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  1. #1
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    vintage '52 P90 identification

    I want to buy vintage p90s for my 2010 LP 1954 Custom RI which has stock gibson p90 and alnico V pickups.

    Can anyone share their information about how to identify and check whether they are 52 (or early fifties) ? or what are the cosmetic differences between early 50s and mid or late 50s ? or should I skip all get throbak or other boutique pickups ?

    The pickups have black grommet, silver-colored back (probably nickel) and they dont have cover.

    Your precious advices are really appreciated at this point.

  2. #2

    Re: vintage '52 P90 identification

    Quote Originally Posted by computron View Post
    I want to buy vintage p90s for my 2010 LP 1954 Custom RI which has stock gibson p90 and alnico V pickups.

    Can anyone share their information about how to identify and check whether they are 52 (or early fifties) ? or what are the cosmetic differences between early 50s and mid or late 50s ? or should I skip all get throbak or other boutique pickups ?

    The pickups have black grommet, silver-colored back (probably nickel) and they dont have cover.

    Your precious advices are really appreciated at this point.
    I think it's easier if you work the other way around and post some pictures or links to pictures. I think there are some experts here that can help you identify them based on your pictures...

  3. #3
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: vintage '52 P90 identification

    I dont think I have the permission to share without seller's consent.

    If there are experts, and willing to help me, I can send them via private message, and that would be much appreciated. Im really in need of help.

    I will ask the seller though.

  4. #4
    Les Paul Forum Co-Owner Tom Wittrock's Avatar
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    Re: vintage '52 P90 identification

    Quote Originally Posted by computron View Post
    .... or should I skip all get throbak or other boutique pickups ?
    Quote Originally Posted by computron View Post
    I dont think I have the permission to share without seller's consent.

    If there are experts, and willing to help me, I can send them via private message, and that would be much appreciated. Im really in need of help.

    I will ask the seller though.
    If you are not certain of what you are getting, buy the Throbaks [or similar]. One of my JG's has Throbaks and they sound fantastic.
    Most modern well made pickups are great.

    Tone is subjective, and mostly comes from you.
    Pauls to the walls!

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  5. #5
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: vintage '52 P90 identification

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Wittrock View Post
    If you are not certain of what you are getting, buy the Throbaks [or similar]. One of my JG's has Throbaks and they sound fantastic.
    Most modern well made pickups are great.

    Tone is subjective, and mostly comes from you.

    I cant find proper Throbak 52/54 sound samples with a Gibson.

    I completely agree, I started as classical guitarist myself, I still play songs once in a while. Important part of your tone comes from your abilities.

    Yet, I read some entries in this forum that 52-53 P90's are spectacular, and listened to some videos and recordings, which then Im sold... =) ... I think it would be a huge improvement over my 54 custom RI, which is already an acoustically great instrument. I just want that great harmonics and warm top end from the 52 pair.

    By the way anyone knows whether there is replica for a real 54 Alnico V pickup?

  6. #6
    Les Paul Forum Member AtomEve's Avatar
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    Re: vintage '52 P90 identification

    Here are some pics of the P90s from a 52-56 Conversion. I won't swear they are original but pretty sure they are.

    Hope this helps.
    Bryan










  7. #7
    Les Paul Forum Member AtomEve's Avatar
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    Re: vintage '52 P90 identification




  8. #8
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: vintage '52 P90 identification

    Many thanks for the pictures. really helpful.

    Actually the pair I wanna buy exactly looks like this.

    Also, anyone having throbak 52/54 set demos are welcome.

  9. #9
    Les Paul Forum Member duaneflowers's Avatar
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    Re: vintage '52 P90 identification

    Quote Originally Posted by computron View Post
    I want to buy vintage p90s for my 2010 LP 1954 Custom RI which has stock gibson p90 and alnico V pickups.

    Can anyone share their information about how to identify and check whether they are 52 (or early fifties) ? or what are the cosmetic differences between early 50s and mid or late 50s ? or should I skip all get throbak or other boutique pickups ?

    The pickups have black grommet, silver-colored back (probably nickel) and they dont have cover.

    Your precious advices are really appreciated at this point.
    You can check with James at Rewind Electric, he is quite knowledgeable about early P-90s. Another option you may want to consider is I just ordered a set of Rewind P-90s wound with 50s wire and sporting A3 mags from a set of '52 Gibson P-90s. All the tonal nirvana of vintage P-90s without the wear and tear (and hefty price tag). Supplies are extremely limited on these so you'll have to act fast if you're interested.

