Any love for P-Rails?

Gatormike

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I threw a set into a super/fat tele on the triple shot rings. It has a Korina Body and a maple neck with Rosewood board. :shock:

I cannot believe how good the thing sounds!!! :wow:

Especially the P-90 sounds on this thing. I use the P90 in the neck, I have a single coil in the middle (Duncan Parallel Axis Stack stk1-n), and I am switching on the triple shot ring between the p-90 and parallel humbucker in the bridge position.

Man, I am just astonished. I admit that I do think the rails alone are nothing special (but that's just me). I also like both of the humbucking tones in series (but they too are a bit hotter in that mode than I usually prefer).

So, my big question is...do regular P-90's really sound that much better than the P-90 side of a P-Rail??? Maybe I'll do some clips when I get around to it, but I was just curious.

I recommend them if you want to go between a P-90 sound and a parallel or series humbucker. Peace. Mike
 

zontar

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I have one patiently waiting its turn to go in my LP copy.

The guitars I've tried them in sound great
 

freddarl82

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I put a set in a '64 Melody Maker. Nice pups. Right now, I have them set up with ON-OFF-ON switches, which give me P90, Series humbucker, and rail sounds. The MM does not lend itself to using pickup rings, so the triple-shots were not an option for me. My opinions of the sounds:

1. P90. Real, real nice. My only other P90 guitar is a 96 LP Special DC with the Duncan Vintage Soapbars. They sound very similar to me; i think any minor differences can be attributed to the added mass of wood in the Special (the MM is a very thin design).

2. Like the OP said, the series humbucker is a little too hot for me. As far as high output humbuckers go, it sounds very good. I have some new switches I'm waiting to put in to give me P90, Parallel humbucker, and rail (and completely forgo the series sound).

3. This is where I find the most variation. I did a lot of reading about which orientation was best -- Rails "In" or Rails "Out.". I've tried both ways now. Frank Falbo said over on the Duncan forums that the original idea was to set them up Rails "In" to get the Strat "Quack," but at the same time encouraged experimentation. They definitely give you a great "Quack" sound this way. I have what I consider to be a real nice vintage-sounding Strat, a Roadworn with JM Rolph 59's. I was really surprised that my thin body, all mahogany MM could actually give it a run for it's money in the Quack department. The thing I did not care for is that either Rail played alone tends to sound like a Strat middle pickup, a sound I do not use very often. When I had them flipped Rails "out," I had virtually NO "Quack," but the neck Rail played alone provided a very nice "neck strat" sound, and the bridge rail played alone - in this guitar - strikes me as a good Tele bridge sound. Right now, I have them Rails "in," but I think I will go back to Rails "out" when I put in the new switches.
 

LesterNtele

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I added one to a Crafter SAT and I am really happy with it. The variety in tones with the triple shot make this an outstanding value.
P90 tone snobs will certainly disagree. I had a les Paul with P90's and they duid sound better. More mids and power, but they were very noisy.
between the two, I'll stick with the P-Rail (sold the gibby)
 

freddarl82

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Well, I put the new ON-ON-ON switches in, which gives me P90, parallel humbucker, and rail. I also did a mag swap in the bridge P-Rail, putting an A8 under the rail side and a UOA5 under the P90 portion (also gave me a chance to check out the insides of these things!). Then I put them back in the Melody Maker "Rails out.". Observations:

1. DEFINITELY prefer the sound of the parallel humbucker (since I cannot get parallel AND series in my configuration). I have 8 humbucker-equipped guitars of which 7 have decidedly vintage-wind pickups. I just feel more at "home" with the parallel P-Rail. They do not sound quite as good as my sets of Guitarforce pups in my Les Pauls, but it's a very useable sound, nonetheless. (remember, my Melody Maker has a lot les wood than a Les Paul - that's got to affect it, too).

