2023 Current Opinion on HFS & Vintage Bass pickups?

HANGAR18

Who is John Galt?
Joined
Sep 20, 2013
Messages
2,895
Location
USA
It's been a long time since the HFS Treble & Vintage Bass pickups were invented by PRS and there has been a lot of evolution in the PRS pickups since they were first introduced, so what is everyone's opinion of them these days?
 
I do not care for HFS pickup and it kept me from considering prs guitars.

I was jamming with friends and a guy I had not met offered me to try his prs. I thought it was harsh and even though I didn't know anything about it other than prs, I decided I didn't like prs guitars.

Now that's all I play is prs guitars but I still dislike the HFS.
 
Got um in three earlier PRS CU24’s personally think they fit that design well however I have fought for years to get the sweetness I’d like out of that pickup (HFS) but never had an issue dialing in the Vintage Bass. So two out of the three older CU24’s have Duncan Pearly Gates in the bridge. One is completely stock and don’t no how I did it but dialed that guitar in perfectly.
 
Got um in three earlier PRS CU24’s personally think they fit that design well however I have fought for years to get the sweetness I’d like out of that pickup (HFS) but never had an issue dialing in the Vintage Bass. So two out of the three older CU24’s have Duncan Pearly Gates in the bridge. One is completely stock and don’t no how I did it but dialed that guitar in perfectly.

I've got a set of chrome Pearly gates pickups, unopened, still in the box which I have been itching to install into something. Right now I'm thinking that those will go into the antique white Flying V that I own and pretend it's what Billy Gibbons would have done back in the early days. (It has been reported that the first guitar with humbuckers that Billy Gibbons ever played was a Gibson Flying V and he loved them.)

For this particular 2002 PRS Custom 24 that I have in mind today, I'm thinking about replacing the stock bridge pickup with a Bare Knuckles "Black Dog" pickup. As for the neck pickup, I'll just leave that alone for now.
 
I have the HFS and VB in my 2006 CU24. I like these pickups much more than I did the Dragon II pickups in my CU22. I used to play the CU24 more after I bought them because I found the pickups much more usable for my needs. Once I had the pickups changed to 57/08s in 2009, that made them swap spots. I still have both guitars. The CU22 is hanging on the wall right now and gets played to this day. I haven't had the CU24 out in ages. I think that is more about 22 frets vs 24 frets though. I gravitate to 22.
 
Got um in three earlier PRS CU24’s personally think they fit that design well however I have fought for years to get the sweetness I’d like out of that pickup (HFS) but never had an issue dialing in the Vintage Bass. So two out of the three older CU24’s have Duncan Pearly Gates in the bridge. One is completely stock and don’t no how I did it but dialed that guitar in perfectly.
I want to try a VB in bridge position
 
I've been a PRS player since 1991, and never loved a PRS standard humbucking pickup made before 2008. I've loved every PRS pickup made since (but haven't tried the 'M' series).

Keep in mind, though, that I don't play high gain stuff; the post-2008 pickups work better for me with 'edge of breakup' amps that I want to have a vintage tone,

I'm probably an outlier.
 
I don't care for the HFS at all, and I do play with very high gain and typically prefer high output pups in general. HFS is dark and muddy to my ears. Fat, but not in a good way. The original Dragon Treble was a much better high output ceramic pup IMO.

VB is fine, I wouldn't swap it out if it's already there, but there are better neck options if you are swapping.
 
The HFS slays in a high gain situation, but ya gottta feed it into the type of “rig” it was designed for at the time it was designed.

I used to say it was a passive EMG 81, but really maybe it’s more of an 85.

It’s tight, articulate, and can push the front end of an amp/rack without being over bearing…. for the time it was designed, and it’s one of (if not the longest and most sold) PRS pickups. It’s a thing, and IMO a proven design.


“VB” on the other hand stands for very boring. It’s a reason why people on the internet hate PRS.
 
I have an S2 Custom 24 from 2013 that came with the import version of these pickups. I quite like them. It took me a bit to do so, until I started playing with pickup heights combined with the amp settings; changing the pickup heights helped with the mud of the VB and tamed the HFS a bit. I dig that the HFS gives a significant jump in output.

I really like playing clean arpeggios on the neck and flip it over to the bridge and having the amp begin to break up. And the HFS is so good with gain. I’ve actually gotten US versions of the pickups (found them for a pretty good deal). I thought about changing to more vintage style ones, but I like these pickups for more modern stuff, so my Epi will take care of the more traditional rock sounds (not that this one can’t do it reasonably well).

My only decision pending for the pickup change is whether to leave the switching as 3-way with push pull or to get the US 5-way switch and related wiring (do I need new pots?)
 
I had these in my 1992 Custom 24 and loved them. I liked the extra power and the hard rock vibe it had.
The HFS and the DiMarzio Tone Zone are the sound I grew up with and still love.
But then I also like the heavy humbucker setting of the 513.
With a medum gain amp/pedals situation they have that little extra on top, while backing up the volume a bit gives you the more classic output humbucker tone. My 2p and all that...
 
Back
Top