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How do the humbucker settings in the P-Rails compare to a Pearly Gates?

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  • How do the humbucker settings in the P-Rails compare to a Pearly Gates?

    I just got an Epiphone Dot for a great price and want to do some upgrading, including the pickups. I'm looking at the P-Rails for ultimate versatility and the Pearly Gates because I don't have a PAF equipped guitar currently. While I love the idea of the versatility of the P-Rails, I already have 3 telecasters with more or less standard pickups and 1 thinline telecaster with Duncan Vintage P-90's, so I've got my P-90s and single coils covered. My biggest need out of the P-Rails, if I go that direction, will be the humbucker tones, so I'm left wondering how the P-Rail humbucker modes sound. Are they very PAF-ish, or are they a different beast entirely?

    I play a variety of styles, but mostly revolving around rock/blues/funk/country stuff, into a deluxe reverb style amp.

  • #2
    Welcome to the forum!

    The P-Rail's series humbucker tones are thicker and more full sounding than the Pearlies. The Pearly Gates have the typical scooped PAF tones (with some extra treble). I don't think the P-Rails sound remotely like a PAF, in any of the settings (either coil, series, parallel, etc). If you are after PAF sound, go with a PAF-voiced pickup. If you love a good P90ish sound, go for the P-Rails and get some bonus sounds in there, too (use Triple Shot rings).
    Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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    • #3
      Not PAF. They're modern, compressed, and dark in series. Very authentic sounding p90 tones though, and the rails in parallel can do a decent stratty or tele sound (depending on whether or not you go rails in or out).
      Join me in the fight against muscular atrophy!

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      This planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.

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      • #4
        If you want PAF tones get PAFs. Generally anything that does multiple things is going to be not great at all those things. And even if it is great at all those things, you may find yourself wondering if you're getting the true experience. At least I do/did
        Originally posted by crusty philtrum
        Anyone who *sings* at me through their teeth deserves to have a bus drive through their face
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        • #5
          Thanks y'all. I'm leaning toward the PG. I had them in an old Tele FMT and really enjoyed them. I've got all the versatility I need in my other guitars, so I'd rather get a really solid humbucker sound, and from the descriptions y'all gave on the humbucker sounds on the P-Rail aren't really my jam. If I need a P-90 sound, I'll pick up the thinline, if I need standard single coils, I've got a lot of options.

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          • #6
            A lot of people do not like the P-Rails in humbucker mode because of the compression. However, I find them to be serviceable for retro metal tones. Full disclosure I removed my P-Rails recently because I was not using the P90 as much as I thought I would.


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            • #7
              If you get the P-Rails definitely try them in parallel mode. They’re not like any typical HB in parallel, and as it relates to gain structure and high end brightness, that’s the sound that will behave the most like a PAF.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by frankfalbo View Post
                If you get the P-Rails definitely try them in parallel mode. They’re not like any typical HB in parallel, and as it relates to gain structure and high end brightness, that’s the sound that will behave the most like a PAF.
                THIS.

                I've had a set of P-Rails in my SG since 2015 or so, and I find the parallel setting to be quite PAF-like with a few caveats. The biggest difference I notice is that they're far less compressed and have a quicker attack that reminds me of a single coil. Compared to a Pearly Gates specifically, I find the bass is much tighter as you'd expect from an A5 pickup compared to the PG's A2. I also find that the highs are sharp rather than 'sweet', but that's not an issue for me as I generally don't care for A2 pickups. Despite the caveats I probably use my P-Rails in parallel more than any other setting.

                Edit: The series settings sound nothing like a Pearly Gates. In terms of output, they hang with a JB, Custom, or Distortion, and sound something like the old Gibson Tony Iommi signature pickup.
                dystrust
                Mojo's Minions
                Last edited by dystrust; 12-05-2022, 03:31 PM.
                Originally posted by crusty philtrum
                And that's probably because most people with electric guitars seem more interested in their own performance rather than the effect on the listener ... in fact i don't think many people who own electric guitars even give a poop about the effect on a listener. Which is why many people play electric guitars but very very few of them are actually musicians.

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                • #9
                  A P-Rails N in parallel should have an inductance of 1.95H and a DCR of 3.1k or something like that. It's more Filter'Tron than P.A.F. in my humble understanding but parallel wiring always appears to me as a good idea with high DCR/inductance series values... and if ever the parallel option is too clear/crisp/SC sounding, it's always possible to add a low value cap from hot to ground in order to lower the overall resonant frequency. I use 3.3nF caps to obtain P.A.F.ish sounds from std Filter'Tron's and find this simple trick pretty efficient.

                  FWIW - 2 cents, not much less than the price of a capacitor. :-)
                  Duncan user since the 80's...

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                  • #10
                    +1 to the old Tony Iommi sign. PU. The PRails are really thick in series and do their own thing.
                    I get the feeling the A8 will blow your skirt up more so - Edgecrusher

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                    • #11
                      How do the humbucker settings in the P-Rails compare to a Pearly Gates?

                      They don't! Especially the series setting...not even close!!
                      The parallel setting sounds really good...great clarity. But still not very close to a Pearly.
                      Originally Posted by IanBallard
                      Rule of thumb... the more pot you have, the better your tone.

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                      • #12
                        The parallel P-Rail sound is the best sound in the pickup to me (followed closely by the P90 coil).
                        Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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