    Can't wait to get my Fogerty on...
    Tone To The Bone!
    LP=[(CC*8)+(Sig*5)+(R9*2)+R8+R7+R6+(R4*2)+(50sT*2)+Stu D+LPX]+[(EpI*19)+(EsP/Ed*6)+(ToKi*3)+(Ba*3)+(Fe/Bu*2)+(ObG)+(CMS)]

  10. #10
    Les Paul Forum Member renderit's Avatar
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    Re: vintage '52 P90 identification

    Quote Originally Posted by duaneflowers View Post
    You can check with James at Rewind Electric, he is quite knowledgeable about early P-90s. Another option you may want to consider is I just ordered a set of Rewind P-90s wound with 50s wire and sporting A3 mags from a set of '52 Gibson P-90s. All the tonal nirvana of vintage P-90s without the wear and tear (and hefty price tag). Supplies are extremely limited on these so you'll have to act fast if you're interested.

    Can't wait to get my Fogerty on...
    All of them on his site are humbucker size...meh.


  11. #11
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: vintage '52 P90 identification

    Quote Originally Posted by duaneflowers View Post
    You can check with James at Rewind Electric, he is quite knowledgeable about early P-90s. Another option you may want to consider is I just ordered a set of Rewind P-90s wound with 50s wire and sporting A3 mags from a set of '52 Gibson P-90s. All the tonal nirvana of vintage P-90s without the wear and tear (and hefty price tag). Supplies are extremely limited on these so you'll have to act fast if you're interested.

    Can't wait to get my Fogerty on...

    Many thanks @duaneflowers for the help, really appreciated. I will deifinitely check and maybe he can help on vintage Alnico Vs, it looks intriguing. I also wonder the magnets of those years, is it mostly A4 ?

    hahaha yes me too.

  12. #12
    Les Paul Forum Member duaneflowers's Avatar
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    Re: vintage '52 P90 identification

    Quote Originally Posted by renderit View Post
    All of them on his site are humbucker size...meh.
    The pictures are, but it says "Also available in Dogear and Soapbar configurations with black, cream, or nickel plated nickel-silver dogear covers"... no need asking how that remedial reading class is working out for you my brother.
    Tone To The Bone!
    LP=[(CC*8)+(Sig*5)+(R9*2)+R8+R7+R6+(R4*2)+(50sT*2)+Stu D+LPX]+[(EpI*19)+(EsP/Ed*6)+(ToKi*3)+(Ba*3)+(Fe/Bu*2)+(ObG)+(CMS)]

  13. #13
    Les Paul Forum Member duaneflowers's Avatar
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    Re: vintage '52 P90 identification

    Quote Originally Posted by computron View Post
    Many thanks @duaneflowers for the help, really appreciated. I will deifinitely check and maybe he can help on vintage Alnico Vs, it looks intriguing. I also wonder the magnets of those years, is it mostly A4 ?

    hahaha yes me too.
    The early years were all A3, but due to the scarcity of cobalt during the war years the AlNiCo blend had to be accommodating, so A4s and A5s became much more predominant later in the 50s. James did have some Vintage A5s when last we chatted, but I'm not sure what his stock looks like now. Duncan makes an aftermarket Alnico V pup... but I've never tried it.
    Tone To The Bone!
    LP=[(CC*8)+(Sig*5)+(R9*2)+R8+R7+R6+(R4*2)+(50sT*2)+Stu D+LPX]+[(EpI*19)+(EsP/Ed*6)+(ToKi*3)+(Ba*3)+(Fe/Bu*2)+(ObG)+(CMS)]

  14. #14
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: vintage '52 P90 identification

    Quote Originally Posted by duaneflowers View Post
    The early years were all A3, but due to the scarcity of cobalt during the war years the AlNiCo blend had to be accommodating, so A4s and A5s became much more predominant later in the 50s. James did have some Vintage A5s when last we chatted, but I'm not sure what his stock looks like now. Duncan makes an aftermarket Alnico V pup... but I've never tried it.
    Yeah, I got the same answer from the seller, he thought they are alnico III.

    I e-mailed James, he has been really helpful. Thanks for sharing. I also asked him about the Alnico V for neck position, whether he can make a replica of a 54 alnico V model. I can blend a real 52 alnico III for bridge and James made alnico V.
    Last edited by computron; 07-13-18 at 12:56 PM.

  15. #15
    Les Paul Forum Member renderit's Avatar
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    Re: vintage '52 P90 identification

    Quote Originally Posted by duaneflowers View Post
    The pictures are, but it says "Also available in Dogear and Soapbar configurations with black, cream, or nickel plated nickel-silver dogear covers"... no need asking how that remedial reading class is working out for you my brother.
    Great way to market!

    Show a picture of something 1 in a 10,000 want (actually I have NEVER BEEN ASKED FOR WHAT THEY ARE SHOWING!) and hide the required stuff in spindly type so you have to read about a pickup
    you have no interest in buying to find one you do?

    Not interested.

    He doesn't really want to sell them...
    Last edited by renderit; 07-13-18 at 07:51 PM.


  16. #16
    Les Paul Forum Member duaneflowers's Avatar
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    Re: vintage '52 P90 identification

    Quote Originally Posted by renderit View Post
    Great way to market!

