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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Hum Canceling Traditional Sounding Humbucker Sized P90's by Iconix Pickups,... Review

Reviewed By: Jac Harrison
Purchased from: Manufacturer 
Street Price: $160 USD + tax & shipping.

Iconix Pickups is an American manufacturer of hand-wound guitar pickups by Don Smith. All Iconix pickups are scatter-wound and feature custom charged magnets, spacers from hand-cut maple and nickel/silver baseplates and covers. 

This review was conducted using a Knaggs Keya T2 wired using 2 500kΩ pots with a 0.001 capacitor/150K resistor parallel volume mod on a 3-way toggle.


I took my time as I always do and from start to finish it was 20 minutes /1 beers and 1 shot. Please note that you should have a luthier from your local music store put pickups in for you unless you really know what you are doing. It is normally a 1- 2 hour charge + bench fee to have a set of pickups installed. The total investment will be well worth it.

Amps used:
Indigo McD 20
Indigo Tone "O" Matic 3000
1972 Fender Bassman 50

Cable Used: 

Strings Used: 

Dark Horse 10-46

Pick Used: 

Gravity Sunrise mini 1.3 wave

Pickups Used:
Neck: Humbucker sized P90 (8K Alinco 2)
Bridge:Humbucker sized P90 (8.5Alinco 5)

A full traditional P90 with a slight mid hump with a fuller bottom-end.

An even balance between the neck a bridge.   

Traditional 1970 rock-n-roll P90.

Reliability & Durability: 
They are well constructed and should last the life of the guitar.

A few months ago Don Smith, CEO and Founder of Iconix Pickups, wound me a set of custom humbucker sized P90's that I needed for a guitar that had too much natural compression. I told him what I was looking to achieve tonally and he nailed it, so I knew that he understood guitar player lingo and more importantly how to turn my words like airy, dirty, old and with a hot fat bottom, into set of pickups that captured the tone I was looking for. As a studio musician, I'm always looking for new ways to stand out in a positive way... so I get more work. Up until a few years ago, I would do everything I could to know my parts and be on time for each session -- but it wasn't until I started customizing my tone that I noticed that the producers and engineers went from giving me tonal advice to asking me how I was getting the tone I was. I know for a fact that one producer hires me over other guitar players of equal capabilities (and pay scale) because of the tonal characteristics I can achieve with zero hum single coil pickups. With that said, I needed a set of custom P90's that would make my Knaggs Keya T2 have that unmistakable dirty 1970 "Mississippi Queen" tone, just without the traditional hum you get from a single coil pickup, wrapped up in a humbucker sized chassis.  After talking with Don and letting him know what I needed, I felt confident that he understood the tonal characteristics I was looking to achieve.   

The day my new pickups arrived I was quick to install them, and just like the 1st set of Iconix Pickups, they were delicious. I was able to dial in everything form a clean jazz tones to an almost spanky fat Strat and most importantly that unmistakable traditional P90 bark, just without any pickup hum. I now have full confidence that I will be able to dial in the exact tone I was looking to achieve for an upcoming studio project using one of my favorite guitars. I honestly thought I would either have to buy a new traditional sized P90 equipped guitar or not be considered for this project. I am more than happy with these pickups.

My advice:
Pickups are are a very personal product and dramatically alter the tone/voice of your instrument. When it comes to buying pickups it is important to choose a winder that knows what they are doing. So my advice is the same as in my last review of Iconix Pickups -- contact Don, tell him what you want, and he will wind you the pickups at an amazing price. 

Iconix Pickups
Don Smith

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Posted 03/2015
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