I was looking for some pickups for a project and came across the Seymour Duncan P-rails which have a massive variety of sounds, but i am unsure how you would wire these pickups, i would like to have these various options: bridge rail and p90, neck rail and p90, rails, p90s, neck p90, neck rail, bridge p90, bridge rail and all of them active. I thought about how you could do this but i am unsure. Would you be able to have a three way switch selecting either the bridge, neck or both and then another three way switch selecting either the rail, p90 or both. But this would leave out options such as both rails and both p90s. I do not think that having all of the options would be possible unless you had 4 way switches independant to each set of the p-rails, which would mean an off mode, rails, p90 and both active on both the sets of pickups. Anyone got any other solutions??The pickups
Thanks! I thought i looked everywhere for a diagram, obviously not. I was trying to invent some way of doing it myself
I will probably go for the 2 volume pots, 2 tone pots, 2 mini switches and a 3 way selector, thanks for the help.
There are also the Seymour Duncan pickup rings that have built-in switching expressly for these pickups.

I have a pair of three-way miniswitches (ala the "Tri-Sound" switches on an Ibanez Artist) that select serial (standard humbucker mode)/P90/rail coil for each pickup individually. Don't forget standard humbucking mode on these pickups! You can also wire them in parallel-humbucking, but I decided I won't use that often enough to bother with. If I did, I'd probably wire that into a push-pull. In any case, the standard three-way LP type switch allows you to combine the two pickups.

One final miniswitch will allow you to put the two pickups out of phase (this can be a push-pull, as well) when both are selected. Since I have a standard four pots, I have a master volume, master tone, blend knob (for when both pickups are selected), and a Chandler tone-x (sweepable mids boost of about 16 dB).

One thing to note regarding the P-Rails. There are three different output level pickups available. Don't assume you need to use a mild one for the neck and choose one of the others for the bridge. I didn't.

And one final thing -- I have P-rails that put the rail coil right next to the fretboard (on the neck pickup) and reverse that orientation, putting the rail coil right next to the bridge (on the bridge pickup). SD will send you pickups that have the logo in the proper orientation for this if you ask them.
Last edited by dspellman at Aug 14, 2014,
Yeah have seen those pickup rings, they are a bit expensive though, around £25 for one. Yeah if i do it the way with two mini switches i would be able to use the standard humbucking mode. What do you mean about the one final miniswitch that could put the two pickups out of phase? Would this mean three mini switches/push-pull? I Was thinking about neck volume, neck tone, bridge volume, bridge tone. From what i have seen the rail coils usually point into the middle? I may be wrong about this though. What tonal differences would you get from having the single coil facing outwards (meaning closer to neck and bridge) than the p90s being closer to neck and bridge?

Do you happen to know if these pickups come with things such as volume and tone pots and wires and so on if bought in a set from a website, i assume they would. Some emgs i bought the other day came with electronics but no pickup rings.
Out of phase is just a funky sound, kind of nasally, when you have two pickups wired to 'fight' each other instead of work together, basically. It can be a neat addition if you want a ton of sounds but it's definitely a more niche addition. I've had it on a few guitars in the past and I don't bother with it any more. The out of phase switch would be in addition to the rest, so you'd have three mini switches, or two mini switches and one push/pull. You can't do the P-rails 3-way switching option with a push/pull so you could not do three push/pulls if you want all the pickup combinations.

Volume and tone for both pickups starts to get crazy fast, especially if you've already got three or four switches on the guitar. Personally I'd do a master volume and master tone, or maybe a master tone and independent volumes. Depends on whether you want maximum versatility or some tradeoff for convenience, though.

Switching the rail coils around is a preference thing, they're "designed" to go one way but they usually sound decent, if a bit different, the other way. Usually they sound a bit fatter one way and thinner the other, depending on where the hotter coil is. It's something you can experiment with when you install the pickups. There's no 'right' way, but the logo will be upside-down with the rails reversed, if that bothers you.

Active pickups often include pots and a switch, because they use unusual values for those, but passives like the P-rails usually just come with mounting screws and springs and nothing else. I've never seen a pickup set that came with its own rings.
Thanks, i like the sound of the out of phase, is it hard to wire and set up? I cant find a wiring diagram that includes this option for the p rail pickups (Im not the best at wiring). I know the sound that you are talking about and so if i wanted individual mini switches for each set of pickups i could not do the out of phase wiring??

It sounds like a good idea to do master volume and tone especially with a set up with so much versitility to start with. I just thought that the wiring diagram that im looking at means you couldnt disable one pickup entirely http://cdn.seymourduncan.com/pdfs/support/schematics/2_p_rails_2v_2t_3w_2mt.pdf) im not sure if that link worked. I will most likely play around with orientation of the pickups if i buy them. I wouldnt be bothered with the logo being upside down.

Yeah i know what you mean i havent bought pickups before apart from my emgs but i definatley think that looking at videos of the p-rails they give a much better sound.
I forgot about the three way switch, forget what i said about not being able to turn off pickups.