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PRS 57/08 pickups

rburkard

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
2,999
Both the 57/08 and the 59/09 sound very PAF like and are smooth sounding and very balanced. Compared to a pair of real PAFs (not all of them were alike as you might have heard already), installed in a different guitar, they sound very convincing. My personal fave however are the DTG pickups, which sound very close to PAFs, but react much better to volume pot manipulations. Not to mention their great "single coil" sounds. Really usable and a real step up IMO.
Rene
 
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TNJ

Member
Messages
28,725
I played a Smokeburst McCarty loaded with '57/'08's today through a Fryette Memphis30 combo.
Wow...I love that guitar, and a big reason is those pups!
My 2 fave tones were:
1)Split neck pup only through the clean channel with a touch of reverb.
2)Overdriven bridge pup in full humbuck mode.

Both settings had my jaw on the floor... :eek:

I'm currently on a Baker quest, but that McCarty had me scratching my head big time today.

S.
j
 

Aslan

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,554
I started this topic and I still feel the 57/08's are the best all around humbuckers I've ever played. I play a lot of different styles of music and I can do it with one guitar, even the single coil tones are excellent, I wish PRS would make them available so I could upgrade may other guitars without shipping them to the factory.
 

scuba200ft

Member
Messages
582
I played a Smokeburst McCarty loaded with '57/'08's today through a Fryette Memphis30 combo.
Wow...I love that guitar, and a big reason is those pups!
My 2 fave tones were:
1)Split neck pup only through the clean channel with a touch of reverb.
2)Overdriven bridge pup in full humbuck mode.

Both settings had my jaw on the floor... :eek:

I'm currently on a Baker quest, but that McCarty had me scratching my head big time today.

S.
j
Believe the 57/08 hype. They are the real deal. Ya just gotta play them. Not so much for SUPER high gain, but for mere mortals gain, unreal.

My Smokeburst Mccarty Nitro with 57/08's.....


 

Vegas Bob

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
462
I bought one of the early 57/08 sets, the one without the "57/08? etched into the cover.
I've heard rumors that the sets with the etching are just a tad hotter. Don't know this from experience though.

I put them into a killer 58 LP. I had tried many boutique pickups in this guitar. The 57/08's simply ruled. Loved them. I finally sold the guitar but kept the pickups. They are now going into an 82 Black 335. Just waiting on a fret job. I'll post the results.

I recently bought an 08 DGT. These pickups are just as stellar to my ear but they do have a different voice. I've never been a PRS guy but the DGT is the standout in the PRS line to me. I haven't had the two sets at the same time but my memory is the LP with the 57/08's had just a little more horsepower. I didn't tap this set so I can't compare the sound of the single coils.

The tap in the Grissom is great. It won't make you sell your Tele but it does have a bunch of great tones that are unique and very usable.

I also had a chance to play a Guitar Center Anniversary with 59/09's in it. I think these are the hottest of the three. Again a really great pickup. I don't think you can go wrong with any of the new PRS's pickups.
 

KCWM

Member
Messages
4,737
I played on a Starla X from the 2010 Dallas Guitar Show that had 57/08s equipped. That was a fat sounding guitar, through a DRRI and a Lil' Night Train.

The PRS Singlecut I just picked up has the #7's in them and I'm curious how the 57/08s would compare to them. I REALLY liked what I heard out of them in that Starla, although the SC feels like it's twice the weight of that Starla X.
 

XKnight

Member
Messages
11,089
I recently got a PRS 245 with the 57/08 pups and they are definitely my favorite PRS pups. Very clear and articulate without being too trebly. Great for classic rock and blues. They remind me of Lollar Imperials that I've had in other guitars.
 

