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PRS SE Custom pick up change

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by StuartJames, Jan 25, 2021.

  1. StuartJames

    StuartJames Tele-Meister

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    Got a Korean PRS SE custom 22 with a hard tail in coming. Will definitely give the pickups a go, but I have a habit of changing out mediocre pickups.. more than likely they will go eventually. Just wondering if anyone has changed pickups on an SE and found it to be a big improvement. If so, which pickups did you go with? Playing blues, rock to hard rock.
     
  2. Southpole

    Southpole Tele-Afflicted

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    The HFS and Vintage SE humbuckers are ok I found it hard to dial in the classic rock sound I wanted. Swapped them out for Duncan JB / 59 pickups and I’m much happier.
     
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  3. '64 Tele

    '64 Tele Tele-Holic

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    I put Seymour Duncan Seth lovers in an SE Custom 22 semi hollow and Custom 24.
    Huge improvement in both.
     
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  4. MrCairo46

    MrCairo46 Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    I had an S2 with HFS and Vintage bass import pickups and loved them. I now have an SE Hollowbody II piezo with 58/15’s and I love them. I’ve also a PRS Al DeMiola 22 with 57/08 pickups. All have slightly different character, love them all.
     
  5. Luvs2yoko

    Luvs2yoko TDPRI Member

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    image.jpeg Duncan Seth lovers.
     
  6. jvin248

    jvin248 Doctor of Teleocity

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    .

    Before swapping pickups ... determine what the tone problem that you are trying to solve actually entails .. too bright or too muddy?

    These are the wallet friendly steps to take:
    -Adjust pickup heights and bass/treble tip
    -Adjust pickup screw pole heights .. adjust like a mini-EQ pedal
    -Swap volume pot for another measured pot higher/lower kohms
    -Swap tone cap for higher/lower uF
    -Series cap on a particularly muddy pickup hot lead (0.047uF is typical)
    -Last is swap pickups and then go back to the top of the list.

    Best to throw free or $5 fixes at the guitar than jump right into $100 pickup swaps to try finding a pickup that works well with the controls. Even when 'dimed', controls actually control your guitar tone. I used to swap pickups like everyone else until I figured out how much the controls actually influence the tone. Pots have a 20% tolerance range, caps a 10% range, and if they run at the opposite spec from what you like to hear the guitar will sound 'bad'. That's a big cause for the mystery of why one 'identical' guitar will sound different than another and people have to 'run the racks to find a good one'.

    I have "more than one" SE in the fleet ... and while some were too muddy when I got them, pickup heights, pole piece heights, and cap changes were all that I needed to 'fix' them.

    I did mod one SE for another reason and that was to split the neck pickup to the push/pull tone pot so 'down' was just the neck side bobbin (with screw poles adjusted in a Strat Stagger pattern) and 'up' is both bobbins in parallel for Strat Quack. I use the neck on cleans or light gain and this gives me more of a Strat performance. Meanwhile on the Bridge pickup I installed an Arlo Cocked Wah circuit that really cuts through the mix under distortion and the tone dials back from there to a 'normal' bridge humbucker (I can't go to jazz dark but I never do that anyway). Pickups are still stock though.

    So don't be in a rush to 'upgrade' pickups.

    .
     
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  7. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity

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    Obviously, pickup quality is in the "ear of the beholder".....but I've never heard an SE model with original pickups that wasn't outstanding. The only one I've owned (and still do) is an SE One, with the PRS version of a P-90. I have a 1960 Les Paul Jr, with its original P-90 (which is terrific) and I A/B'd with the SE One, and there's virtually NO difference.
    Like @jvin248 above.....I'd play with it for a while before changing pickups. I bet the stock p/ups are great "AS IS"......;)
     
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  8. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

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    I had a $250 gift card at Sam Ash and started a thread here about switching the 490R and T pickups in my SG for Seth Lovers. A member suggested that my money would be better spent on an equalizer. I followed that gentleman’s good advice and bought a BOSS EQ-200. What an amazing difference. It got rid of the mud and tamed the high frequencies giving me the clarity I sought and more. The EQ-200 brought my Annie with its mud switch to life and tamed the highs on all three Fenders I can’t imagine not having a 10 band equalizer. It’s my always on pedal with four tone shaping profiles saved to memory.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2021
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  9. BluesGuitarMart

    BluesGuitarMart Tele-Meister

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    I changed out the stock SE pickups in my Bernie SE twice, originally for Iron Gear Blues Engines but I found them kind of boring sounding, much like the originals were. I then installed House Of Tone TruPAFs and it's a different guitar, I couldn't be happier with it as it is now. I also put locking tuners on at the same time, and replaced the nut too.
     
  10. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    PRS SEs are equipped with pickups made by G&B in Korea. They are extremely good pickups, made the same way as the domestic units. They're cheaper because of where they're made.

    Spend some time with 'em for a while to see if they float your boat before you spend another $150 on replacements.
     
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  11. Collin D Plonker

    Collin D Plonker Tele-Afflicted

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    Depends on what you like. I put Suhr Thornbuckers in mine. They are a decent PAF style pickup.
     
  12. telemaster03

    telemaster03 Tele-Meister

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    SE Custom 22 Semi-hollow, swapped the pickups for a SD 59 set. HUGE improvement.
     
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  13. StuartJames

    StuartJames Tele-Meister

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    Man that’s a great looking axe! Is that an after market bridge?
     
  14. Southpole

    Southpole Tele-Afflicted

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    This is the SE24 I replaced the HFS and Vintage Bass pickups with Duncan JB/59 pickups. But I also had a SE22 Hollowbody which also came with HFS and Vintage Bass pickups. I thought they suited that guitar well and left them in. I have another PRS with Dragon II pickups which is a whole other thing.

    06617C98-8D79-43F2-B4C9-A0389CB6A251.jpeg
     
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