What I don't get about PRS

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Killcrop, Jul 27, 2008.

  1. Killcrop

    Killcrop Supporting Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    I have owned about 6 of them over the years. The best being an '89 in Trans Black. All of them were consistently nice guitars, great finish work and the fret work was outstanding. Maybe the best I've seen. The part that puzzles me is if PRS is so good at making guitars why do so many people dislike their pickups. The last guitar I owned was a McCarty. It was a pretty nice guitar stock. The bridge P/up was a little thin and brittle sounding. I put in a Motorcity torque humbucker and it was a significant improvement.

    To be fair my main guitar (R7) has WCRs in it. Mine is a 2007 and I'm not a huge fan of the 57 classics that were in there. Today's R7s get the burstbuckers which I think are fine pickups.

    So what is the deal? Does everyone at PRS think the pickups sound great and the rest of us don't get it? Perhaps the pickup situation is just exaggerated on TGP and not really an issue.
  2. waxnsteel

    waxnsteel Member

    May 14, 2005
    I like em a little bright. If I'm using a Strat then go to a LP, the difference is so great that If I were to not adjust settings, the LP would sound like mud. And vice versa, of course. With the McCarty, the guitar is a little beefier, but still articulate. I'm too lazy to spin knobs every time I change guitars. I basically set "my tone" with a McCarty, then my LPs still sound good, and so do my Strats. For the most part, I play my McCartys, Strats, and a SAS, and occasionally play my LPs.
  3. sanhozay

    sanhozay klon free since 2009

    May 4, 2003
    I think the majority like the pickups just fine. I personally think they are either too hot, too strident, too muddy or all of the above. PRS apparently likes to work the sounds from the volume control and his pickups are voiced accordingly to have the most dynamic range across the taper of the pot. PRS is not a throwback builder, he blended old with new but for the most part his build was progressive and his pickups embodied the rock tones from the 80's-90's; not my favorite era for guitar tones! I’m not sure if the more vintage direction of the newer models and stock pickups are from his guided hands or the boardroom. Probably a combination of both? But there does appear to be a more concerted effort to manufacture a more traditional sounding guitar.
  4. CJDM

    CJDM Member

    Jul 13, 2008
    I agree - the majority of negative comments I have read about PRS lies in the direction of "they look and feel awesome, but I didn't like the pickups". Based on thier sales, there are a lot of people that DO like the sound, but the pickups certianly seem to be a focal point on these boards for those that do not "bond" with a PRS purchase.

    The guys at PRS (I suppose Mr. Smith himself?) seem to have a preference for a specific pickup sound, that appears to be represented in the Dragon II's, HFS, and similar. Since these have historically been the vast majority of PRS sales, mabey that is what many associate with the "PRS sound"? To me, this tone is a little hotter and harsher than a classic PAF type sound. I was not a huge fan of these pups in a CU22 or CE22, but love the DII's in an all-mahogany standard.

    On the other hand, PRS has really moved to capture some of the 'warmer" tones in thier more recent pickups. I know the Mira and SC245 are warm and creamy sounding relative to a CU22, and everything I have seen indicates that the DGT pickups are just killer and lie even more in the direction of the PAF sound. I have a HBI and the archtop pickups have a nice low-output warm-round sound that is nothing like DII's or the HFS line.
  5. fazen

    fazen Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    South Jersey
    It's not you. A lot of the people over at Birds and Moons don't love the pickups. Lot of what you are saying. A lot of discussion on changing pups.

    I'm pretty happy with the pups in my new Swamp Ash Special.
  6. OldSchool

    OldSchool Senior Member

    Sep 19, 2004
    United States of America
    I agree with their Humbuckers but couldn't disagree more on their P 90 soapbars. WCR Hummers in a McCarty is a SICK improvement , but my MCSoapy is stock and I'm keeping her that way.........[​IMG]
  7. skhan007

    skhan007 Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    I have many PRS's over the years and believe it or not, I recently sold off my Custom 24 Artist (brazilian, gold hardware, blah, blah) and decided to keep my McCarty soapbar- that one REALLY sounds good. Aesthetically, very inferior to an Artist package, but tonally, it did it for me while the Artist 24 did not.
  8. geetarman

    geetarman Member

    Feb 22, 2006
    I love my PRS pups but they're also 85' - 86' era hand wound.
  9. derekd

    derekd Supporting Member

    Sep 10, 2007
    In a van down by the river
    I too have owned a variety of PRS (4) guitars, and totally agree. Too hot, lacked the kind of character I was looking for. The poster that suggested the volume knob is the key, is right on imo. There is quite a bit of bite in that last 1/8 turn.
  10. RussB

    RussB low rent hobbyist Silver Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2004
    My theory is that the folks who have the disposable income to buy a PRS in the first place are also the types who love to tinker with tone, and have the extra $$$ to swap pickups around.

