The Mean 90 is a P90 in a humbucker size pickup. P90s are cool. P90s that fit in your regular humbucker cavities are even cooler!
GuitarFetish gets a bit of a mixed bag of response from guitar players. I’ve already tried the VEH (think of EVH!) humbucker and I’ve been fine with what I’ve heard from the brand so far. I was fortunate to have a go at some GFS pickups not long ago and this Mean 90 bridge pickup was in the pile.
As far as design goes, the Mean 90 is pretty straight forward. Currently, they are only available with the Kwikplug system. The one I have is the previous version with a regular lead with a red, a white, and a bare wire. No muss, no fuss. Installation is a snap. The pole pieces are adjustable, so you can tweak the vibe to whatever suits your ear.
Starting with a clean amp tone, the Mean 90 has snappy chime to spare. It is voiced so that you feel like there’s plenty of output but it’s not clipping the amp. Hitting the strings hard still doesn’t mush out in the way you might get from some humbuckers. Plenty of clarity and sparkle going on.
The Mean 90 is loads of fun on a dirty amp setting. It has enough ‘push’ going on to drive a basic dirty setting to get just enough grit on pedal note riffing. The mids are put together very well, so as if to give a nice crunch. Lows are well defined and capable of delivering presence. That snap in the highs may or may not be your cup of tea for certain lead work up high on the neck. It might depend on how beefy your guitar or your amp is when you start out. Still, nothing that’s not fixed with a tweak of the amp.
Here’s a video from GuitarFetish of the GFS Mean 90 in action:
Let’s peek at some specs for the bridge model:
DC Resistance – 8.709 k
Inductance – 3.326 H
Magnet – Alnico 5
The Mean 90 is available in nickel, chrome, gloss black, and gold case options. For $35 a pop, it’s hard to go wrong. My only thought with be toward the Kwikplug system. It’s handy if you only ever plan on using GFS pickups from now on. Otherwise, it still needs to come out when you need to swap.
For reference, this GuitarFetish GFS Mean 90 bridge pickup evaluation was conducted with a Fractal Axe-Fx II XL+ featuring Celestion Impluse Responses and Fractal MFC-101 MIDI Foot Controller. Real cabs are Marshall 1960B cabs loaded with Celestion G12-65s, Vintage 30s and G12M Greenbacks.