PRS 57/08 pickups

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Aslan, Feb 26, 2009.

  1. BrentSP

    BrentSP Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2003

    I just got in a pair of new covered 59/09 that I'm going to drop in my black gold sc58. :)
  2. Aslan

    Aslan Silver Supporting Member

    Nov 13, 2007
    I started this thread back in 2009 and 6 years later I still like my 57/08's over every humbucker I've tried. Whether or not they are identical to PAF's I don't really care because I've had the opportunity to play many vintage instruments in my life and some were awesome and some were dogs, but the consistency of the 57/08's is very good. I have three guitars with them and they all sound incredible. I also like the Artist V pickups & the DGT pickups and the latest Santana pickups, I have never liked the HFS or #7's from PRS.
    archey and jeffgoobs like this.
  3. Wyoming T/A

    Wyoming T/A Member

    Mar 13, 2011
    Dundee N.Y.
    My Artist package Studio has the and I like it a LOT
  4. parkhead

    parkhead Member

    Jul 29, 2009
    If Sustain is your thing, and it is for me
    the 57/08's do not stand up..

    I have Motor City Blackbelt A2 in my guitars ...
    They are going back into my mcarty with the a2 magnet in the bridge swapped for an A3

    I tried the 57/08 on the recomendation of a friend who claimed they were
    "as good as the motor city a2 & blackbelt" I will have to slap him with a wet fish when I see him next

    I have tried and played the Gibson Custom buckers which are Gibsons current best effort and quite nice,
    but they fall short of the real deal PAF sustain as well

    I will add that I am very aware that the composition of the tone cap, and the carbon strip on the volume and tone pots
    can dramatically impact the sound of a set of pickups, possibly as much as the pickups themselves, and I did not alter
    these elements in my swap.

    I will also add that if your tone cap is a ceramic disc cap you probably wouldn't hear the tail end of the note
    even if the pickup was tracking it

    here are some of the pickups I have tried and removed from guitars because they did not cut it

    Gibson 57 classic various years
    Gibson 57 classic with a3 magnet swap
    1982 shaw buckers
    Gibson 496 with a2 and a3 magnet instead of ceramic (surprisingly good)
    Original Tom Holmes
    Lindy Fralin paf clone identical to old VG shootout winner
    lollar imperials
    bare knuckles unknown PAF clone model
    dragons (overwound poop)
    hfs better with a magnet swap to a2 or a3 but still not up to snuff
    sd seth lover
    endless duncan 59, a2, jazz, PG ect

    over the years I have had about 25 pickups rewound by my local rewind guy
    interestingly we once rewound an 18k PRS dragon to 7.2k using Gibson specs and vintage wire and it still suffered from the darkness inherent in the original dragon
    I then swapped the keeper bar with one from a dead t-top and it brightened up

    at that point I gave up on rewinds and started searching for winders who
    spec custom alloys for the metal parts

    there is some type of metal added to modern steel alloys that was not present in the 50's
    this metal changes the magnetic properties of the steel masking upper harmonics
    and introducing a kind of magnetic noise floor which decreases the ability of modern pickups to "hear" string motion below a certain threshold
    so as a plucked note decays it drops out from being amplified even if the string is still vibrating
    unless a pickup builder uses the correct vintage steel alloys their best effort
    will simply be just another pretty good pickup
    so while the 57/08 is pretty good they did not bother to use the proper steel alloys

    of the few who do this Wade at Motor City was the most willing to experiment
    and the Blackbelt A2 was a result of those experiments

    he also makes me a very nice 6.0k - 7k special neck humbucking pickup that I find as satisfying as the neck pickup in a good strat ... and this really rounds out the versatility
    of a typical dual humbucker setup

    its also worth noting that if you use a modern channel switching amp with lots of gain
    you are probably not listening for the same things I am in a pickup and
    many of the pickups I am not interested in might float your high gain boat

    Last edited: Jun 7, 2015
  5. teleshred

    teleshred Member

    Aug 12, 2006
    Last night i did what i've been meaning to do for awhile, to swap in any gibson pickup set i had into my SC-58 (which has 57/08's), so i used my BB1 and 2's from my R8..I was quite enlightened hearing the i understand what folks meant by prs guitars/pickups sounding 'character-less'..the 57/08s are a great low output PAF-y but ultimately too clean for my liking..the BBs in the SC-58 made the tone develop a raw midrange 'awww' sound and overtones that i could never get from the 57/08s. I always thought that an LP's honk was somewhat inherent as i've played Gibsons that had that honk acoustically. PRSi as we know are missing the low end girth and has this upper mid spike that may sound unpleasant.. The BB's gave it somewhat more low-end and altered the mids in a more pleasing way..gonna try a 57 classic set next..
  6. BoogieManSC

    BoogieManSC Member

    Mar 29, 2011
    Just outside Charlotte NC, but in SC
    Agreed. I've owned (and still do) too many Gibsons over the years to tally, but I'd agree. PRS of that vintage and those pickups are outstanding...the pickups that came after also have their distinctions and are very good as well. Very articulate and I'd agree with you on the coil splitting too.
  7. Puckbucker

