Looking for some input on a potential modification

Discussion in 'Electric Instruments' started by BWV548, Jun 19, 2017.

  1. BWV548

    BWV548 New Member

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    I've comm'd a bit with the PTC on this, but wanted to get broader set of opinions, down to my lack of experience on such things
    I bought 3 PRS in rather short time and have been loving playing them, and exploring their timbral uniqueness.

    The other day, I had the idea - I can't say if it's a good or crap idea - that getting a narrow field humbucker installed in the center position of my 408, would just be an awesome tone top up. PTC can do this and thought it's not cheap, there is much value in having them do the work rather than a local luthier, even though my local guy is tops.

    What I'm waffling on is this: Would that pickup be congruent in timbre and output with the two 408s or would it stick out badly?

    The way I'm viewing the question, which may well be the WRONG way to view it, is as a sort of orchestration exercise. I'm envisioning the pickups as sort of unique instruments, and wondering if such a "quasi-instrumentation" makes sense

    Perhaps the more important question is: am I overthinking the problem. Guitar electronics are definitely NOT where my musical knowledge excels. I tinker extensively with music. Tinkering with kit and instruments, is not something I have any experience with. Which is to say: ask me about counterpoint or harmony, and you'll get informed, confident answers. But ask me about the electrical and magnetic bits of my instruments, and you'll get babble! Which now seems odd, given I have a good math background

    Any opinions on this potential modification and/or my approach to framing the problem, would be most appreciated
     
  2. dkilpatrick

    dkilpatrick Makes guitar faces

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  3. Dusty Chalk

    Dusty Chalk alberngruppenf├╝hrer

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    IMHO, I think you should look at the problem thusly: what sort of electronics would you change them to? Using software terminology, what would be the all-inclusive use-cases?

    No, the tonality would not stick out like a sore thumb, but do you have much experience with 3 humbucker guitars? For the most part, you get more tonal variety by splitting/tapping the humbuckers in the bridge and neck positions. And by changing where you pick the strings -- closer to the neck, closer to the bridge, etc.

    By all means, do it, if this is something that interests you. For those that have the ears for it, it'd be a tonal monster -- you just wouldn't need any other guitars -- but I'll be honest -- I do not have the ears for it, so I wouldn't do it. But then, I'm a beginner, so don't assume my experience will be your experience -- your own ears should be the judge.
     
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  4. Rider1260

    Rider1260 New Member

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    I like the center pickup arrangement you could go Narrowfield or go 305 single coil.
    both would fun
     
  5. toothace

    toothace At least I'm good at dentistry

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    This^

    Les has gushed about how he loves his PRSi, and their unique characteristics. He'll verify that it'd be a good move to make the mod.

    Or, just go pick up a 20th Anniversary Private Stock:cool:
     
  6. bodia

    bodia Authorities said.....best leave it.....unsolved

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    Yep, this x2
     
  7. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    I've been paged, I see...

    I have the 20th Private Stock model, that has two of the Paul's Guitar 408s and the Narrowfield middle pickup.

    I have owned many 3 pickup guitars, over a very long period of time.

    The Narrowfield middle pickup on my 20th Anniversary model is the most useful middle pickup I've ever owned or heard. It sounds fantastic with the 408s. It's the first middle pickup that I've felt sounded good enough to use on its own (as opposed to in the 2 and 4 positions).

    I love what it does in conjunction with the 408s. Couldn't possibly be happier with a guitar.

    Obligatory pic that you've all seen before:

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. garrett

    garrett Not a New Member

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    I like the way you think. I've had some pickup combos that were not well matched tonally and it's frustrating.

    Seems like the NF has been a good call in the middle position on a few PRS guitars. I suspect it'll be a good mod.

    I know I've seen a 408 where the PTC installed a 305 single coil in the middle. That's another good option and something I've daydreamed about doing.
     
  9. BWV548

    BWV548 New Member

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    Thanks everyone. LSchefman, that is one gorgeous instrument!!
    I'm leaning towards pulling the trigger on this. Of course, if I get it done, I'll no longer have a 408, by PRS's naming convention. Moreover, they already have a 513 -PTC tells me the narrow field can't be split.
    In thinking of what to call what I'd have after the "surgery, it occurred to me that, of course, 408 and 513 aren't two numbers but four; again by PRS's naming logic. I realized a fun name, constructed by mathematical metaphor. I think the new instrument will be a |A|=12. Here's the logic. I'm thinking of 4,08 & 5,13 arranged in a 2x2 matrix {{4,8},{5,13}}. The determinant of that matrix being 12. The absolute value of a 2x2's determinant represents the area of a parallelogram, in cartesian coordiates: {(0,0),(4,8),(5,13),(9, 21)). Here is the - double-metaphor: the "new" instrument covers the sonic "area" of both the 408 and the 513. That area, being 12, represents the full gamut of the western musical pitch space. As the pitch-class space of western music is 12 - {0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,t,e} representing the chromatic scale - choose any pitch-class for zero. The basic operations on that space being the ring of integers, under addition, mod 12. Of course this is just using math to construct a metaphor. The above matrix, and it's determinate, have nothing, in reality, to do with either instrument
    I wonder if PTC will make me a truss rod cover that reads
    |A|=12, of if they will have me sectioned for asking and explaining why...(?)
     
