With the miracle of micro-electronics, you can pack a massive amount of tone into a tight space. Case in point: Fishman’s Fluence Gristle-Tone P90, designed in collaboration with guitar maven Greg Koch.
Looking like a vintage P-90, but redesigned from the ground up with modern tech and old-school tones these pickups deploy active electronics and a “multi-voice” feature to give way more sounds than a conventional set.
P-90s bring to mind lively, funky tones with a midrange-y persona and powerful bark sometimes described as “glassy.” Using an Epiphone LP Special tester, they displayed that vivid P-90s honk, which Fishman calls Voice 1.
Pulling up the bridge Tone knob (Voice 2) produces an EQ-bump across the board (Fishman calls it “overwound P90s”) with a boosted middle thump and brighter top-end. Pull up the neck Tone knob (Voice 3) and a twangier single-coil EQ kicks in. Using this array on the neck pickup, you get three more voices – underwound, overwound, and single-coil. Better yet, they’re noise-free (often the bane of P-90s). The 9-volt battery in the control cavity requires replacement, but delivers up to 60 hours of life.
When you add in quiet, hum-free operation and ability to roll-off volume without losing highs, the Gristle-Tone P90s become all the more formidable. That’s something to twang about.
This article originally appeared in VG’s October 2021 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.