While I was in a makeover frame of mind, I figured, what not try something I’d always been curious about: installing a P-90 and a humbucker on the same guitar. So I swapped the neck pickup for a Seymour Duncan Phat Cat, a vintage-sounding P-90 is a humbucker-sized housing.
I was never especially into the sound of mixed humbuckers and single-coils on Fender-style guitars, though some of my favorite players have gone that route. I don’t like thinking of one pickup as the “rhythm pickup” and one as the “lead pickup,” and don’t really relate to instruments with big output discrepancies between pickups. Would that be an issue here?
Nope. The relative levels were fine, and I found the pair of sounds quite inspiring.
I needed to record a couple of demos for the Seymour Duncan plug-ins in IK Multimedia’s amp simulator, AmpliTube 3. (These digital replicas of SD’s Power Grid and Shape Shifter pedals aren’t included with the basic program, but are available as inexpensive add-ons from the IK Multimedia store.) I wound up using the Phat Cat/Seth Lover combo for all the guitar tracks, and found the pairing quite satisfying. Check out the rough-mix results, both of which feature all three pickup-selector settings:
Will I keep this configuration? Well, like it says on the old Magic Eight-Ball toys, “Reply hazy—ask again later.” I like this blend, but I really dig the Seth Lover neck pickup as well, and there are some other odd things I’d like to try. But now that I’ve done the math, I’m convinced that Humbucker + P-90 = something cool.