Back in 1999 when first discussing the possibility of launching a guitar with a P90 in the neck position coupled with a Humbucker in the bridge, it was a novel and unusual combination.

The resulting guitars I was involved with, certainly stood out in the shops and offered a fairly unique option compared to what was generally the accepted standard configurations. The press also approved and some good reviews appeared in several magazines.  I had thought a P90 was quite “retro” but the combination with a bridge HB was far from it.

It is a configuration that has since become a favorite with several other Boutique guitar makers and is now even offered on one or two mass-produced instruments.

The Bridge pickup, with a sharper attack and edgier tone is often prefered by players for distortion driven lead work. Being “humbucking”, the HB style pickup is just perfect for the role. 

The Neck pickup is in my opinion more likely to transfer a warmer and richer tone, and lends itself to a cleaner or crunch driven sound. In this context, the P90 which is just a fat single coil, is a great tool. The volume output of any pickup in the neck position is also generally higher than if it was situated in the bridge. So although in theory less powerful than the Humbucker, the volume of the 2 pickups in their respective positions is fairly well balanced.

But there were other considerations too. We were trying to offer an unusual and fresh combination, something marketeers described as a “USP” (Unique Selling Point). We looked at all pickup combination we could think off.  Although considered as an option, a conventional single coil for the neck and a humbucker in the bridge just didn’t look right. The single coil without being mounted on a pickguard looked awkward . Visually the P90 was better proportionned and complimented the whole package. I already had fallen in love with P90s while doing some work on a custom guitar for the late blues guitarsist John Slaughter (Chris Barber Jazz Band) so I had some of those in stock and the first prototype was quickly built for evaluation purposes. It worked.