Steve Dallas

Member
Messages
8,295
I am happy to buy any unwanted 57/08 pups. I plan to update my CU22 (with Dragon IIs) to McCarty wiring, and a set of these would make a nice addition while I have the iron out...
 

firebrand

Member
Messages
258
I just read all the posts in this thread and found it an excellent reference. Thank you to all who have contributed this far.
I will say that PRS does a great job at voicing their pickups for the woods they use most of the time. I have a 93 CE24 (Maple neck & top with Alder body). I found the vintage bass pickup to be the sound I liked best of the of the stock pickups. The HFS did not set right for the sound/feel I like. I decided to try a couple different pups including Don Lace signature pickups (hotter than the Hemi design), a set of custom Manlius Alnico II pickups, and a set of DGTs. After all of them, the Dragon IIs really seem to bring he best out of this wood combination. I liked the DGTs but the mids were all wrong for the CE.

I am looking forward to my latest acquisition arriving: 20th Anniversary Cu24 with ME/RP pickups. According to PRS they are slightly less powerful than the Dragon IIs. I would LOVE to get a set of 57/08s but at $500 a set "scalped" they are a little more than what I want to pay, at this moment anyway.
 

firebrand

Member
Messages
258
Paul Reed Smith acquired exclusive rights to the original pickup wire from the original machine used to make the most revered ‘50s era pickups in 2008, and 1957 was the year the humbucker was first commercially available, giving rise to PRS Guitars’ newest and most exclusive pickup, the 1957/2008™.

The new PRS Sunburst Series™, the McCarty II, the Al Di Meola Prism and a limited run of solid body electrics introduced at Experience PRS 2008 are presently the only models that come standard with 1957/2008™ pickups.

Three models are offered as part of a 1957/2008™ Limited Run: the Custom 24, the McCarty and the SC 245. Limited to 750 guitars, the limited run and the new Sunburst Series™ are the only place outside of Private Stock where brand new “old style” McCarty PRS models are currently available.

Paul Reed Smith joked during Experience PRS 2008 and said, “Think of it this way. We’re selling you access to these exclusive pickups and giving you a free guitar and case to go with them.”
 

jokerjkny

Member
Messages
9,592
I wonder how they compare to the DGT pickups? I really like those, although I find them a touch too hot. Anyone played both the 57/08 and DGT's yet?
the DGT's are a much better pickup. the 57/08's seemed a touch harsher in the upper mids, while the DGT's were smoother and more PAF'y. neck had an especially nicer softer attack. i own lollar's, lindy pure's, and antiquities, and tho the DGT's arent quite as complex, for PRS pickups, they're a step up from the wannabe metally sounds of the HFS, etc.
 

Mullenski

Member
Messages
1,350
Have had a McCarty with 57/08s and a Swamp Ash Special with McCartys -- kept the Swamp Ash with McCartys.
 

Mahatma

Member
Messages
51
I first heard the 57/08's in a PRS at Guitar Center when they first came out with etched covers. I forgot which model PRS they were in. Until then, I was never impressed with PRS's McCarty or any of their Gibson wannabes. But when I heard the 57/08's for the first time, it was pure magic. The difference wasn't subtle, it was huge, clear, articulate, bell-like, and really made the honky woody midrange stand out, kind of like a cross between a LP and fine es335 or a great jazz guitar, woody mids with a clear top and bottom. For me, these pups sound very transparent, bringing out the tonal charateristics of the guitar. I found a pair on ebay and replaced the custom shop bursts in a 2008, '58, 50th anniversary, Murphy Aged, custom shop. Holy Grail! The guys at the guitar shop who did the work unanimously mandated it as the best LP they heard... ever. It's mindboggling that some in this thread are not impressed. I've heard nothing but adoration for these pickups, which is the reason why they're selling for $400-500 a pair.
 

jerryratpack

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
1,810
I think it's very subjective , and depending what the particular guitar is used, amps being used, itype of music played, i think not everyone will hear and like the same things.

I have a SC245 McCarty with 57/08 in the neck, and a 09 in the bridge. I like the 08 in the neck, but the 09 is a little hot for my tastes, depending what I am aiming for, but sometimes it sounds stellar. I am not thrilled with the volume knob though. There is a huge impact from 10 to 8 , and then a huge drop off the rest of the way down, so rolling back the volume on the bridge is tricky for me. I guess that's not the pups fault, but it adds to my not appreciating the 09 as much.
 

