Don’t know your staple from a paper clip? Here’s a brief history of the staple P-90


What we call a ‘staple’ P-90 is also known as an ‘Alnico’ or ‘Alnico V’. It was inspired by the Dynasonic – which was originally known as the GretschDeA­rmond Fid1e0lato­ne, whose magnets were cannibalis­ed by Les Paul on the guitar we feature in this issue – although instead of using circular rod magnet polepieces it used rectangula­r-shaped Alnico V magnets that were height adjustable, like the Dynasonic. The ‘staple’ appeared briefly on the first 1954 to ’57 Gibson Les Paul Custom, after which it was replaced by a trio of the new-fangled Gibson humbuckers. Its Achilles’ heel was that height-adjustable feature: many would raise the powerful magnets too close to the strings, affecting the vibration of the string and producing some odd warbling ‘wolf’ notes. Aside from the convoluted and costly mechanism necessary to raise and lower each magnet, this is one reason why most contempora­ry makers who offer a staple P-90 don’t offer this function. Jason Lollar’s staple P-90 is a good example, but here in the UK Mojo does offer both styles as well as a humbucking­sized staple. Lollar states its staple P-90 “tone is midway between that splashy harmonicla­den Fender tone and the more liquid and woody sounding Gibson P-90 tone” with “a punchier attack with more clarity to the overtones than a typical P-90”. Mojo simply states that its staple is “brighter than a standard P-90 but retains P-90 character”. Of the new staple-inspired FideliSoni­c 90s, Gretsch says: “These single-coil pickups retain the full warm tone of a traditiona­l P-90 with a distinct top-end that is articulate and well defined.”

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