Trying about SD P rails?


Senior Member
i never played or tried about time i did.

I dont have a guitar fitting the traditional shape of p90, nor am i likely to buy one in the near future.
But...i have a pretty good mij strat i modified 20 years ago to have 2 humbuckers, that is hardly played anymore, so i was thinking to try P rails in there.

Any experience here with those? Are they representing p90s ?
Any other options i should consider?


I tried them a number of years ago, in their initial design (I'm not sure what they changed, but I know SD changed something).

They struck me as okay. Not stellar. They did an okay P-90 thing and an okay blade pickup thing and an okay humbucker thing. But, really nothing exceptional. P-90s are some of my favorite pickups, P-Rails, not so much. I wanted them to be good. I wanted them to be great. I wanted them to turn my SG into my one-size-fits-all. They didn't. But, they weren't horrible either.

You're better off buying an inexpensive Gibson or other brand and popping in some Gibson P-90s. Even the 'lowly' Specials, Juniors and Junior Specials are fantastic guitars and have great sounding P-90s. I've got a 50's Tribute with P-90's that sounds awesome! I bought it on clearance... Great value! The PRS SE guitars with P-90s are great guitars as well. I know there are others, just none I have much first hand experience with.


I recently bought some Artec P94 style Alnico pickups on eBay, $38 for the set, to go in my Squier Strat. They do very nicely there. The tone isn't 100% P90 but it's close, with a warm yet raunchy sound.

You could also buy a P90 pickguard and a set of inexpensive soapbar P90's to go in your guitar.


I would just get a pickguard that's cut for a couple real P90s. Pickguards are cheap. Or better yet, pick up a used Junior or Special type guitar with can pick up a used Epiphone Junior or Special for less than the cost of a couple new P90s, and at least get an idea of whether or not you'll like them.
IMHO, there's nothing quite like a real P90. The humbucker size P90's aren't quite the same, and the P-rail is close, but still, not quite there. If you want to experience P90s, do it right.

Tommy Biggs

Silver Supporting Member
My .02
P-90's in a solid hog body is the true P-90 experience.
It's cool to try them out, and I understand that lots of folks get good results in Tele's with a neck P-90.
I guess I'm just cautioning against making your full evaluation by trying a blade p-90 in a Strat style guitar.
Like I said - it's cool to try stuff, lord knows I have...


I think if you want to try P90's , try real ones. Nothing better than Gibson in my book. You can often find a set for $100 used also. Why do anything else? BTW, when I had P90's in a Strat I used the 250k pots and liked it.

Little Robert

As has been mentioned, buy a new guard for your Strat that takes traditional P90s. They're cheap enough. I love 'em in a strat. Most other things are a compromise or P90 in name only.


Senior Member
Thnx for thougt!
Will a traditional p90 fit a strat with a new guard if it fits humbuckers?
Going this way means letting go of options to switch between single/ very used to that..have it on all my guitars...but seems like a good option.

Buying a LP as a try out not my first path...i have been trying to find one for some time..i held maybe a 100..and found only one that spoke to had a 20k price i let that one pass.
Maybe im not an LP next try will be tokai LP.


I have several guitars with P-Rails, and I like them just fine, but then again my three actual P-90 guitars don't have conventional "P-90s" installed ... Music Man MM90s with silent circuit, Manlius hum free P90s and Fralin hum free P90s.

I find the key to P-Rails is pickup height .... for a P-90 mode to shine the pickups need to be close to the strings, but that's also the case for many actual P90 pickups. The problem then is series humbucker mode can have too much output with an overly bassy or woolly tone. I use parallel mode quite a lot, it is much clearer than series mode and is lower in output than P90 mode, but still hum cancelling.

The only problem I can see with installing them on a strat is being able to use series / parallel / rail and P90 modes without having to add extra mini switches or push / pull pots to the guitar. Four of mine have the Duncan triple shot switching rings installed, a Carvin CT6, Heritage 525 and 576 and a G&L ASAT Deluxe.

The rail or single coil mode does sound quite a bit more twangy on the 25 1/2" scale ASAT than on the other guitars, even though is does have a mahogany body.

ASAT with P-Rails and switching rings


Heritage 535 with the same setup


The mini switch on the ASAT is redundant, no longer wired in the circuit


Another vote for "get the real thing" if possible when it comes to P90s. Everything else is a compromise. That said, John Bohlinger just did a nice demo of the Godin Summit Classic CT that comes loaded with P-Rails here:


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