Seymour Duncan Phat Cats vs GFS Dream 90s

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Seymour Duncan Phat Cats vs GFS Dream 90s

Postby ElfDude » Thu Nov 05, 2015 8:17 pm

Today I had the opportunity to A - B compare my wife's guitar containing Seymour Duncan Phat Cat humbucker sized P-90s...

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With my daughter's guitar fitted with GFS Dream 90 humbucker sized P-90s.

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The Phat Cats usually sell for about $80 each. The Dream 90s sell for $33 each.

Bridge Pickup

They actually sound a lot like each other. I'd be perfectly happy having either one in a guitar of mine. They have equal amounts of presence and clarity. The only difference I could hear was that the Phat Cat had just a bit more bottom end to it, which I preferred. But if I were to make the purchase today, I'd probably go with the Dream 90 anyway simply because of the price difference.

Neck Pickups

After listening to how similar the bridge pickups sounded, I was surprised by how different the neck pickups sounded. The Phat Cat had a lot more of that deep, thick tone we associate with traditional jazz. The Dream 90 had more of the clarity and high end that we might associate with an AP11 pickup. I wouldn't presume to call either one "superior", since different folks want different things. But as you all know, I like clarity and chime. So to my ears the Dream 90 is the winner.

Now I sit here wondering if I should buy a pair of GFS Dream 90s (or possibly a pair of their Mean 90s) to go in this guitar, since I have two other semi-hollows fitted with Carvin/Kiesel pickups... :think:

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Last edited by ElfDude on Fri Nov 06, 2015 9:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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re: Seymour Duncan Phat Cats vs GFS Dream 90s

Postby DerekMcTele » Fri Nov 06, 2015 7:57 am

Is that sound going to be redundant to what your other guitars can already do? What you described makes it clear that you like the sound of the neck GFS. However, what you described sounds like the Phat Cat neck is what I am looking for. :D

Therefore, I suggest you go with the Duncans and send the guitar to me. I will verify that it is indeed what you were describing. :mrgreen:
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Re: re: Seymour Duncan Phat Cats vs GFS Dream 90s

Postby ElfDude » Fri Nov 06, 2015 9:08 am

DerekMcTele wrote:Is that sound going to be redundant to what your other guitars can already do? What you described makes it clear that you like the sound of the neck GFS. However, what you described sounds like the Phat Cat neck is what I am looking for. :D

Therefore, I suggest you go with the Duncans and send the guitar to me. I will verify that it is indeed what you were describing. :mrgreen:


I see what you did there. 8)
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re: Seymour Duncan Phat Cats vs GFS Dream 90s

Postby PaulaCarvin » Fri Nov 06, 2015 1:50 pm

SD all the way. I used to be a fan of GSF pickups. I bought a set of Texas Premiums based on Jay's hype and description. They were better than the ceramic MIM, but not as good as SD or Fender CS which is what I swear by now.

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re: Seymour Duncan Phat Cats vs GFS Dream 90s

Postby Doctor Turn » Fri Nov 06, 2015 9:19 pm

Who cares about pickups? I'm still grooving on the fact that you, your wife, your daughter, and your brother (who else?) all play guitar and have cool axes. Why worry if you don't like your pickups sound one day. Just sneak in a relative's window and snag theirs! :mrgreen:

Good stuff elf.
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Re: re: Seymour Duncan Phat Cats vs GFS Dream 90s

Postby ElfDude » Mon Nov 09, 2015 7:38 am

PaulaCarvin wrote:SD all the way.


In most cases I'd agree. But not this time. I just did the A - B test. The GFS pickups held their own (and I thought even excelled for the neck pickup) for less than half the price.
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Re: re: Seymour Duncan Phat Cats vs GFS Dream 90s

Postby ElfDude » Mon Nov 09, 2015 7:43 am

Doctor Turn wrote: I'm still grooving on the fact that you, your wife, your daughter, and your brother (who else?) all play guitar and have cool axes.


The only reason they have those two cool electrics is because I gave them as surprise gifts. 8)

Check out the story of my wife getting hers:
http://carvinbbs.com/viewtopic.php?t=44226
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re: Seymour Duncan Phat Cats vs GFS Dream 90s

Postby Doctor Turn » Mon Nov 09, 2015 10:23 am

Great thread, w the lead up to the gift and the sweet pics of your wife with it. You look like a happy couple.

I was going to say you seem like such a nice dude I wish I had you as a neighbor (instead of the psycho gun toting half-ass mafia guy I have now).. but with all of you having guitars I'd never get recording time without external music bleed in!

