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  1. #1

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    Hi all,

    Based on some rave reviews and good sound/video clips online I made a trade for a Kingpin II CW. So far, I like it, as the tone is pretty good even with light round-wound strings on it. Placed an Amazon order for some flats that I’ll put on and do some light tweaking to the setup. I do have one issue, and another question to ask those here.

    First, the easy part. This is a satin finish guitar. Can I use a traditional polish like I use on the others, or should I use something else?

    Second, and more complicated...the P90 pickups are incredibly hot!

    My playing is almost exclusively at home, for my enjoyment, so I keep my amp volume set fairly modestly. With my amp settings I can play either my Telecaster or a couple of humbucker archtops (inexpensive Ibanez and the Washburn J3 I traded for the Kingpin) with guitar volume set at mid range and have lots of flexibility to raise/lower the guitar vol pot. Without going up to look, I’d say the amp input gain would be about at 4 or 5 and the volume at 3 or maybe 4 (obviously neither is too high).

    When I plugged in the Kingpin, the volume blew me away! I ended up dropping the amp gain and amp volume down to about 2, and the guitar volume down 3 or less. Now there’s very little room to adjust down, and guitar volume up to about 5 i all I’d ever need in the house. If I plug in the Tele, I have to crank the volume up to 9 or 10, leaving no room to get louder without going to the amp.

    I’d like to have the output of the Kingpin at least comparable to the others to make it easier to switch back and forth, and just to make it easier to adjust while playing. The gap from pole on the neck pup to my bass string when fretted at 15th fret is only about 3/32”. Should I try to get some thinner shims and lower the pickups when I change the strings? Or will that kill the tone? Any advice is welcome.

    Thanks.

    Godin Kingpin II CW (P-90s, in Burgandy)-8971406e-12d2-4537-9156-07a09c621b4c-jpg

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  3. #2

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    yes you can use trad polish on satin finish...polish should be silicone & wax free

    as for the volume..try using pure nickel strings...thomastik jazz swings are pure nickel flats...and a fave of many in the forum..pricey..but they are top quality and last a long while

    pure nickel has less magnetic interaction with pup magnets than common stainless steel or even nickel plated steel strings

    p-90's have non magnet screw polepieces with bar magnets beneath the bobbin..so you really want to lower the entire pickup..thinner shims or removing shims will help

    luck, and don't get discouraged...godins are fine guitars...many here use them

    congrats & enjoy


    cheers

  4. #3

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    Wouldn't regular polish buff out the flat satin into a dull shine? Or does that only happen with intent?

    I generally advocate for shimmed p90s but in your case, get them as low as possible and see what happens. I'd also see if I could find the specs for those pickups. Maybe that's what they are going for? I doubt it, but I'm not the expert here.

  5. #4

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    shouldn't...you'd need something with abrasives and to really buff hard to shine it up...yes intent!...just a gentle intermittent polishing with a good quality polish shouldn't affect...

    cheers

  6. #5

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    Yeah, messing up the satin was my worry. Have some stuff from the music store that you wipe on and buff off (reminds me of waxing a car!), so maybe that’s too much for the satin finish.

    I guess if I find a thinner substitute and I don’t try something crazy like sanding down the current shims, I can always replace them if it doesn’t go well. I just don’t want to spend a lot of time on it and have it sound like crap. Also nice to know it’s a reasonable strategy.

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by jim232777
    Hi all,

    Based on some rave reviews and good sound/video clips online I made a trade for a Kingpin II CW. So far, I like it, as the tone is pretty good even with light round-wound strings on it. Placed an Amazon order for some flats that I’ll put on and do some light tweaking to the setup. I do have one issue, and another question to ask those here.

    First, the easy part. This is a satin finish guitar. Can I use a traditional polish like I use on the others, or should I use something else?

    Second, and more complicated...the P90 pickups are incredibly hot!

    My playing is almost exclusively at home, for my enjoyment, so I keep my amp volume set fairly modestly. With my amp settings I can play either my Telecaster or a couple of humbucker archtops (inexpensive Ibanez and the Washburn J3 I traded for the Kingpin) with guitar volume set at mid range and have lots of flexibility to raise/lower the guitar vol pot. Without going up to look, I’d say the amp input gain would be about at 4 or 5 and the volume at 3 or maybe 4 (obviously neither is too high).

