Hand winding of P90 pickups produces a world of difference in tone compared to modern machine wound products.
The traditional recipe of 10,000 turns of 42AWG wire yields that classic P90 growl and punch and is a great reference point for the range of P90 format pickups that I offer. I generally sneak a few extra turns onto the bridge pickup to balance things up, or as an alternative, drop a pair of Alnico 2 magnets into the neck pickup with Alnico 5 at the bridge.
Below is a selection of soundbites, the bridge pickup is Alnico 5, the neck Alnico 2.
As a retro fit for humbucker equiped guitars, the Fat Moggy gets pretty close to the P90 tone. I make the bobbins myself and keep the shape of the coil as near as I can to that of a true P90 as this factor and the magnet layout are key elements to the sound. The Fat Moggy is available with a variety of covers and even open coil with a black forbon top.
DC resistances vary depending upon requirements and the usual variety of Alnico magnets is available to add further flexibility.
Chrome / Nickel cover Cream Plastic cover 6 String Open Coil 7 String Open Coil
Retro fit is not restricted to guitars with humbucker routes, Jazzmaster covers are are big enough to hide a P90 and my Model JZP90 drops straight into standard routs.
A nice combination is to retain the original pickup at the neck and substitute a JZP90 at the bridge.
A variation on he P90 formula is the BP90 where the screw poles and bar magnets are replaced with slug magnets. The sound produced is “thick” single coil and the BP90 works equally well at the bridge and neck positions, but in a similar fashion to the JZP90, a nice combination is to have a P90 at the bridge and use a BP90 at the neck.
For ever greater tonal flexibility, any of the P90’s shown here can be wound with a coil tap - a special arrangement unique to Catswhisker Pickups which offers an uncompromised P90 tone and when the switchable boost coil is selected via a DPDT toggle or push/pull switch, the volume increases and the bottom end thickens up with little reduction in the treble range. A coil tap applied to the BP90 yields a true single coil sound when the core section of the coil alone Is activated and the sound thickens up when the outer wraps are added in.