The P-90 pickup delivers some of the most desirable guitar tones out there. Originally conceived by Gibson way back in 1946, the P90 has been featured on a raft of instruments released in the last year or two. Time to look at some of the best P-90 guitars you can currently buy!
Our favourite P-90 loaded guitars
So what’s the difference in tone I can expect from a P90? Although it’s a single-coil pickup, it’s somewhat warmer, with less edge and brightness, than a standard single-coil. This is why many players are starting to look at P-90s at the moment. Below we’ve listed guitars for all budgets and styles. You should find a great starting point for your first P-90 loaded guitar, or suggest a new addition to your P-90 collection.
P-90 pickups come in a few formats including Soap Bar and Dog Ear. The latter has little tabs or ears that you affix via a screw to your guitar, while the former normally has the screws in line, amongst the pickup pole pieces. You can also get P-90s with regular tabs like a single-coil or humbucker, and in larger humbucker-sized formats too.
Noise and Hum Issues
P-90 pickups are notorious for hum, just like any other single-coil pickup. I have included some modern, hum-cancelling P-90-style options as well. A lot of the greats used P-90 pickups throughout the 50s, 60s, and 70s with no issues, but in 2021 a lot of guitar players find hum annoying. Thankfully, modern pickup technology has moved forwards since 1946.
Epiphone Gold Glory
This list had to include the Epiphone Jared James Nichols Gold Glory! Among Jared’s influences are the late great Lesley West, so he knows that a good P-90 loaded guitar is all you really need for sweet tones and fat leads.
His first guitar signature Epiphone was named Old Glory, and went on to sell out completely. Gold Glory is the way forwards if you fancy trying one for yourself. One aspect I like is the Seymour Duncan P90, as I have found them to be very good from personal experience.
Loaded with a single P-90, this model is a twist on Les Paul Custom models. They’re the perfect starting point for your journey. And the price point is very reasonable indeed. With a minimal control layout consisting of volume and tone, paired with a single pickup in the bridge position, this guitar can coax way more tones than you would think.
Harley Benton DC-Junior FAT
Almost a perennial on my Top Guitar lists, the Harley Benton DC-Junior FAT punches well above its price point and should certainly be on your radar. Strictly speaking, the pickup used here isn’t a classic P90, it’s a single Roswell P90D Stack STK4P Alnico-5 Dog Ear humbucker wired with a single volume and tone controls. So it’s a P-90 for those that don’t want to deal with any extra hum.
The latest version came in a Benton Blue finish, and we’ve seen a few variations on this theme from Harley Benton. If you fancy a more traditional colour scheme, head on over to Thomann from the link below to check out all the variations on this model.
Reverend Reeves Gabrels Dirtbike Royale
The new Reverend Guitars Reeves Gabrels Dirtbike Royale is another recent P-90 model I think you should check out. It’s got two P-90 pickups, so it should offer you a bit extra than the one-pickup models above.
This model has a Korina body, with a bolt-on 24.75″ scale-length neck with an ebony fretboard. Again. this model features a pair of hum-canceling passive Mojotone P-90 Quiet Coil pickups, so if you need the tone without the hum, then this could be an option.
Gordon Smith Guitars Gatsby
The Gordon Smith Guitars Gatsby Launch Edition is an offset-style guitar made in the UK and comes factory fitted with a set of Gordon Smith’s “home wound chrome-covered GS P90” pickups. It is available with either a Poplar or Swamp Ash body, so you have some nice choices of tonewoods to choose from as well.
Having an offset style trem system and bridge will also give you something a little different from the rest of the guitars in this list, and add to the overall overtones of this model as well.
Fender Noventa Stratocaster
If you like the slinky feel of a Stratocaster, but fancy a fatter-sounding pickup then the new Fender Noventa Stratocaster could be for you.
This model is available in Daphne Blue, Surf Green or Crimson Red Transparent finishes. If you prefer Telecaster or Jazzmasters, you are also in luck as the Noventa range also offers these models with Fender’s MP-90 pickups as standard, so something for everyone.
Gibson Tony Iommi Signature SG Special
This model has only just been announced and could be one the most expensive model on this list, but it is a Tony Iommi signature guitar – awesome! The Gibson Tony Iommi Signature SG Special has two Gibson P-90 single-coil pickups with chrome covers mounted in black pickup rings, and should easily get you a huge guitar tone.
Reverend Greg Koch Gristlemaster 90
This Reverend Greg Koch Gristlemaster 90 comes with a Bigsby vibrato and has a pair of Fishman P-90 pickups, wired via the Fishman midrange boost and with a Volume and a push-pull phase switch on the Tone control, as well as a three-way selector switch.
This guitar should have plenty of tones on tap and if you are looking for something a little different from the crowd, then it should be one hell of a guitar. After all, Greg Koch is known for his stunning guitar tones.
It’s not over yet!
Those were the my favourite P-90 loaded guitars. But if you’re considering adding P90s to your guitar, I think these P-90 pickups are the bee’s knees. Check out these Lollar P-90 Soapbar* pickups – they sound glorious!
More about the P-90 Pickup
P-90 Pickup Videos
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