Perfect PRS? Help!

shallbe

Deputy Plankspanker
Platinum Supporting Member
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11,949
I need some help from PRS and wiring experts.

First of all, I have a great PRS guitar. It is a Custom 22 Artist with a W/F neck and trem. It is finished in a deep orange with a pretty top and a nearly black rosewood board (really loks like ebony) and fiery green abalone birds. I could not have Private Stocked a better looking/feeling guitar---for me.

After going through 3 previous PRS guitars, this is the one. Tweaking it over time (2 years), it plays great and has opened up acoustically. If I could fix a few things sonically/electrically, it would be perfect.

It does not have the McCarty switching. With the 5-way, I find the two "out of phase" sounds redundant, and I don't really use either. However, I like the middle position, and if I went to McCarty switching I would lose that sound--right? Is there anyway to get a "both HB pickups on--ala Les Paul" or single coil tone with my current 5 way? Can I rewire the rotary and get one of the McCarty sounds?

Also, I've adjusted the Dragon 2 pickups mucho over time, and they sound much better with the pickups lower and the polepieces higher and radiused. However, they still are slightly lacking in dynamic response. Any suggestions?

Thanks for the info!
 

MattB

Member
Messages
705
I dont believe that you will lose any switching capability with the McCarty switching. You will get a push pull tone pot to split the coils and a 3 way switch for pickup selection.

Middle position on the toggle = both pickups.
 

A440

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,724
some guys prefer the simplicity of the mccarty switching, but you will lose some sounds.

the middle position on the rotary is actually running 1 coil from each bucker in series. not the same as the full buckers when in the mid position on a 3 way switch.

maybe someone can chime in re possible rewiring of the 5 way to get what you're looking for.
 

Clorenzo

Member
Messages
1,930
I also like the middle rotary position (inner in series) but wanted the both HBs option, so I rewired my CE22 to give me both HBs in the 2nd position (where stock is inner in parallel) and added a push-pull that splits the neck HB and gets the 2nd pos. back to stock. However this is a very complicated mod that involves removing the PCB from the switch and hardwiring it. Not an easy task. The advantage is that once you've removed the PCB you basically have a "5-way superswitch" that you can wire as you like, for example you could get neck, neck split, both HBs, inner in series, bridge.

There's a simpler option with a modified McCarty switching (3-way LP-type switch plus one push-pull) that would give you all those combinations and is much easier to carry out. It would work like this:

Push/pull down: Stock LP switching (neck, both HBs, bridge)

Push/pull up:

1 - Neck split (outer coil)
2 - Neck split (outer coil) + Inner coils in series
3 - Inner coils in series

I have no idea what 2 would sound like but I've found that those unexpected combinations you get as "side effects" sometimes turn out to be cool. If you're interested let me know and I'll draft a wiring diagram for you.
 

Clorenzo

Member
Messages
1,930
Sorry, that was too quick. I forgot that, quite inconveniently, PRS pu's are not 4-wire but 3-wire.

Best I can offer with 3-way + just one push/pull would be:

p/p down: Stock LP

p/p up:

1 - Neck HB
2 - Neck inner in series with [neck outer + bridge inner]
3 - Inner in series

If you want split options as well as the Inner in series, you need a second push/pull.
 

JPenn

Member
Messages
1,809
With the Mac set-up you get 6 sounds instead of 5. So the split sounds don't just "kill", but they can very well get you thru a gig with some Strat & Tele sounds.
 

CarlWerkmeister

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
511
If you have the old style (no PCB) switch you can rewire it for both buckers. There should be something in the archives...if not post in the tech section and Jim Collins will tell you what you need to do...Jim is the best for pickup wiring options...
 

John Phillips

Member
Messages
13,038
My completely personal opinion is that I'd stop fighting the desire to fit some more open, dynamic pickups and the simpler, more versatile McCarty switching ;).

I'd go for completely ordinary Seymour Duncan pickups ('59 or Pearly Gates in the neck, Custom 5 or Custom Custom in the bridge) and completely ordinary toggle + pull-split switching. Six great tones, every one of them what and where you expect it to be.

Some things are just inherently right. I fixed mine like that and I've never had to think about changing it again...

Just my opinion.
 

Clorenzo

Member
Messages
1,930
Originally posted by CarlWerkmeister
If you have the old style (no PCB) switch you can rewire it for both buckers.
True, and even if it's the PCB one, you can also replace it with one of these:

http://guitarelectronics.zoovy.com/product/SWR51
http://guitarelectronics.zoovy.com/product/SWR61

The only problem being that the shafts are not knurled so you can only use set screw type knobs. Other than that, just pick your favourite 5 or 6 combinations in your preferred order and I'll tell you how to wire it. Here's an example of one I did for a fellow TGPer some time ago, including also a push/pull for a total of 8 different combinations (go to the last page of the thread): https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?threads/45522
 

shallbe

Deputy Plankspanker
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
11,949
Forum brothers, thanks for all the help. I really appreciate it.

And John, if I were going to replace my pickups-----it sure would not be with a Duncan product. Any company that would put their name on the lil 59 is not getting my money again. I will go with Lollar Imperials or HD's instead.
 

John Phillips

Member
Messages
13,038
Originally posted by shallbe
And John, if I were going to replace my pickups-----it sure would not be with a Duncan product. Any company that would put their name on the lil 59 is not getting my money again.
Ha! I almost agree :).

That pickup really makes me question whether anyone at Duncan really listened to it and a real '59 at any point in their lives :).

I still think the proper '59 is the best-sounding neck pickup I've ever heard - although to be fair I haven't heard most of the new smaller makers' ones yet.

I do think new pickups will open up that guitar a lot though - I've found every PRS pickup I've heard somehow 'strangled' - too compressed and nasal, with the sole exception of the Soapbars... but they're Duncans ;). I don't think they're bad pickups, just that Paul has a different tonal goal in mind.
 

jimmyj

Member
Messages
5,555
I agree with John (again) on this one.

Although the lil'59 is kind of inarticualte, the full size '59 is a great pickup, expecially for the price. It's a nice crisp neck pickup and I'm using a '59 in the bridge of my PRS Singlecut. Right now, I have a Seth Lover in the neck position and I like how it smooths out the middle switch position tones but I think I'll eventually put a '59 in the neck also to make it a little crisper.
 

malabarmusic

Member
Messages
1,701
Originally posted by John Phillips
I still think the proper '59 is the best-sounding neck pickup I've ever heard - although to be fair I haven't heard most of the new smaller makers' ones yet.
John, I wonder if you've checked out the Dimarzio VPAF as a neck 'bucker. It's a slightly different flavor of the same type of tone, and one I happen to prefer.

- DB
 

Marty s Horne

Member
Messages
2,894
I like the Dragon 2 pickups with the rotary. Fat warm tones with some nice high end chime and sound great humbucking AND single coil. Maybe it was the guitars but the couple times I played a guitar with Duncans they were too muddy and mid-rangey for me.
 

Lucidology

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
27,185
I like the Dragon 2 pickups with the rotary. Fat warm tones with some nice high end chime and sound great humbucking AND single coil. Maybe it was the guitars but the couple times I played a guitar with Duncans they were too muddy and mid-rangey for me.
Agree ... threw a pair of Duncans into a PRS once and the whole guitar lost it's charm ...
Muddy & Mid-Rangey as Marty states ..
The Dragon II's are very smooth yet articulate..
Plus, great single coil tones (of this I was surprised ...)
 




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