This doesn’t mean these tonal roads are forever closed to you, though. By putting a P90 interior in a dual-coil casing, it lets you switch pickup styles without making any adjustments to your instrument. While there isn’t as much variety in humbucker-sized P90s as there is in the traditional shape, there are still a lot of excellent options out there. Check out the P90’s below if you want to experiment with this unique twist on your instrument’s tone.
These are our reviews of the 4 best P90’s that fit in humbucker slots on the market:
P90 That Fits in Humbucker Slot 1: Seymour Duncan P-Rails
- Seymour Duncan P-Rails Set Black Electric Guitar Electronics
- Price: $195.00
- Price as of 10/29/2020 07:28 PDT(more info about ad)
The P-Rails pickup from Seymour Duncan is a hybrid in more ways than one. Not only is it a humbucker-sized P90, it also merges a Hot Rod coil into their typically vintage-inspired P90 design. The result is one of the most versatile pickups you’ll hear.
The secret is in the design of the coil (see full specs). There are two Alnico V magnets in each, with a 3-way selector switch that lets you choose both rails or either individually. This basically gives you three pickups in one: a classic single-coil Strat tone, a fat P90 tone, or a massive, punchy humbucker tone. The coils are wound to still give you the hum cancellation of a traditional dual-coil pickup.
Seymour Duncan builds their pickups to last inside and out. The posts are vacuum wax potted to eliminated unwanted noise. Even the included wiring is versatile to any configuration. If you’re looking for the most tonal options, this is the pickup to deliver them.
P90 That Fits in Humbucker Slot 2: Seymour Duncan Phat Cat
- Seymour Duncan SPH90-1N Phat Cat Humbucker Neck Pickup - Nickel
- Price: $89.00
- Price as of 10/29/2020 07:28 PDT(more info about ad)
Another terrific option from the Seymour Duncan catalog is their SPH90 Phat Cat. This is the perfect pickup if you want a brighter, brasher sound than most humbuckers will deliver. Depending on your set-up it can give you a country twang, a bluesy edge, or a classic rock squeal, and all with the same balanced, full tone.
Unlike the P-Rails, this is a true P90 (see full specs). This means there’s only a single coil under the cover, so you will still get some of that 60-cycle hum. It does use a nickel casing, which reduces the extraneous signal noise, so the hum will be less noticeable than with other single-coil styles.
The Alnico II magnet in the Phat Cat is great for sustain. It’s not as strong on the attack, which can get slightly muddied at higher gain levels, depending on your EQ settings. That’s our only complaint about this beast of a pickup.
P90 That Fits in Humbucker Slot 3: DiMarzio Bluesbucker
- DiMarzio DP163 Bluesbucker Humbucker Pickup Black Regular Spacing
- Price: $79.99
- Price as of 10/28/2020 22:16 PDT(more info about ad)
DiMarzio pioneered the replacement pickup industry, so it’s no surprise they make innovative hybrid pickups. Like the Seymour Duncan P-Rails, it’s a humbucking pickup with a coil that can be split to give you a P90 sound. Expanding its versatility, it sounds equally good in the neck or bridge position of your instrument.
The main complaint against the Bluesbucker is that it’s noisy when the coils are split. This doesn’t bother some players but it’s definitely something you’ll want to be aware of. Sound-wise, it has the chiming, open sound you want from a single-coil pickup. It can even give you a good bit of twang, depending on how you adjust the poles in the hot coil.
When it comes to durability and construction quality, you don’t have anything to worry about from a DiMarzio pickup. They’re consistently well-built model to model, designed to expand the tonal possibilities of guitarists across genres and at all levels.
P90 That Fits in Humbucker Slot 4: TFW Replacement Pickup Set
- TFW Replacement Pickup Set - P90, Humbucker Size Set of 2
- Price: $34.99
- Price as of 10/29/2020 02:18 PDT(more info about ad)
Here’s one for players on a tight budget. The Fretwire P90 Humbucker uses a ceramic magnet to give it a bold, powerful sound. They’re well-built, too, and don’t give you any feedback or extra noise. That’s especially impressive considering they cost so little.
Sound-wise, these have a vintage-inspired tone that sounds especially great in the humbucker slot of a Strat. It’s not quite as full as the pricier models above, and the Fretwire P90 doesn’t give you quite as much tonal versatility. While we like its sound at higher gain levels, this is not the pickup if you want a super high output tone.
The Fretwire P90 does have its limitations. As affordable pickups go, though, it definitely outplays its price point. The high build quality really makes it, for the money, the best value on the list.
P90’s That Fit in Humbucker Slots: One Coil or Two?
This might seem like a trick question, since a P90 pickup is a single-coil by definition. As you can see from the reviews above, though, some manufacturers give you the option of splitting a dual-coil pickup, essentially giving you two pickups in one package.
The main downside of splittable pickups is cost. You’ll pay more for this style of humbucker-sized P90 than you will for a single-coil design of similar quality. They also tend to be noisier, especially when the coils are split.
The main positive of a splittable coil is fairly obvious: they’re way more versatile. You can use a P90 on one song and a humbucker on the next without changing guitars. This is perfect for gigging guitarists since it lets you be ready to play in a variety of styles at the drop of a hat.
A coil switch isn’t the only way to get more sounds out of a pickup. Some of these models also offer the option of adjustable poles. While it’s not as quick as flipping a switch, adjusting the poles can give you a lot of control over your pickups, and that’s important when you’re on the quest for the perfect tone.
Ultimately, though, the decision does come down to sound, and the coil design isn’t the only factor. The P90’s magnet material and winding style are going to have the largest impact on the tone. These stats give you an idea of what to expect, but there’s no substitute for hearing the pickup in action (ideally in real life or, if nothing else, via a Youtube video). Find the one that catches your eye and give it a listen to help decide whether it’s right for you.
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