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Should I change the pickups in my PRS?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by squeally dan, Sep 8, 2006.

  1. squeally dan

    squeally dan Member

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    I have an old PRS standard 22. I've been gigging with it non-stop for over 10 years. I love the neck and the way it plays. I thought I liked the sound, but then I got my SRV strat. Next to my strat, the PRS does not sound as good. The 2 middle positions are good. The other 3 I barely even use. Alsoe, the output on my strat seems greater. Maybe I need to raise the height of the pickups. What do you think?
     
  2. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    I recently replaced the Dragon Is in my Custom 22 with WCR pickups and I can't believe the difference! I used a Goodwood in the bridge and a Darkburst in the neck. Unbelievable improvement!

    www.crcoils.com
     
  3. bickertfan

    bickertfan Member

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    I pressed my Santana Se into action on a gig one night when a string broke on my nitefly. I really liked the guitar when playing alone but in a band context, at least on that night it had no cut, no dynamic qualities ie sounded the same no matter if the volume pot was wound open or turned down - I struggled to finish the set. I ended up trying several different PU's and none accomplished what I wanted until I finally got a set of Jon Moore handmade PAfs - excellent. Having said that I still don't know if it was worth the time spent changing all those PU's not to mention the expense. You know if the strat's working well for you.. maybe that's your ticket.
     
  4. squeally dan

    squeally dan Member

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    I have a midi pickup on my PRS and I don't want to put it on the strat. Is there a way to make the middle positions more "strat" sounding, and the neck postion less muddy? Thats what I'm going for. I think mine has the dragons in it.
     
  5. SFW

    SFW Member

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    The Dragons are my least favorite PRS pickups. I much prefer the Vintage Bass/HFS setup. I recently put a custom wound set of Fralins in my Les Paul and am very happy with the results.
     
  6. shallbe

    shallbe Deputy Plankspanker Gold Supporting Member

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    I held off for 2 years replacing the pickups in my CU22. I put Lollar Imperials in there and only wish I had done it sooner. PRS does not make good pickups for what I want a guitar to sound like.
     
  7. Festus

    Festus Supporting Member

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    I'll second the motion on the WCR Goodwood/Darkburst combo.
     
  8. markster

    markster Member

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    DB and CR is also a great WCR combo!
     
  9. MCG

    MCG Member

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    Yes, you should change out the PRS pickups. I like the guitars, but not the pups.

    MCG
     
  10. squeally dan

    squeally dan Member

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    How much do these run? Any options for a poor starving musician?:RoCkIn
     
  11. BBQLS1

    BBQLS1 Member

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    I'm in the minority. I like my Dragon II's. I tried a few duncan combos and they were good at full volume but got muddy when I turned the volume knob on the guitar down. JB/Jazz, JB/Jazz with A2s, 59s

    Adjusting the pups might help, but I would seriously consider two things:

    1. You just like single coils?
    2. The amp/rig you use may be better suited for singles and needs adjustment for the PRS.
    3. Higher frequency hearing loss (I hope not).

    I would really like to try the WCRs, but $300 crap shoot, I'll just stick with my D2's for now.
     
  12. Marty s Horne

    Marty s Horne Member

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    +1. Been gigging with my Custom 22 with Dragon 2s for 7 years and I love the tone I'm getting. Fat and sweet humbucking and single coil tones; much preferred over my old Custom with the Vintage Bass/HFS pickups. The Vintage Bass always sounded too thin and lacking warmth.
     
  13. shallbe

    shallbe Deputy Plankspanker Gold Supporting Member

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    Replacing PRS pickups with something by Duncan.....I'm not sure I see the point. If you really want to hear a difference in the guitar, try a pickup maker that builds and voices the pickup individually so can get you what you want. You are often able to talk directly to these smaller winders and get a good idea of what to expect when they are in the guitar.
     
  14. Ben C.

    Ben C. Member

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    I replaced the stock pickups in my CU24 with a SD '59 in the neck and a Custom 5 in the bridge. And I really heard a difference.
    Neck was more clear / defined and rich. Bridge lost a good deal of the honking midrange and gained a lot of harmonics and a touch of clarity.

    -Ben
     
  15. howlinfox

    howlinfox Member

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    What pups did you try before you settled?
     
  16. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    Sorry, but that's elitist nonsense IMO. You don't need a small maker that 'voices them individually', you just need pickups that sound different. Duncans sound different from the PRS pickups, end of story. It doesn't matter whether they're made in hundreds or tens of thousands.

    Of the small-builder pickups I've heard - some of which were nice, but not mind-blowingly so, and some I didn't like - the big difference is between PRS (or Gibson for that matter, but slightly less so for Fender IMO) pickups and any of the specialist pickup builders... not between the large and small builders. I don't buy the small maker = better pickup thing at all... maybe slightly more individual, but that's about it. There's no magic to it or any real benefit to winding them by hand - the sound of a pickup is down to the combinations of windings and magnets, and once you've got it right you can make any number of them by any means you like and they will sound basically the same... the trick is in voicing them in the first place, not in making them. Every builder does have their own ideas as to the right voicing, and if that happens to coincide with what you like, great. (The maker that does that for me is actually Duncan.) I also notice that most of the small builders seem to prefer vintage-style pickups, whereas a PRS really needs something a bit higher output IMO, especially in the bridge.

    Exactly. They're excellent pickups and will definitely improve (if what you have now sounds muddy and/or nasal to you) the tone of your guitar.

    For a PRS Standard 22 I'd suggest a '59 neck and a Custom Custom bridge (which is what I have in mine :)) - the actual EQ balance is quite similar to the PRS Dragons, but the '59 is clearer and bolder, and the CC is much more open and woody, and almost 'resonant' sounding - it's still midrangy and powerful, but not as congested-sounding. The coil-split sounds are much better too, less thin and flat.

    And if your PRS isn't WAY louder and more powerful-sounding than your Strat after that, there's something wrong with the way it's set up :).
     
  17. rooster

    rooster Member

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    I've replaced the pickups in my PRS a few times. I have a feeling the last swap will be to a pair of Bill Lawrence L-500C/L pickups. The thing I noticed about his pickups is that the output power varies depending on the model, but whatever I put his stuff in sounds like the wood of the guitar. They're a bit bright, but that's easy to roll off with either a lower value pot for the volume control or rolling back on the tone control (which I can't on my PRS, as it has none).

    I've had Duncan, Rio Grande, and PRS in there, and wasn't ecstatic about any of them. I always seem to be happy with his pickups.

    rooster.
     
  18. OldSchool

    OldSchool Senior Member

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    I just got a PRS McCarty Loaded with WCR Fillmores.........best PRS I've ever heard and I think the WCR's have alot to do with that. [​IMG]
     
  19. Tone

    Tone Member

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    John,
    What would you suggest for a CU24, If I'm looking for a little more fattness out of the neck with nice even EQ all around, warmth, smoothness etc. And for the bridge, FAT, nice EQ all around, not so compressed, splits okay and works great for 80's hair metal to classic rock?:RoCkIn
     
  20. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    Maybe you should list your location and maybe a kind, local, forumite will let you try out his axe with upgraded pickups.

    BTW, if the Strat is hotter, you definintely have a setup problem. For reference, I was setting up a Les Paul yesterday and noticed that the pickups on my PRS were about 1/8" from the strings when fretted at the 12th fret. I measured from the top of the pickups, not the screws, to the bottom on the strings.
     

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