    I'll bet dimes to dollars that these same folk would be swapping out pup's in the Historic LP's, along with pots and caps too.
  11. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

    Aug 9, 2004
    To be fair, I think that PRS pickups work pretty well in very high gain situations. I'm not a super big fan of the HFS/Vintage Bass I've got in most of mine, but when I crank them thru a JCM800 or a Fuchs or a MB Tremoverb, they really seem to come alive!
  12. Marty s Horne

    Marty s Horne Member

    Jun 4, 2004
    Palmetto, Florida
    I've had 4 PRS guitars and thought the pickups sounded fine.
  13. JMintzer

    JMintzer Burned Out Mod

    Jan 3, 2002
    Potomac, MD
    I love most of the pups. The old Artist pups were some of my favorites. The only time I switched out was putting RP (the Modern Eagle pups) pups in my BRW McCarty. I like it better.

    Funny, you go over to the LP Forum, and the first thing most of them do when they buy a new Lester is switch out the pups, and put on a new bridge...

    So it's not just PRS (but many like to believe it is...)

  14. wilerty

    wilerty Member

    Jun 22, 2007
    Syracuse, NY
    What PRS has is a huge range of pickups as well as body types, neck types, neck materials, etc, etc. I would say I don't like half their pickups, another quarter are okay, and the last quarter are terrific. Some of their newer pickups like the SC245 and the DGT are outstanding. I'm of the group that believes if you love the feel and playability of the neck, the quality, and the look ... you can always change the pickups. An lot of LP players do the same thing.
  15. Dave Orban

    Dave Orban Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 6, 2002
    Trenton, NJ
    I found the stock PRS pickups a little too modern sounding. My preference, in both hums and P90s, is for a thicker, darker, more vintage-sounding pickup.

    In any case, it's VERY easy to remedy, given the number of world-class pickup makers that we are fortunate to have out there today. ;)
  16. MartinC

    MartinC Member

    Jul 24, 2007
    I have been really impressed with the Mira pickups (245's without the covers). When inserted into the Mira, they produce a very clear, spanky tone, whether in full 'bucker or tapped mode. I think they are the most impressive PRS pickups I've tried from a coil tapping point of view. I haven't been knocked out tone wise with any other PRS pickup.

    I think some players habitually replace pickups in any guitar ... PRS or otherwise. Maybe to get that extra 2% of something, or to move the tone towards their preferred tones.
  17. atquinn

    atquinn Supporting Member

    Jun 13, 2004
    Mineola, NY
    Guitars, amps, cars, motocycles, boats guns, etc... If you believe what you read on internet forums, they're all crap when stock! :D

    Last edited: Jul 28, 2008
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  18. jcoggins7

    jcoggins7 Member

    Jan 10, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    The reason most people dislike PRS pickups, IMO is simply because the sound PRS goes for is his own sound, which tends to be more modern. Some people aren't used to that, or realize that and then realize they'd like something a little different. There are some great PRS pickups, including the DGTs, Miras, RPs, Hilands, Dragon 1s, and SC245s. I actually don't really mind the HFS/VB, #6, or #7s. The point is that the people at PRS know what they're doing...it's just what they're doing in the pickup department is not for some people.
  19. uOpt

    uOpt Member

    Jan 16, 2008
    Boston, MA, USA
    I definitely think some more variety couldn't hurt. For example, the McCarty would probably go along very well with an unpotted neck pickup for some extra "life", some extra sparkle.

    People also feel uncomfortable about PRS pickups because they don't get specs. A2? A5? What wire? Don't even get DC resistance.

    The pickups certainly look very PAFish in construction so what's the point of secrecy?
  20. shallbe

    shallbe Deputy Plankspanker Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2002
    Gulf Coast, AL
    I think PRS pickups in the past have been designed primarily for a high gain sound. Works well for that, but the clean tone suffers in a big way, IMO.

    I do not like the P-90's in the PRS guitars at all. Too bright and peaky with no reall guts and oomph. Most of their humbuckers to me are rather flat and lifeless. I really tried to like the Dragon II's in my "keeper" CU 22 Artist. When I put Lollars in it, it came alive electronically.

    However, I LOVE the DGT pickups. I have heard good things about the SC245 pickups. Perhaps Paul is listening to some of his vintage tone loving endorsers and coming around to pickups that sound great clean as well as dirty. Let's hope so. The company makes fine guitars.

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