Joe Naylor has a long history of designing and marketing everything in the music business from high-end amps, guitars, basses, speakers, and effects pedals to his latest Railhammer pickups. His pickups all utilize a unique mix of blades and round polepieces to produce a more balanced tone than what is available by using one format or the other. Naylor’s latest is the Nuevo 90, part of the Humcutter series – P-90-styled hum-canceling pickups.
The Humcutter Nuevo 90 is a humbucker-sized pickup that, like all Railhammer designs, features their patented mix of blades and round polepieces. The blades are used under the wound strings to create a tighter low-end by sensing a smaller area of the strings’ vibrations; the large round poles sense a wider area of the string, and are used under the plain strings to give them as much fatness as possible. The neck measures out at 7.8k, and the bridge at 9k, and both utilize ceramic magnets. They are available with either chrome or black covers.
Mounted in a slab-bodied, bolt-on neck guitar and played through a reissue Deluxe Reverb, the pair of Nuevo 90s delivered stout, wiry tones that definitely mirror those of P-90s. The neck pickup was full-bodied and punchy with every note putting out a very commanding girth. The bridge Nuevo had the all the added midrange grind that one could would want, while both pickups together produced that slightly hollow tone that P-90 fans know and love.
The Nuevo 90 has the tonal vibe of a hot P-90 with the bonus of being in a much more standardized shape for the pickup swapper. To boot, it is dead quiet and its patented half-rail/half-polepiece design gives it the upper hand with better string-to-string tonal balance.
This article originally appeared in VG April 2018 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.