Best P90 Pickups: 5 Choices For Punchy Midrange Tone

In the quest for the best P90 pickups, guitar enthusiasts and professionals alike seek to capture the essence of the pickup’s rich, warm, and expressive sound. The P90, known for its unique position in the tonal spectrum—nestled between the sharp twang of traditional single-coils and the deep power of humbuckers—has been a staple in music genres ranging from blues and jazz to rock since its inception in the mid-20th century, thanks to its versatile voice that resonates with a wide array of musical styles.

When it comes to evaluating the best P90 pickups, factors such as output level, tonal quality, and compatibility with the musician’s instrument are paramount. Pickups with a higher output may offer a more aggressive tone by driving an amplifier harder, while maintaining clarity and balance is essential to ensure each note stands out in complex chords. The choice of construction materials, including the type of magnets and the precision of the winding process, significantly influences the final sound. Our meticulous analysis of these characteristics has led us to identify exceptional P90 pickups that excel in both sound quality and performance.

Best P90 Pickups 5 Choices For Punchy Midrange Tone

Top P90 Pickups

We’ve rigorously tested and carefully selected the top P90 pickups to enhance your guitar’s sonic landscape. Our choices aim to deliver the classic P90 bite along with a rich harmonic complexity and dynamic range that cater to a variety of musical styles. Trust our picks to upgrade your tone and add that sought-after vintage warmth to your playing experience. We ensure that each recommendation offers reliability and quality to meet the needs of discerning guitarists.

Seymour Duncan Phat Cats (Humbucker-Sized P-90s)

Seymour Duncan Phat Cats (Humbucker-Sized P-90s)

We believe these pickups are ideal for anyone wanting to inject their humbucker-equipped guitar with classic P90 flair, without any extra routing.


  • Offers genuine P90 tone in a convenient humbucker size
  • Easy installation with no guitar modifications required
  • Noiseless operation when used together due to reverse polarity


  • Might not fit all humbucker-equipped guitars if dimensions vary
  • Possible shipping issues with packaging reported
  • While versatile, may not cater to all genres or playing styles

Seymour Duncan’s Phat Cats have been a revelation for us. Right out of the box, the humbucker-sized P90s gave our Les Paul a flavorful tonal transformation. No modifications needed, they slotted right in, kickstarting our journey toward a more vintage sound profile. There was just something about that spark and bounce in each strum that brought new enthusiasm to our play sessions.

Playing these pickups through a tube amp, the vibrant P90 characteristics are undeniable. The neck position sings with clear, bright harmonics that simply dance out of the guitar. The bridge offers a warm, gritty bite that can thrash out on overdrive or purr on cleaner settings with a turn of the guitar’s volume knob.

When we used the pickups in tandem, the iconic P90 hum vanished, thanks to the smart reverse polarity. This setup is perfect for recording or live situations where unwelcome noise is the last thing we want. It’s this kind of thoughtful design that makes the Phat Cats a noteworthy pick for any player aiming to nail that certain vintage tonal nirvana.

DiMarzio P90 Super Distortion

DiMarzio P90 Super Distortion

If you’re looking to beef up your guitar’s tone with muscular distortion, this pickup could very well be your ticket to sonic bliss.


  • Versatile with both split and parallel wiring capabilities
  • No modifications needed for P90-routed guitars
  • Sustain and power similar to the original Super Distortion


  • May be too aggressive for players seeking a vintage tone
  • Slightly smooth treble might not appeal to everyone
  • High-output may overshadow the guitar’s natural characteristics in certain scenarios

In the saturated market of guitar pickups, the DiMarzio DP209BK Super Distortion P90s stand out to us primarily for its ease of installation in solid body guitars routed for traditional P90 pickups. Our experience found the pickup to inject a significant dose of power into the instrument, akin to installing a new engine into an old classic car–it brings the growl and grunt one craves in heavier music genres.

The familiar girth and warmth that have made the Super Distortion a timeless piece are present here, but there’s a discernible smoothness in the higher register that we appreciated. It’s a nuanced alteration from its predecessor but still maintains that iconic punch. Partnered with its high output, your guitar will be geared for anything from rock to metal with outstanding clarity.

We’ve especially enjoyed the versatility of the DiMarzio DP209BK’s wiring options. Options for split and parallel configurations meant that we could coax a more nuanced treble response and quieter operation, useful for more textured and intricate parts. Remember though, the ferocious output it provides isn’t a one-size-fits-all and will be best appreciated by those seeking an aggressive tonal improvement.

Occasionally, as we’ve found, this pickup’s roaring nature might overwhelm the subtleties of your guitar’s inherent sound. Therefore, it’s wise to consider this before you make it the heart of your sound. Nonetheless, the DP209BK remains a robust choice for musicians looking to inject their play with vigor and authority.

Wilkinson M Series Alnico 5 P90 Set

Wilkinson M Series Alnico 5 P90 Set

If you’re in the market for an upgrade that won’t break the bank, our experience suggests these Wilkinson P90 pickups are a wise bet.


