Introduction – The hype about P90 guitars:

Basically, there are P90 pickups made by Gibson at some point during the WWII, and by saying P90 guitars, we mean “guitars equipped with P90 pickups“.

Now, this kind of pickup was revolutionary back in the day when it was introduced to the stage, but laymen musicians tend to think that P90’s are outdated.

That’s hardly the case, as P90 pickups are as reliable as can be. The aggressive comeback on the stage was well-deserved, as musicians (both beginner and veteran) have started to take an increased interest in this sort of pickups.

We’re going to discuss P90 guitars, but we’re also going to talk about what makes these guitars so special.

QUICK RUNDOWN

If you are in a hurry here’s a comparison:

Famous Musicians who use P90’s

Pretty much everyone used a set of P90s back in the day when they were ever so famous, but among the most notable musicians we can name:

Johnny Thunders, a “New York Dolls” guitarist, somewhere around 1970s, he primarily used them with Les Paul guitars, getting a marvelous, cutting sound with a hint of overdrive.
Mick Jones, the guitarist from “The Clash” also used P90 pickups.
Without any doubt, Steve Jones of “The Sex Pistols” is the most famous P90 pickup guitarist.

BEST P90 GUITARS

Best P90 Guitar

A quick overview:

Let’s start out with a big one. Here we’re have one of the best P90 guitar models ever made, by one of the most influential prominent leaders in the history of guitar brands – rest assured, this is how quality looks, feels, and smells like.

Now, Gibson‘s USA Les Paul Plus Traditional Pro is exactly what the name implies – it’s a traditional Gibson electric guitar which comes outfitted with all the usual features you’d expect from this brand, but that would, sadly, be an understatement.

To an untrained eye, this guitar seems all too ordinary, but it’s unlike most guitars Gibson made – it’s better in virtually all aspects of performance.

Surely enough, you’d expect that such grand attributes could be given lightly, but a taste of what Gibson’s Traditional Pro can offer would be more than convincing.

Manufacturer specs and features:

First of all, Gibson’s USA Les Paul Plus Traditional Pro features a Maple top – sturdy and durable, this woodpiece isn’t just for fashion, but it does look beautiful all the while. Furthermore, you’ll feel the change in quality once you get accustomed to the near-perfect mahogany body, as it offers absolute playability without cutting short on sound.

Secondly, there’s a total of 22 frets – nothing too grandiose, but still just perfect. The optimal number of frets means no unnecessary weight or balance issue, so we’ve labeled it as a plus.

The neck features a rounded profile with Pearl inlays, which is pretty cool, if not great.

Now, as for the hardware, there are two classic Gibson P90 pickups, true to the core as far as traditional Gibson quality is concerned. Apart from that, there are two tone control knobs, and a nickel “tune-o-matic” bridge, as well as Titanium saddles

https://youtu.be/boipkM4f8bg
  • Playability 92%
  • Design 97%
  • Performance 94%
THINGS WE LIKED
  • One of the best P90 guitar models due to remarkable performance and
  • versatility
Great value despite the somewhat high price
Unique finish
  • options
High-quality North American materials
THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • Obviously, you’ll need to be prepared to part with quite a lot if you want to have the honor of owning this beauty
  • Most people think of Gibson’s USA Les Paul Plus Traditional Pro as being way too “traditional”, as in overly plain. That’s the case, however, until you get to know how it feels and sounds, though

A quick overview:

We’re looking at one of the best P90 guitar models – the Godin Guitars 5th Avenue. It’s beautiful, lightweight, smooth and extravagant in its own right. Considering that this is a high-quality semi-hollow body guitar, the price tag is rather moderate.

Even if you’re into jazz and swing, then this antique-looking, old-school guitar could easily please all your needs.

Keep in mind though – even the great Godin Kingpin pickups can’t stop the feedback that this guitar can produce, so be ready to improve your technique if you want to get the most out of this great guitar

Manufacturer specs and features:

Godin Guitars are mostly produced from high-quality woods of North America. This one is no exception to the rule.

Godin Guitars have pretty much perfected the traditional archtop design, making this guitar a powerful beast that combines vintage tones with a very dominant high end when overdriven. These guitars handle amps and pedals very well.

These semi-hollow bodies are not the most suitable guitars for beginners’ as they can produce a lot of feedback that needs to be calmed down. But if you’re a seasoned player and spend a lot of time on stage, this will not pose a problem.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSR1cT_e6Lg
  • Playability 94%
  • Design 97%
  • Performance 93%
THINGS WE LIKED
  • One of the best P90 guitar models due to remarkable performance and versatility
  • Even though Epiphone G-400 isn’t cheap, it’s more than valuable for the cash
  • Unique ’66 special edition guitar
  • High-quality materials
THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • Feedback problems present in most semi-hollow body guitars

  • Not a beginners’ guitar

A quick overview:

Fender Guitars are famous for a reason, and it’s only natural that a company as big as Fender would try to produce their own P90 guitars.

But is this just a quick attempt to cash-in on the popularity of P90 pickups? As we’re entering the medium-high price point category, let’s take a look at the Fender Mustang.

Basically, this is the ideal guitar for an indie artist – incredible sustain, dirty sound and excellent overall performance are only some of the most accurate characteristic of these Fenders.

The MP-90 pickups are a Fenderesque variation on the standard P90 pickup.

If you really want to, you could always get a more traditional P90s set and replace the stock pickups, but there is no real need for that.

