...well is there a thread or ...where can I get one? ...or build one? I ain't got the 200 tomatoes and prolly never will but they sure seem nifty, YKWIM? ...I mean, 6 adjustable little rectangular alnico Vs accessible on the fly... That's one up on Fender (?) Thanks in advance and cheers!
Post by eclecticsynergy on Jul 30, 2016 18:06:57 GMT -5
I had one of these back in the 70s in a Black Beauty. Fabulous guitar, stolen years ago by a junkie we'd allowed into our home. It's hard to give an objective assessment after so long, but I really liked the neck tone of that axe. It was smooth and warm yet retained some of the singlecoil-attack-with-fuller-body so characteristic of P90s. A bit less growl and snarl, yet still closer to a P90 than a humbucker. This is not unreasonable considering the geometry of the pickup, especially the coil shape.
Seymour Duncan's custom shop makes a version of these pickups but as you say they're pricey. However, they're likely to be really excellent. Their resident pickup maven, MJ, really knows her stuff. I have several older SD pickups wound by her when she was still out on the production line, and three that she made in the customshop. All great.
For a lower priced approximation, I'd say a P90 might come close if it were wound hot to trim the highs back a bit (maybe a bridge pickup in neck position?) and used softer sounding magnets. The nice thing about P90s is that they have two mags, so it's possible to blend two different characters in one pickup. Two A2 magnets would be warmest, or maybe try one A2 & one unoriented A5 to give a little more punch & sparkle. This arrangement might not be quite as tight in the low end as a staple, but P90s are not boomy by nature so I doubt you'd have any real problem with the lows.
Another option if you're willing to spend a bit more would be to have a custom winder make you a P90 using alnico polepieces instead of bar mags. There are several reputable guys who'd make you one of these with A2 poles for under $100. I've got a couple of custom wound P90s that were made made for me by Jerry Sentell and they're good ones. Alnico poles wold get you closer to the nature of the staple pickup, especially if the coil's wound slightly hotter/warmer than usual. It's been my experience that P90 coils can sound pretty good up to 10K DCR or a bit above that. The disadvantage of magpoles is that you don't have the ability to adjust the poles individually. But IMO for an under-$100 option that might get you closest to the staple in terms of tone.
One other low budget possibility: there are some noiseless P90s which sound somewhat smoother than conventional ones. These have often been described as "too polite" by those who seek classic P90 bark & bite. Yet smoothness is exactly where the staple pickups shine. I have a set of Kent Armstrong noiseless Stealth90s that somebody'd installed in a Hagstrom I bought a coupla years ago. And while I intend to replace the bridge with something a bit more raucous and muscular, I really do like the sound of the Armstrong at the neck. Compared to your average P90 it's a little smoother yet nicely throaty, plus it has the advantage of very good hum rejection. The Armstrongs aren't expensive new, usually only around $50. And noiselss Gibson P100s can sometimes be found cheaply used.