2. P-90's. No discernible change. As LesterNtele said, the dedicated P90's have a little "more" in there, but the P-Rail again does a nice job. The Duncan Vintage Soapbars in my LP Special are a very tall pickup -- I have them bottomed out and they're still rather close to the strings, so of course they're very powerful and "in your face.". If I raise the P-Rails that high, it gets very close, but there are tradeoffs in height adjustment (more below)...

3. Rails out. As expected, I have absolutely no "Quack" in the middle position. The A8 mag under the bridge rail gives it a little more power (a concern given that the rail now sits closer to the bridge). Nice Tele-like sounds out of the bridge. The neck rail out also yields a great sound; it, too, might be slightly closer to a Tele neck than a Strat neck, but I'll have to compare it some more before I can make a definitive judgement (I love my tele's neck sound).

4. Perhaps most importantly, PICKUP HEIGHT! One of the biggest concerns people have with the P-Rail: Is it a Jack-of-all-Trades, master of none? Well, sort of... Like any passive pickup, it is very sensitive to height adjustments. I tend to keep both my "Fender" pickups and my "Gibson" pickups fairly low. I think it gives greater clarity, airiness, and high end sparkle. (It also allows me to turn up my tube amps more and let the tubes do the work). I find the same to be true with the P-Rails. The rails, in particular, really improve dramatically as they're lowered from the strings. The trade-off is you lose that rip-snortin' P90 sound as you lower the pup (reference #2 above). So, you're left accepting a tradeoff. Each of the three modes have an "ideal" height; unfortunately that height is not uniform. I elected to leave them low. The rails sound REALLY good, the humbucker is still VERY good, but could benefit from 1-2 turns of the height adjustment screws, and the P90's sound quite good, but would be optimized with another few turns of the screws.

That's not to steer anyone away from the P-Rails. It might depend on your application. If you're recording, you may choose to use your real Strat or real Les Paul. But, you might not want to lug 2,3,4 or more guitars out to the live gig. Or, if your latest gig is providing background music to a bar-room full of drunks, being able to cover this much ground with a single guitar might be just the ticket. Or, how about this? If you're playing four hourlong sets a night 5 nights a week, you might want to have a full arsenal of guitars along with you. But, if you're called upon to play just three or four songs (that would normally require three different guitars), having a single P-Rail equipped guitar might be pretty damned nice!

The P-Rails are an all-around great pup. Hats off to Seymour Duncan and the team for a very innovative and useful design. If you take the time to dial them in for your preferences, you'll likely end up with three very useable sounds.
 

gtr-tek

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I have a set in my PRS Korina Mira. They do really sound great as a 'bucker or a P-90 and fair as a rail only. A very versatile set of pups! :cool:
 

Neodustin

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I had P-Rails once, but I thought that the magnet was way too strong. I wish they'd release an Alnico 2 version.
 

geezberry

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I use them in my big apple strat. The neck is in parallel and is probably the greatest neck pickup sound ever
stratbigapple_zpsac0c385b.jpg


Yes the rails facing the neck side is the best orientation. Try it
 

Joey Joe Joe Jr Shabadoo

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With regards to IN vs OUT orientation, I had read that "OUT" facing neck pup gives a better sound so I gave it a shot in my MIK Epiphone LP. Result: It became very difficult (impossible) to balance the volume of the rails between bridge and neck. I think this is due to the slight tilt of the rings/pickups from the arched body. If I used the guitar's volume controls to equalize the sound I would lose hum cancelling effect in the middle position. I went back to Rails "IN" immediately.

I do like the pups, Series humbuckers are so so. Others (rails, P90, parallel HB) great. The parallel HB clean are especially good for percussive "chucka' reggae sounds.

Gear:

2003 MIK Les Paul Standard plus (refinished)
2 vol (fender 500k) , 2 tone (dimarzio 500k push-pull) w/ 0.023 tone caps
Strings: 11s
IMG_20190110_141037.jpg
 

Antigua

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Electrically, P-Rails have slightly less inductance than typical P-90's, and that reflected my perception of them, they're a little brighter and clearer than real P-90's, which is not a bad thing.
 

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