    Show a picture of something 1 in a 10,000 want (actually I have NEVER BEEN ASKED FOR WHAT THEY ARE SHOWING!) and hide the required stuff in spindly type so you have to read about a pickup
    you have no interest in buying to find one you do?

    Not interested.

    He doesn't really want to sell them...
    Have you seen Jim Rolph's website?

    He also makes amazing pickups, and has been in the game a loooooooooooooooooong time... but I don't think his website has been updated in a coon's age...
    Tone To The Bone!
    LP=[(CC*8)+(Sig*5)+(R9*2)+R8+R7+R6+(R4*2)+(50sT*2)+Stu D+LPX]+[(EpI*19)+(EsP/Ed*6)+(ToKi*3)+(Ba*3)+(Fe/Bu*2)+(ObG)+(CMS)]

  17. #17
    Les Paul Forum Member renderit's Avatar
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    Re: vintage '52 P90 identification

    Quote Originally Posted by duaneflowers View Post
    Have you seen Jim Rolph's website?

    He also makes amazing pickups, and has been in the game a loooooooooooooooooong time... but I don't think his website has been updated in a coon's age...
    No, those are way outta my league money wise. Still looking for my teefs!

    So far on the P90's I have tried I like
    Thrōbaks! Best EVER! Saving up for more!

    Speaking of witches...Put those vintage wire
    Wizzes in the Black Widow.
    Last edited by renderit; 07-14-18 at 07:00 AM.


  18. #18
    Les Paul Forum Co-Owner Tom Wittrock's Avatar
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    Re: vintage '52 P90 identification

    Quote Originally Posted by duaneflowers View Post
    Have you seen Jim Rolph's website?

    He also makes amazing pickups, and has been in the game a loooooooooooooooooong time... but I don't think his website has been updated in a coon's age...
    Is he still in business? I thought he retired.
    Pauls to the walls!

    Hüter der Flammen!

    PLEASE SUPPORT www.burstserial.com !!
    Click here: www.burstserial.com

  19. #19
    Les Paul Forum Member duaneflowers's Avatar
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    Re: vintage '52 P90 identification

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Wittrock View Post
    Is he still in business? I thought he retired.
    That is highly possible... its been 2 years since we spoke and while he was still winding, I think it was his daughter that took over the day to day operations. At that time he was still pickin' and grinnin' and sharp as a tack. I reached out to him earlier this year to see if he was interested in contributing to Mario & James PAF book, but never heard back. Shame if he retired, he is a true gem!!
    Tone To The Bone!
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  20. #20
    Les Paul Forum Member duaneflowers's Avatar
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    Re: vintage '52 P90 identification

    Quote Originally Posted by renderit View Post
    No, those are way outta my league money wise. Still looking for my teefs!

    Speaking of witches...Put those vintage wireWizzes in the Black Widow.
    The last set I got from Jim (58 Pretenders) was only $450... drop in the bucket compared to the $1800 sets Boogie J is winding and consistently selling out...
    Tone To The Bone!
    LP=[(CC*8)+(Sig*5)+(R9*2)+R8+R7+R6+(R4*2)+(50sT*2)+Stu D+LPX]+[(EpI*19)+(EsP/Ed*6)+(ToKi*3)+(Ba*3)+(Fe/Bu*2)+(ObG)+(CMS)]

  21. #21
    Les Paul Forum Member tooold's Avatar
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    Re: vintage '52 P90 identification

    Quote Originally Posted by duaneflowers View Post
    The early years were all A3, but due to the scarcity of cobalt during the war years the AlNiCo blend had to be accommodating, so A4s and A5s became much more predominant later in the 50s. James did have some Vintage A5s when last we chatted, but I'm not sure what his stock looks like now. Duncan makes an aftermarket Alnico V pup... but I've never tried it.
    Out of curiosity, which war years are you referring to? The ones that ended in 1945?

  22. #22
    Les Paul Forum Member duaneflowers's Avatar
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    Re: vintage '52 P90 identification

    Quote Originally Posted by tooold View Post
    Out of curiosity, which war years are you referring to? The ones that ended in 1945?
    From one of Dave Stephens' contributions to Mario & James's PAF Book... “Alnico 3 was used during the Korean War (1950-1953) because cobalt was a "war mineral" and magnet makers had no access to it. So, A3 was called "ALNI" because there was no "CO" as in cobalt”.

    Tone To The Bone!
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  23. #23
    Les Paul Forum Member tooold's Avatar
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    Re: vintage '52 P90 identification

    Quote Originally Posted by duaneflowers View Post
    From one of Dave Stephens' contributions to Mario & James's PAF Book... “Alnico 3 was used during the Korean War (1950-1953) because cobalt was a "war mineral" and magnet makers had no access to it. So, A3 was called "ALNI" because there was no "CO" as in cobalt”.

    Thanks.

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