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Les Paul Junior Special Pickups--P90s or P100s?

peeninety

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Joined
Mar 31, 2002
Messages
293
I bought one in 2001 and it has P100s, but I see many for sale that imply, or even state, they're equipped with P90s. Did Gibson issue the guitar with both?
 

mariushoog

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Nov 1, 2016
Messages
26
I bought one in 2001 and it has P100s, but I see many for sale that imply, or even state, they're equipped with P90s. Did Gibson issue the guitar with both?
My 2000 originally came with a P90 in the neck and a P100 bridge.
 

tonyj

Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2010
Messages
384
Gibson produced 'Specials from 1989 to 1998 which were routinely factory built with P100 pickups. This does not mean they made none with P90s, but I am not seeing any actual record of that.

The P100 was supposedly a 'noise' free P90 - in other words an improved P90. This was achieved by stacking two P90 type pickups, one on top of the other, which provided an humbucker effect.

Many enthusiasts found the P100s to be somewhat bland sounding; too mellow......and thus replaced their P100s with a pair of P90s. Others followed, hence the confusion that now exists.

An easy thing to check with a screw driver and a couple of minutes to spare.

I know some folks can immediately hear the difference, but believe me unless your plugged in, and you don't allow the impending purchase to over excite your senses, it's better to be sure. Mistakes can be made, and a straight faced seller will convince many with his/her "of course they are p90s". Very hard to tell on a noisy car park just what you're buying. Just remember also to make the adjustment in your payout too. A nice pair of P90s can cost you a couple of hundred; and what the heck do you do with a pair of surplus P100s.

My 1995 Special came with the P100s which I was told were P90s when I bought it used, but nay problem. I had my handy screwdriver ready. The pickups proved to be the stacked P100s as I had feared. A minor adjustment to the asking price was all it took, as the guitar was otherwise in great condition.

It was easily converted to P90s in the blink of an eye, with some soft 'hard' foam to fill the deeper routing, and a deft touch with my soldering iron. Life was good again.

I would suggest that anyone selling a used Special should be prepared to slacken off the strings, raise the soap bar pickups (two height adjustment screws) and actually show a potential new owner that this is the real deal. Failure or refusal to do this, would raise suspicion on what was under the hood, - at least to this buyer.
 

Strings Jr.

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Jan 17, 2016
Messages
578
Gibson produced 'Specials from 1989 to 1998 which were routinely factory built with P100 pickups. This does not mean they made none with P90s, but I am not seeing any actual record of that.

Nashville started making Jr's in mid '86. The instruments made it to Final Assembly before the pickups (P-100's) were ready, so a few of the first ones were built with P-90's. Once the P-100's were available, that's what they got.
 

tonyj

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Joined
Feb 11, 2010
Messages
384


Nashville started making Jr's in mid '86. The instruments made it to Final Assembly before the pickups (P-100's) were ready, so a few of the first ones were built with P-90's. Once the P-100's were available, that's what they got.

Hmm ....interesting. My info was based on information taken from the latest Vintage Guitar Price Guide.

You make reference to Nashville made "juniors" from '86 onwards. Would this also include any Specials made at that time?

It does further emphasize the need to make sure that what you think you are buying is what you get with these models. Most enthusiasts generally prefer the P90 equipped Specials and prices asked will usually reflect that preference.

Please note also, that it is not the Gibson Company who created the confusion in my opinion, but merely those opportunists who chose to describe and sell non-modified guitars as being modified when reselling them as used guitars.
 
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Strings Jr.

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Jan 17, 2016
Messages
578
Just to clarify, the Jr's I'm referring to were all single pickup, single cutaway instruments at the beginning of the run. They were spec'd for P-100's, but P-90's were used for a few days just to get them out the door. The double cuts and Specials came later and should have all been built normally.
 

RicOkc

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Joined
Mar 21, 2016
Messages
50
After reading these posts I'm curious what my Les Paul Special has on it. It's a 2010 model, but I guess you can never tell!
 

