So you are looking to buy a new pickup for your P-90 guitar, and don’t know which would be the right one. In fact, best P90 pickups combine the qualities of both humbuckers, as well as the single coil models. In order to purchase the right P-90 pickup, you must first consider how a true P-90 pickup should respond to your string input.
What is a good P90 pickup?
Good P-90 pickups tend to have a brighter tone and clear attacks compared to humbuckers, but unlike simple one-coil pickups, they also have a moderately beefy mid-low range response. The best P90 pickups will sound twangy and powerful enough for country style as well as rock, and at the same time they will tend to produce a low humming sound reminiscent of 60’s style single-coil pickups. You should note that some guitars routed in the Gibson or Fender style will not accept most “dog-ear” or “soap bar” shaped pickups. In those cases you can opt for a humbucker-sized P-90.
If you wish to look at the most popular and reliable P-90 pickups in the market as of today, check out our list of best P90 pickups below. It contains some new entries, as well as classic P-90 pickup models that are absolutely loved by professional guitar players and enthusiasts.
1set P-90 Soapbar Single Coil PickupPro: Fairly thick and powerful tone
Con: Tend to sound muddy when played hard
The 1set P-90 Soapbar style pickups are an amazing replacement for any guitar that uses P-90 pickups, since these pickups are extremely affordable yet very well constructed for their price. They pack a DC resistance of 8.5 K on the neck, and 9.2 K on the bridge, and carry a 50/ 52 mm pole spacing. The response is very natural and reminiscent of the original 1960’s P-90’s, with a slight hum and powerful, thick mid tones as well as clearly defined lows. The neck and bridge have opposing polarities, so they function in humbucker mode while used in parallel.
Kent Armstrong Stealth-90 PickupPro: High neck resistance, ceramic magnet
Con: No hum
These are the pickups of choice for anyone who wants the authentic, vintage P-90 sound quality without sacrificing sound clarity. They are every bit as powerful and versatile as the real P90’s from a long time ago, but eliminate the slight humming sound that you used to get while playing the mid-range notes. This might be beneficial to some people, while others may dislike it due to the fact that it is slightly different from the authentic P-90’s in terms of sound output. But nevertheless, these are still great for the price and pack powerful low-mid range output thanks to the superb ceramic magnets and the 17.2 K neck resistance.
DiMarzio DP163 Bluesbucker Humbucker PickupPro: Humbucker size and shape
Con: Single coil splits off ocasionaly
If you want to add some unique P-90 style sound to your guitar without having to change the size or coil type of your pickups, then these DiMarzio DP163 pickups should be your weapon of choice. They are designed with a humbucker size and shape, but can operate with single coils in the same manner that a P-90 does, and the directional changing offers a smoothly varying tonal curve that can produce some really impressive sound quality, with lots of twang and brightness packed into the upper mid ranges. When you pair together two of these pickups, they tend to output an open, slightly hollow sound which is similar to twin single-coils.
Gibson Gear IMP9R-BC-P90 Single Coil PickupPro: Original P-90 design and response
Con: Hard to find
These pickups are manufactured by Gibson themselves, and are meant to act as a replacement for any vintage Gibson P-90 guitar or modern guitar that can accommodate a P 90 style pickup. Each IMP9R-BC-P90 is a universal mount pickup, meaning that you can use each one in either the bridge, or neck position depending on your preferences.
Powerful, yet deceptively bright and twangy, these are some of the best P90 pickups that you’ll find on the music equipment market. They are solidly built, sport a shiny black finish, and sound absolutely great when distorted. The IMP9R is completely compatible with all types of strings and pedals, and will produce an ever so slight hum, which is characteristic of classic P-90’s.
Seymour Duncan SPH90-1 Phat Cat Nickel PickupPro: Can fit in a humbucker configuration
Con: Hard to find
Seymour Duncan Phat Cats allow you to enjoy true P-90 grade sound in a compact humbucker size pickup. These are designed for various playing styles and themes, including- country, rockabilly, jazz, blues, classic rock, and heavy rock. These are actually custom made single-coil P-90 soapbars that have been fitted with a humbucker cover for compatibility with all modern humbucker-equipped guitars. The tone that you get from these is bright, thick, and powerful, all at the same time.
The Phat Cat uses Alnico 2 magnets to improve sustain and provide a softer attack, while the humbucker metal covers provide more shielding and noise reduction than a standard soapbar cover. These Seymour Duncan P 90 pickups come with a single conductor cable and are available for both neck as well as bridge positions, in the form of a balanced set.
Lindy Fralin P-90 Soapbar PickupPro: Large and powerful mid-range, clean sound
Con: Soapbar-style shape and size may not fit on some guitars
Sporting vintage style braided single conductors and a 10,000 turn stock bridge, these P90’s are widely regarded as one of the best P90 pickups in the guitar industry. With these Fralins, you can play all sorts of music, from low and dirty, to bright and powerful. The sound contains a slight hum, hidden between the low to mid-range notes, and you’ll find yourself playing all sorts of music on it, such as country, rock, jazz, blues, etc. You can use the soapbar size and shape to fit these onto virtually any old or new guitar.
Even though these P-90s come with a premium price tag, you will find that they are worth every penny of the price tag due to their superior build quality and reliable wiring. And of course, the sound quality is unlike any other P-90 pickup out there, even better than Gibson P-90’s.