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

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  • #16
    Re: P-Rails...is it supposed to sound like this??

    ^ hah. i got one cuz i loved the Phat Cat in my SG-X but that guitar came with a mini-switch for coil splitting that i wasn't using.

    then i got the pickup and my tech gave me a couple of push-pull pots for the 4-tone trick and now the mini-switch is on / off
    green globe burned black by sunn

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    • #17
      Re: P-Rails...is it supposed to sound like this??

      The P-Rails have always been P90's first, then new sounding humbucker next (a humbucker sound you really can't get anywhere else) and then Rails and Vintage Humbucker next in no particular order. I think we got more out of the Rails and parallel sounds than anyone ever thought possible, between the Alnico magnets and the mismatched coils. They've gotten great reviews and are a top seller. Ty Tabor is using them and he's one of my heros, so I'm totally humbled by whatever it is that he's made a connection with.

      I gig with them regularly, and for me all the modes are noticable. They do differ a lot in the top end, so if you have a smooth amp, it's going to reduce the differences a little. Also a dark guitar will stay dark, even with the Rails on. The P-Rails still have to match the guitar. But what I discovered in all the testing is that no matter what guitar they're in there are at least two killer sounds, probably three. Which two or three totally changed from one guitar to the next. Bolt-on, set neck, long or short scale, different body woods, they all made a huge difference but there was always something great about the combination.

      P-Rails Hot is a darker pickup. It will hit the amp hard, and the Rails coil is bigger and stronger. To the original poster, try flipping it around so the Rail is by the bridge and report back. You don't even have to rewire it, just flip it. Even if the switches are on the treble side you can still audition it that way.

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      • #18
        Re: P-Rails...is it supposed to sound like this??

        Originally posted by frankfalbo View Post
        The P-Rails have always been P90's first, then new sounding humbucker next (a humbucker sound you really can't get anywhere else) and then Rails and Vintage Humbucker next in no particular order. I think we got more out of the Rails and parallel sounds than anyone ever thought possible, between the Alnico magnets and the mismatched coils. They've gotten great reviews and are a top seller. Ty Tabor is using them and he's one of my heros, so I'm totally humbled by whatever it is that he's made a connection with.

        I gig with them regularly, and for me all the modes are noticable. They do differ a lot in the top end, so if you have a smooth amp, it's going to reduce the differences a little. Also a dark guitar will stay dark, even with the Rails on. The P-Rails still have to match the guitar. But what I discovered in all the testing is that no matter what guitar they're in there are at least two killer sounds, probably three. Which two or three totally changed from one guitar to the next. Bolt-on, set neck, long or short scale, different body woods, they all made a huge difference but there was always something great about the combination.

        P-Rails Hot is a darker pickup. It will hit the amp hard, and the Rails coil is bigger and stronger. To the original poster, try flipping it around so the Rail is by the bridge and report back. You don't even have to rewire it, just flip it. Even if the switches are on the treble side you can still audition it that way.
        I personally love every setting on my prails. I think the parallel wiring is even amazing. To my ears, it gets me really close to Page's tone on "the song remains the same" album/concert.

        The p-90 is...well...it's a rockin' p90.

        The rail gives a little more bite in the treble as well as just a tad less mids. It is also a little more airy and twangy.

        And yes, the series mode is dark...but I would never call it muddy. In my guitar, It is a little dark but yet very clear. I personally love it. If I want something brighter or something that sounds exactly like another pickup, I would put that particular pickup in the guitar.

        But, as everyone including myself has said earlier....it is a killer P-90 with some extra fun included.

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        • #19
          Re: P-Rails...is it supposed to sound like this??

          I have no complaints about the P-Rails set in my semi-hollow. I love having the various coil options, great tones all around. Now every time I visualize a new guitar I invariably end up wanting to get another P-Rails set.

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          • #20
            Re: P-Rails...is it supposed to sound like this??

