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PRS Custom 24 Artist Package-tone suggestions!

AriBoiangiu

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
530
Hey all, I have a gorgeous CU24 artist package (Bengal flame) with the stock HFS/Vintage Bass PUPs. Guitar looks, plays, and resonates great, but as many have pointed out, not sure I'm getting the most out of the tone of the axe with these pups.I Play all from chimey cleans to jazz to classic rock to shred....can anyone here give me definitive advice on the BEST PICKUPS for my guitar? Thanks so much in advance, Ari
 

dspellman

Senior Member
Messages
8,308
What you have in that guitar now is the best pickup for that guitar, IMHO. Given your stretch of genres, that set of pickups is the best balanced.

Leave 'em.
 

AriBoiangiu

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
530
i hear ya. I'm playing the guitar through a number of setups, and while it plays awesome, tonally its not comepeting with my Les Paul and my Edwards (ESP) Soloist...
 

GibbyFan

Member
Messages
298
I have a set of Wolftones in my PRS 20th Anniv SC and they absolutely rock. I also have the RS wiring kit and that really opens up that guitar and lets it breathe. I did not do the mods, but the previous owner did and I'm totally sold on this combination. It blows my LP Classic with WCR's out of the water. Good luck.
 

dspellman

Senior Member
Messages
8,308
i hear ya. I'm playing the guitar through a number of setups, and while it plays awesome, tonally its not comepeting with my Les Paul and my Edwards (ESP) Soloist...
I've been lucky enough to have different guitars for different types of music, so I don't worry TOO much about having a single guitar do everything. When I do, however, I'm usually hauling a pair of Carvin DC-145's around. All mahogany bodies (one with a maple top), 25" scale, 24 frets, no neck heel, neckthrough construction, ebony F/B. Superstrat shape.

They're HSH pickup configuration with a master volume, master tone, five-way and three mini-switches. Two are coil taps for the buckers and one is a "bridge pickup add-in" switch. It adds the bridge pickup to the two forward (neck only, neck plus middle) 5-way positions. The middle pickup bypasses the tone pot altogether. Seems to improve it noticeably.

These are among my favorite live "bar" guitars. Meaning that they do a pretty amazing job of covering all possible bases soundwise. They were used but in great shape, aren't horrendously expensive to replace (a good thing in case of bar fight, theft, or the occasional drunk running over one in the parking lot after a gig) and they're gorgeous in terms of playability.

I recently covered this in another thread, but I also have some two-pickup guitars with an active preamp built in. Standard four-pot setup, but the pots become a master volume, a master bass, a master treble and a blend pot. The master bass and treble are at "passive fully-10" levels at a detented "5" position, but have 15 dB of active boost and cut on either side of that. This is a *major* difference in tonal possibilities. In addition, there are two mini-switches that coil tap the pickups and one that throws the pair out of phase with each other when the pickup selector is in the "both" position. This switch, when coupled with the "Blend" knob, provides an amazing number of alternate tones, and even moreso when you use it in conjunction with all the other goodies. Best of all, the whole setup works in an uncomplicated way when playing live, and it even provides a good passive set of controls if your battery dies. The module is around $110 (this particular one only works with flat top -- non carved -- guitars and requires hole spacing specifics, since the pots are mounted on two PCB's). This is FAR less than you'd spend for a pair of boutique pickups that would produce a much more limited tonal difference.
 

AriBoiangiu

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
530
I dont necessarily need to have the one guitar fit ALL styles of music, nor do I usually care if I have to play metal on a strat, jazz on my esp, etc. That doesnt really matter to me tremenously. But for the money and effot, I want the guitar to sound as amazing as possible. I'm not opposed to smaller upgrades, or preamp upgrades, but with PU upgrades I'm no doing any invasive surgery to the guitar (most of the time) whereas with the RS Kit or adding a preamp i'm gonna have to drill....RS Kit looks cool aswell. The Wolftones arent so expensive i dont think...

Anyone here just swap regular pickups with better results?
 

gulliver

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
12,231
I really like the HFS pickup, but never bonded with the super bassy vintage bass. I use my custom 24 for mostly high gain, so probably why. I just bought a Santana bass PU in the emporium to try to get more focus out of the neck position in high gain.

