Aftermarket pickups in SE Cu 24

Discussion in 'Electric Instruments' started by YetAnotherRushFan, Apr 10, 2019.

  1. YetAnotherRushFan

    YetAnotherRushFan New Member

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    So I picked up a nice 2012 SE custom 24 that has the Seymour Duncan TB-4 JB and SH-2N pair.

    I expected these pickups to sound better– after all, these are highly regarded aftermarket pickups, and the stock units are not exactly first-rate. But what kind of surprises me is just how much overall *bass* the Seymour Duncan pickups have– especially the bridge. That pickup has made the overall balance of the guitar much lower. Stock, it's a bright sounding guitar; with this set, not at all.

    (I have another, completely stock SE custom 24 I'm comparing it to.)

    Here is my question (I'm a beginner): Is it usual for better pickups to have more bass/a lower balance?

    The only other difference between the two guitars is that the stock one has nine gauge strings and the new one with the Seymour Duncans tens. Yes I know thicker strings will give a bit deeper tone but not anywhere near this difference in my experience.

    (Stock, this guitar is a killer value; with $150 in pickups, it's flat out amazing!)
     
  2. dogrocketp

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

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    Try lowering the pickups. I’m amazed at how much just adjusting the pickups can do.
     
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  3. YetAnotherRushFan

    YetAnotherRushFan New Member

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    To accomplish what? :)

    Pickup height looks about the same between the two guitars. I like the sound of the stock instrument but to me the one with the Duncans just sounds better with the lower balance.

    (I also had a American-made PRS', and to me they have a much lower, weightier balance as well.)
     
  4. Ovibos

    Ovibos Naughty Wood Librarian

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    Different pickups, different heights?
     
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  5. YetAnotherRushFan

    YetAnotherRushFan New Member

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    Is that the likely explanation? Ok, maybe it is. I'll tinker with them.
     
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  6. dogrocketp

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

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    Yes, that’s the way it works for me.
     
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  7. shimmilou

    shimmilou Established in 1963

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    Definitely. Get a small phillips, sit down and play, pausing occasionally to tweak the pup heights until you get the balance and output that you want.

    Want less bass? Lower the bass side of the pup.
    More treble? Raise the treble side of the pup.

    For me, on most of my guitars, the bass side of the neck pup is lower than the treble side, whereas the bass side of the bridge pup is higher than the treble side.
     
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  8. YetAnotherRushFan

    YetAnotherRushFan New Member

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    So you guys are telling me the lower balance is NOT a function of the SD pups - just their hight?
     
  9. shimmilou

    shimmilou Established in 1963

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    We're saying that there is a reason the pups have a height adjustment screw on each side, and are not fixed in place, and different pups might require a different adjustment to get the sound that you want.

    Spend some time trying different heights on each side of each pup, and you might be able to get a better sound. It could also turn out that you just don't like this particular set, but you'll never know if you don't try.
     
  10. Ovibos

    Ovibos Naughty Wood Librarian

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    Maybe also dead strings if you bought it used and didn't change them.
     
  11. jvin248

    jvin248 New Member

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    .

    Just checking: don't compare a 24 fret guitar to a 22 fret guitar as the pickups are moved around relative to each model resulting in much different tones.

    Follow along with Joe on pickup height setting. Hear how much better the guitar sounds after his pickups are adjusted?
    You can also adjust screw pole heights. Neck I like to use a Strat Stagger pattern, bridge level with each other.




    Besides pickup differences (that have different wire wraps, wire, magnets), you can also have different pot values in your guitars -- pots have a 20% tolerance variation from the factory so one guitar can have one extreme while another guitar has another extreme even though they both have "500k" stamped on the case. Caps have a 10% range.

    I usually go in this order to fix any undesirable sounding guitar: adjust pickup heights, adjust pickup screw poles, swap caps, swap pots, and then swap pickups. Most start with several rounds of pickup swaps and waste a bunch of cash trying to find pickups to match the controls -- they are all a system.

    .
     
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  12. Victek

    Victek New Member

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    Those replacement Seymour Duncan P/Us are highly regarded, but that doesn't mean you have to like them.
     
  13. Acnestes

    Acnestes "If I can do it, it's not art." - Red Green

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    You might check the pickup manufacturer's websites and see if they have different recommended heights for each pickup. Differing magnet strengths will make the strings respond differently.
     

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