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Thread: Prs Soap-bar pickups??????

  1. #1
    Senior Member wardog's Avatar
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    Prs Soap-bar pickups??????

    Because I have never seen it discussed since becoming a forum member( too lazy to search for topic too). I wanted to ask the group if anyone with soap-bar pickups have ever changed them out to mini-humbuckers? And, what brand? Also, have any of you ever replaced them with another brand of soap-bars?

    I know folks have em, but no one seems to talk alot about them. Does PRS need to redo the soap-bar?
    I like surprises!!!

  2. #2
    Senior Member garrett's Avatar
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    I reaaaaally want to put a set of DiMarzio Vintage Minibuckers in my SE Soapbar II, but my fun budget has been going elsewhere lately.

    I had Vintage Vibe P-90's in there which sounded great, but I find hum maddening, so it now has DiMarzio Virtual P90 in the neck and DLX-90 in the bridge.
    --Garrett--

  3. #3
    Junior Member django49's Avatar
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    I HAD one of the original run three soapbar pickups from PRS, but it was so long ago I cannot vividly recall them. I guess they made less than a perfect impression, as I did not keep it long.

    My understanding is that PRS uses Duncan soapbars. I may be wrong, as at least one dealer told me something different. Presumably Duncans wound to Paul's specs(?)

    Here is a (perhaps) related comment. I have been a big fan of Hamer guitars as well, most of which had some form of Duncans stock. In most cases, (IMO) they were improved with pickup upgrades. The P90 equipped ones in particular seem to be great rock machines, but the sound is too raw for many. I have replaced them, at times, with Lollar, Wolfetone and even Gibson Custom Shop versions. I thought each was a big improvement.

    When I recently decided I needed a DC 245 with P90s to compliment the DC 245 with a 57/08 and 59/09 set, I ran down one upgraded with Thorn "staple" pickups. I have not played one with the stock pickups, so I cannot comment on the difference. Those that have played both seemed to think it is a MAJOR upgrade. I am satisfied that no further change is needed.

    I cannot comment on the mini-HB replacement. But any of the mentioned P90s would be good. First figure out what you DON'T like with the stock ones, then call one of the winders for their specific recommendations.

  4. #4
    Opaque John Beef's Avatar
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    Yes, word is the stock ones are Duncan's "Vintage Soapbar".

    IMHO the Fralin hum-cancelling P-90 is one of the finest pickups out there. All of the tone, none of the hum.

    Mini humbuckers are cool too. I haven't used many. I had some vintage Gibson ones about 10 years ago I put in a Jazzmaster. They're all kind of lower output and brighter than a regular humbucker.

    Also it's a common misconception that mini-humbuckers and Firebird pickups are the same, but they are very different despite their similar size. Mini humbuckers are just that, smaller bobbins and footprint but otherwise built like a regular humbucker with steel poles and a single magnet underneath both coils. Firebird pickups are bar magnets with coils wrapped directly around them.
    The Bovine Fury <-- stream and download our album "Eleven by Twelve" for free.
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  5. #5
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    I have 3 PRS P-90 guitars. (Hello, my name is Dogrocket & I have a problem....). All are SE's. One is deadstock. It sounded great when I first played it, and is the only unmodified PRS SE I own. The second has the Dimarzio Virtual P-90's, and an upgraded volume pot from RS. After I tuned the pickups, one of the singers I work with goes nuts when I solo. (It's the guitar, not me). It's got a great sound. #3 has the stock pickups with an upgraded volume pot. It has the dirtiest, nastiest, funkiest P-90 sound my ears have ever heard. I think changing the volume pots on the lesser models has the greatest effect. I think the USA & Korean pickups are actually very good. I haven't heard any others l liked better, although I like many of the aftermarket ones. I buy 550K pots with a +or- 5% variance when I can get them. Really makes a difference. I have them in all my PRS guitars, except my old warhorse Mira.

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    The P-90s are made by Seynour Duncan for PRS. The neck pickup is basically their vintage soapbar. I can't remember if the bridge pickup is a hot or a custom soapbar - it's definitely one of the two - but it's a neck pickup which is physically deeper than normal.

  7. #7
    That is interesting that Duncan makes the P-90's in PRS guitars. I didn't know that.
    I picked up a McCarty with P90's a few months ago and love the smoky bluesy tone. It's a keeper.
    I have another guitar with a 25 1/2" scale and bolt on neck with the Duncan P90's and it sounds snappier than the McCarty, no surprise. I didn't know I was hearing the same pickups.

    I had a Hamer Special with the Duncan Hot and Custom P90's. They are HOT! They have as much output as a distortion humbucker. The Hot P90 makes a good bridge pickup with a Vintage P90 if you want more output and chunk there. But the Custom P90 in the Hamer Special was just super hot and crunchy. I eventually tried a DLX Plus and a Super Distortion P90 in that guitar. Almost the same tone, but got rid of the hum.
    My experiences with Duncan P90's.

