Update: conversion of PRS SE Soapbar II to HBs



Last week I mentioned that I was planning on converting a PRS SE Soapbar II from P-90s to full size humbuckers, having acquired a set of SD Antiquities for the job.

I completed the conversion last night in time to string it up, do a quick set up and make a local open-mic/blues jam.

The results are excellent. As you might anticipate the sound changed somewhat, it's not quite as crisp but almost, and there is more bottom and slightly warmer midrange (which may be an illusion because of the reduction in brightness.

I tried it out going straight to a 2001 Fender '59 Bassman reissue running a 12AU7 for a preamp tube and Jensen RI P10Rs. I cranked it up to about 7 driving both channels. It had a full sound without clobber the amp with too much bass and nice crispness to the attack for just enough bite.

Using my modded Boss overdrive and distortion pedals produces silky smooth tones, with great sustain. (Alnico II magnets = less string pull, better sustain)

While I was at it I changed the pots and jack and CTS and switchcraft respectively and put a pair of chrome dome top Tele knobs on it.

I took some photos of the job in progress and finished. I'll upload them asap if anyone's interested.

The only issue was that each P-90 route required some wood to be added in two of the four corners so as to have something to screw the HB mounting ring into along that edge. I made the inserts for this from 1/2" dowel and glued them in place. My buddy that helped with the routing can make me some mahogany plus for this purpose in the future so that the grain run perpendicular to the screw as itr should for better thread bite. But for now this works fine.

The neck P-90 is mounted up against the fretboard so that route goes right up to the neck. Therefore the neck humbucker's mounting ring is right up against the neck now and the opening for the pickup's body needed to be slightly larger on this pickup than the bridge pickup because of the thickness that the mounting ring takes up along the edge of the fretboard.

The routing mod, changing the controls, etc took about 7 1/2 hours.

Bottom line is that Duncan knows how to make a heck of a sweet vintage sounding humbucker. Except for a different body shape this guitar is as close as I'll come to having a 1961 Les Paul SG.(SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOS)


I put Fralins in a friend's Strat. I like them. They were very similar to my Strat with Fender Custom 54s.

why you didn't just sell it and get a Sanata SE

Well, first I liked everything else about the guitar and I got a heck of a deal on it. It wasn't likely that I would get such a deal anywhere else again and if I did I wasn't sure I'd like it as much as this one.

So why get rid of a guitar that feels and looks great just because you're not in love with the pickups when changing pickups is relatively easy?

Besides that, I wanted Seth Lovers oR Duncan Antiquities so I still would have had to change the pickups in a Santana SE.

Make sense? I thought so anyway.


Gold Supporting Member
That's pretty darn cool. Like a Santana without the wacky inlays; dots look much better on this guitar.

I'm gonna have to come over for a test drive!



Supporting Member
nice job, I played a couple of these the other day. can't believe the quality of these for approx $500 !

Garrett Bagby

The finished product looks very nice. Excellent work. I do like the moons better than the slash inlays on the Santana SE.


One last thing I decided to do. I'm going to replace the controls with stacked (concentric) pots for separate vol-tone for each pup.


o- vol-neck tone-neck (front control)
o- vol-bridge tone-bridge (back control)


o- vol-bridge vol-neck (front control)
o- tone-bridge tone-neck (back control)

I'll probably opt for the latter config so as to have the bridge vol within reach of my pinky rather than waaay down.

Know what I mean?


very cool.i've considered picking up a Soap SE and slappin in a couple tom Anderson M pickups....:dude


i'm toying with picking up a PRS Soapbar II SE just so I can have a guitar w/ P90's...

How did the guitar sound w/ the stock P90's anyway?


I wanna go the other direction. Les Paul style with p90's in it...

But... nice job TremoloKing...

Trending Topics