CE Pickup Question: Coil Split


THAT guy at Chick-fil-A
Jul 31, 2014
North Carolina
So I'm looking at picking up an older CE model, most likely a 22. A lot of what I'm seeing doesn't have the stock pickups, so I'll be looking to replace those. The main question I have is.....

What's some good pickups for coil splitting? I'll be playing mostly rock and blues stuff, so that's a big factor, but I'd also really like to have some semi-convincing single coil tones, mostly in the middle and neck positions. Anybody have any suggestions?
If you are lucky enough to find one in the 90's with Dragon 1 pickups, you won't need to change them. They are rock monsters and they split well IMO.
I went with Fralin Unbuckers in my S2 SCSH and am very pleased. No single coil volume drop out when tapped. It it my strat? no but it's not bad and definitely usable. Because you're putting it into a CE w/ maple neck (i assume), it might be snapper and more stratty than my SC. Humbucker mode of course sounds great for blues/rock and no complaints. Very pleased with the tone.
I got great split tones out of Suhr Thornbuckers. Did a decent Strat impression in the neck, even in my all mahogany Singlecut.

Whatever you go with, I recommend doing the current PRS coil split resistor wiring. Keeps the single coil sounds beefy and doesn't lose much volume.
If you can find a pre-'95 CE-24 with stock VB/HFS pickups and original 5-way rotary switch, you probably won't need to change anything. I have a stock '93, and also play primarily rock and blues. Since I'm basically a Strat guy, I am partial to single coil sounds. The slit-coil sounds from my CE-24 are really great, and there is virtually no volume drop from the full humbucker positions. I will say that I believe the alder body that the pre-95s have does make the split-coil sounds more "Strat-like", which is perfect for me. I had a late 90s CE-22 with mahogany body that never sounded as good as my CE-24. And the early CE-24s and extremely versatile guitars. Stock ones are getting harder to find, but well worth the hunt.
Well, I just bought a 2006 CE22 in Whale Blue for $800. It's definitely been used, some light pick scratches and a couple dings, but includes a hard case. The big thing is the previous owner put an EMG 81 in the bridge, blech. The neck pickup could be stock but I can't tell for sure. My plan is to grab a full 3 way wiring harness from John Mann, a new bridge and possibly neck pickups, and call it a day.
Most of the 22 fret CE models used some form of Dragon pups. If you get one stock, give it a try before swapping. I used to love the sound of those pups.
I have one with dragon 1s and rotary. I don't think single coil when I play it I think old bad company.

I have an all hog body with 5310s and rotary. It sounds really good. I thought it would be bright but it is pretty warm sounding.

Ce24 with 5708s. It is a little more midrange focused. It has switching that resembles 408

Cu24 with 5909s is the bomb. Just the right amount of output to be full sounding but roll the volume pot down and it gets much brighter. I like this because rolling it back brings a sharper attack and a raunchy overdrive sound. Not offensive at all

5909s and dragon 1s or 2s can be had at a very reasonable price used. 5708s and 5310s will be pricey.

Good luck