When talking about guitar electronics, pickups are the most relevant issue, they come in many different sizes, shapes, and contrasting sounds.
Within this wide range of possibilities, each guitar player will choose the ones that suit better to their playing style.
In this particular situation, we will be discussing two common pickups: Mini-humbuckers and P90s, two mid-output pickups with dissimilar tones.
Would they be interchangeable? A P90 slot will match a mini-humbucker? Continue reading and you will find the answer.
As a matter of fact, mini-humbuckers will perfectly fit in a Soapbar P90 slot due to their similar sizes. Oppositely, a Dog Ear P90 cavity would work for a mini bucker but there will be some space left on the sides.
Although this might be a confusing topic, we are here to explain every doubt that may come up.
For some players, this could be an overwhelming situation but don’t worry, through this article I will break up everything regarding this topic so that you become an expert in this field.
Are mini humbuckers and P90s the same size?
Concerning the tone, mini-humbuckers and P90s are two non-identical pickups, and they do not work equally either.
As its name evokes, mini buckers have a distinctive hum reduction, presented in every humbucker (they “buck the hum”)
On the flip side, P90s are punchy pickups made of just one magnet like the well-known single-coils.
Although these two components show some certain variations, regarding size they are quite similar.
When we refer to Soapbar P90s, we are talking about one of the available P90s models, we will notice that they are exactly the same dimensions as mini-humbuckers.
However, there is another option for P90s named Dog Ear P90, called that way because presents some extensions to the sides where the screws are fastened.
Contrary to what happens with Soapbar, Dog Ear P90s are not the same size as mini buckers.
Therefore, not every model of these pickups will share dimensions.
Would a P90 routing work for mini humbuckers?
In terms of wire routings, P90s and mini buckers would be similar, both of them also use an identical config consisting of two-pickups-config in each case.
As mini-humbuckers are made of two single coils and P90s have a single magnet, the wiring will be equal too.
But I know that you are wondering what would occur with the cavity routes, simply, both Soapbar and Dog Ear will fit but the latter could present some difficulties.
A Soapbar routing will perfectly work for a mini bucker, in the case of a Dog Ear, mini buckers won’t match very well, the slot will be alright but the screw holes on the sides wouldn’t look so good.
Are there some alternatives to this?
When changing pickups, the cavity space is always a matter of concern, not every pickup fits in every existing slot.
As we have explained in different articles, in order to solve this problem, manufacturers design variations of the pickups to work on a dissimilar slot, for instance, P90 SC or single-coil-sized humbuckers.
Although there are humbuckers-shaped P90s, tonally speaking they present an unalike sound, so they are not the same as mini buckers.
Fortunately, both P90s and mini-humbuckers present the same dimensions, which means that a specially shaped pickup won’t be required, each of them will work for one or the other slot, meaning that they are interchangeable.
Is the wiring required for mini-humbuckers and P90s the same?
In general terms, the wiring is quite similar, these pickups do not share tonality and performance but they do share sizes and wirings.
In addition, one more thing that they have in common is the config.
Guitars that use P90s or mini buckers are typically two-pickup-config, in the case of the first, they present a master volume pot plus a tone pot and a three-position pickup selector.
When talking about the second one, you will notice that they present two volume and tone pots, one for each pickup and a three-position pickup selector as well.
Would mini-humbuckers sound good alongside P90s?
In the subheading above, we stated that the two discussed pickups produce non-identical tones.
However, they may be a nice combination to try out.
Although they have different sounds, both pickups are mid-output types, which means they could work together.
Besides, their tonal differences will be a great choice to mix.
Contrary to popular belief, mini-humbuckers are nearer to single-coils rather than humbuckers, they sound clean and present a well-defined treble.
On the other hand, the P90s are more like humbuckers, providing a punchier tone and a stronger outcome.
Due to those reasons, a mixture between P90s and mini buckers would sound awesome or at least will give you a broad range of tones.
That would be wonderful while building your own playing style.
Can you do this pickup swap on your own?
Some musicians enjoy and are really aware of the electronics inside the guitar, they may not know how the circuit actually works but they might have succeeded in doing some simple modifications.
On the flip side, we may also find guitar players who don’t have the faintest idea of what to do in the electronic section.
Nowadays, a lot of useful information about this topic could be found on the internet, through video tutorials or blogs, that’s why many people know how to do this pickup swap on their own.
However, some other guitarists only focus on playing the instrument plus are uncomfortable working on their guitar.
Fortunately, for those who don’t have a clue about circuits, there is a simple solution, taking your instrument to a tech.
When thinking about doing mods to your guitar, is often suggested to look for a professional that can do the job, technicians are truly used to working in these kinds of upgrades so your instrument will be perfectly modified and you won’t have to worry about any inconvenience.
Is this mod reversible?
Mini-humbuckers and Soapbar P90s have the same sizes, so not only the swap between pickups can be easily done but also the mod will be reversible.
Due to their dimensions, going from one pickup to the other won’t be a problem.
Nevertheless, Dog Ear P90s are different, as they have larger dimensions when doing the pickup swap some extra routing will be required.
In that case, as you have to modify the cavities in your guitar, the mod wouldn’t be reversible.
To sum up, if you need to re-route your instrument, the mod won’t be reversible because there will be some space left in the pickup slots.
Contrary, if the pickups share measurements or a specially-shaped alternative is available, you won’t need to re-route the instrument, in that situation, you will be able to come back to your old config.
Hello there, my name is Ramiro and I’ve been playing guitar for almost 20 years. I’m obsessed with everything gear-related and I thought it might be worth sharing it. From guitars, pedals, amps, and synths to studio gear and production tips, I hope you find what I post here useful, and I’ll try my best to keep it entertaining also.