My "Home Sick" Mini Pickup Shootout... PRS, Gibson, Bare Knuckle, and Motor City Content

M@tt C

Silver Supporting Member
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2,116
I’ve been home sick for the past few days, so I decided to put a little pickup shootout together.


I recently picked up solid players grade ebony 2008 PRS SC245 (see my avatar for a pic). I had been playing super strat type guitars for a while, but wanted something more LP-ish to mess with. My cover band does “chunky party rock” (Billy Idol, Green Day, Collective Soul, etc.) so I like the LP tone for that material but the ergonomics just don’t work for me. Anyway, I spotted it at the local GC, liked it, cut a deal, and it came home with me.


For some reason it came loaded with Gibson 498T/ 490R pickups. We’ll start there.


Not bad! The bridge was a little scooped in the mids and the low end was a little light, but it was do- able. Bright- ish overall. Same with the neck pickup- not bad but a little on the bright side. Almost single coil sounding. Both cleaned up well- PRS does a really nice job with the pots and caps.


Next, I had a set of Bareknuckle Rebel Yells to drop in (secretly I wanted the PRS to be a kinda poor man’s Knaggs Steve Stevens). I fired up the soldering iron and had at it.


Ahhh…MUCH more like what I was looking for. Bridge had good lows with an articulate top end and a really nice juicy harmonically rich midrange. Wound strings had a nice growl whan you dug in. The neck followed suit, but I’m still not sure if I like the additional mids there. Maybe a little too “throaty.” Overall I liked the RY’s, but wondered if there was TOO much mids between the natural voice of the guitar and the pickups.


And finally ….I had snagged a Motor City bridge Afwayu off Reverb, and it showed up yesterday. Gotta try it, right?


My impressions:

Yessssssss…..take the Rebel Yell and add more lows/ mid lows and a slightly more aggressive upper midrange and you get the Afwayu. Rich, punchy with a cool grind yet it still cleans up nicely. Super articulate even with a ton of gain. Single notes were just a little fatter than the with the RY. Done- it stays! It works really well to help balance out the guitar’s lighter bottom end.


So, in summary- the Gibsons aren’t bad at all, and I could have left them in and been pretty happy. The Rebel Yells are definitely a step up, but I think they would work best in a guitar that has some natural thump to it. The Afwayu seems to be just the ticket for a guitar that can use a little help in the a$$ department, but it may be TOO much in a naturally dark guitar. Right now I'm sticking with the RY in the neck and the Afwauy in the bridge, but may drop the Gibson back in the neck at a later point.


So, there you have it! My sick days pickup shootout- hope you enjoyed it!
 

doc

Silver Supporting Member
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7,130
My mind is boggled at the idea that a Gibson 490R sounds "a little on the bright side" and "almost single coil sounding". I'm not sure you're hearing isn't affected by your illness, but thanks for your review. Get well soon.
 

TremoJem

Member
Messages
340
O.K., so I have a 2015 PRS S2 Singlecut.

I am not really bonding with the stock pickups.

I am leaning towards a Seymor Duncan 59 or Pearly Gates for the neck and a Bill Lawrence 500L for the bridge.

I want that Nuno clean throwback "cleans" that he gets and of course the great lead or gain tone that he gets.

I don't know if these would really be a good choice or not, just throwing it into the mix.

I really want to be able to turn back on the guitar volume and have it clean up real nice, but still have great edge when maxed and maybe a boost pedal kicked in.
 

Brian N

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1,725
Very nice thread, this was very relevant to me. My SG had a 498t, I put in a Rebel Yell and love it. Now I'm going to have to check out the motor city afwayu.
 

doc

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,130
I clicked on this thread originally because I have a Les Paul with the 490R/498T set I've been thinking about messing with. A lot of people find these to be somewhat mismatched - the neck is muddy when the bridge is EQ'd right, and the bridge is thin and brittle when the neck is right. Some swap the A5 magnet in the bridge for the A2 in the neck with good results. I've been considering putting an A4 in the neck and A8 in the bridge. As the OP said though, they don't sound bad stock.

TremoJem, you might get more input on your setup with a new thread, or search for "Nuno" or "Bill Lawrence". I'd say for what you want its a good plan.
 

SmittySensei

Member
Messages
23
Those of you looking into the Rebel Yells, may I also suggest the Nailbombs? I took out the stock PUs from my 93 Explorer and put a set of Nailbombs in, and I have to say I'm really happy with the choice. WAY more balanced and super smooth highs that balance out against the bass on an already super bassy instrument.
 

M@tt C

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,116
My mind is boggled at the idea that a Gibson 490R sounds "a little on the bright side" and "almost single coil sounding". I'm not sure you're hearing isn't affected by your illness, but thanks for your review. Get well soon.
I dunno.... that's how it sounded to me! The PRS is a naturally a fairly bright guitar- perhaps that had something to do with it.
 

TTBZ

Member
Messages
802
Very nice thread, this was very relevant to me. My SG had a 498t, I put in a Rebel Yell and love it. Now I'm going to have to check out the motor city afwayu.
I've been wanting to try the RY in my SG - had one in my all mahogany LP and it was a bit too thick for rhythm playing but I loved it for leads. Think it'd go nicely in the slightly thinner SG but this motor city now has my interest!

M@tt, which do you think would work best in an SG out of these two?
 
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Stratobuc

Member
Messages
15,922
I once owned a '71 Goldtop Deluxe with the mini-buckers. I never bonded with the tone, and wound up selling it. I think it was probably what I was playing it through (A Peavey Deuce). I think its important to match the amp with the pickups in your guitars. I know my Deluxe sounded nothing like Pete Townshend's!
 

Mikhael

Member
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2,995
Crap. I saw the thread title and thought it was about Mini-humbuckers, my favourite neck pickup.
 

M@tt C

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,116
I've been wanting to try the RY in my SG - had one in my all mahogany LP and it was a bit too thick for rhythm playing but I loved it for leads. Think it'd go nicely in the slightly thinner SG but this motor city now has my interest!

M@tt, which do you think would work best in an SG out of these two?
The Motor City is definitely darker/ thicker than the RY, but keep in mind the PRS is mahogany with a maple cap. The SG might be a little darker naturally without the maple cap. They are both really top notch pickups though!
 




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