Manufacturer specs and features:

In the 1990s, the Mustang attained cult status largely as a result of its use by a number of alternative rock bands. Besides the moderate price, there are other reasons for the Mustang becoming popular.

First of all, this mustang features a modern C-shaped neck, which provides a comfortable feel atop the elegant outlook. The short scale makes big stretches even easier than on your regular guitars.

Secondly, there are various features that are commonly supplied to high-end Strats, such as shining nickelmachine heads, pickup guards, three volume control knobs, and Shielded Body cavities.

Unlike the traditional Mustang, this guitar features two MP-90 pickups with very simple tone and volume controls, making it a good beginners’ guitar. Overall, the Mustang is exceptionally durable, exquisitely beautiful, and gloriously powerful.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PB5y-gEOUw
  • Playability 95%
  • Design 90%
  • Performance 92%
THINGS WE LIKED
  • It goes without saying, Fender guitars are always a good choice, and this one is not an exception
  • Comfortable short scale design
  • Multiple finish and fretboard options to choose from
  • Unique P90s sound in a Fender guitar
  • Moderate price range
THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • Lower-grade rosewood fretboard
  • No vibrato system

A quick overview:

The Epiphone WILDKAT is one of the most affordable and one of the best P90 guitar models in our review.

Now, people like this guitar for two reasons primarily – it features a crazy outlook, for starters, the one that inspires and intimidates at the same time. Furthermore, it’s more than affordable, as it belongs to the “medium” price point category.

It comes supplied with a set of modest features, and this guitar excels in aesthetics above all else, but you can’t just expect to find a high-quality P90 guitar in this price range, right?

Well, wrong – the WILDKAT would beg to differ, as it’s both cheap and good. Maybe not the best of the best, but definitely among the better ones.

Manufacturer specs and features:

Epiphone’s WILDKAT comes outfitted with a sturdy, solid mahogany body – it was built to last, and it might be a keeper, should you perform regular maintenance and quality checks.

Additionally, the FlameMaple top is the reason why this guitar is so beautiful.

The standard P-90 pickups were replaced with the P-90 Dogear ones – a welcome boost to the already amazing sound.

 Last, but not least, there’s the fretboard made of rosewood. So far, we’ve only mentioned guitars with high level of playability, and the WILDKAT is not an exception.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9r4mrPgXCA
  • Playability 92%
  • Design 93%
  • Performance 89%
THINGS WE LIKED
  • Amazingly good for the cash due to top-shelf features
  • Superb sound quality and easy sound customization
  • Comes with a case or amp, depending on the package chosen
  • Excellent durability and reliability
THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • Some minor issues with tuning

A quick overview:

Let’s wrap it up with Epiphone’s Les Paul Special I. Generally, this is a great guitar for the buck, but it’s hardly the best P90 guitar out there. It belongs to the budget price point category, and you should consider it if you’re really out of options.

There’s not a single bad thing we would say about Epiphone Special I – it’s simply inferior to the ones we’ve mentioned so far.

Surely enough, this axe sounds pretty cool for the buck, but Wildkat could eat it up without a belch. In summary, this P90 guitar is cool for the cash, but nothing too grandiose.

Manufacturer specs and features:

The single cutaway body shape is complemented by solid mahogany body & high-gloss finish. Neck is also made of mahogany, and the fretboard of rosewood.

There are two P90 pickups on the axe – P90R & P90T Soap-bar single coils, allowing for a massive sound with incredible sustain.

Overall, Epiphone Les Paul Special I is pretty durable, it offers a decent level of playability, and it’s performance is quite great.
The features might be too plain for everyone’s taste, but you shouldn’t expect any different from a budget guitar.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=He01vcidk1A
  •   Playability 85%
  • Design 90%
  • Performance 88%
THINGS WE LIKED
  • Mahogany & Rosewood construction
  • Pretty durable and plain
  • A beautiful outward appearance
  • Exceptionally affordable
THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • Mediocre performance

THINGS TO CONSIDER:

What are p90 guitar pickups?

The P90 guitar pickups are bridge pickups with metal casings made by Gibson during the 40s. There are a lot of variation of these pickups, including the “Soap Bar”, “Dog Ear”, and “Humbucker casing P90”. As it’s common with Gibson products, these pickups are extremely reliable, they provide a controlled, unique sound, and they’re often fairly affordable when purchased standalone.

Best P90 guitar for the money?

In our opinion, Fender Standard Stratocaster is the best P90 guitar for the money. It has it all – it’s not overly expensive, it offers superior sustain capabilities, it produces a mellow, rich sound, and it’s outfitted with top-shelf features. What’s more, it looks absolutely ravishing, yet plain, retaining the traditional Strat outlook in full glory.

How to take care of you new P90 Guitar?

Single coil magnets are pretty easy to check – nearly every P90 guitar has volume control knobs, which (usually) shift the volume/intensity of each coil.

Once you notice that there’s a difference in your tone, you could try tinkering with the knobs and pots, or you could just take your guitar in for repairs.

Either way, the maintenance process in general varies from guitar to guitar, but the usual applies – make sure that no dust remains for extended periods of time, re-string and re-tune frequently, play your guitar often, and replace defective hardware pieces.

CONCLUSION

Guitars outfitted with P90 pickups are valuable, and there are no exceptions. These pickups are extremely reliable, they allow for a balanced soundstage, thus improving the overall sound quality.

Keep in mind, you always have the option of buying standalone P90 pickups – if you’re attached to your guitar and if it’s compatible with the size of P90s, that is.

Good luck with your search!