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920D Custom Pre-wired P-Rails Pickguard Install (with pics)

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Axeually, Jan 9, 2017.

  1. Axeually

    Axeually TDPRI Member

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    Hey, guys,

    I recently got inspired by a buddy to install some new pick-ups in an old Mexican-made Strat of mine. I wanted something versatile that could sound like a Strat, but I also liked the idea of P-90s! So, I took out my old MIM Strat and pulled of the old, crusty strings... You can see the frets have some oxidation built up on the frets:

    image7.JPG

    Picture here is the pre-wired Custom 920D pickguard loaded with p-Rails from Sigler Music in its shipping material.... Pretty nice job packing it up:
    image1.JPG




    Here is a picture of the pickguard and controls. Each one of the pots is a push-pull, so they all have different effects on the pickups. If I remember correctly, pulling the volume pot splits the P-rails to P-90s, pulling the neck tone pot splits all of the pickups to the rail-side of a single coil sound, and pulling the bridge tone pot activates the neck pickup, regardless of the 5-way switch position.

    image2.JPG


    Here are some close-ups of the pick-ups: image3.JPG


    image4.JPG

    See the next post for more details!
     
  2. Axeually

    Axeually TDPRI Member

    Age:
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    Here, you can see the stock pickguard is removed:


    image10.JPG





    Here is the new, custom pickguard next to the body. It was at this point that I realized a little issue: a standard Strat body is only milled to accept a single coil pickup in the neck position! DOH!! Good thing I was not doing this mod on my American made Strat! Whew!
    image11.JPG


    Here are some close-ups of the frets. You can see that they were pretty well oxidized. I hadn't used the guitar in several years, and that is why I figured that this might be a great donor guitar for this kind of project!!
    image12.JPG image13.JPG

    More details to follow!
     
  3. Axeually

    Axeually TDPRI Member

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    Unfortunately, I did not take picture of the interior of the body of the guitar after doing some dremel work to widen the neck pickup cavity to accept the neck P-rail! Sorry, guys... I dropped the ball there. I did take a video of my dad doing a little bit of the routing while my hands were free, so maybe I will upload that a little later!

    Here, I decided to address the frets, so I covered the whole fret board in masking tap, and I used a razor to cut out holes in the tape to uncover the frets. If you look closely, you can see the dark coloring on the frets, even from this distanced shot. I used the steel wool (#0000) that you can see in the bottom left of the picture to polish the frets.

    image14.JPG




    Here are some pics of the frets before the polishing:
    image15.JPG



    Here are some pics of the frets after the polishing had taken place:


    image16.JPG

    Here is a picture of the pretty little frets after the tape was removed and guitar was restrung: image19.JPG



    Here is the pickguard after being installed into the body of the donor Strat!
    image20.JPG
     
  4. Axeually

    Axeually TDPRI Member

    Age:
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    Finally, here is the finished product:

    image17.JPG



    I have played it a little bit, and one thing that I can say is that it certainly does not seem to be as bright as a traditional single coil strat, but not in a bad way; it takes the harsh bite off of the single coil tones while retaining that single coil chime (when in the single coil rail mode). All in all, I have not played around with it much, yet, but once I get a really chance to put her through the paces, I will try to give a review of the pickups.
     
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  5. deadicated

    deadicated Tele-Holic

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    Enjoy p rails are great pickups. I know i really like mine although the're in a mahogany guitar. I don't quite get the switching system they used though. I haven't thought about it all that hard either.
     
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  6. Axeually

    Axeually TDPRI Member

    Age:
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    Yeah, it is an interesting system... They tried to wire it up so that you could switch between a humbucking sound, a P-90 sound, and a single coil sound, with the last pot giving you the ability to activate all three pickups at once, or just the neck and bridge pickups at the same time. It is a ton of option! I'm not sure that I will be using all of the different options all the time, because I tend to find a favorite for a few months, then find a new favorite and stick with it a few months, and so on. :)

    How do you like using your P-90s? Do you use them as humbuckers, P-90s, or single coils most of the time?
     
  7. deadicated

    deadicated Tele-Holic

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    To me the P-90 is the star of the show. It just sounds just like it should. That being said they are all pretty good. The single seems to be the weakest link but I believe it's just because it's a blade instead of a traditional single. The humbuckers while not the best I've ever played don't really leave me with anything to complain about either. All round they are just a well thought out and executed product. I've never even thought about swapping them out.
     
  8. MahoganyStratDZ

    MahoganyStratDZ Tele-Holic

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    The P Rails are cool pups. I really like the bridge P 90 and Humbucker and the neck P 90. In fact for P 90 imho they sound impressive.

    I never seen a schematic with a middle pick up with the P Rails. . But without the p rail rings they can be a little tricky to get all the tones. What your doing is the neck and bridge are push pull split for P 90 and Humbucker then the middle stands alone so your 2 and 4 position is either the middle pup with a humbucker and P 90 or alonen What it's missing Is the Single rail Coil tones? The bridge is decent.
     
  9. Tubeboy

    Tubeboy Tele-Meister

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    Saratoga Springs NY
    Here's a Blacktop Strat with P rails. Installed 2 mini switches for the pickup modes. I like this arrangement because you can mix say a P 90 neck with a single coil bridge or the other way around. The Epi LP has the push pull pots so you can't do that.
     

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  10. Wrong-Note Rod

    Wrong-Note Rod Poster Extraordinaire

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    atlanta
    P-rails are great, I have one in a neck position for strat.

    The thin little single coil by itself is a bit weak, but sounds pretty good with a boost.
     
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