitar. I don't gig of these expenses are justified...especially with 8 other guitars. So....really not sure I even should.
                At any rate....most of the PRS models are HH. You can find a p90 245.....but not all the time. would be far easier to get an HH model and use HB sized P90's...thus the this really short changing myself on P90 tone??

                [added: just to inform, looking for something in an LP form. Already have strats and tele's. 335/339 is not the size I am after. Gibson LP's are too expensive, Epi ones are too heavy.]
                Last edited by navigate40; 06-14-2019, 04:25 PM.