2017 Custom 24 - 85/15 Pickup Challenges

Discussion in 'Electric Instruments' started by TexasHeartRush, Aug 13, 2017.

  1. TexasHeartRush

    TexasHeartRush New Member

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    Hey ya'll, have had my 2017 for about 4 months. My 2nd PRS - Feel, finish, trem...all fantastic. But I am having a hard time with the 85/15 pickups. I cannot get any kind of sweet vintage tone from them (not that they were intended for that, I actually don't know, but I cannot even get a happy medium yet). They sound hi-fi, trebly and far thinner / weaker in the 'in between' positions than I could ever have imagined. I do have years of experience with different pickups, adjustment, wiring etc, but not with PRS pickups. I would be grateful for a recommendation(s) as I would like to keep this guitar PRS if possible.


    I play professionally and regularly, I have Gibson, Suhr, Anderson, Fender and others and tend to stick with vintage voiced/output singles and classic PAF tone for humbuckers. I have nice amps, clean signal paths, cables etc. It really does just seem like a taste issue with the 85/15s, that's all. I have to 'really' adjust amp or pedal settings when switching to the PRS.


    My first PRS is a 2013 Studio with a 5708 in the bridge. I dig that humbucker tone (even in split mode). Any suggestions would be appreciated - (BTW, I have not even opened this guitar up and looked at pot values yet) I figure someone here knows what in it.


    Many thanks in advance! RG
     
  2. AP515

    AP515 Mostly Normal

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    Lower the pups and see what you think.
     
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  3. Screamingdaisy

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    This is just my opinion, but...

    When I'm looking for a more modern sound I reach for my Custom 24. That said, when I say modern I mean 1970s. I think it's the overwound PAF with covers removed thing... just kind of has that sound when I hear it. Additionally, IMO the 24 fret neck pickup is sort of like a lead boost... big mids and a low end cut like it's being boosted by a tube screamer.... only it's not being boosted. Great for soloing with cleans or lower gain settings where using an overdrive is inappropriate.

    I'm not a big fan of the 'in between' positions when playing alone, but when playing with a band I find them useful for scooping the guitar out and getting it to sink further down in the mix. Sometimes the humbuckers are too bold and punchy and the notch positions help reign them in a bit.

    When I'm looking for more vintage sounds (read: Gibson-ish) I use my McCarty. The neck pickup is more traditional sounding (scooped and bassy), and the covered pickups have a different shape to the midrange... more honk, less open, more classic. I also use this guitar when I want a more single coil sound (I like single coils but I'm not particularly into Strats, so for me the McCarty is a nice midway point).
     
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  4. G-Man

    G-Man New Member

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    57/08's are awesome. I love them in my Ted.
     
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  5. TexasHeartRush

    TexasHeartRush New Member

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    Appreciate that, but can't go any lower (physically) with the neck pickup and any lower with the bridge pickup, all hope of any balance is lost ...and... I have tried multiple height combinations the first few days. The overall character of the pickups and dominant frequencies don't shift enough regardless of height settings. Outside of potentiometer swap, I have made every relevant adjustment without success including string gauge and picking location. Love the guitar, but it gets benched often and I hope to change that. Thank you, RG
     
  6. goat-n-gitter

    goat-n-gitter Dismembered

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    My first PRS was my P22 with uncovered 57/08s, which I love, but wished for a little more push out of the bridge pickup at times. Then I got my CU24 w/85/15s, and it took me a couple of weeks before I got my rig dialed in to really like them, but they are now my favorites. Ironically, the settings I found for the 85/15s work well with the 57/08s, but not as much vice-versa. When I really want a more vintage sound, it's the 594.

    Have patience finding the tone you're after, but if you can't, you should have no trouble finding someone to trade 57/08s for your 85/15s.
     
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  7. TexasHeartRush

    TexasHeartRush New Member

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    After scouring and reading this afternoon, seems like what I hear with the 85/15s (lacking low mids, too bassy, too glassy) are echoed by others, perhaps not by the majority but the same common descriptions seem to apply to a certain ear. That's good actually. Anybody who has swapped out their 85/15s with success (in the PRS pickup line) for the same reasons I would be grateful to learn what it was and what you determined. Thank you, RG
     
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  8. TexasHeartRush

    TexasHeartRush New Member

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    Thank you Tom. Nah, I won't sell them or trade them even If I buy something else to put in them - I hear ya, and appreciate the insight - still after weeks and weeks (several recording sessions, gigs etc) I have the same issue / feeling every single time I play my CU24 which is why I finally posted. I certainly can dial in a great sound with my rigs and the CU24, but If I switch guitars in a set, the setting differences are way too drastic to make the change efficiently. It's all good we'll see what unfolds. Thank you, RG
     
  9. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    Interesting. I have a 2016 CU24 with the 85/15s and think they're among the three or four best PRS has ever made. Just goes to show ya, no two players have the same exact tastes!

    Though I also really love the 57/08s and several others. I guess I'm easy. :)

    But I've done a lot of paying studio gigs with mine, and it's gone pretty well. So that's one good thing.
     
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  10. dogrocketp

    dogrocketp I drank the PRS kool aid, and it was tasty!

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    Texas, try adjusting the pole paces on the pickups before you swap out. Also, what kind of strings are you using? I have different brands on several of my guitars because they sound better to my ears.
     
