ZEPHYR BLUES™ P90 SET
P90s are one of my favorite pickups. Their
history is legend in jazz, R&B, blues and
swing. I have done extensive research trying to recreate the
tone of the very earliest P90 coils, achieving those beautiful
tones in my latest Zephyr Blues set. I use magnets and
wire that were used before 1953, when Alnico formulas changed
for both Gibson® and Fender®. Listen for youself to see if this
These sound samples are through my Princeton® and
a Dillion® Goldtop copy guitar
with ten gauge strings. The clips are of the two pickups, 3 positions
and an out-of-phase position controlled by push-pull tone pot.
If you're bored by my noodling, here are some live
clips courtesy of Vyasa Dodsun at a jam. The mic is directly
in front of his cool Magnatone® amp.
Blues live with V. Dodsun
ZEPHYR BLUES P90 X™SET
The X set takes the Zephyrs a step beyond. They
are overwound, but still retain the classic tone. When you really
need to push your amp and want a big fat sound that doesn't
turn to mush, this is the right choice.
This set will give you the power of a humbucker,
but when turned down you still get clarity and sweetness. They
sound great in archtop guitars and help with acoustic feedback
to some extent because you don't have to turn your amp up so high
to get delicious tone and drive.
here to hear Zephyr Blues X in a Dillion® Goldtop
copy, through Deluxe Reverb™. (This is the
guitar and set I play all the time, my favorite weapon).
here to hear Zephyr Blues X in an Epiphone® Sorrento archtop
(thin body) through a Blues Junior™.
ZEPHYR BLUES™ SETS
The Zephyrs use vintage correct bobbin
components and brass base plates, and pole keepers. Where applicable,
keepers aren't used for clearer tone purposes. Bar magnets are
classic Alnico as used in every classic vintage pickup ever
built. No cheap ceramic magnets here. Different wire guages
are used for each set; the X set uses wire common to earlier
pickups than the vintage P90 that Gibson® made. Neck pickups
are reverse wound with reverse polarity magnets to give humbucking
when both pickups are used.
All Zephyr Blues Sets are hand-wound using classic
scatter winding techniques as used in all vintage pickups, with
very expensive plain enamel wire. Scatter winding gives a rounded,
full frequency tone and eliminates the annoying brittle high-end
tone of computer wound pickups made by all the big companies.
Scatter winding isn't cost effective in large runs. If you want
true vintage tone, you have to wind them by hand. I do.
Covers are available in black and creme, soapbar
or dog eared styles.
Let me know what kind of tone you are looking for
in your P90s. By eliminating the brass base plate and keeper
bar eddy currents which choke high frequencies are eliminated,
achieving a more modern open tone. Also,
true vintage P90s were never potted. Yes, they squeal, but they
also sound wonderful. If you use pedals or only play at home
in front of a loud amp, you will get feedback. Many — like
me — prefer unpotted
pickups and play mostly live gigs, not close enough to the amp
to be a problem. I usually wind tight enough that feedback
isn't a big problem, but let me know if you want them potted
or not — this is very important for P90s.