Are mini humbuckers the unsung heroes of the pickup world?

A lot of players are searching for the perfect electric guitar (opens in new tab), or is it really the perfect guitar pickup (opens in new tab). There's a lot of variables involved of course, especially what guitar you put them in, but the myriad choices out that make it a very enjoyable / long search. But what if we're looking for the wrong pickup type in the first place?


(Image credit: Future)

We've always been big P-90 fans – especially recreations of the pre-PAF 50s Gibson designs that are made by the likes of Monty's (opens in new tab) and The Creamery in the UK. But what about mini humbuckers? Some might view them as a compromise, a lesser humbucker. But YouTuber, producer and musician Rick Beato's Les Paul shootout in the video above bucks (ahem) any such suggestion. 

Tone is in the ear of the beholder and Beato and guitarist Rhett Shull use different Les Pauls, of course, but this is an interesting and enlightening comparison for players nonetheless. We have to say we're really liking the brightness of the bridge mini humbucker, and roundness of the neck  position here. 


(Image credit: Neil Godwin)

But really, they all sound good. Guitarists have never had it so good when there's so many modern model options alongside old school recreations. And we still love the vintage P-90 edge with a more open tonality than modern designs - for us it brings a little Tele to the equation for the best of all worlds. Beato loves them too, while Shull also sagely notes the unsung status of mini humbuckers. 

See what you think. 

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar. I've currently set aside any pipe dreams of getting anywhere with my own songs and I am enjoying playing covers in function bands.