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P-Rails...is it supposed to sound like this??

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  • P-Rails...is it supposed to sound like this??

    I just installed a P-Rails Hot in a Triple-Shot mounting ring in the bridge of my LP. The P-90 sounds nice and bright yet full. The Rail sounds very similar, just slightly darker and not quite as loud. In humbucker-parallel mode it sounds about the same as the P-90 but maybe just a bit more open sounding. I'm describing almost imperceptible differences here, these three options sound almost identical. When I switch to hum-series, it sounds very dark and bassy, the highs are gone, it is muddy, and it is noticably louder. Of couse you'd expect it to be a bit darker and louder in series, but this is WAY darker, like turning the tone control all the way down.

    I'm not an amateur at wiring and soldering and I've check all that and redid it three times so I know it's correct.

    For all practical purposes it really only has two distinct sounds...P-90 and mud. I wanted SOOOO much like this pup, but it's only useful to me as a P-90.

    What's up? Anyone have a similar experience?

    I've tried adjusting the pup height and adjusting the philister screws and have gotten it to the best that I can hear, but still it seems it's only a 2 trick pony...beautiful P-90 and mud.

    This can't be right. I've read so many good reviews about the P-Rail sounds. I've rewired it three times, tried 2 different Triple Shots and tried a regular (not hot) P-Rails. All the same.

    It's almost as if the Rail side doesn't exist except when I kick it in series mode. But then, where did all the treble go?!
    Originally Posted by IanBallard
    Rule of thumb... the more pot you have, the better your tone.

  • #2
    Re: P-Rails...is it supposed to sound like this??

    I always wondered if the adjustable pole pieces being further away from the bridge would take away some of the treble and crunch you would expect out of a humbucker. Due to the P-90 layout the adjustable poles are right in the middle of the pickup, maybe someone can confirm if this is an issue.

    Also, having the rail on the neck side of this pickup takes all the fun out of having a single coil in the bridge if you ask me. I'm only speculating though, I haven't played a p-rail before.
    Last edited by Franknfilms; 07-23-2010, 09:01 AM.

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    • #3
      Re: P-Rails...is it supposed to sound like this??

      I have the regular P-Rails and I often feel it is too hot. I would never go for the HOT version as it already seemed too dark in series for me. Sometimes you goatta lose the hum or get more crunch though.

      It still doesn't sound right to me, but there's nothing about the wiring you can screw up really. Would you be using stock Gibson 300k pots perhaps? You're going to want 500k.

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      • #4
        Re: P-Rails...is it supposed to sound like this??

        I have the standard set in a Studio copy and have made similar comments in other threads. The only exception is I don't find any of the tones muddy just not very disimiliar. The P-90 definately sounds the best of the three, humbucker mode sounds very much the same just with the benefit of noise cancellation and the rail just seems thinner. One other thing, the less gain used the more individual the three modes sound.

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        • #5
          Re: P-Rails...is it supposed to sound like this??

          That's what I suspected might be the case with P-Rails, which is why I haven't gotten one. In HB mode, it seems like it'd be way too hot and dark. When I want a P-90, I put in a Phat Cat or other HB-sized P-90. If you try to get too many things from a PU, how many options are really usable? I'd rather have one great P-90 tone, and skip the rest.
          "Completely Conceded Glowing Expert."
          "And Blueman, I am pretty sure you've pissed off a lot of people."
          "Wait, I know! Blueman and Lew can arm wrestle, and the winner gets to decide if 250K pots sound good or not."

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          • #6
            Re: P-Rails...is it supposed to sound like this??

            Originally posted by blueman335 View Post
            That's what I suspected might be the case with P-Rails, which is why I haven't gotten one. In HB mode, it seems like it'd be way too hot and dark. When I want a P-90, I put in a Phat Cat or other HB-sized P-90. If you try to get too many things from a PU, how many options are really usable? I'd rather have one great P-90 tone, and skip the rest.
            Cheers to that.
            Originally posted by Good Will Hunting
            Real loss is only possible when you love something more than you love yourself.

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            • #7
              Re: P-Rails...is it supposed to sound like this??

              I think I have to agree with you, Andrew and Blueman. And that is alwasys what I have done in the past. I was Just very curious about the P-Rails. It sounded like a great idea for a pup. And when Wymore was liquidating he had one P-Rails and one P-R hot so I snatched them up at a great price to try them out.

              I do have to say that I really like the P-90 side of the P-Rails. It is definitely the best sound of all the options.

              Yes, the sounds are more distinguishable when clean. And, yes, I use 500k pots all around. You all should know that about me by now. I'm a staunch advocate of at least 500k pots. I never use 250k or 300k except in my Strats.