Small Schecter story: I'm from the Northeast Bronx nieghborhood that Mike and John Tempesta are from-- John being the drummer from White Zombie and Anthrax... Frank Bello from Anthrax is from up here too and we hung here and there way way back in the 80's/early 90's. Mike Tempesta played guitar with POwerman 5000 and had the Schecter Tempest
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named after him. My memories in my teenage years are of hanging with him smoking cigarettes and him insisting that Terry Bozzio was the best Zappa drummer ever, and me "Ptuh"-ing and saying that Vinnie Colaiuta would eat him alive and spit the bones into the street. All good natured fun.

Works for Fender in artist relations from what I understand. My best friend and old drummer was way tighter with the Tempesta family (and was also the guy that FRankie Bello would see at a club and be the reason he came to sit at my table).

Anyhow, meaningless namedropping. But my Schecter story.
Carvin Weaponry:
1985 DC150K (koa) Stereo, M22N/M22SD w/black hardware.
1985 100 Watt X Amp 2 x 12 combo (XV212) upgraded w/ 2 Vintage 30's
...and other gear.

https://soundcloud.com/the_heavy_clouds

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Re: re: Seymour Duncan Phat Cats vs GFS Dream 90s

Postby Doctor Turn » Mon Nov 09, 2015 10:47 am

Great thread, w the lead up to the gift and the sweet pics of your wife with it. You look like a happy couple.

I was going to say you seem like such a nice dude I wish I had you as a neighbor (instead of the psycho gun toting half-ass mafia guy I have now).. but with all of you having guitars I'd never get recording time without external music bleed in!

Small Schecter story: I'm from the Northeast Bronx nieghborhood that Mike and John Tempesta are from-- John being the drummer from White Zombie and Anthrax... Frank Bello from Anthrax is from up here too and we hung here and there way way back in the 80's/early 90's. Mike Tempesta played guitar with POwerman 5000 and had the Schecter Tempest
Image
named after him. My memories in my teenage years are of hanging with him smoking cigarettes and him insisting that Terry Bozzio was the best Zappa drummer ever, and me "Ptuh"-ing and saying that Vinnie Colaiuta would eat him alive and spit the bones into the street. All good natured fun. (Nobody knew who "Vince" was back then, but he blew my head off w the SHUT UP albums and I was hooked)

Works for Fender in artist relations from what I understand. My best friend and old drummer was way tighter with the Tempesta family (and was also the guy that FRankie Bello would see at a club and be the reason he came to sit at my table).

Anyhow, meaningless namedropping. But my Schecter story.
Carvin Weaponry:
1985 DC150K (koa) Stereo, M22N/M22SD w/black hardware.
1985 100 Watt X Amp 2 x 12 combo (XV212) upgraded w/ 2 Vintage 30's
...and other gear.

https://soundcloud.com/the_heavy_clouds

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re: Seymour Duncan Phat Cats vs GFS Dream 90s

Postby PaulaCarvin » Mon Nov 09, 2015 2:30 pm

So here is another thought Elf. Before you change the pickups, try your guitar through other amps. I'm convinced that a lot of tone chasers swap pickups without considering the amp.
I was ready to rip out the C22's in my Carvin DC because they sound horrible through my Fender Vibro Champ. I bought a set of SDs. Then I bought a Blackstar HT1r and that DC sounds so amazing through that amp, I'm keeping the C22's. I have other guitars that sound better through the Fender or Carvin V16. I know you have a V16 and Nomad, maybe time to try a new amp or amp in a box pedal.

Just a thought.

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re: Seymour Duncan Phat Cats vs GFS Dream 90s

Postby ElfDude » Mon Nov 09, 2015 9:09 pm

So, I ordered a pair of humbucker-sized P-90s... but not GFS or Seymour Duncan. I went with Warman from the UK. I'll let you know how they sound. :)
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re: Seymour Duncan Phat Cats vs GFS Dream 90s

Postby ElfDude » Mon Nov 16, 2015 7:50 pm

Well, for $20 each plus shipping these were a heck of a deal. Bright and clear. I like 'em. Of course, non-Carvin pickups are never as loud as I want them to be but, so be it. 8)

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re: Seymour Duncan Phat Cats vs GFS Dream 90s

Postby Doctor Turn » Tue Nov 17, 2015 1:00 pm

I look forward to hearing those in an upcoming audio upload.

What kind of mags are in them? Ceramic? Neo-D?

U know me and the P90 brain knot I'm in. Still pretty much settled on that Hag. Thought I'd come to a deal on one on 'Verb but it fell apart. I really like what I hear--check this dude out in a crappy phone recording and a one trick amplifier at Musikmesse:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jAvINqO8VA

Those 90's sound extraordinary, and the 6 way switch w 3 tones dudn't hurt. I've found it rare when a company designing a (solidbody-aimed) 90 can maintain that throaty howl that the Gibson 90's get when pumped up while they re-engineer the pup for hi output to make it more exciting, esp on the GBE strings for rock cleans. They usually lose that very special "ffwnng" if you know what I mean that 90's have.

