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Insomniak's picture
Apr 2010
4 years ago

So I recently found out that one of my bandmates owns a 1995 Gibson ES-135, a beautiful thinline semi-hollowbody in Cherry finish. I like the guitar a lot, especially due to its tendency to feed back. It reminds me very much of the thinline Byrdland guitars that Ted Nugent plays. Unbound fretboard, stock Gibson Vintage Deluxe machineheads (which actually stay in tune pretty well, compared to the ones that came on my '09 Raw Power SG).

The only real problem with it are the pickups. When I first saw the guitar, I was pretty stoked to see what appeared to be P-90 soapbars. Upon further investigation, they turned out to be P-100's, which I knew nothing about. Apparently they are a humbucking variety, with adjustable pole pieces between the coils. The tone these things put out are very muddy, not nearly as clean or as clear as a PAF-style humbucker (having never played a guitar with actual P-90's, I can't really compare them).

I've read online that these P-100's can be coil split to produce some half decent tones, but seeing as how it's a hollowbody, I am reluctant to do any wiring work on it. I would like to know if anyone on these message boards owns a ES-135, or any guitar (Gibson or otherwise) with these P-100's, and if they've ever attempted to do any coil splitting or phase reversal with these. I'd also like to know what a more suitable pickup for a thinline hollowbody like this would be, as I would prefer to not have to do any routing to make a full size Humbucker fit.


'09 Gibson Raw Power SG Special "Plain Jane"
'01 Squier/Warmoth Strat "Saskatchocaster"
Generic P-Bass clone "Rebel Bass"
Norman B-20 (6) Acoustic

Boss AB-2 -> Boss CS-3 -> ISP Decimator -> Boss DS-2 (with footswitch) -> Marshall Bluesbreaker II -> Boss FBM-1 -> Ernie Ball VPJR -> DigiTech RP-300

Roland Jazz Chorus 90 (2x10)
Fender Chorus DSP (2x10)

sloppy_phil's picture
Toronto, Ontario
Aug 2008
5 years ago

don't know about that guitar specifically, but guitarfetish makes some excellent p90s and mini-humbuckers that fit in p90/100 sized routs. as well as p90/100 sized humbuckers. i have one of their gretsch-style mini-hums in my telecaster which has a p90 rout in the neck, and it's pretty excellent.

lobsty's picture
between Berlin and Melbourne...
Nov 2003
4 years ago

Not sure about any splitting or wiring shenanigans but a friend of mine had the same guitar in black and had exactly the same problem. He sold the p100's and replaced them with a set of Gibson p90's and the guitar rocked like all hell afterwards.

Crustaceo ergo sum