Gibson-Talk.Com Forum Archive

P90 vs. P100

gibson guy
February 11th, 2005, 03:36 PM
I've read that the P100 isn't as well thought of as the P90 and am wondering what the difference is. I love P90's but have never played a P100 equipped guitar. Thanks.

April 3rd, 2005, 07:40 PM
Gibson Guy,
The P-100's are fatter warmer sounding and a whole lot quieter. A great blues guitar pickup!
I hear so much negative feedback about the P-100's but I really like them.
I read someplace that if you put a coil tap on the P-100's the output in single coil mode is way hotter than a regular P-90. I was going to do this mod but decided to leave it alone. Also, I heard Gibson is not making these pickups anymore.

April 21st, 2005, 10:18 PM
I'm not so sure about P-100s being fatter and warmer sounding. Mine have alot of midrange, and actually lack bass response. Also, they aren't particularly quiet, either. I've been thinking of replacing them. I like the bark that they have, but really need more bass to give it some more versatility, and also make it a good tone for jazz rhythm type stuff.

June 5th, 2005, 12:59 AM
Gibson Guy,

I had the stock P-100's in my LP Special and replaced them with SD Vintage P-90's. They sound similar to the chrome "dog-ear" P-90's that were in my old Epiphone (made in Kalamazoo!) . They sound great.
Those P-100's were lacking, to my ears. YMMV :)


August 15th, 2005, 07:45 PM
I don't have a problem w/ the P-100's in my ES-135. IMO, they sound pretty good & they are quiet. Thought about yankin' them, but I could'nt see the point.
However, put up against my '63 ES-330 w/ P-90's, you can really hear the rawness of a P-90. Quite a difference. There is a hum a high volumes, but it's not that terrible. They are everything that you've heard about...and then some. A real killer sounding pup!

August 26th, 2005, 07:29 PM
Well, I ordered a set of Duncan P-90s for my LPjr, special. I want to have a better sound from this nearly unuseable (for me) guitar. I'll let you guys know how it works out.

August 26th, 2005, 08:28 PM
I use the the Duncan SP90-3 in my Special. It still has the character of an alnico P90, but is much stronger in a hot amp.

November 9th, 2005, 05:18 PM
Well, I put mine in, and I just love 'em! :D

I got a vintage P-90 for the neck, and a hot P-90 for the bridge. They sound a little different from each other, but in a good way. The neck pup goes from full, rich jazz to full-blown rock, the neck pup sounds great with distortion....hog heaven, boys.

December 1st, 2005, 07:07 PM
On my LPS, I put in a set of Fralin P-90s. For the neck, I got the alnico pole model, and had it 5% underwound. For the bridge, i put in his regular model but 5% overwound. The 10% difference balances them fairly well. The biggest surprise is the alnico pole P-90 sounds like a cross between a regular P-90 and a Strat pup. It has the best of each. It's a winner!

December 14th, 2005, 10:58 PM
The P-90s I got have alnico in the neck and ceramic in the bridge. They do sound a little different, but I'm still diggin' it!

June 7th, 2006, 06:42 PM
I didn't notice this thread when I posted another, but does anyone know why they put P-100's in the guitars instead of P-90's? Even Epiphone has done that with the set neck LP Jr. they put out. It seems odd to use them on reissue style guitars.

July 4th, 2006, 03:35 PM
Actually, as I understand it other than appearance, P-100's and P-90's have very little in common. The P-100 is a stacked humbucker with a dummy coil to somewhat quiet the hum, whereas the P-90 is a true single coil pu. A vintage style P-90 really sounds virtually nothing like a P-100. The P-90, being a single coil pu, sounds brighter with more mids. The P-100's sound much more like a traditional humbucker than a P-90 to me. Hope this helps. 8)


February 11th, 2007, 02:06 AM
A P100 is a stacked humbucker with the coils wired in PARALLEL. I disconnect the black wire connecting the bottom coil in my P100 guitars & they absolutely SCREAM! Noisy, but they really smoke!

Rob DiStefano
February 11th, 2007, 07:23 AM
I've been working with Kent Armstrong on a new design noiseless HP90 and it's freakin' killer - all that luscious, thick, deep single coil tone without the humbuzz. Same exact pickup dimensions, too.

I have two modern issue Melody Makers, a yellow '03 and a cherry '04. Both have stock Gibson dog ear P90's. Both have that same great P90 tone - and LOTS of humbuzz. I replaced the cherry MM's P90 with the HP90 prototype - it was a simple and easy drop-in replacement, just screw in and solder up. This has always been an issue for noiseless dog ear P90's, where the pickup base had to be increased in depth to accommodate the larger and deeper magnet coils - I'll say it again, the dog ear HP90 pickup has the *exact* dimensions of a dog ear Gibson P90, same exact plastic cover.

I did an A/B comparison of the Kent HP90 and the Gibson P90 using a 15 watt Li'l Dawg Champster Special combo amp with Weber 12F150 speaker. Overall, the HP90 was very slightly lower in output than the P90 - but at any volume level, the HP90 exhibited great single coil tone ... clear and thick at low volume without overdrive, and thick harmonic overdriven distortion as the amp's volume was increased - all, without any 60 cycle humbuzz.

The HP90 is as close to true P90 tone as can be had, IMHO - it has the pick dynamics and thick single coil tone that most of us like ... all that's lacking is the "smoke tone" from the 60 cycle buzz.