  • Authentic vintage tone
  • Admirable noise suppression
  • Unbeatable value for money


  • May require additional noise suppression
  • Provided screws might not fit all setups
  • Not on par with top-tier professional models

It’s clear from the first strum that these Wilkinson P90 pickups punch well above their weight class. We’ve tested them across various guitars, and they consistently deliver that sought-after vintage growl. Especially in a Les Paul or SG, the difference can be startling, breathing new life into the instrument with a richer, more commanding presence.

Installation is straightforward, although we’ve found that the included screws may not always suit every guitar model out there. Once wired up, the performance isn’t far off from what you’d expect from more prestigious brands, achieving an impressive fidelity to the classic P90 sound without the dreaded hum that often accompanies single-coil pickups.

While they offer robust performance and make a substantial upgrade from stock pickups, there’s a caveat; more demanding environments may reveal some limitations. For studio work or gigs, you might want additional noise suppression just to ensure a pristine signal. Despite this, the tonal quality relative to the price is something we can hardly fault. If you’re hesitating on pulling the trigger on high-end P90s, these Wilkinson pickups will provide you with a taste of that iconic sound while keeping your finances largely intact.

FLEOR Alnico 5 P90 Set

FLEOR Alnico 5 P90 Set

We think this is a super inexpensive set that’s great to try on the P90 sound on any of your guitars.


  • Impressive clarity and power for the price
  • Comes with both neck and bridge pickups for a complete upgrade
  • Wax potted to reduce noise and feedback


  • May require some modifications for proper fitment
  • Wiring lengths may be an issue for some guitar cavities
  • Lack of a name brand might deter some buyers

Once we installed these FLEOR pickups on our Les Paul, the difference was palpable. A warmth immediately emanated from the neck pickup that complemented the guitar’s natural resonance, while the bridge provided that classic P90 bite. These pickups delivered a significant upgrade to our sound without breaking the bank.

During a jam session, we cranked up the gain to test the pickups’ response to overdrive. The bridge pickup cut through the mix with a fat, aggressive tone that was perfect for crunchy riffs. Meanwhile, the neck pickup maintained its mellow character, even with a heavier attack, rounding out solos with rich, singing sustain.

For a casual afternoon of tweaking and playing, we enjoyed the FLEOR set’s versatility. Whether we were going for a clean, bluesy twang or an all-out rock experience, these pickups responded well. They greatly exceeded our expectations for such an affordable upgrade. Despite the potential need for a little elbow grease during the installation, the payoff in tonal improvement was undeniable.

Metallor P90 Set

Metallor P90 Set

They’re a smart choice if you’re looking to beef up your tone on a budget—punchy, clear, and hum-canceling.


  • Surprisingly powerful output with clarity
  • Opposed winding for reduced hum
  • Affordable and easy to install


  • Ceramic magnets might not appeal to all
  • May require EQ tweaking for optimal tone
  • Not as nuanced as higher-end models

We’ve had the opportunity to install these on a project guitar, and their impact really freshened up the instrument’s sound. They’re a cinch to fit, thanks to the comprehensive package that includes all the necessary mounting hardware. The tone is bright and more open than what you might expect at this price, owing to the ceramic magnets, which give these P90s a unique edge. It’s a sound that can cut through a mix with ease.

The noise cancellation is another standout feature we appreciated. When we played using both pickups together, the noise typically associated with single coils was significantly reduced, resulting in a cleaner signal. This is a huge plus for recordings or gigs where you want to keep the hum to a minimum.

On the flip side, while these pickups offer a lot of bang for your buck, they don’t quite capture the subtlety of more expensive Alnico pickups. However, with a bit of EQ adjustment, we found that they can be fine-tuned to fit a variety of musical styles. From blues to rock, these versatile pickups have proved to be a reliable addition to our setup.

Buying Guide

When selecting the best P90 pickups for your guitar, there are several factors we must consider. These include tonal characteristics, output level, and compatibility with your guitar’s body.

Tonal Characteristics

The tonal quality of a P90 pickup can vary significantly depending on its design. We need to determine what sound we’re seeking—whether it’s a warm, vintage tone or a brighter, more modern sound. Additionally, P90s are known for their rich midrange and crisp high end, so we should listen to audio samples or read reviews to find the tone that best suits our preferred music style.

Output Level

P90 pickups come in different output levels. Assess the genres of music we play; if we prefer jazz or blues, a lower output may be ideal. Conversely, for rock or punk, a higher output might be more suitable. Make sure to check the voltage and resistance specifications as they are indicative of the pickup’s output level.


Before we buy, we should ensure that the P90 pickup fits our guitar. Most P90s are designed as direct replacements for standard single-coil P90 slots, but we should verify the dimensions, as soapbar and dog ear P90s might differ in size.

Construction and Materials

Consider the materials used in construction. Typically, alnico magnets are used, but the type of alnico affects the pickup’s character. Also, the number of wire windings will influence the pickup’s overall warmth and clarity.

Noise and Hum

At times, P90 pickups can be prone to hum and noise due to their single-coil construction. We may want to read up on whether a certain P90 pickup design has incorporated noise cancellation technologies without compromising the classic P90 sound.

Scroll to Top