    When I plugged in the Kingpin, the volume blew me away! I ended up dropping the amp gain and amp volume down to about 2, and the guitar volume down 3 or less. Now there’s very little room to adjust down, and guitar volume up to about 5 i all I’d ever need in the house. If I plug in the Tele, I have to crank the volume up to 9 or 10, leaving no room to get louder without going to the amp.

    I’d like to have the output of the Kingpin at least comparable to the others to make it easier to switch back and forth, and just to make it easier to adjust while playing. The gap from pole on the neck pup to my bass string when fretted at 15th fret is only about 3/32”. Should I try to get some thinner shims and lower the pickups when I change the strings? Or will that kill the tone? Any advice is welcome.

    Thanks.

    Godin Kingpin II CW (P-90s, in Burgandy)-8971406e-12d2-4537-9156-07a09c621b4c-jpg
    I don't think thinner shims will work. The top of that guitar is not actually routed out for the pickup. There's just a small hole drilled for the wire. I have the single pickup version and don't know if the bridge pickup shim thickness is different, but on mine, the shim is just thick enough for the polepieces to clear the top. Any thinner, and they'd damage the top.

    You could try lowering the polepieces, but otherwise I think you just have to get used to it. That and play around with the tone controls on your amp. Tone and volume are interactive, and are affected by the output level and frequency response of the pickup. I don’t perceive my Godin pickup to be as loud as what your describing, FWIW.

    John

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by John A.
    I have the single pickup version...

    John
    John, does your guitar have the same hot PU issue? How does it compare with other guitars? I'm wondering if it has a bad volume pot since there is so little room to adjust the level. Just guessin' here...

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by archtopeddy
    John, does your guitar have the same hot PU issue? How does it compare with other guitars? I'm wondering if it has a bad volume pot since there is so little room to adjust the level. Just guessin' here...
    It doesn't seem especially hot to me - hotter than the single coil pickups on my Strat, similar output level to my humbucker guitar.

    John

  10. #9

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    couldn't find any specs regarding godin p-90's...no resistance numbers or type of magnets used

    but godins own blurb is

    The Godin Kingpin P90 single-coil pickup delivers all that classic vintage tone with presence, clarity, and a little attitude thrown in for good measure!

    guess the "little attitude" i.e. hotter, is what's not agreeing with you!

    based on what john wrote above about there being no routing space in guitar top, you have limited mounting options...barring having some winds removed or the magnets degaussed from the stock pups by a pickup specialist

    rethink your volume/tone settings on both guitar and amp...can be worked out



    cheers
    Last edited by neatomic; 06-27-2020 at 09:26 PM. Reason: add-

  11. #10

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    My single PU Kingpin didn’t have an especially hot output. It was very similar to my Super 58 in the AF95FM I had around the same time. I really liked the 5th Ave and will probably get another one, eventually.

  12. #11

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    My Empress Para EQ has padded inputs -12db-6db-0db reduction. This pedal has saved a few guitar/amp compatibility problems. Everyone needs one of these.
    Tim

  13. #12

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    Handsome fiddle, congratulations!

  14. #13

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    John is pretty much right. I loosened the pickup, and there is no rout—just the hole for the wire as he said. The pickup sits lower than the top of the shim, so there’s not really much room for a thinner shim, without possibly digging into the top surface. The bridge pickup has 2 shims, and together they are about 1-1.5 mm thinner than the one on the neck pup so I figured there would be room enough to lower one.

    i should have thought about the possibility of a bad volume pot. I was already thinking of what I could do to lessen the output—like adding a resistor. It didn’t cross my mind that it wasn’t as intended. it would be difficut to do anything with it, though, in way of a repair as the only access is through the f-holes.

    At the moment I’ve pulled out an old steel guitar volume pedal to cut the volume back. Not ideal as it has some static and dead spots but it’s a little easier than adjusting the amp every time I plug it in. Same idea as Tim’s EQ pedal, but cruder.

    And thanks, rabbit. I normally don’t care for the plastic dog ears, but in black with the black scratch guard and headstock it’s a good contrast to the burgandy.