              I'm still going to work with it awhile today. See if I can make any other fine tuning adjustments, amp adjustments, etc. I really don't want to make any drastic changes to my amps though, since they are already set up the way I like them for my main guitar (which used to be my LP Ultra, but now it's my Wilshire...man, I love that guitar).

              So I guess I'll see what happens and I'll report back.
              Originally Posted by IanBallard
              Rule of thumb... the more pot you have, the better your tone.

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              • #8
                Re: P-Rails...is it supposed to sound like this??

                The P-Rails is very dark and powerful in series. It is in the class of eg. the Steve Morse pickups which is really only good for driving medium-gain sounds.

                It's one of the reasons I didn't keep it, I didn't find the humbucking mode useful and everything else hums (except the parallel mode which I thought wasn't too useful as an additional capability).

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                • #9
                  Re: P-Rails...is it supposed to sound like this??

                  the pickup having 2 A8 mags would suggest backing the pickup right off the strings to me; i'm guessing that this has already occurred to you tho.

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                  • #10
                    Re: P-Rails...is it supposed to sound like this??

                    The hardest part about tone chasing is losing the expectations associated with the hardware.

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                    • #11
                      Re: P-Rails...is it supposed to sound like this??

                      Did you test the pickups an ohm meter?

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                      • #12
                        Re: P-Rails...is it supposed to sound like this??

                        Originally posted by dr. ad View Post
                        the pickup having 2 A8 mags would suggest backing the pickup right off the strings to me; i'm guessing that this has already occurred to you tho.

                        Does it have 2 or 3?

                        I thought it had 1 in the rail pickup and 2 in the P-90.

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                        • #13
                          Re: P-Rails...is it supposed to sound like this??

                          I like my P-Rails but you have to take it for what it is: A P-90 with some stuff added to it to make it more diverse.

                          The series humbucker tone is a P90 with a rail to make a hot modern humbucker. It's gonna sound really thick and heavy and be best for high-gain fuzzed-out tones...

                          I'm using the normal P-Rails as the only pickup in my SG. It's my "hard" guitar and is tuned low with extra-fat strings and the P-Rails is perfect for that...the P90 is good for 80% of my playing and the humbucker mode gives me a fat / mid-scoop / gain / hum-cancelling boost for solos and whatnot.

                          You can't go into it expecting them to somehow magically made a P90 that can transform into a PAF and then into a Telecaster pickup...it's more like a P-90 Plus.

                          All that said, it's weird that you're losing all your treble in series mode. I perceive a boost in bass and treble that makes the mids seem less present.
                          Last edited by Empty Pockets; 07-24-2010, 05:24 AM.
                          green globe burned black by sunn

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                          • #14
                            Re: P-Rails...is it supposed to sound like this??

                            Originally posted by Conker09 View Post
                            Does it have 2 or 3?

                            I thought it had 1 in the rail pickup and 2 in the P-90.
                            Yeh, I think you're right.

                            Originally posted by dr. ad View Post
                            the pickup having 2 A8 mags would suggest backing the pickup right off the strings to me; i'm guessing that this has already occurred to you tho.
                            Yeh, I've moved that sucker all over the place and I've found a place where it seems to work much better. When I first put it in I had it up fairly close to the strings. I tried moving it away in several steps raising the adjustable screws (on the P-90). I've gotten it to sound much better now and I'm beginning to really like it and see some real advantages. For example: I can play a bright intro with the P-90, switch to the rail for rhythm (rail is a little mellower, less bite, less output), then switch to hum-series with OD for a singing/creamy lead. I still think I'm going to mess around with the magnets, though, to see if I can get a more pronounced difference in the sounds from the P-90 vs rail.

                            I don't think that I can get to it today, but when Ive got results I'll report back.
                            Originally Posted by IanBallard
                            Rule of thumb... the more pot you have, the better your tone.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: P-Rails...is it supposed to sound like this??

                              Originally posted by Empty Pockets View Post
                              I like my P-Rails but you have to take it for what it is: A P-90 with some stuff added to it to make it more diverse.

                              The series humbucker tone is a P90 with a rail to make a hot modern humbucker. It's gonna sound really thick and heavy and be best for high-gain fuzzed-out tones...

                              I'm using the normal P-Rails as the only pickup in my SG. It's my "hard" guitar and is tuned low with extra-fat strings and the P-Rails is perfect for that...the P90 is good for 80% of my playing and the humbucker mode gives me a fat / mid-scoop / gain / hum-cancelling boost for solos and whatnot.

                              You can't go into it expecting them to somehow magically made a P90 that can transform into a PAF and then into a Telecaster pickup...it's more like a P-90 Plus.

                              All that said, it's weird that you're losing all your treble in series mode. I perceive a boost in bass and treble that makes the mids seem less present.
                              EXACTLY

                              I bought the Prails because I have always wanted a P-90 and I thought, as long as I'm buying a P-90, I might as well get something with extra crap on it.

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