Jan 6, 2008 (Updated Jun 7, 2009)
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Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:This is a fabulous sounding guitar pickup.


The Bottom Line: This is a great sounding guitar pickup with a vintage sound.


If you have a guitar that you really love the feel of, but are unhappy with the sound, then it might be time to consider replacing one or more of the guitar’s pickups. Obviously there are many things that contribute to the overall sound of a guitar, such as the type of wood the body and neck are made with, the type of bridge, the way the neck is set, etc., but clearly the type of pickups it has are a very important consideration as well. If you are looking to replace one or more of the pickups in your guitar, the Gibson P-94 series, which includes the P-94T and P-94R, are pickups worthy of consideration. In this review, I shall be focusing on the Gibson P-94T. The P-94T equipped with a Chrome cover lists for $159.33, and sells for a discounted price of $119.99. The P-94T can also be had with Gold covers, and it lists for $170.88, and can be purchased for a discounted price of $129.99 from most musical instrument chain stores.

The Gibson P94 series of pickups, which includes the P94T and P94R, were designed by Gibson to have the same footprint as a traditional Gibson Humbucking Pickup. Thus, one can remove the pickup from a guitar that has a standard humbucking sized pickup in it, and easily replace it with a P94T. That means that you can replace the pickups on a guitar that is equipped with standard sized humbucking pickups and not have to drill new routing holes to accommodate the wiring, or reshape the body cavity of the guitar that the P-94T will be expected to fit into. This makes it very simple for a person with even a basic understanding of wiring and soldering to be able to upgrade their guitar without having to spend the extra money to have a technician get involved in the process. It is a time saver, and certainly reduces headaches.

The P-94 series of pickups (P94R and P94T) are single coil pickups based on the original design of the classic Gibson P-90 Pickup. This falsely leads many people to believe that both the P-90 and P-94 pickups sound exactly and precisely the same. They sound close, but not exactly the same. Allow me to elaborate further on some of the similarities and differences. For one, the P-94 series of pickups have the same size and footprint as a traditional Gibson Humbucking pickup, and as such a P-94 series pickup is wider than a P-90 pickup. When one changes the shape of the pickup (i.e., the P-94 series is larger than a P-90 pickup), even when using the same construction materials, there is going to be a change in sound, even if it is ever so slight to the ear. Another similarity between the P94 series and the P-90 is that the P-94 series is made using an Alnico V magnet, just like the original P-90, and it also uses vintage style enamel coated wiring just like a P-90. Both the P-90 and P-94 series of pickups are also wax potted.

Does that mean that because the P-90 and the P-94 share so many things in common, that a P-94 will sound exactly and precisely like a P-90 Pickup? The answer is that although a guitar outfitted with P94 series pickups will sound very similar to a guitar with P90 pickups, there is a slight difference in the sound. This is especially true for the P94T, which is hotter in output than a P-90 or a P-94R, and as such it is capable of a bit more bite and snarl. There are other differences between a P-90 and the P-94 series of pickups. For instance, there are two models of P-94’s to choose from, a P-94T and a P-94R. The P94T is designed to be a replacement pickup for a bridge pickup, and the P-94R is designed to be a replacement for a guitar with a neck pickup. The P-94T and P-94R are also balanced in sonic characteristics to complement each other in sound when they are used in these respective positions.

I have read in several places (which I shall not name because I do no want to embarrass anyone), that the P-94T and the P-94R are exactly the same pickup, with exactly the same output and exactly the same sound, and that the only difference in their construction is that the P-94T’s wires face in a different direction than the P-94R’s wires do, which makes for easier replacement purposes with regard to mounting and wire connections. I am afraid that this information is only partially correct. For instance, the P-94R and the original P-90 it is based on are about equal to each other in their respective output. However, the P-94T, which is designed to be a replacement for a pickup in the bridge position, has a slightly higher output than either a P-90 or a P-94R. This difference in output gives the P-94T the capability of being a bit hotter, heavier, and potentially more biting and raunchy than a P-90 or a P-94R. The combination of the P-94R and the P-94T gives the guitar a more balanced and more well rounded sonic palate.

Well how does a guitar with P94T pickups sound? Although there are many similarities the basic design of a P90 and a P94T, a P94T has more output than a P90. As some of you who are reading this probably already know, a P90 is a relatively hot pickup, and it has a more powerful and domineering sound than most typical single coil pickups made by other manufacturers. Well the P94T is slightly hotter in output than a P90, and as such, it really has a bite to it. It’s tone is bright, crisp, and clear, and yet it does not sound thin. On the contrary, it sounds full, fat, and powerful.

How does a P-94T compare to some other popular model Gibson Humbuckers? Well a P-94T has more output than a Gibson BurstBucker Type 1, BurstBucker Type 2, and a BurstBucker Pro, and it has about as much output as a Gibson 1957 Classic Plus, but it is not as hot as a 498T or a 500T. Both the P-94T and P94R pickups are capable of an excellent frequency response. They have a tight low end, and are powerful enough to generate a sweet singing sustain, and can also deliver a beautiful midrange and highs. By varying the volume and tone controls, one can get a vast variety of sounds out of a guitar equipped with a P-94T. One can get a thin crisp sound, a thick full bodied tone, a commanding lead tone which is especially great for blues solos, as well as a powerful crunch for power chords. However, if you roll back the volume control and cut a bit of the treble tone, you can get a warm mellow sweet tone that is just great for jazz as well. A guitar equipped with a P-94T is capable of playing just about any kind of music you can think of, including country, classic rock, heavy metal, blues, and jazz.

Obviously, a great choice for a complete pickup replacement would be to have a P94T in the bridge position and a P94R in the neck position. This would yield a guitar with a beautiful well balanced sound. On another note, if you are considering marrying the sound of a guitar equipped with a single coil pickup and a dual coil pickup, a great choice would be a guitar with a P-94T in the bridge position, and a humbucking pickup like a Gibson BurstBucker Pro or a BurstBucker Type 3 in the neck position. This would be a guitar with a fabulous combination of unique sonic possibilities which would be sure to arouse the envy of other guitarists.

Well, I would like to thank you for taking the time to read my review of the Gibson P-94T pickup. But now, if you will excuse me, I must get back to my practicing.

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