In the quest for tone, the secret is a combination of pickups, wood, construction, and the magic in a player’s fingers. Aiming for a tone like a P-90 with hot midrange, Railhammer is now offering the humbuckers previously available only in Reverend’s Billy Corgan signature guitar (“Approved Gear,” May ’22).
Part of the company’s Humcutter line, the ceramic-magnet Z-Ones have a single rail under the wound strings (for tightness) and three slugs under the top three (for clarity). The overall sound blends poppin’ midrange with big bottom and balanced highs – without the dreaded hum of single-coil pickups.
A critical piece of any replacement-pickup puzzle is wood. Install the Corgans in a mahogany body/neck guitar (like a Gibson or many PRS models), and they’ll sound warmer and mellower than in an alder body with a bolt-on maple neck (like a typical Fender). In our A/B comparisons with mahogany-bodied axes, they sounded brighter and funkier in an alder plank; with mahogany, one would expect a clearer tone than PAF-style humbuckers – again, more like a P-90. In our tests, they were always noise-free. And, Railhammer ups the ante with etched covers in chrome, gold, and black.
In all, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters are about delivering humbucker clarity with punchy midrange, along with the joy of quiet design.
This article originally appeared in VG’s February 2023 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.