I'm building a CBG for a friend who plays P90's in all his normal guitars so I figured I would find an inexpensive P90 to use for his build. I found a pair on Amazon for $13 shipped (prime): https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009DTT7RQ/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_... . Reviews were decent enough and it is for a CBG afterall. I used the neck pickup and went with more of middle position; roughly 3.75" from bridge to pole pieces. Finished it up today and I'm pretty darn impressed with the pickup. The sound like a P90 and are relatively quiet as well.
The best thing was the ease of install. The pickup itself is ~5/8" thick and the pole pieces extend about 3/16's out of the bottom for a total of 13/16's. Because I build two piece necks this means the pickup can be screwed fully down to the bottom piece of the neck and the resulting pickup height in relation to the strings comes out near perfect (see pics). Also, being a soapbar P90 means the mounting screws are btw the 2nd/3rd and 4th/5th strings allowing one to mount it directly to the neck. I think these will be my go-to pickup from now on.
I hear a lot of folks saying good things about some of these cheaper pickups. Most of the single coils are not liked. But humbuckers and P90 get good reviews.
FWIW, I've had good success with these humbuckers in traditional guitars (zebra only): https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AXE52KG/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_...
If you think about it, there's really no reason an inexpensive pickup can't be as good as a brand name. I doubt they're spending anytime experimenting with winding techniques and such but it wouldn't take much effort to clone any pickup on the market. Or they simply get lucky with how they choose to wind a given model and results are great.
Anyway, I'm really happy with these P90's, especially with how they mount as it works out perfectly for how I build CBGs.
Gitty sells a 7.75 K Ohm 4 pole pickup. It needs 500k pots. I play through a small Fender Champion 20 with a clean profile and some reverb. I have had numerous comments on the sound. Best part is it is under $5:00US.
I've been tempted by these bass pickups as they would be $10 shipped for the 'pair': https://www.amazon.com/dp/B009AQ4736/ref=twister_B07B4BY4RP?_encodi... . I'll probably be using these P90's more often than not as I like that I can mount them directly to the neck so easily. Plus, P90's always give off a vintage vibe to me.
I'm always making small purchases (<$50) here or there so the shipping cost at Gitty generally has me going elsewhere unfortunately.
One thing to watch with P-bass pairs is the length of wire between the two pickups. I have one guitar where I used both as in a P-bass because I figured if I cut the wire joining them I would not have enough to do anything without an open splice.
That being said, the one I talked about above is available in a P-bass pair.
If I remember correctly, the thing about P-bass pickups is they are the bass equivalent of a humbucker. the pickups are wound backwards to each other.....Which is yet another option.
Yes. P bass pickups are wired like a humbucker. Just like the two coils you start with a ground. The wire that goes between the two pickups is just like joining the two humbucker pickups together. And the last wire is the output. If you cut the wire that goes between the two pickups you have two perfectly working single coils. They are poler opposites so you'll have the same phasing a Strat has when using the middle pickup with either the bridge or neck. The ground for the set is now the ground for that half. It's output is the cut wire. The cut wire is now the ground for the second pickup. The output wire is now the output for that single coil.
Splicing the shortened wire wont do any harm. Use either shrink tubing or electrical tape to re assemble.
The lure of Free shipping........
P90's are hard to screw up. One of those designs that just do good no matter who makes it. Most cheap pickups use ceramic magnets instead of the original Alnico magnets, but that can be easily changed for low cost. Gibson made 4 pole Dogear P90 pickups for Tenor guitars, but they are hard to find and very expensive.
The P Bass pickups work very well. I used a set that I split(one in neck position and one in bridge position) and wired to a 4-way switch for each pickup alone, both in parallel or both in series and they perform very good on my 4 string CBG. I used the C.B.Gitty set and each pickup has a 4.5k DCR for a combined 9k DCR. That seems low, but all is good with a good 10watt or larger amp. Some overwound pickups reach 10k to 12k for more output. Or you can go with the EMG PBass pickups.
Lipstick Tubes work great on anything.
Gold Foils are also good.