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PRS SE pickups


Personally I give everything (instruments/pedals/amps) time, meaning from six months to a year. I'm lucky to have more than one guitar and amp so if something new does not sound good to me I will try another combination another day with a different mood.

My biggest disappointment (guitar wise) was the McCarty I got. It felt and looked great but sounded mediocre. No matter how many times I've played it (with different amps and pedals) the result was the same until I read here that lowering the pickups would make a big difference and it was true. It helped me keep the guitar stock and most important not spend any more money.

My Korina SE One is also stock. There is only a bridge P90 in it and since I'm not a fan of bridge cleans I play mostly with drive when I use it. The stock pickup is fine for that and the stock treble bleed makes the guitar a little more versatile since it cleans nicely when I lower the volume.


I'm trying to figure out if I should stay Gibson or take a chAnce on a new prs se I found. I'm pretty sure I won't like the pickups and wanted to see if anyone had replaced them, and what with.

The guitar just played amazing. Recently, I feel like I have to fight Gibsons while playing them because I mostly play teles.
I love the tone of the Gibsoms but the playability of the PRS
I replaced the PRS p90s in my PRS Soapbar with Lollars and the pickups in my PRS SE Custom 24 with WCR Darkburst/Crossroads. Both guitars sounded MUCH better. I bring both to the gig as go-to guitars besides my PRS Artist or Gibson Les Paul. Stock SE pickups are short on "vibe/mojo".


All (with a exception or two on special runs) SE humbuckers are 245's which are A2 magnets. This straight from a phone call to PRS. If thats changed in the year since i got mine i dunno, but i doubt it. Anyways, i tried dimarzio 36ths, a 59/custom duncan bridge, some RH factors, and one or two others. But i was pretty sure what they needed was simply a brighter more defined and cutting sound because A2 can and usually is mushy and undefined to one degree of another. So I put a $7 set of polished A5 mags in the stock 245's and I also made them splittable too. Sounds great now, and they are not lousy pickups by any stretch, just equipped with the wrong magnets for a short scale mahogany guitar which is a recipe for mud and lacking definition. My santana now sounds fantastic. Pretty good for gainy single note lines before i changes the mags, but now it has much better definition and for rhythm chords are now much better. the single coil tone is actually so good i tend to use it more then full HB !


Gold Supporting Member
I don't want these comments to come off as polarizing, just my own observation. YMMV. I did a lot of research on this topic today. I heard one tone on a hollow PRS that replaced his pups with Duncan PAFs, it was really amazing. Most however sounded bad. Really bad. Muddy, unclear, buzzy...I still don't understand how people are buying these based on some of the on line example. Even folks who review a lot of equipment, so I know it's not just you tube compression, sounded poor. Several of the examples had PRS himself playing them...but just sounded horrible. He was so happy with how it sounded, I thought it was exceptionally unappealing.

The quest carries on....

edit: to be fair, I thought I'd show an example of great tone with a PRS. Great player obviously, but he sounds great. At 820 it's nice.

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Darth Gain

I bought a SE Cu24 almost a year ago as a grab and go. I try to keep stuff like that stock as much as possible, I'm too cheap really to pimp everything out. It is a very well made guitar at for the money, the hardware is meh/okay to meet that price, but I despise the pickups. The SE HFS is kinda a crappy version of a JB, usable with higher gain, but has a nasally honk and brittleness I can't dial out with my amps (Mesa LSS and Mark V 25).

I have a Duncan Nazgul in my Jackson, also a higher output ceramic, it is MUCH better, tighter low end, huge sound and a surprisingly good tone clean. The neck SE VB is a bit muddy and inarticulate, but okay. I have a leftover Custom Custom from swapping the Nazgul into my Jackson and picked up a used PGn for $50 that will go into the SE when I can get around to it. I understand the S2s have the same SE pickups as well, I tried an S2 when I was shopping the SE, didn't really notice much of a difference in terms of finish and sound at the store, just the price. For almost double the price, I'd hope for better pickups.

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