But Hag seems to have truly done it with these 90-S. That true LP Junior/Special rude funky sound w just a bit more bite.
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1985 DC150K (koa) Stereo, M22N/M22SD w/black hardware.
1985 100 Watt X Amp 2 x 12 combo (XV212) upgraded w/ 2 Vintage 30's
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Re: re: Seymour Duncan Phat Cats vs GFS Dream 90s

Postby ElfDude » Tue Nov 17, 2015 1:52 pm

Doctor Turn wrote:I look forward to hearing those in an upcoming audio upload.

What kind of mags are in them? Ceramic? Neo-D?


Here's what the manufacturer says:

Warman pickups use ceramic magnets as these are even brighter than Alnico V or III, and in higher output pickups to help counterbalance the treble lost by the higher resistance (remember higher resistance means more midrange, but less highs if you're using Alnico).
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re: Seymour Duncan Phat Cats vs GFS Dream 90s

Postby ElfDude » Tue Nov 17, 2015 7:41 pm

The more I play these Warmans, the more pleased I am with them. The guitar definitely has a cool voice now.

I A - B tested them against the P-90s that came in my Dean Palomino and they are similar in output.
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re: Seymour Duncan Phat Cats vs GFS Dream 90s

Postby Doctor Turn » Tue Nov 17, 2015 8:02 pm

Audio please 8)
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1985 DC150K (koa) Stereo, M22N/M22SD w/black hardware.
1985 100 Watt X Amp 2 x 12 combo (XV212) upgraded w/ 2 Vintage 30's
...and other gear.

https://soundcloud.com/the_heavy_clouds

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re: Seymour Duncan Phat Cats vs GFS Dream 90s

Postby ElfDude » Thu Nov 19, 2015 7:26 am

It happened to me again. Been spending so much time playing these Asian guitars and having a lot of fun with them... but pulled out the SH445 last night and it just blew me away how easy it was to play and how great it sounded.

Other guitars can be fun, but Carvin / Kiesels are just plain better. 8)
Last edited by ElfDude on Thu Nov 19, 2015 11:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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re: Seymour Duncan Phat Cats vs GFS Dream 90s

Postby Doctor Turn » Thu Nov 19, 2015 10:15 am

... And it will happily keep happening to you as long as you live. Carvins necks, it never ceases to amaze me how they went in the 70's from Hofner bolt on necks, to suddenly making their own and setting them in instead of bolting, and almost instantly by the late seventies were issuing that perfect neck/action with a written guarantee that almost no manufacturer would dare put in writing..

It's like Mark K just one day said, Why don't I just sit down now and come as close as possible to Perfecting The Electric Guitar Neck and quit this Outsourcing Thing? Carvin made necks of incredible comfort and ease almost overnight.

There must have been a lot of late nights in the shop on the sanding bench with rulers and string and fret wire, out of sight of every one else... Then BAM ... Let's do the neck thing people... Change the catalog and ads guys I GOT THIS.

Marks amazing.

I know from the slew of other electrics in my life, many very good, and also from sitting in GC constantly, and having them unlock all the top $3k+ guitars for me to play, I would just marvel at how well made Marks and now Jeff's necks are made. Part of it is muscle memory from years of playing it (and some can't deal with that D / U shape), but most of it is recognition of fantastic craftsmanship. I'm always blown away.
Carvin Weaponry:
1985 DC150K (koa) Stereo, M22N/M22SD w/black hardware.
1985 100 Watt X Amp 2 x 12 combo (XV212) upgraded w/ 2 Vintage 30's
...and other gear.

https://soundcloud.com/the_heavy_clouds

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re: Seymour Duncan Phat Cats vs GFS Dream 90s

Postby ElfDude » Mon Aug 22, 2016 4:50 pm

I ended up lending/giving those Warman pickups to my brother to try in a guitar of his.
Had a little money from gigging and decided to try a pair of the Dragonfire H90s that we see all over eBay. $50 for the pair and free shipping. Cool. 8)

The sound? My review would be a whole lot like my review for the GFS Dream 90s above, though I think I like these even more. They're louder!

Image :mrgreen:
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Re: Seymour Duncan Phat Cats vs GFS Dream 90s

Postby Jlev12 » Tue Dec 12, 2017 7:34 am

I'd definitely go for the Duncan Phat Cat's all the way. While the price may be higher, you can never go wrong with the SD quality. I have Phat Cats in many of my guitars in both the bridge and the neck position. It has to be said however, that the best pickup for me has to be the phat cat neck pickup. The bridge pickup is also great but it doesn't handle distortion or higher gains very well.

If you wanna know what the Phat Cats sound like you can check it out here: Seymour Duncan Phat Cat Review


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