  8. #8
    Senior Member wardog's Avatar
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    So I picked up a use KL380 and at some point the stock p90's were replaced with Kent Armstrong stealth p90's. neck, bridge, bridge. I see they can be made to go series/parallel/split with a toggle per pickup. But with 3 p90's I will not ruin the body.

    First impression-- the guitar itself rocks. 2009 and in very good shape. The p90's seem a little to low in volume. with the DC ratings of 17.2 for neck and 19.6 for bridge, I thought it would be louder--. Does anyone have experience with Kent Armstrong pickups?

    Based on folks comments I like how the Seymour stacked p-90 sounds. still researching--mini hum buckers could be installed. For now I plan to do more bonding with the Kent pickups. Might not be a long relationship.
    I like surprises!!!

  9. #9
    Senior Member sergiodeblanc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wardog View Post
    Does anyone have experience with Kent Armstrong pickups?
    I had a set of the vintage cloth wired style Armstrong's in my old Tele... I thought they were awesome sounding mass-produced pickups.

    Congrats on the KL! I'm super interested in the one you just snagged.

  10. #10
    Senior Member garrett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wardog View Post
    So I picked up a use KL380 and at some point the stock p90's were replaced with Kent Armstrong stealth p90's. neck, bridge, bridge. I see they can be made to go series/parallel/split with a toggle per pickup. But with 3 p90's I will not ruin the body.

    First impression-- the guitar itself rocks. 2009 and in very good shape. The p90's seem a little to low in volume. with the DC ratings of 17.2 for neck and 19.6 for bridge, I thought it would be louder--. Does anyone have experience with Kent Armstrong pickups?

    Based on folks comments I like how the Seymour stacked p-90 sounds. still researching--mini hum buckers could be installed. For now I plan to do more bonding with the Kent pickups. Might not be a long relationship.
    Resistance doesn't mean much unless you know a few things about the construction first. Only then will it give you a basis for comparison, but still only to other pickups of similar construction. It likely uses a thin wire in order to wind two coils small enough to go into a P-90 form. This means a longer run of wire that runs resistance up, but depending on the rest of the design it doesn't necessarily add up to a powerful pickup.

    Let me know if the Armstrongs don't make the grade, I may be interested in taking a neck and bridge off your hands.

    And, where are the pics?!?
    --Garrett--

  11. #11
    Senior Member wardog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sergiodeblanc View Post
    I had a set of the vintage cloth wired style Armstrong's in my old Tele... I thought they were awesome sounding mass-produced pickups.

    Congrats on the KL! I'm super interested in the one you just snagged.
    Thanks Serg!!! I find the Kent's not a gnarly or bluesy as I thought. But as Garrett pointed out. It could be the Korina body.

    Quote Originally Posted by garrett View Post
    Resistance doesn't mean much unless you know a few things about the construction first. Only then will it give you a basis for comparison, but still only to other pickups of similar construction. It likely uses a thin wire in order to wind two coils small enough to go into a P-90 form. This means a longer run of wire that runs resistance up, but depending on the rest of the design it doesn't necessarily add up to a powerful pickup.

    Let me know if the Armstrongs don't make the grade, I may be interested in taking a neck and bridge off your hands.

    And, where are the pics?!?
    I plan to take it into the tech I use to get a proper setup. It being a Korina body will affect the tone, but there is no "growl/balls in ya face" I expect to hear from P90's. They sound good besides that part. If I decide to part with them, I will pm you. PICS are on the way. As for mini-humbuckers, not sure yet. But the Stacked p90 Seymour Duncans sound really nice on a demo in youtube.
    I like surprises!!!

  12. #12
    Happy Egads's Avatar
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    Check the height on the pups. I've played those and ink they do have some bite. I had a G&L limited Tele Jr, which had a Korina body and P-90s. It could definitely snarl!

  13. #13
    Classic Rocker prsrocker1988's Avatar
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    I dig PRS Soapbars. The ones in my '07 McCarty are great. Still may change them for Fralin no-hum, but that's more for that and not that the current ones don't sound good because they do.

    I'm becoming a big P90 fan....I just scored an old early 60s SG Special and I love that P90 tone. It has Lollar P90s in it - not sure what happened to the originals. To me it's the perfect medium between a humbucker and a S/T single coil.
    -Austin-

    PRS Custom 24 10 Top Fire Red Burst with 57/08s
    PRS Korina McCarty Soapbar BRW Board Vintage Cherry with P90s
    PRS SE Custom 22 Grey Black with Seymour Duncan Jazz/JB

  14. #14
    Back on the guitar wagon kbprs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by garrett View Post
    I had Vintage Vibe P-90's in there which sounded great, but I find hum maddening, so it now has DiMarzio Virtual P90 in the neck and DLX-90 in the bridge.
    What worked really well for me was a pair of Kinman P90Hx. Tone-wise, I think they complement the Korina body and maple top nicely, and no hum. Kinman has excellent customer service, as well.

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