Big Al

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Joined
Apr 24, 2002
Messages
14,294
Plug the flippin' thing in, turn it on. Listen. Loud hum-p90's.
 

Strummer

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Sep 15, 2015
Messages
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Just to clarify, the Jr's I'm referring to were all single pickup, single cutaway instruments at the beginning of the run. They were spec'd for P-100's, but P-90's were used for a few days just to get them out the door. The double cuts and Specials came later and should have all been built normally.

Do you mean that even the Junior's had P100s? I knew that Specials had. I've a DC Junior from around December '87. I always found the pickup lacking and just placing an order for a replacement (Wolfetone). I may have to open it to check. I took off the cover before but never checked thoroughly. I do recall that it was a soapbar under the dog ear cover though.

EDIT: apparently my memory is very bad. I pulled the cover off and checked. Its definitely a P90 and has dogears.

G0ebN77l.jpg

JHiVUVWl.jpg


I guess it poses the question when did the Junior's have P100's?
 
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Big Al

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Apr 24, 2002
Messages
14,294
All of the mid 80's and following Jr's I've seen had p100's. That clear bobbin p90 looks like the early 70's style soapbar p90's. I can't recall seeing that on later 70's Laidback p90's like the Pro Deluxe or the 80's Soapbar p90's I have.

I haven't really seen many, [any?], Dog Ear p90's from that era so I can't be sure, but when I saw the photo I thought, 'early 70's p90'. Bear in mind I'm old and heavily medicated and my memory is not as clear as it was.
 

Strummer

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Sep 15, 2015
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It's more see-through yellow/orange than clear. I've seen pictures of the 70s ones and they've all been clear with no tint.
It's possible Gibson was just using what they had around in terms of plastic. :hmm
 

Davy Mac

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Jan 30, 2019
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1
I registered just to add to this 17 year conversation.

I purchased a LP Special and found out it had P100's(because there was no hum). I liked the pickups, but after reading forums like this decided to switch for P90 (from a 2014 SG). The P90 sound is great in the mids and highs, but very lacking in bass and string definition. Certainly not good for chunk. Plus, super noisy in 60 cycle hum, much more than a Fender single coil. I lost enthusiasm for the guitar.

Swapped the originals back in and very chunky, with great definition, plus no noise!! I can't get enough of that guitar now! It's very good if you wish your strat had a fatter sound and you humbucker guitars were less muddy and more open sounding.

Also useful information. The P100 in the neck has a dc resistance of 6.2k ohms, the bridge, 9.2k ohms. Both the P90 pickups were at 7.1. Both picklups very usable with P100, but with P90, the neck sounded lousy and the bridge was good, but not nearly as good as the P100.

Just goes to show everybody has different preferences.
 

TSilleck

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Apr 8, 2009
Messages
13
My 1996 Les Paul DC has P-90s. These were made before the faded models and had neck binding. It's pretty noisy!

1996 LesPaulSpecial.jpg
 

Gadsden

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Feb 9, 2019
Messages
13
Just bought a brand spankin’ new (built 2nd week of January ‘19) LP Special with P-90s, and I was thinking of my underwhelming experiences with the P-100s in the early 2000s.
This is when I first had a serious desire for a natural-finish Special, but the factory pickups drove me away. Instead of dropping $300 in a $800 guitar, I chose a more rewarding tonal path.

Though I’m pleased so far with the new one, and it sounds like P-90s (good enough to throw down some $100 bills) my time in the store included minimal amp time. My schedule prohibits any serious time with my own amps for a few weeks yet.

I was curious about the pedigree of Gibson P-90 pickups in 2019, as I’ve been outta the loop on Gibson - on purpose - since 2008. If they don’t suit me, I have no reservations in calling Lindy for another set of Fralins.

I’ve had many assorted P-90s over the years, and I know how subtle but varied they can be. Even the Fender Doves are pretty darn cool in my opinion.

What is the consensus here in the forum?
Current Gibson P-90 worthy of love?
 
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