PRS SE 245 sound and potential pickup upgrades...

Alpione

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,255
Hey all - Happy New Year!

I've got a nice SE 245 that plays great but I'm looking to tweak the sound a little. I'm new to pickup changes, so looking for some advice.

Leads with the stock bridge pickup are loud and clear, but they have what I imagine most people mean when they say PRSs are "modern" sounding - cutting, almost a metal sound. I'm looking for something a little more Les Paul/vintage/classic rock sounding.

The neck is a little dark and I'd like a little more clarity.

There are a million pickups out there and the manufacturer websites have each of them labeled with EQ curves, etc. But I'm not sure what EQ curve my stock pickups would be considered or what I'd be looking for to get more of the tone I'm looking for.

Any advice appreciated.

A
 

Chicago Slim

Member
Messages
5,048
I really like the SE 245 bridge pickup. I would just replace the the neck with an alnico V pickup, with better clarity.

I've got an SE 245 and a Zach Myers. I went back and forth trying to make each one sound as good as the other. By the time I was through adjusting them, I just left them in. And I've got MIA McCarty pickups sitting in a drawer. It wouldn't even cost anything, for me to do the swap.
 

cap10kirk

Member
Messages
9,830
If you want more of a vintage PAF tone, Duncan Antiquities are my favorites, and what I have in my Les Paul. If you want something a little less expensive, the Duncan Alnico 2 Pros are great as well, and still have that PAF vibe. The Duncan Jazz is also a good neck pickup, not really a PAF, but it has clarity. Or, the ultimate for clarity in a neck pickup, imo, is a Filtertron, either a TV Jones Classic or Brian Setzer signature.

However, before you go changing anything, have you adjusted the pickup heights? And adjusted the pole pieces? Lowering the neck pickup might give you what you want out of it...I had to lower the neck pickup on my Les Paul down flush with the mounting ring before it sounded like I wanted.
 

tone4days

Member
Messages
6,715
Yeah, try what cap10kirk says ...
If that doesn't get you there, I'd recommend a set of SD59s or a set of SD Pearly Gates for the tones you seem to be wanting
You could shoot the works and do a set of Seth Lovers or Antiquities or the new Saturday Night Specials if the regular line ones don't quite do it
 
M

Member 161675

I have a 08 core sc245 . The sc245 bridge is weak , I'm putting a Suhr Doug Aldrich in it tomorrow.
 

changeling

Member
Messages
1,762
View media item 44566I'm a huge fan of Kinman P-90's.... incredible tones and no noise... only downside is their price
Do the kinman p90s fit in a typical p90 equipped guitar without additional routing or modification?
I'm thinking about getting the epiphone 1955 les Paul custom with p90s and dropping in a staple
in the neck and a p90 in the bridge.thanks.
 

Kinucs

Member
Messages
93
I installed 3 kinman p90s in a hamer monaco III without any routing. Neck http://kinman.com/model-products.php?pid=6&products=P-90&modelid=89&model=580+Alnico+Staple&group= middle http://kinman.com/model-products.php?pid=6&products=P-90&modelid=53&model=Clean+Bridge&group= bridge http://kinman.com/model-products.php?pid=6&products=P-90&modelid=54&model=Nasty+90&group= These are great pickups. They replaced duncan p90s because of the incredible hum and sound every bit as good. I first tried fralins but they were a little too polite for my taste and were not dead quiet like the kinmans.
 

Alpione

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,255
However, before you go changing anything, have you adjusted the pickup heights? And adjusted the pole pieces? Lowering the neck pickup might give you what you want out of it...I had to lower the neck pickup on my Les Paul down flush with the mounting ring before it sounded like I wanted.

Good question. I've lowered the pickup pretty much flush but haven't done anything with the pole pieces. I do use .11s on that guitar since it's got the super short scale and we tune down a half step. I'm sure that thickens the sound a decent bit.

Will mess wth the current setup more and see. Got some good suggestions for pickups here too in case I want to change. Also kinda interested in learning how to do that anyway. A cheaper way to beat back GAS versus replacing the guitar!
 

Alpione

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,255
Another question - so what is it exactly about the pickups suggested here that makes them more vintage sounding than the PRS? Different output? Different EQ?
 

JohnK24

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,982
Another question - so what is it exactly about the pickups suggested here that makes them more vintage sounding than the PRS? Different output? Different EQ?
Less winds, weaker alnico magnets - thus less mids
 

zguitar71

Member
Messages
516
The PRS 57/08 pickups are more vintage. I love them in my 245. If you change you should also put in the correct pots to get the right tone. The ones PRS uses for the 57/08 are 330k I think but I'm not sure. The overall tone is not just the pickups but the entire package of electronics. The 57/08 are very clear but will drive an amp when cranked. They respond to the volume knob with clarity not muddiness. Part of this is he uses 50s style wiring or at least in the artist (what I have) he does plus the value of the pots plays into that too.

Another option is Thorbaks or other high end replica brand. You will absolutely get a vintage sound with clarity that way. Again it is the entire electronics and wiring diagram used that will get you there.

The entire change over is not cheap but the SE245 is a great platform and imo deserves higher end components.

Another imo here, I think going with A2 or A4 magnets and in the upper 7k winding range will get you better clarity. The higher winds in the lower 8-9 range with A5 magnets are raunchy and I love them but while they will clean up they are not as sparkly and clean as the others.
 

cap10kirk

Member
Messages
9,830
Another question - so what is it exactly about the pickups suggested here that makes them more vintage sounding than the PRS? Different output? Different EQ?

I don't know the exact specs of the stock PRS SE pickups, but there are a lot of things that go into making pickups sound the way they do. Gauge of wire used, how it's wound, how many winds, magnet type and strength, base plate material, and probably more I'm not thinking of right now. Change any part of the recipe, the sound will change. Just changing the magnet alone in a pickup (which is very easy to do, btw, and much cheaper than swapping pickups), can drastically change the way it sounds. A lot of people I know seem to be hesitant to start swapping magnets, scared they'll mess up the pickup I guess. I've changed magnets around in pickups before though, its quick and easy, and an Alnico 2 swap may give you what you want out of the pickups. Just another option for you.
 




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