Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins fame has teamed up with Railhammer pickups. Together they have designed a set of pickups which you can get in his new Reverend BC1 Signature guitar or that you can now buy separately and put into your own guitar.
Mr Corgan had a pretty distinct tone on many of his old albums, but I’m not so sure he does these days. He seems to like a lot of gain and fuzz, and seems to enjoy the odd quiet interlude as well. As he has been predominantly a single coil player for many years, the ‘gainier’ side of things can often be an issue with this style of pickup.
The new Railhammer pickups are designed to get close to a P90-type tone, which is usually associated with a fat, single-coil tone. They have allegedly given it a bit of a boost in the higher frequencies, though, giving it a ‘slight treble bump’, as they say on their website. It has what they call a dual-coil ‘Humcutter’ to reject as much noise as possible and alleviate some of the noise you would traditionally get with a single-coil P90 unit. Appearance-wise they are unique in that they have three large pole pieces over the high G, B and E strings, then two rails on the other side of the three lower E, A and D strings. Each pickup sports Billy’s signature on them as well. You can buy them in either a silver or black finish.
I have only heard the demos online as yet and have never tried any Railhammer pickups before. On paper they look good and the idea of a P90-type pickup with noise reduction is a good one. You can buy them separately, and each pickup is available in either neck or bridge versions. However I think a matched pair would probably be a better idea for most uses, especially because of their unique look.
RRP USD $109 per pickup.