The Kent Armstrong HP90 will be available in both dog ear and soapbar formats.

Anyone wanna buy a Gibson dog ear P90? :biggrin:

April 4th, 2007, 04:44 AM
I recently got an LP Special with P-100s and I'm really not sure about them. They sound pretty good but often they as if they're not really running at full power if you know what I mean? The best way I can describe it is that when the pickup volume is turned up to 10 it kind of feels like it's still at around 8 or not all the way there. If that makes sense.
I've been considering switching to p90s but have never really played them so don't know if they'll sound any better. Any advice?

Rob DiStefano
April 4th, 2007, 04:55 AM
IMHO, it's hard to beat the tone of a real Gibson P90, and ALL those P100's (Gibson's included) are just anemic wimpy toned buggers. A good choice would be to replace them with Firebird mini-humbuckers - or wait for the release of the Kent HP90's (due this Summer, I think).

April 5th, 2007, 11:39 AM
can anyone reccomend a good set of P90s to replace my p100s with for a ballsy blues tone

Rob DiStefano
April 5th, 2007, 12:32 PM
IMO, it's hard to beat a Gibson P90 - but Rio Grande also makes a good P90.

January 2nd, 2008, 06:26 PM
I have an 89 LP Goldtop Standard that came with P-100's. They sunded charachterless to me, nothing like the P-90's on my 57 Guild CE-100D.

I went to TV Jones (this was about 8 years ago when he was still working out of his garage in Downey, CA.) and he custom-made me P-90's using magnets biught from Gibson's original east coast supplier and using NOS bobin wire. He even had me supply him with mu fav. P-90 recording to use as a sonic guide. I chose the sound of Mike Hendrix from The Belmont Playboys (a rockabilly/surf band from NC).

I must declare that I do have the BEST sounding p-90's ever made. I'm serious! I cannot describe de character and pick-response that thee pickups have. They are on the hot side. Imagine: I used them iriginally for roots/rockabilly playing and with your eyes closed they almost sound like a slightly overdriven vintage Gretsch.

Anyway...go custom. forget off-the-shelf compromise!! Fralin, Duncan, they are all excellent if they make them for YOU and your exact fnatsy of what that sound should be like.


January 2nd, 2008, 10:12 PM
can anyone reccomend a good set of P90s to replace my p100s with for a ballsy blues tone
I put in Seymour Duncans. A vintage P-90 in the neck spot - Alnico mag, normal output, and a hot P-90 in the neck spot - Ceramic mag, higher output.

I get a wide variety of tones available.
This guitar makes my ears smile.

February 10th, 2008, 11:04 PM
I bought an ES-135 new in '93. I didn't really like the p-100's, seemed like the dynamics were a bit flat, although they were quiet. I installed vintage p-90's in this guitar about a year later. This made all the difference. This guitar screams and has been screamin ever since. Also added a bigsby and use 11's ... this is a great sounding/playing guitar that I have been using to play out for many years now.

July 22nd, 2008, 10:54 PM
can anyone reccomend a good set of P90s to replace my p100s with for a ballsy blues tone
My favorites are the Lollars. I thought nothing could sound as good as the one in my old Jr, but I was wrong. I have a set in a McInturff Royal that kill, and they're clear and 3-D beautiful when I roll back the volume knob. I love the sound of the stockers in my CS56RI, but I don't know if they're the same as regular production. They seem to sound different, but it may just be the difference in individual guitars. Either way, P90's rule.

Alameda Dean
November 4th, 2008, 06:12 PM
Dear Gibson Guy;
I've gathered from the entries here that I'm not alone in thinking the P-100 isn't a very good product. Some folks are writing that it sounds like a PAF?? No, no, no.
I have a 2000 Les Paul Special - reminds me more of an early '70's axe than '50's - that came with ém. Unless you play dead clean with the volume not above 3, or with complete full-on distortion with the tone turned not above 3, they're really quite nasty creatures. Nasally with a real abrasive high end. My Epi G-400 Custom ('62 Les Paul Custom) sounds like a '57 LP Custom by comparison, with it's "good enough" stock Korean humbuckers, so you might want to avoid these things. Gibson quit making them for a reason.
The guitar is so perfect for me I bought it anyway thinking I could get the H-90 used on the Billy Joe LP Junior, apperently the P-100's successor, or something cool by Duncan or DiMarzio. Or just some good ól P-90's, never mind the humbucking issue.
Friends don't let friends buy lousy pickups.............

Alameda Dean

November 7th, 2008, 12:40 AM
My P-90s are quieter than my P-100s were.

February 7th, 2013, 02:59 PM
I'm a Les Paul Special lover. And I own some beauties with both pickups.
The sound of a P-90 is a raw single coil sound who can growl!
While a P-100 got more of that humbucker sound. It is fat, a lot warmer with a lot of bite and more output.
Persenally much better than a humbucker.
The choice is a raw growling single coil sound or a fat warm (a bit hotter) with a lot of bite P-100. And I don't mean that little bite you got from some hot pickups. It's a very fat more open bite.
It all depends the sound you need for a song.
I love them both!! And it is a pity Gibson don't makes them anymore...

February 11th, 2013, 03:07 PM
I've never tried it, but I've heard that you can cut the wire coming from the 2nd coil on a P100 and get closer to a P90 tone.