Adamclayton

Member
Messages
1,138
Nope, on a NOS machine that made the wire from the 50s:D
Actually the very first few 57/08 pickups from PRS were made from NOS 50's wire on the old 50's pickup winding machine, but only a select few of Paul Reed Smith's friends have them. Not sure how many "57" series pickups they made with NOS wire but for a fact they do exsist. Of course none of the production models have the NOS wire.

Anyway, I own a 25th Anniversary Custom 24 with gold 57/08's and I've gotten more compliments with that guitar than any. The pups are VERY sensitive to heigth adjustments and once you find the sweet spot they can sound magical. The neck is very punchy, articulate and great for blues or rock solos. The neck has plenty of girthy lows and highs (everyone says icepicky until they adjust them). I tried several PRS's before getting this one and it's the most all around versitie PRS I've ever played. They finally nailed some great pickups.
 

Puckbucker

Member
Messages
1,290
Love both the DGT's and 57/08s.

To my ear DGT's are a bit more nasally and "pinched" - with a bit of stratty quality. Very nice clear, bell like tones with a tone that reminds me a touch of a strat. More grainy but still sweet.

The 57/08s are more "gibson" like but with great clarity. Very sweet but somewhat more "bold" and blooming than the DGTs. To my opinion they sound like what an LP should sound like. Very clear, balanced and sweet (even on the bridge pup)

The 2 pickups are not that different but are complementary and both are great.
 

parkhead

Member
Messages
237
I hate to rain on the parade of Love but I bought a set of 57/08 installed them in my PRS Mcarty and yanked them out in less than 24 hours. I knew they were not RIGHT after less than three chords.
I waited 24 hours to give them a chance and played bit more then gladly took my restocking fee hit ... ouch

While they may be the best sounding Pickups PRS has made to date and
I own 5 or 6 prs guitars they are not anywhere near the gold standard of a genuine set of old PAF's or some of the very close boutique pups.
(despite the hype and supposed research that went into the 57/08's)

Originally I ran Gibson 57 classics with the magnets swapped to alnico 3 in all my PRS. Then after a lengthy process of having pickups custom wound settled on the Motor City Blackbelt 2 which sound very close to a reference set of PAF's a buddy owns. Wade at Motor City has the correct PAF raw materials and is willing to experiment with you!

Compared the the PAF's or the a2 motor city pickups the 57/08 sounded dark and lacked detail and sparkle ... the PAF's and the motor cities demonstrated considerably more sustain and note tail. in my mind both elements are key factors in the authentic PAF behavior. (its how PAFs behave not how they sound that makes them special) On the classic recordings you hear a very aggressive volume swell after the note attack, as well as a super long morphing set of overtones.

you hear it here distinctly at 26 seconds but you can hear everywhere on this track



The for those who have not played a set, correct PAF sound should provide slightly nasal cleans with intricate string separation and detail... the trailing harmonics should be quite pronounced and seem to regenerate themselves
(some call the overtones angel voices or harmony backup singers)
with a slight increase in playing dynamics Allman Brothers or Santana style leads should ring out as long as you need without excess amplifier drive ... in other words sustain style lead playing should be possible with a clean amp.
The real kicker with the real PAF's or really good clones is that both your clean and dirty sounds are vastly improved and the pickups respond more dynamically to your touch than anything else you might try.
The first time I played a set of PAF's on a gig I got to the end of the song having played all of my ballsy lead bits without engaging any drive... as in holy crow I forgot to hit my overdrive and my overdrive has never sound this damn good !
Thats when the mystery hype of the PAF's really hit home.


thats my .02 cents worth FWIW
you may disagree with me but I have bought installed and played hundreds of pickups (if not thousands) over the years



p
 
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BrentSP

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,022
Thanks for the input. I have a 2014 R8 with custombucker PAFs that sound amazing.

I also have 2 SC58s with 57/08 that are anything but dark. Stunning clarity with pronounced mids, gobs of stustain and jumping harmonics in fact I prefer the tone over my R8.

Strange days...
 
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