CU22 (DII) compared to 594's?


New Member
Feb 13, 2022
Ever sense I first learned about PRS Guitars, the CU22 was my dream. I still see the CU24 and the quintessential PRS, but 22 frets and stoptail are my sweet spot (as demonstrated with my current PRS collection). I searched the forum to get more information about the CU22's with Dragon II pickups and opinions seem to be pretty wide. Some people love them and some do not. This is not too surprising considering the wide range of PRS Players' tastes. While the overall feel of a CU22 seems to be similar to a DC594 how different are the pickups? A few posts indicate the bridge Dragon II would be more similar to the Tremonti bridge. Is it half way or much closer to the Tremonti pickup? Most of my guitars are strung with 11-52, tuned to D-standard or Drop-C, and played through modeled high gain amps (SLO-100, 5150, or a boosted Silver Jubilee).

Most of the comments on this thread suggest the 594 is the way to go:

Any experience with direct comparisons between CU22 and 594's would be very much appreciated before my GAS gets the best of me again. As I already have 3 594's and 2 Tremonti's, does an older (early 2000's) CU22 with Dragon II's do anything different from what I already have at my disposal?
I can't really comment on the 594 or Tremonti pups sound but I have three PRS with Dragon II and one with Dragon I and they are my go-to axes.
For me the upfront bite and growl I can easily get from them is just the sounds I am looking for.
Not for everyone of course but the immediate in your face attack from the Dragons keeps me very engaged.
I've been doing a lot of AB lately of the D2 vs PRS pickups. My first experience with them I expected them to be closer to the Tremonti. They're nothing a like. Sure, they can handle a lot of the same stuff, but that's where it stops. The D2 are worlds apart from the 5815LT. I knew the bridge would be, but I did think the neck would be somewhat closer, but they're nothing alike These are comparisons between multiple different guitars and there's those are factors, but it wouldn't narrow the gap enough to make up the ground.
The Dragon II pickups are much hotter than the 58/18s in the 594. They might also be ceramic magnet pickups. They have a lot of high-end bite. The 58/18LTs are much lower gain, like a classic PAF tone. They handle boost quite well, but don't have the harmonic gain that higher gain pickups tend to have. Now, as a guitar platform, the 594 knows no equal. It is the best guitar ever made. The stock hog/maple cap recipe is to die for, and the neck is butter. The bridge is period perfection. You want to sling low in a drop tuning, .011s are perfect for that. You want to slap some Bareknuckle Abraxas, Nailbomb or other said djenty magnetics in, go right ahead. The neck angle on the 594 is another unique gold nugget design element. It just feels perfect to me. The 594 scale is the most perfect scale for my hands, it's incredible. It sounds hyped to the uninitiated, but I can really tell the difference. Everything feels like it's in the right place. Another option for you might be the [EDIT: TREMONTI BARITONE] that is tuned stock to B-standard or drop-C, I can't remember which. It has a 25.5-inch scale length, and has a Tremonti bridge with a 58/18LT in the neck. I personally don't care for ceramic pickups, so I swapped my Tremonti set out for an uncovered BKP Riff Raff bridge/Mule neck combo and they sound killer.
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Yep. The neck pickup in both the D1 and D2 set seems to be the same A4 pickup that Paul based on a real 1959 PAF..

One covered (D2) and one without a cover (D1).
I would agree with this, and possibly the McCarty as well with maybe a magnet swap. I haven't been able to confirm or can't remember what mag was in the McCarty, but the readings are the same as D1 and D2.
Dragon IIs I think for your application would sound great , the bridge can do a really nice job of pushing an amp and also tap really well , also respond well to the vol knob.
The neck pickup is one of my favorites , never muddy.
I really enjoyed my CU22 that had dragon IIs and a wrap bridge when I lowered my overall amp gain and presence just a bit.
I have yet to bond with a 594 with the 58/15lt pickups just not enough for me, I just prefer a bit more output from my hum buckers
I have a 2000 core custom 22 with dragon IIs and an S2 single cut 594.

Completely different beasts imo, the dragon IIs are definitely more modern than the 594 pickups (USA or import versions)

I think a cu22 would compliment your collection well :D
Since we've started voting.. my vote is get the Cu22.

The D2 will do everything your looking for. Takes some dialing in, as they are a bit of differnet beast. I wouldn't want them as an everyday choice, but they're still sweet. The neck is thick, full, and round. Not as articulate as say the 5815LT or others, but it's an awesome neck pickup. The bridge rocks and hits the amp hard, can have almost a natural fuzz to it with the break up. They respond very well to volume and tone controls. How well they respond to the tone knob was a pleasant surprise. They're also very dynamic to pick attack. I've only been playing them for less than a week, but happy overall. Maybe some that don't like them aren't big into knob use and tweaking amp settings? Some amps they love and others so so, but overall a solid pickup choice. Rig is a factor with the D2 for sure. Snag the Cu22 and give 'em a go!
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Another fan of Dragon Ii’s here. They are much maligned by folks who I guess like more via vintage flavored pickups, but they are very nice sounding to me. They go from chimey clean to rocking hot and everything in between. The tone with the volume rolled back in the middle position (full neck and bridge) is one of the best there is on a 2 HB guitar.
I would agree with this, and possibly the McCarty as well with maybe a magnet swap. I haven't been able to confirm or can't remember what mag was in the McCarty, but the readings are the same as D1 and D2.
Somewhere on the forum is a list of all prs pickups and their specs. I was thinking magnets were listed too.
Somewhere on the forum is a list of all prs pickups and their specs. I was thinking magnets were listed too.
Unfortunately it doesn't list all the Alnico types for every one of them including the McCarty. It also has the Tremonti listed as ceramic, but it's actually "custom". Not sure exactly what that is? I did find a post on reddit the other day from a that guy used to wind for PRS, and he said the \m/ and Tremonti treble pickups are the same besides some special sauce on the Tremonti pickup.

I did find this a while back about the Tremonti too.


Here's the reddit post

I am someone that has a CU22 as well as a DC 594. My CU22 has a pretty chunky neck so the two guitars feel very similar. I didn't like the pickups in either guitar for different reasons. I was not a fan of the DII pickups because they were way too hot and had way too much top end in them for me. I had the PTC put a set of 57/08s in my CU22 back in 2009. They are much better suited for my playing. I swapped the 58/15LT pickups out of my 594 for a newer set of 57/08s. I did this because the volume drop off when switching guitars at gigs was too much for my taste. The newer 57/08s are hotter than the old ones. These pickups work great in the 594. They split great and completely got rid of the volume drop issue I had and has transformed the guitar into something I reach for frequently. The interesting thing for me is that the question you asked comparing the two made me think, these two guitars are the ones I typically have out and reach for frequently.
i have both a Cu22 (DII) and a 594. i find the Cu22 to be hotter and a tad compressed. Great guitar, i love it. My 594 is a great deal warmer and more bassey, and crushes the cleans but the dirt is not normally something that moves me. Also a great guitar but it has a different role in my tool box