Humbucker sized P90s solve this problem by putting a humbucker case on a pickup wound like a P90, giving you that distinctive tone without alterations to your instrument. We’ve picked out some of our favorites below—in our estimation, the best ways to expand the sonic possibilities of your guitar.
Here are our reviews of the 4 best humbucker sized P90 pickups on the market:
Seymour Duncan SPH Phat Cat P90 Pickups
- Seymour Duncan SPH90-1 Phat Cat Nickel Set P-90 Pickups Bridge/Neck 11108-16-NC
- Price: $169.00
- Price as of 10/22/2020 15:19 PDT(more info about ad)
Seymour Duncan is one of the most respected names in guitar pickups, and the Phat Cat is probably the most recommended humbucker-sized P90s that you’ll find on the market. It’s basically a soapbar-style single-coil pickup plopped under a humbucker cover, letting you get the single-coil pickup sound you want for genres like rock and country on a guitar that was built for humbuckers.
This set includes both the neck and bridge pickups in one (see full specs). You can buy them individually, too, if you’d prefer, but you’ll save a few bucks overall buying them together, if you know you’ll want to put them in both positions. Even though this is the most expensive pickup set on the list, you can try them risk-free thanks to Seymour Duncan’s Real World Exchange Policy. You’ll get 21 days to try them out on your guitar. If you don’t like them for any reason, you can exchange them for any other Seymour Duncan pickup, no questions asked.
In terms of the pickup itself, it uses an Alnico 2 magnet with a classic single-coil design. This gives you a big sound with superior sustain, but with a less aggressive front end than you’ll get out of most single-coil designs. While it does still produce the 60-cycle hum like a normal single-coil pickup, the nickel plating reduces the amount of extraneous noise and gives the signal extra shielding to prevent interference. If what you’re after is a single-coil sound from a dual-coil guitar, the Phat Cat is the way to get it, making it one of the best humbucker sized P90 pickups around.
Seymour Duncan TBPR-1b P-Rails P90 Trembucker Bridge Pickup
- Seymour Duncan TBPR-1b P-Rails P-90 Trembucker Bridge Pickup, Black
- Price: $99.00
- Price as of 10/22/2020 15:19 PDT(more info about ad)
Another great option from Seymour Duncan is the P-Rails P-90 Trembucker, which is an especially powerful and versatile little pickup. It gives you the option of switching between a P90 and a single-coil sound, all in a package that will drop right in to any humbucker guitar. And just like the Phat Cat above, you’ll get to take advantage of Seymour Duncan’s Real World Exchange policy, letting you try it out risk-free.
A trembucker (see full specs) is slightly different than a humbucker. It’s the same basic shape, but it’s designed for F-spaced guitars—a slightly wider spacing than typical pickups. Add that spacing to the switchable design and you have one of the most unique pickups you’ll find from any brand.
The three-way toggle lets you choose to use either coil separately or both coils together. You’ll get an authentic P90 tone out of the first coil, or switch to the rail coil and get a classic Strat-like punch. The combination of wax-potted poles and Alnico 5 magnets round out the quality construction and sound production. This is one of the best humbucker sized P90 pickups around.
DiMarzio DP163 Bluesbucker Humbucker P90 Pickup
- DiMarzio DP163 Bluesbucker Humbucker Pickup Black Regular Spacing
- Price: $79.99
- Price as of 10/22/2020 22:44 PDT(more info about ad)
Another brand that’s well-known for their high-quality pickups is DiMarzio, and the Bluesbucker is their entry into the humbucker-sized P90 category. Like the P-rails Trembucker above it gives you multiple different tonal options, basically functioning like two different pickups combined into one—all in a package that fits any humbucker guitar with no modifications.
The Bluesbucker really is the best of both worlds when you’re talking about pickups. It cancels out the hum just like a typical humbucker, but still gives you the bright, bold tone of a standard P90. Even better, you can also split the pickup and get a Strat-like single-coil sound, making this a very versatile pickup that can adapt to almost any playing style—all without any extraneous noise.
There’s some very advanced technology inside of this pickup. The most notable is the Airbucker technology, which uses a narrow string window that gives the pickup the dynamic sensitivity of a classic single-coil pickup. The Virtual Vintage technology, meanwhile, gives it an open, transparent tone, especially when you use Bluesbuckers in both the bridge and neck positions. If you’re looking for the most versatile humbucker sized P90, this is a great option for you.
TFW Replacement Pickup Set Humbucker Sized P90
- TFW Replacement Pickup Set - P90, Humbucker Size Set of 2
- Price: $34.99
- Price as of 10/23/2020 03:06 PDT(more info about ad)
If you’re on a tight budget and need an option that’s a bit more affordable than the three above, this set of humbucker sized P90s from The Fret Wire is definitely worth a look. You’ll get a pair of pickups, one each for the neck and bridge, for about half what you’d pay for a single pickup from many other brands—an absolute steal, in our book.
The main difference between this pickup and costlier options is the magnet. It uses a ceramic magnet rather than the more expensive Alnico magnets that are in the three pickup models above. Ceramic magnets lack some of the subtlety you’ll get out of the more expensive Alnico magnets, but they also give you more output overall, something a lot of people are looking for out of a P90 pickup, anyway.
If you’re curious about the noise level, these will still eliminate the 60-cycle hum like any other humbucker if you use them in the middle position. The build quality is solid, too, especially considering the price. The sound quality isn’t quite as high as with some of the costlier pickups above, but if you want that classic P90 tone for a fantastic value, you really can’t beat the price on these pickups.
The Bottom Line on the Best Humbucker Sized P90 Pickups
On average, humbucker sized P90s cost a bit more than other pickups. If you want that P90 sound, though, your only other options are to make modifications to your guitar or to buy a new guitar built for P90 pickups—and both of those options will cost a lot more than any of the pickups on this list. The ease and versatility of these pickups makes them well worth the investment. Good luck!
Micah Johnson started playing music in high school, when he taught himself the bass to join his friend’s band. He added guitar and drums during his twenties playing in local clubs, and along the way, he picked up unique, hands-on experience from hand drums to studio mixers. On Song Simian, he aims to share this knowledge from 20+ years playing and recording music. When not in gearhead mode, he enjoys photography and travel. Email him