Gibson Historic vs Vintage P-90 Pickup Routes by Jim Pasch
This week I had a few people inquire about outfitting their Historic Gibson Les Paul’s with vintage parts. I thought I would mention a very important fact that most people don’t know when it concerns vintage Gibson p-90 pickups and installing them in the current Historic line of Gibson guitars. It’s a great idea but there is one important factor you need to know first .
For some reason that is beyond me Gibson decided to make the route in the Historic Les Paul’s for the “dog ear” P-90’s a bit smaller than the originals. This only pertains to the guitars that use dog ear P-90’s not the soap bar style ones. Visually you really can’t tell and that’s why I feel this is an important note. As if that were not perplexing enough the vintage soap bar P-90 pickups fit perfect with no modifications, go figure.
So lets say you have a Historic Gibson Les Paul 1954 gold top reissue. Like I said earlier a vintage set of soap bars pop right in and sound great but if you have a Historic Les Paul Special or Junior you’re screwed! Well, actually you are not. The simple solution is changing the base plates. If you take the base plate from the historic P-90 and put it on the vintage dog ear P-90 it will fit perfectly. This will not compromise the sound and all the essential components are still untouched. This relatively easy fix saves you from having to route your guitar.
I have never been a big fan of changing parts on guitars except if it ‘s the pickups. Vintage plastic looks great but has no effect on the sound. With vintage pickups I will say there is often a big difference in sound. I have heard lots of combination’s in the Historic guitars personally and the vintage pickups really have a sound that cannot be duplicated.
The current Gibson Historic line of guitars is the best they have made in years and with a set of vintage pickups you have the best of both worlds at a fraction of the price. Gibson is constantly changing their Les Paul line and sometimes for the better and sometimes not, but these little glitches in design can be a nightmare at times. Stay tuned I am sure we will find another glitch soon and I will be the first to report it. Thank you for all your questions I hope this has been a helpful post and look forward to receiving your emails.