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How to build and increase output of P90?

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  • How to build and increase output of P90?

    So I wound my first set of P90s using the AllParts P90 kit. I used 42 AWG wire and got 10,000 winds on each. When I set them up they sound good but are much quieter than my other guitars. (I usually play with volume set to 1/4 on my amp but with these I have to crank it up to about 3/4). I used a 500k volume pot, 250k tone pot like I have on previous builds. I have adjusted the height of the pickups and everything but they are still relatively quiet. Any insight on how I could make these things louder would be great. Thanks!
    Last edited by big_teee; 07-10-2018, 07:48 PM. Reason: Added to title

  • #2
    Welcome to the forum.
    A P90 uses 2 alnico bar magnets on the bottom of the pickup.
    Both bars have to be oniented the same polarity.
    Usually N/N, is how they are oriented.
    S/S would also work.
    With 2 pickups one N/N, and one S/S would give RWRP with both pickups in use.
    You don't want them S/N, or N/S.
    That would reduce the magnetic gauss, and make a weaker pickup.
    I would start by checking to see that the magnets are oriented correctly.
    GL,
    T


    "If Wishes Were Horses, Beggars Would Ride!" Scottish Proverb 1600s
    Terry

    Comment


    • #3
      I mainly make Fender style Single Coil pickups, gibson style Humbuckers, and varieties of different bass pickups.
      In my lurking around the web, refreshing how to make a P90 Pickup, I ran across these instructions.
      They show the magnets, and polarity placement.
      https://www.stewmac.com/How-To/Onlin...le_Bobbin.html
      https://courses.physics.illinois.edu...eport_Sp10.pdf
      The Stewmac guide should be sound.
      Didn't overly scrutinize the Dan Carson guide, but the magnet placement looks correct.
      Only thing I didn't care for was how they unspool the wire. unspooling off the end is now the accepted way.
      The second guide specifies 10,000 turns for the bridge, and 9500 turns for the neck which sounds reasonable.
      If you know of better P90 instruction guides, please place them here.
      T
      Last edited by big_teee; 07-10-2018, 07:17 PM.


      "If Wishes Were Horses, Beggars Would Ride!" Scottish Proverb 1600s
      Terry

      Comment


      • #4
        Here's some winding data, I came up with a while back, but never tried.
        It looks reasonable at 90% bobbin tpl density.
        One for the neck, one for the bridge.
        It lists A2, A5 magnets, pick one type per pickup, not both.
        Give it a try if you want to.
        T
        Attached Files


        "If Wishes Were Horses, Beggars Would Ride!" Scottish Proverb 1600s
        Terry

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by big_teee View Post
          Welcome to the forum.
          A P90 uses 2 alnico bar magnets on the bottom of the pickup.
          Both bars have to be oniented the same polarity.
          Usually N/N, is how they are oriented.
          S/S would also work.
          With 2 pickups one N/N, and one S/S would give RWRP with both pickups in use.
          You don't want them S/N, or N/S.
          That would reduce the magnetic gauss, and make a weaker pickup.
          I would start by checking to see that the magnets are oriented correctly.
          GL,
          T
          With the like poles facing each other it creates a VERY STRONG magnetic charge of the opposite polarity on the adjustment screws and (optional?) keeper bar. The resulting flux pattern of a P90 is quite different from a strat or PAF pickup. I'll post a picture if I can find one. (As I recall there is one in the Donald Brosnac book on Guitar Electronics but I would need to scan it.)

          So what is the word on keeper bars? I know that some winders use 'em and some don't...

          When I got a new Gibson LP Jr on clearance about 15 years ago it came with ceramic magnets. I tried every combination of A2, A3, A4 and A5 magnets, mixing & matching them and flipping the pickup around - they all sounded great! - but I went back to the original ceramics as they gave me the widest variety of sounds from the single pickup and two controls.

          P90s are amazing animals... on one hand you have the raucous sounds of George Thorogood and Leslie West and on the other you have the mellow jazz guitarists of the 50's... Perfect in every way except for the hum when used alone. Add a modern style dummy coil and you're in Seventh Heaven!

          Steve A.
          Last edited by Steve A.; 07-11-2018, 07:07 PM.
          The Blue Guitar
          www.blueguitar.org
          Some recordings:
          https://soundcloud.com/sssteeve/sets...e-blue-guitar/
          .

