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P90 Question.. (and Mistake)


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Apparently my customer wanted P90 pickups on his guitar, but I didn't realize they were different size than humbuckers until just now, after I routed the template for a standard '58 Les Paul. How should I go about fixing this...? The top hasn't been routed yet. Also, how the hell do P90's stay in the guitar body? They don't use the plastic mounts like humbuckers do

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The top hasn't been routed yet? So what's the problem?

Do you really think you're ready to have "customers" if you didn't realize there was a difference between the shape of a humbucker and p90? I know that sounds cold, but the truth is that that's not a mistake a seasoned builder would make.

P90's are screwed directly to the body. There are 6 polepieces; there are 2 screws that are found between the polepieces that go through the pickup and into the body.

peace,

russ

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You'd think that with the name "soapbarstrat" visible, rubberchicken would've recognized the joke. :D Though, in response... <pedant> the screw-holes are betwee 2/3 and then 4/5. </pedant>

@ soapbar. :D

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Again, see my first response...

...and on another note, you should really order all of your hardware before starting any builds.

So why not explain the situation, because from what I can tell on your first post, you routed for humbuckers when you should have routed for p90's, but you didn't route anything yet :D . If you just, in fact, made a template incorrectly, make a new template. That's a no brainer...I think. Not that you'd know this, having never seen a p90 before, but you should be aware that many companies (seymour duncan, kent armstrong,etc) make p90's that fit into a humbucker route. Sometimes they're called p100's. What you really should be doing, if you routed your body incorrectly, is ordering a new body blank. Your customer ordered a new guitar, not a patched up one. Again, I'm not trying to be overtly cold, just realistic.

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Again, see my first response...

...and on another note, you should really order all of your hardware before starting any builds.

So why not explain the situation, because from what I can tell on your first post, you routed for humbuckers when you should have routed for p90's, but you didn't route anything yet :D . If you just, in fact, made a template incorrectly, make a new template. That's a no brainer...I think. Not that you'd know this, having never seen a p90 before, but you should be aware that many companies (seymour duncan, kent armstrong,etc) make p90's that fit into a humbucker route. Sometimes they're called p100's. What you really should be doing, if you routed your body incorrectly, is ordering a new body blank. Your customer ordered a new guitar, not a patched up one. Again, I'm not trying to be overtly cold, just realistic.

Not that it makes much of a difference, but just to clarify. P100s are Gibson made stacked humbuckers, that have pretty much the same form factor of P90s. Just deeper I believe.

There do exist P90 type pickups made to fit a humbucker routing, they go by many names: P94 are Gibson's, Phat Cats are Duncans, and quite a few more are out there. That said, if your customer is anything like me, when I want P90s, I want the real deal. So the only real option is to make a new template.

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Just to pick up on the "order parts first" suggestion, I bought a stew mac P90 template to route for my Lace P90's but they're actually slightly different sizes so I had to make my own template from the actual pickups. P90's seem to vary a bit in size & shape so make sure you use the actual pickup for the template.

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I believe the p90 template that stewmac sells is based on an older gibson p90. I could be wrong about that. Anyhow, it's pretty silly that their template doesn't match their covers. If you get a 3/8" router bit and a slightly oversized bearing (don't remember the size but it comes in the binding channel router bit set), that template will work just fine for the smaller p90's that everyone seems to carry.

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I thought the StewMac templates were made for router bases with a pattern-following collar (rather than a bearing on the shaft). If thats'the case, they'll be slightly oversized.

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<shrug> Once upon a time they didn't have router bits with follower bearings. Perhaps they have updated everything and the templates are now meant to be the correct size. Things change.... If they're pushing for sale of their bearing router bits, and they don't refer to a pattern following baseplate, then they're probably meant to be (whether they are or not) the correct size; that's only logical, as you say.

Greg

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Without digging out the template I can't say for certain but I'm fairly sure that it was longer in one direction than the other...well, obviously...erm, what I meant was that it was oversized by more in one direction than the other. So a larger/smaller bearing wouldn't have helped. I'm not saying that StewMac are to blame just that P90's seem to vary in size more than single coils or humbuckers.

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I have worked on several Gibsons circa '52 through '55 and some of the covers on the P-90's were altered as in shaved on the sides to fit the pick cavity. Some were so thin they were darn near transparent. My guess was they didn't figure in the thickness build up of the finish and didn't want to re-route the cavities after the finish was on so they thinned the covers on the sides. They appeared to have been sanded and buffed.

Some of the older more experienced repair guys will verify what I'm telling you.

I also recently installed some Lace P-90's on my most recent build and the Stew Mac templates did not fit them. I traced the covers on the body hogged out the area with a fornser bit and used an exacto knife on the line and free handed the perimeter to a depth where the bearing bit could take over for the remainder of the cavity clean up.

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