  10. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    Dunno about the TRC, but dug the explanation for the name!
     
  11. garrett

    garrett Not a New Member

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    Functionally, you will essentially have a 509.

    You can also throw in the mod I like for a three pickup guitar: a push/pull that affects the middle position. One way is middle pickup alone, and the other is outside pickups. Add in your coil taps and you end up with 13 positions.
     
  12. sergiodeblanc

    sergiodeblanc Rah rah ah ah ah!

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    Why can't you split the NF? They're essentially little buckers.. I thought the Super Eagle has a tapped/split NF, and I think I recall Hopeful Sinner say he had his NF's done up that way years ago.
     
  13. Dusty Chalk

    Dusty Chalk alberngruppenf├╝hrer

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    Won't he only have the 509 only if he gets the 509 electronics? I'm not that familiar with the 509, but the 513 has filters that change the flavour of the pickups as well as the most compleat pickup selection. So again, unless I missed it (and that's very well possible) -- what electronics were you thinking of? There's at least a couple choices here -- the 408 electronics, which is basically a way of picking any pickup single or humbucker combination in a 2 humbucker guitar -- could easily be adapted to 2 humbuckers and one narrowfield, I would think; the 513, which is a way of selecting most pickup combinations with some filtering to give them some vintage and modern flavours; and something else based on the 594, which is way of blending pickups with knobs. As well as many others, plus any that you can think of.

    Regarding naming conventions -- there's a guitar out there called the 24-08 -- essentially a Custom 24 with 408 electronics. If that helps at all.
     
    #13 Dusty Chalk, Jun 20, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2017
  14. garrett

    garrett Not a New Member

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    It's more advanced than this, but at its heart the 509 is an HSH guitar with individual coil splits for the humbuckers; the 513 is an HSH guitar with buckers that can be full, tapped, or split; and the 408 is an HH guitar with individual splits.

    Add a five way switch and middle pickup to the 408 and you have the same basic 9 options as the 509. Sounds will still of course be different due to the different pickups and guitar construction. This sacrifices some of the 408 sounds (the ability to mix/match bridge and neck splits together), but gains the middle pickup stuff.

    If you use a five way super switch and a push/pull, you can get the best of both worlds. In one push/pull position, it will work just like the 509. In the other, the middle position will work just like the 408. You get 13 positions, although several of the selections will differ from the 513. You can take it even further and do the Strat style 7 way mod, which allows you to have all three pups on at once and drives the total sounds up to a whopping 17. Or slightly simpler, if you don't use the middle pickup alone, using a super switch without a push/pull can net you 12 selections.

    The 513 is a special beast. The two different humbucker modes are unique and not easily replicated. Closest I can think of are the Fishman Fluence humbuckers, but they're active and use filtering to shape the tone. The 513 pickups are an ingenious way of wiring passive pickups.
     
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  15. BWV548

    BWV548 New Member

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    Actually, in rereading what the PTC folks said they can do, I've miscounted the combinations.
    If I'm understanding them correctly (I have an email out asking for confirmation or clarification) the 3 way switch will be left as is, the NFH will be installed, along with a 3rd switch which will activate and de-activate the center pickup. This would leave all 8 timbral combinations in place, and all for each of those 8 coupled with the NFH. I suppose this effectively would give me a "516". Though I still prefer the name based on the matrix determinate. It suits my personality. Take from that what you will!!
    The one missing bit, would be that the center pickup would not be available on its own. Given that on previous 3 PU guitars I almost never used the center alone, I'm not all that fussed.
     
  16. garrett

    garrett Not a New Member

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    In that case, I highly recommend a 5 way super switch (middle position set to outside pickups) instead of the 3 way and separate toggle. I'm not a fan of having three pickups on at once, personally, and a 5 way will make it easier to get to the Stratty tones on the fly.

    And like I said before, if you want the middle pickup alone available just in case, that's easy via push/pull.
     

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