          Comment


          • #6
            The mild steel keeper acts as a pole shoe. It collects the flux from the magnet(s) and provides a low impedance magnetic path to the pole screws. But there is an additional benefit in P90s. Without the keeper each magnet feels more of the other's repelling field. This demagnetizing field may permanently weaken alnico magnets (ceramics do not show this effect). With the keeper the magnets actually see a weak attracting and thus stabilizing field.
            - Own Opinions Only -

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Helmholtz View Post
              The mild steel keeper acts as a pole shoe. It collects the flux from the magnet(s) and provides a low impedance magnetic path to the pole screws. But there is an additional benefit in P90s. Without the keeper each magnet feels more of the other's repelling field. This demagnetizing field may permanently weaken alnico magnets (ceramics do not show this effect). With the keeper the magnets actually see a weak attracting and thus stabilizing field.
              Thank you for explaining that! I always thought it was kinda sloppy to skip the keeper & baseplate and just glue the magnets to the bottom of the bobbin...

              Steve A.
              The Blue Guitar
              www.blueguitar.org
              Some recordings:
              https://soundcloud.com/sssteeve/sets...e-blue-guitar/
              .

              Comment


              • #8
                Like mentioned, the steel keeper also gives more steel surface to stick each magnet to.
                Without the steel they want to push away from each other.
                The keeper helps the magnets stay put, and gives a nice even field.
                Some of the cheap imports don't use two magnets, just one strong ceramic.
                They work OK, but I prefer two alinco's, for me two A2s.
                T


                "If Wishes Were Horses, Beggars Would Ride!" Scottish Proverb 1600s
                Terry

                Comment


                • #9
                  Where's the OP? Problem solved?
                  - Own Opinions Only -

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    If you look at the bottom of thread?
                    You will see he has not been back since he made the OP.
                    That was his first and only!
                    We may not see him again.
                    Thanks for all the input everyone!
                    I enjoyed it, whether the OP, got anything from it or not!
                    T


                    "If Wishes Were Horses, Beggars Would Ride!" Scottish Proverb 1600s
                    Terry

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by big_teee View Post
                      If you look at the bottom of thread?
                      You will see he has not been back since he made the OP.
                      That was his first and only!
                      We may not see him again.
                      Thanks for all the input everyone!
                      I enjoyed it, whether the OP, got anything from it or not!
                      T
                      It's only been a few days... my guess is that he hasn't gotten around to checking the magnets yet. As to whether he will ever return your guess is as good as mine!

                      Did we tell him that when he puts the magnets together without the keeper bar they should repel each other? I wonder if the P90 kit instructions emphasize that point...

                      EDIT I don't think that the Allparts kits come with instructions...

                      https://www.allparts.com/PU-6992-000...it_p_4790.html

                      https://www.allparts.com/PU-6993-000...it_p_5009.html

                      Steve A.
                      Last edited by Steve A.; 07-12-2018, 06:30 AM.
                      The Blue Guitar
                      www.blueguitar.org
                      Some recordings:
                      https://soundcloud.com/sssteeve/sets...e-blue-guitar/
                      .

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Sorry about the late response! I was at the beach and just got back. So when I initially wound the pickups I has one oriented N/N and one S/S. When I got back home I flipped the magnets in the top pickup so they are both N/N but its still really quiet. Should I just take them both apart just to be 100% positive the magnets aren't the problem? Could there be another issue that I'm over looking? Thanks for all the responses and sorry again for being MIA!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I did not come with instructions but I figured it out using the StewMac instructions.

                          https://www.stewmac.com/How-To/Onlin...le_Bobbin.html

                          I did make sure that the magnets repelled each other without the keeper bar. I gotta say I'm really stumped on this!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Thanks for all the help! When initially assembling them I used the StewMac instructions you mentioned below so I don't know why they are so quiet. I tried switching the magnets in the neck pickup but it is still really quiet. Tomorrow I'm going to try taking all the magnets all out just to be totally sure they are all oriented correctly. Fingers crossed!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The kit came with a steel keeper and them magnets are situated on either side of it with matching polarities facing in (so as to repel each other).

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