    Puckbucker Member

    Aug 25, 2012
    Each to his own.
    I'm not a disciple of any particular humbucking pickup, but I have PRS w/ a rosewood neck that has 57/08s and they hardly "too clean"? I would say they are more middy and a tad thicker on the top end. I would agree that they sound better clean - I'm not quite sold on them for OD tones but not because they are too clean - I find them a bit too thick. But every pickup (even same make) sounds a tad different in my experience and also will sound different in a different guitar. I have found Gibson Classic 57s to be variable like this but I have 2 Gibsons (hollow and semi) in which the 57 Classics sound great.
  8. teleshred

    teleshred Member

    Aug 12, 2006
    when i said 'clean', i meant that there was no flavor or character or added overtones, while the burstbuckers immediately presented a really unique LP-ish overtone.. haha these guitar jargon are really hard to convey without hearing...
  9. Puckbucker

    Puckbucker Member

    Aug 25, 2012
    Teleshred. Thanks for your followup. It maybe different in different instruments. My 57/08s are in a Modern Eagle and have loads of overtone. I think I know what you mean by no "flavor". I have other Gibsons and the 57/08s I have sound every bit as warm and full (maybe fuller) than the Classic 57s in my Gibson. A friend let me borrow an early 2000s LP Custom that sounds quite nice but its not warmer than the 57/08s (maybe a bit clearer/ brighter) but the 57/08s have lots of "bloom" and sustain on my MEII.
  10. Otto Tune

    Otto Tune Member

    Nov 2, 2014
    According to their promotional material, the PRS people bought the machine that wound the 57's in the Gibson factory, and then bought the rights to the original wire used in the same. 42 ga?

    Anyway, I have them stock in my 2008 McCarty 22, and they are fantastic, IMO.
  11. jeffgoobs

    jeffgoobs Member

    Nov 16, 2015
    Boston, MA

    Question for you (and anyone else who is familiar with PRS's current pickup lineup) if you don't mind. I have already swapped out the Archtop pickups from my Hollowbody 1 with inividually splittable 57/08s. They are awesome. I love everything about them.

    I am now faced with a decision. The PRS Tech Center was just working on my '94 CE24, and long story short, I have to send it back to them for some more work. While it's down there again, I'm also going to have them swap out the HFS and Vintage Bass pickups for something else. The HFS is too hot for my tastes and the VB is too boomy. For whatever it's worth, I still have the 5-way rotary selector on the CE, which gives me those Fenderish, "in-between," single-coilish tones in positions 7, 8, and 9.

    I'm torn on what pickups to have them put in. I could have them do another set of 57/08s again (since I already know I love them) but there's something in me that is telling me that I'm sonically limiting myself by doing that instead of getting a different pickup. Conversely, I hypothesize that those pickups would sound pretty different in a '94 CE24 than it would in a Hollowbody. The alder body, the nitro-finished maple neck, the 24-frets and their resulting pickup distance difference, the wide-thin neck carve, the lower string gauge (.010s vs .011s), the 5-way rotary selector with the coil tap settings, and the tremolo system with the strings being fed through the body would all contribute to making the CE sound vastly different from the HBI, regardless of the fact that the pickups are the same. Do you even think they would sound like the same pickup in those two guitars?

    I rarely play with super high gain or metal sounds. My amp is a Fender Deluxe Reverb. I tend to play rock, funk, classic rock, blues, jazz, jammy stuff (Phish, Dead, Allmans, etc.) and bluegrass. For those genres, and with a '94 CE24, which pickups would you recommend trying? I'm going between another set of 57/08s, a set of 59/09s, or most interestingly, a pair of Artist V pickups.

    Anyone know how the Artist V pickups fall within the line of 5x/xx PRS pickups? I've read anecdotally that they're right in-between the 57/08s and the 59/09s, both output-level wise and sonically, while being a tad brighter. Anyone played them? I'm curious about the tone of those pickups, and if they'd lend themselves to being installed in a CE24.

    My knee-jerk reaction tells me that I'd think the 59/09s would be too hot for my tastes. Please do correct me if I'm mistaken here. So I keep flip-flopping on whether to go for the 57/08s again, counting on the fact that they'll sound totally different in such a different guitar, or go with the Artist Vs, which apparently would give me a slightly higher gain option if I wanted, while still maintaining clarity and somewhat of a vintage PAF vibe.
  12. NortheastHick

    NortheastHick Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2006
    22 Acacia avenue
    I am a 57/08 fanboy. I have them in 2 PRSi. Duncan antiquities will give you similar tone/dynamics for a lot less coin. I don't think you are compromising much either with the Duncans. Worth a try.
    jeffgoobs likes this.
  13. TNJ

    TNJ Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2002
    Granger, IN
    I have a set of 57/08s in my PRS Cu24.


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