            Originally posted by GuitarDoc View Post
            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.
            +1. I'd try that myself. With a resistance of almost 19K ohms and a 3.0KHz resonant peak in HB mode for the bridge model, I'm not seeing that as anything close to a "PAF-style HB." I thought that since P-Rails have a P-90, they would be geared more for guys that want vintage tones in all modes. I'd think the neck P-Rails might be worth a shot in the bridge slot. I'd settle for nothing less than 3 good tones out of a P-Rails.
            "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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            • #21
              Re: P-Rails...is it supposed to sound like this??

              Yeh, I really love the P-90 (I got turned on to P-90s about a year ago, now it's my main PU). However, I just expected the rail to sound brighter, like a Strat or Tele, but it's darker than the P-90.

              In humbucker-series mode Empty Pockets gets a boost in the lows and highs making it sound mid-scooped. I get just the opposite, the mids are really boosted and the highs are attenuated.

              I think I'm gonna try Frank's suggestion to turn it around with the rail next to the bridge and see what that does. I expect it will get more like what I was expecting...a brighter sounding rail and thicker sounding P-90 relative to each other. I'm afraid that with the P-90 (the stronger coil) closer to the neck, the humbucker-series mode might be even thicker in the mids than it already is. I guess I'll see what actually happens.

              Understand that I'm not really unhappy with the P-Rail, it is just different than I was expecting. But, like I said, I really love the P-90's bite/edge. Wouldn't mind if it got a little thicker with the reverse orientation though. If it gets too thick for my liking, I can always swap out one of its A8s for an A5.
              Originally Posted by IanBallard
              Rule of thumb... the more pot you have, the better your tone.

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              • #22
                Re: P-Rails...is it supposed to sound like this??

                My approach has been to put in a Phat Cat or two, swaps magnets (those twin stock A2s are awful), and have a great sounding P-90. Simpler, and I think I'm coming out ahead, instead having a P-Rails with only one good sound. I'd rather have it do one thing very well, than do two or three that aren't quite what I want.
                "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."

                Comment


                • #23
                  Re: P-Rails...is it supposed to sound like this??

                  Originally posted by GuitarDoc View Post
                  I think I'm gonna try Frank's suggestion to turn it around with the rail next to the bridge and see what that does. I expect it will get more like what I was expecting...a brighter sounding rail and thicker sounding P-90 relative to each other. I'm afraid that with the P-90 (the stronger coil) closer to the neck, the humbucker-series mode might be even thicker in the mids than it already is. I guess I'll see what actually happens.
                  .
                  Let me know how that turns out. Really, the P90 will move maybe a half an inch inward which shouldn't change the tone too drastically, whereas the rail will move about an inch and a half which should really make a difference.

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                  • #24
                    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.
                    I remember when I was new to the forum, tried the P rails, and posted that I dont like it and was slammed by Forum members who loved them, I am happy I am not the only one who doesnt like it. Its like a jack of all trades, but a master of nothing. The Humbucker mode and the rail single coil mode needs improvement IMO.
                    Last edited by bryan the rocker; 07-26-2010, 01:39 PM.

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                    • #25
                      Re: P-Rails...is it supposed to sound like this??

                      Originally posted by GuitarDoc View Post
                      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.
                      That is exactly how mine sounds.
                      my vinyl record collection | updated 11 August 2015

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                      • #26
                        Re: P-Rails...is it supposed to sound like this??

                        Originally posted by bryan the rocker View Post
                        I remember when I was new to the forum, tried the P rails, and posted that I dont like it and was slammed by Forum members who loved them, I am happy I am not the only one who doesnt like it. Its like a jack of all trades, but a master of nothing. The Humbucker mode and the rail single coil mode needs improvement IMO.
                        I saw the specs and decided to hold off. Seemed like a mishmash of conflicting things it was trying to do. I was hoping for three good vintage type tones, but that may not be possible with the design. Problem is if you get the P-90 dialed in (with magnets and/or pots), you may throw off the HB mode even more. I thought for the Fender mode, it'd have 6 rod magnets. Good idea on paper, but...