I came up with an interesting mod on the 5-way switch, I took out the middle neck connection as it connects to the mini board, which makes the #2 and #4 positions much nicer IMHO. It originally eliminated the middle position, and I jumpered two wires on the mini board to get it back as a duplicate of the neck position. Recently, I did this mod again and the middle position is a duplicate of the bridge position without the jumper ... not sure what I did differently but works fine for me as I use the bridge position more.
 

shallbe

Deputy Plankspanker
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
12,192
Hey all, I have a gorgeous CU24 artist package (Bengal flame) with the stock HFS/Vintage Bass PUPs. Guitar looks, plays, and resonates great, but as many have pointed out, not sure I'm getting the most out of the tone of the axe with these pups.I Play all from chimey cleans to jazz to classic rock to shred....can anyone here give me definitive advice on the BEST PICKUPS for my guitar? Thanks so much in advance, Ari
I usually don't like those pickups either, but my PRS CU24 Artist has an ebony board--so it is brighter and snappier than normal, and the stock pickups work great.

However, my CU22 Artist has a rosewood board, and the pickups sounded like overwound mud. I play a Matchless, so I thrive on the chime and clear, dynamic tones. I could hear it was there acoustically in the guitar. A set of Lollar Imperials, regular wind, lightly potted, with 4 conductor wiring REALLY brought the electirc sound to life. They are a perfect fit for a PRS and I can't recommend them highly enough.
 

MrDoty

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,529
Im the proud owner of a prs 1991 cu24. the wood, finish, and hardware is amazing. the hfs pickup is superb for high gain, medium crunch applications. the neck is great for jazz and blues. overall the pickups are a little muddy for most rooms I find myself in these days. furthermore they lack dynamic response. also I find the switching to be very redundant. I just ordered some vintage vibe custom hs90's for it and im gonna install a 6 way rotary selector! ill report back when its installed.
 

swimrunner

Member
Messages
575
eh i don't really care for the midrange voicing of the hfs in my cu24 i'm going to try different things at some point. the vb neck is pretty good though.
 

aleclee

TGP Tech Wrangler
Staff member
Messages
13,424
eh i don't really care for the midrange voicing of the hfs in my cu24 i'm going to try different things at some point. the vb neck is pretty good though.
I'm exactly the opposite. I like the HFS but can't get on with the VB.
 

AriBoiangiu

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
530
All great advice! Thank you. Shallbe I feel exactly like you did-its the first guitar I owned that I felt there was more potential in the guitar than the pickups allowed-can be brighter, and livelier. Certainly have the fat/thick sound covered...I'll look into the imperials. I read somewhere about using Suhr Aldrich pickups-anyone have ex
perience with em?
 

MereImage

Member
Messages
45
I have a Custom24 hard tail. I was never able to bond with the HFS/VB pickups. I swapped them for a set of PRS 57/08 pickups and am much happer.

Dave
 

AaeCee

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
18,699
i hear ya. I'm playing the guitar through a number of setups, and while it plays awesome, tonally its not comepeting with my Les Paul and my Edwards (ESP) Soloist...
But that's what your LP is for......its own sound. And I love the Cu24 with VB/HFS for those specific and different sounds it produces. If you wanted more of a LP vibe, why not get something more like that such as a PRS SC 245, Ted, etc.? I agree with several here who noted the versatility of the VB, and really like the ability of the HFS to maintain its character even when going through multiple effects, so I'd say keep 'em and use it for different applications than your LP.
 

gulliver

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
12,231
I'm still not able to bond with the Vintage bass neck PU, yesterday I ordered a Santana neck off the emporium to see if I can get less bass and more mid focus. To me, the VB has some single coil characteristics with a lot of bass and hollow highs, but it's missing the dynamics. It's decent for lower or no gain tones, but just doesn't work for me with any kind of gain.
 

AriBoiangiu

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
530
Aacee, I understand your point, but it happens to be that with my other guitars, the CU24 is the "jack of all trades, king of none" right now from a TONAL standpoint. Plays amazing, but the tones from my other guitars are more inspiring, that's all. All points taken, but again, for the money, I want this thing to sound incredible! Thanks all....
 

AriBoiangiu

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
530
Wanted to bump this thread with an update-after doing some research, i went with a pair of NOS DRAGON I pickups that PRS actually still had in the vault somewhere! zebra bobbins with gold pole pieces! When i put them in I'll be able to comment more, but thanks for all you help! I'll soon add a photo for good measure....Ari
 




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