Guitar Gear Review: Seymour Duncan P-Rails Adds Endless Tone Combinations To Your Guitar

When testing gear here at TMRzoo we use an array of guitars and pickups  to form a well rounded opinion of the device we are testing. An amp or device that sounds clean or subtle with one guitar may sound dirty or more intense with another.

The go-to guitar for testing at the TMR offices is an 1980 Ibanez Iceman affectionately named Black Betty. This particular guitar is outfited with a Seymour Duncan Dimebucker in the bridge and a Seymour Duncan Jazz in the neck. Both pickups are coil tapped and they are on a phase switch. Black Betty gives us a range of tone to do our testing . We also do quite of bit of testing with our Seymour Duncan Hot Rails  modded black Fender Telecaster which is also coil tapped.

It should be no surprise that when we built our latest test guitar “Stunt Guitar One” we turned to Seymour Duncan for the pickups.

Stunt Guitar One is a Black Fender Stratocaster that we outfitted with all black trim and hardware. Many pickup configurations were tossed around to finish off this beast we finally decided the main pick up would be a Seymour Duncan P-Rails.

The P-Rails is a humbucker sized pickup that can be switched between a mid/high output humbucker, a classic P90 or a single coil pick up. The P-Rails when used as a humbucker is packing a  whopping 18.80K Ohm. More than enough bit to play the heaviest of hard rock. The mids are incredibly punchy and the highs sparkle. The pickup is very balanced even in dropped tunings the bass stayed true and clear.

The P90 position sounds spot on, true vintage. To give it the true test I ran through some of The Who, The Clash and Greenday’s tunes. Pete Townshend, Mick Jones  and Billie Joe Armstrong are all P90 devotees as were jazz greats Les Paul and Wes Montgomery. The P-Rails is clean and clear enough to play the sweetest jazz licks. The pickup has enough funk to unleash some of the dirt John Lennon would get on Beatles classics like Helter Skelter with his P90 outfitted Epiphone Casino.

One of the big reasons why we chose the P-Rails is sometimes a Stratocaster needs to sound like a Stratocaster. In the “rails” position we were able to dial in a bit of David Gilmore. The coil has a nice little twang to it and a modest amount of power.

The most amazing thing about the P-Rails was the ease of installation. We installed the P-Rails using an on-off-on toggle switch configuration. The wiring diagram was more than simple enough to follow we were up and running in record time. If you are not experienced in doing your own modifications I would suggest having a guitar tech installing the pickup for you.

This pickup is awesome for you cover band guys that need an wide library of tones on a single gig. Studio musicians will also benefit from this pickup. Anyone with a desire to have a palette of tones at their finger tips will love the P-Rail. Three distinct tones coming from one pickup…this is amazing.

Seeing the P-Rails is now part of my gigging rig it gets our TMR Editor’s Choice Award. Also watch for the P-Rails to be used in our product reviews now that “Stunt Guitar One” is joining “Black Betty” as a TMRzoo testing guitar.

To learn more about the P-Rails or any of Seymour Duncan’s products please visit