                        Hey, don't feel bad. I've been slammed here a few times myself for not going with the crowd. I'd rather go in a different direction, and know why, then follow everyone else and not know why.
                        "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."

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Re: P-Rails...is it supposed to sound like this??

                          just wanna update and i can see what the OP was saying about "attenuated highs" when switching to the full-on humbucker mode...but i also noticed that all the brightness i wanted could be dialed in while in parallel mode.

                          still, i didn't get the pickup to get Tele twang or PAF crunch, i got it so i could have a P90 with some options.
                          green globe burned black by sunn

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Re: P-Rails...is it supposed to sound like this??

                            I experimented this as well when I first tried the P-Rails on a friend's guitar. The idea is great but a tough one to actually achieve. It's the best of three worlds into one package but let's not forget that there's a lot more going on in the wiring scheme and construction of a guitar that defines the tone you get from the pickups, namely the value of the potentiometers, the value/type of the capacitors, the position of the pickups, the type of wiring, the type of guitar, the wood on the body, the wood on the fretboard, and even the strings gauge. In the end, all this contributes to the tone you get from the pickups when you connect the guitar.

                            Humbuckers, P-90s and Rails are pickups designed to function with a set of specific characteristics on regards to wiring and construction, so throwing the three of them together into one guitar with a generic scheme and expecting them to all be great in their own field of action is really difficult (even though I'm sure SD designed them in such a way that this could be somehow approximated). That's why I could never cope with the proposed scheme of using 500K pots, 0.047uF caps, rails inside positioning of the pickups (for all options on the P-Rails on every type of guitar).

                            When I first tried the P-Rails, my friend's guitar had that configuration and I thought they sounded ok (in part due the fantastic guitar he had'em installed in) but they were definitely not great. Still I think these pups have awesome potential and a lot of people have reported great results although they are mixed ones (most get great results with the P-90s, some have managed to get nice crunching humbuckers and others report getting some twangy rails... But I've yet to see someone reporting on getting all options to sound great). That's why I have a strong disbelief that you can be achieve excellent results for all options with a generic scheme.

                            First I think you need a VERY special guitar (versatility is the word that comes to my mind). Second you need to find a way to combine and switch between different wiring schemes that can help bring forward the specific tonal characteristics of each possible option within the P-Rails. If you're not willing to mod the heck out of your guitar to achieve this then I think you'll have to compromise with one generic scheme and settle for having the P-Rails be great at one of its options and ok at the rest (considering them as added gimmicks as some have pointed out).

                            I'm actually doing some HEAVY modifications to my Epiphone Supernova to try and achieve this with three P-Rails and three Triple-shots (nalo1022 is helping me with the design in another thread... You're all welcome to check it out but I must warn you that there are some LONG posts in there!). It's definitely not a project for everybody. If you're not an insanely compulsive "tweaker" as myself, all you'll perceive is a complicated guitar with zero practicality that requires A LOT of investment.... But I'm funny that way! I'll report back when the project is done.

                            Cheers!

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                            • #29
                              Re: P-Rails...is it supposed to sound like this??

                              in all honesty I'm about to ditch my P-Rails because the guitar they're in is spectacular (Hamer Newport) and it deserves to sound as great as it is. I love the versatility the P-Rails give me but overall so-so tone (reflects my so-so playing ironically). I have no idea what to try next, probably Magnatrons. But I digress... my point is that over 2 years later I'm not so enthused and I think I can do better. The Seths the guitar came with did a great job tonewise but nowhere near the versatility of P-Rails.

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                              • #30
                                Re: P-Rails...is it supposed to sound like this??

                                OK, so last night I reversed the orientation of the P-Rails (rail toward the bridge and P-90 toward the neck). Very little, if any, difference in the sound of the P-90. But this actually made a big difference in the sound of the rail...much brighter/twngier. As a result, the humbucker in series also sounds brighter. Again, very little difference between the P-90 and the humbucker in parallel.

                                This weekend I'm going to try different magnets and see what happens.
                                Originally Posted by IanBallard
                                Rule of thumb... the more pot you have, the better your tone.

                                Comment

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