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  11. TexasHeartRush

    TexasHeartRush New Member

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    Thank you DRP, appreciate the tip and suggestion. Well as mentioned - it's beyond the level of pole piece adjustment at this point - that was week 1 and week 2 tweaks on my end producing only subtle enough results. Enough to carry me for a bit anyway. As for strings, that's a relevant conversation for sure. I am pretty settled (meaning satisfied with) D'Addario 11's or 10's and Thomastik 13's - I go through alot of sets and D'Addario are really consistent for me and I use strings as part of the tone I can count on. I would entertain other brands and I understand the relevance of string brands and affect on tone, but with 10 guitars or so settled well with D'Addario - this is a fundamental core brightness / glassy / bassy that is electronic based IMO. Hoping for suggestions from those who have swapped out the 85/15s (or potentiometers) on their CU24 because of the same reasons. I can certainly choose other pickup brands (I have considerable experience with a variety of brands) but I would love to keep this PRS, genuinely. Thanks again - RG
     
  12. Screamingdaisy

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    That 57/08 that you like, is it covered or uncovered?
     
  13. TexasHeartRush

    TexasHeartRush New Member

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    Covered - In truth I would prefer covered pickups in general, both aesthetically and tonally (any covered vs. non covered debate aside) it is my preference. Even split coil the 57/08 was cool.
     
  14. Elliot

    Elliot Gandalf the Vintage Yellow

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    Not speaking from experience but it seems like the 57/08 gets a lot of love as a PAF but I know some people contend that 57/08 quality/build can vary. You have experience with those and like them, why not throw a set into your CU24? Personally, I have a set of 58/15 pups which are the same as the 85/15 but with covers. They are on a totally different guitar as well (a Ted, like G-man, 22 frets, stoptail, 24.5 scale length) but I get very sweet vintage tones.

    In terms of electronic configuration, with the exception of mine having covers, they are exactly the same as your 85/15. Maybe it's not the pups but the sum of the parts. Or you could just toss in some 57/08 and see what happens.
     
  15. TexasHeartRush

    TexasHeartRush New Member

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    I agree with this for certain! And for me that also means the rest of my chain... I have not been hasty in looking at the whole picture, it's just that the guitar is such a pleasure to play (unplugged has a GREAT resonance), hitting home with a core tone would be so fantastic. Truth is Elliot, I only have experience with ONE 57/08 in ONE guitar and in ONE position! So while I am not exactly 'reluctant' to pop a set in, I am not overly eager or convinced it is the solution yet - without a bit more insight/info. Thank you, RG
     
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  16. garrett

    garrett knows just enough to be dangerous

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    You may like the 57/08 set better. I recently bought a CU22 with the 85/15s. Prior to pulling the trigger, I compared it to another one that had 57/08s. The 57/08 set had more of that PAF growl and the 85/15 set was brighter and more clear through the mids. I agree on the "hi-fi" description.

    It's an obvious solution I'm sure you've tried, but I find that rolling the tone back a bit gives them a different character without getting muddy. I had to lower the treble side of the bridge pickup a couple of turns from the factory setup to tame some of that high end.

    I did my first gig with the CU22 Friday and it seemed to switch back and forth with my 594 okay, but the guitars definitely have very different personalities. I didn't like the 2 and 4 positions either, so I rewired it with a push/pull to get eight useful sounds.
     
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  17. Dusty Chalk

    Dusty Chalk alberngruppenf├╝hrer

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    Don't force yourself. If you've already done everything to get the best for you out of them, then perhaps they're not so good. To me, they're not that different than the 57/08s, so I'm not sure how you can love one and hate the other. But you should be able to swap them out at no cost to you. And they sell 57/08s now.

    Is it the guitar? If you're that familiar with guitar, can you "feel" if the guitar is a good one (playing it acoustically, for example)? I personally can't do this on a solidbody, they all tfeel the same to me, but I'm a newb.
     
  18. Faded

    Faded Friend of the Devil

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    Their pickups starting with the 57/08s, 59/09s, DGT's etc. were some of the best vintage/modern sounding pickups on the market. I have a Cu24 with 57/08s and it is magical, a good balance of clarity and grunt. Unfortunately they seem to have gone overboard with the "clarity" and treble on the 58/15s and 85/15s to the point where I've heard them described many times as thin and weak. I don think these will be remembered as fondly as the 57/08s. Hopefully they'll correct course and begin offering pickups with a little more beef in the next cycle
     
    #18 Faded, Aug 14, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2017
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  19. dogrocketp

    dogrocketp I drank the PRS kool aid, and it was tasty!

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    I have 57/08`s in my 2003 CE 24. It has balls to the walls when it comes to humbucker tone. It`s full and meaty.
     
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  20. TexasHeartRush

    TexasHeartRush New Member

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    Thanks - I don't follow your post? I don't understand the phrase 'force yourself'?

    - As mentioned previously, I do not work well with the 85/15's...and I am replacing them. I am looking for folks who have swapped them out for similar reasons and asking what they chose.
    - As previously mentioned I like the 57/08s in one guitar, in one position. I am not convinced by any stretch they are a solution for me. I mentioned them only as reference.
    - As previously mentioned Yes, the guitar is fantastic otherwise both feel, fit and unplugged resonance.

    As far as the 57/08 being so close to 85/15s that I should experience similar outcomes, I cannot comment on that. I don't have enough experience with either (although your's is the first mention of the resemblance). I have yet to read that the 57/08s are glassy / thin / trebly or hi-fi, but I found several accounts of the 85/15s described that way but I did not research 57/08s either. My goal is just to get this guitar rockin the way I like. For me pickups are always guitar dependent, not model dependent. Mostly was looking for insight into shared experience using PRS pickups. Thank you, RG
     

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