  15. #14

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    If the pickup is that hot and the volume control that ineffective then something is up. Those pickups are warm but not all that hot. I had one for a couple years and I'd love to have another. I got a lot of pleasure from mine.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by jim232777
    John is pretty much right. I loosened the pickup, and there is no rout—just the hole for the wire as he said. The pickup sits lower than the top of the shim, so there’s not really much room for a thinner shim, without possibly digging into the top surface. The bridge pickup has 2 shims, and together they are about 1-1.5 mm thinner than the one on the neck pup so I figured there would be room enough to lower one.

    i should have thought about the possibility of a bad volume pot. I was already thinking of what I could do to lessen the output—like adding a resistor. It didn’t cross my mind that it wasn’t as intended. it would be difficut to do anything with it, though, in way of a repair as the only access is through the f-holes.

    At the moment I’ve pulled out an old steel guitar volume pedal to cut the volume back. Not ideal as it has some static and dead spots but it’s a little easier than adjusting the amp every time I plug it in. Same idea as Tim’s EQ pedal, but cruder.

    And thanks, rabbit. I normally don’t care for the plastic dog ears, but in black with the black scratch guard and headstock it’s a good contrast to the burgandy.
    If you have a multimeter, check the pot values through the sweep, and make sure you have good movement. It’s conceivable they got something with the wrong taper by accident, but not likely. More likely is that it just doesn’t meet the specs. Your only other option is to replace the pickup, or use a dremel to partially rout a cavity directly under the pole pieces. Nobody will see it under the pickup, and you can then either use smaller shims or sand the bottom mounting piece by laying sandpaper on the top of the guitar (GRIT SIDE OUT) and rubbing the pickup cover on it to keep the top’s original contour. Obvious disclaimer that it might not still give you the results you want and it is irreversible. But it is an option.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by zcostilla
    If you have a multimeter, check the pot values through the sweep, and make sure you have good movement. It’s conceivable they got something with the wrong taper by accident, but not likely. More likely is that it just doesn’t meet the specs.
    I was wondering if there is a way to test it. I do have a meter, but I’m not sure I can get to the pot. I assume the bridge pickup is mounted with only a small hole for wires like the neck. If so, it will be difficult to access through the f hole. I can see the pot through the f hole, and there is a small circuit board I might be able to reach if I can get some long probes. Also have to determine which contacts to use...

    Quote Originally Posted by zcostilla
    Your only other option is to replace the pickup, or use a dremel to partially rout a cavity directly under the pole pieces. Nobody will see it under the pickup, and you can then either use smaller shims or sand the bottom mounting piece by laying sandpaper on the top of the guitar (GRIT SIDE OUT) and rubbing the pickup cover on it to keep the top’s original contour. Obvious disclaimer that it might not still give you the results you want and it is irreversible. But it is an option.
    Also had this thought, and it might also be a needed strategy if replacing the pickup as well. Then I wondered if there is any bracing under the pickup—wouldn’t want to cut any!

    Another interesting thing is the neck pickup is noticeably louder than the bridge, although both blow away my other guitars with similar volume settings. They’re nearly the same distance from the strings, but the neck seems a bit closer.

    Pickups aside, it’s an interesting guitar. It was set up horribly, so I put on some flat wounds (it had light gauge rounds, with a plain G matched up with the bridge compensated for a wound G), then gave it 24 hours to adjust to the heavier strings and tweaked the truss rod, maybe a quarter turn. With warmer strings the tone is very nice when playing fingers only, both acoustically and through an amp. I expect it to be less warm when I switch to a pick, but the body *really* resonates with that sound somewhat harshly. Also seems to rattle some with the pick. I haven’t been able to figure whether it’s really a rattle or just the body/pick combination. I did raise the bridge a tiny bit, but that didn’t make a noticeable difference. I guess I could try raising it more.

    With the thinner, satin finish and thinner wood (relative to the other archtops I’ve had) I expected more resonance, but I’m not sure I like the frequencies it’s picking up.

    @zcostilla, Wondering about your sig. It says you play a customized 5th Avenue. What mods have been made?

    Thanks,
    Jim

  18. #17

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    And another update...
    Normally I play in the evenings after work. Off today during daytime, so didn’t try to keep the volume down as much. I did leave the volume pedal (mentioned above) in, but raised the overall volume with it and the guitar volume. I have to say that under those conditions I like the tone quite a bit. If I took the vol pedal out of the chain I’d have to use earplugs but those P90s would probably be killer!

  19. #18

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    Just thought it would be a good time to post this.


  20. #19

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    That’s nice, Jim—both the playing and the tone