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  1. #1

    1959 ES330 with 1965 PAF humbucker vs original P90

    Hey all, I haven't post in a long time. But I just got an original 59 ES 330 in a trade. The original P90 pickup was changed out to a PAF humbucker by a well-respected luthier/store owner in 1965. Would I be better off trying to find an original P90 to make it original, or just stay with the 1965 humbucker?

    I am pretty ignorant about these things, so responses like "whatever sounds good to you" won't help me at all. I would like your personal opinions and why you have a preference between the two. Thanks, I look forward to your responses.

    I can't find a way to post pics, sorry.

  2. #2
    Les Paul Forum Member Guitar Whiskey's Avatar
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    Re: 1959 ES330 with 1965 PAF humbucker vs original P90

    The humbuckers have a different sound character than the P90's. I would imagine if the humbuckers were installed with typical mounting surrounds; if you were to go back to P90's there would be screw holes in the top that will show. I'd say if you like the sound you have now just stick with it. Pretty unique guitar the way it is now. It worked for Emily Remler anyway.

    https://www.bing.com/images/search?v...electedIndex=0

  3. #3

    Re: 1959 ES330 with 1965 PAF humbucker vs original P90


  4. #4

    Re: 1959 ES330 with 1965 PAF humbucker vs original P90

    I can't figure out how to upload photos.

  5. #5

    Re: 1959 ES330 with 1965 PAF humbucker vs original P90

    Quote Originally Posted by Guitar Whiskey View Post
    The humbuckers have a different sound character than the P90's. I would imagine if the humbuckers were installed with typical mounting surrounds; if you were to go back to P90's there would be screw holes in the top that will show. I'd say if you like the sound you have now just stick with it. Pretty unique guitar the way it is now. It worked for Emily Remler anyway.

    https://www.bing.com/images/search?v...electedIndex=0
    Yeah, just looked, saw the screw holes will show. I'm gonna stick with what I have. Thanks for the info.

  6. #6

    Re: 1959 ES330 with 1965 PAF humbucker vs original P90

    Quote Originally Posted by Guitar Whiskey View Post
    I would imagine if the humbuckers were installed with typical mounting surrounds; if you were to go back to P90's there would be screw holes in the top that will show.
    The original dog-eared P90 had a wider footprint, so there would have been visible screw holes from that original pickup after the humbucker was installed. They may have been filled in.



    Anyway, I don't think going back to a P90 would be a problem in this regard. I once had a custom Gibson with a Charlie Christian at the neck and a humbucker at the bridge, and I had the hb replaced with a P90, which was more in character for that guitar (a vintage ES-350). No holes from the removed hb were visible after the P90 installation.

    Anyway, the choice really is a matter of taste and preference. The guitar will of course look more original with a P90, but technically it's already been modified, so it's lost a bit of its full-on collector's appeal (with a P90 restored to it, it will fall somewhere in between an example that's all original and one that shows an obvious modification in terms of collector appeal).

    axejunky, I would play the thing for awhile, and see how the tone suits you. If you're not happy with the hb sound (and/or appearance), and think that a P90 will appeal to you more, then by all means go back to a P90. The guitar is never quite going to be "all original" again, so don't worry too much about that aspect.

    By the way, it sounds like your 330 has only one pickup. Is that correct? That would make it an ES-330T (the double-pickup model was the ES-330TD). The single pickup 330T's have slightly less appeal and less value than the 330TD's.

  7. #7

    Re: 1959 ES330 with 1965 PAF humbucker vs original P90

    Thanks for the response. Yes, it is a 330t. I've seen where some performing players have made the same switch from the P90 to the humbucker. The PAF was installed in 1965, so it's probably ok just to keep it as it is. I know the t model is not as desirable, so at least the modification is not on a holy grail guitar. I have since acquired a es335 with dual humbuckers and coil spliters, so I'm good for now. Thanks for your input.

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