Custom 22 Soapbar advice

Discussion in 'Electric Instruments' started by Salty, Jul 13, 2018.

  1. Salty

    Salty New Member

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    Hi everybody,
    I joined these forums years ago and never ended up posting much. Ended up taking a long holiday from regularly playing. I'm starting to get back into things, and I'm finding that I really want to get that thin, bright Telecaster bridge pickup tone, but I don't really want to buy a Tele. I was playing my Custom 22 Soapbar the other day (original owner/2001/ birds/maple board/violin amber burst/10 top--gorgeous, one of my favorites of all time) and I couldn't coax anything out of the bridge P90 that got close. Obviously it's a very different pickup than the Tele, so no surprise there. Still, I got to thinking that something like a no load tone pot might get me closer. Anyone have any experience with that kind of mod in a PRS with P90's? I was also thinking a higher value tone pot might help. I'm assuming that a 250 pot comes stock in that model, but I haven't been able to find any documentation online so far.
    Any advice appreciated.
     
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  2. Rider1260

    Rider1260 New Member

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    grausch and dogrocketp like this.
  3. Tone-y

    Tone-y New Member

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    I think you'll probably find that the tone pot (and volume) is 500K ohm. If it really is 250, then a 500 would be like turning the tone control to 12. Likewise, if it's a 500K and you go down the no-load pot route, it'll probably be like turning it to 11-12 ish. Likewise, a tone cap change might bring in a little extra brightness. I don't know what is stock, but PRS seems to use 0.033uf on the humbuckers. Changing to 0.022uf or less would raise the frequency that the tone pot works over - though if you put in a no-load pot the value of the cap will have no difference with the tone control on 10 as it will be out of the circuit.

    Don't think any of these will help with the thinness particularly though. The P90 is a fat sounding pickup in general, and it won't be slanted to the bridge like a tele bridge pickup is (accentuating the treble)

    Les will turn up at some point and tell you to get an EQ pedal. Maybe one of those and dialing down the pickup height a bit might work.

    ....And does it have a 'treble bleed cap' on the volume pot? I find those add in a bit of twang by filtering out a bit of the bass. Could be something to try as it's a very simple mod if it doesn't already have one.
     
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  4. Tone-y

    Tone-y New Member

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    Should have looked at the schematic Rider added first. Looks like the tone cap is already 0.022uf, so I would probably advise leaving that as is. No treble bleed cap on your 2001 model, but post 2007 it seems to be there. So, if anyone has experience of pre and post-2007 soapbar 22s and can chime in...
    But, my money is a treble bleed cap and just dialing the volume down to about 8
     
  5. Salty

    Salty New Member

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    That sounds like a good idea. I do like having the power of those pickups, so I don't want to do a swap. Thanks.
     
  6. garrett

    garrett Not a New Member

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    It really comes back to the beastly P-90s they used at the time. A no-load tone pot will up the presence, but the strong mids will still be there.

    The PRS treble bleed is very mild, but adding it will give you a little something extra treble-wise when you turn down.

    If you want to go down the pickup rabbit hole, try something with alnico poles instead of the standard P-90 construction.
     
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  7. Salty

    Salty New Member

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    Yeah, I was thinking about a set of the Lollar Alnico Pole P90s. Tempting.
     
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  8. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    As Tone-y mentioned, I’ve gotten into EQs lately because of an experience I had a while back with my Eventide H9. Their EQ algorithm has a preset called, “Les to Leo.” That day I happened to have been using my McCarty Singlecut, and I figured WTF, let’s try that and see what happens.

    I was kinda floored; I was standing there with this Singlecut strapped on, and what was coming out of my amp was very Fender-like. Was it exact Fender? Probably not. But it was sure close enough for rock and roll.

    So I began to explore what I could do with EQ, a tool I use a ton in my studio work to shape sounds.

    As a result, yes, I’m now hooked on using an EQ to shape my tone. I have the algorithm on my H9s, and I have an analog EQ that’s almost always on to allow me to customize my tone in ways the guitar and amp can’t do by themselves.

    Most EQs aren’t going to get you into that “Les to Leo” type preset that the H9 has; it’s a pretty sophisticated box. But they are going to allow you to shape your tone in a variety of ways, assuming you have a decent EQ to work with.

    I had two CU22 Soapbars, and my thinking is that a bit of mid-to-upper-mid boost, plus a bit of low end cut would probably get closer to a Tele tone. However, remember that a good bit of that tone comes from the saddles, the metal pickup plate, the scale length, and who knows how many other factors.

    I doubt a pickup swap would get you any closer to Tele than an EQ, but I’m not wearing anyone else’s ears.

    I have used an EQ with the McCarty I had before getting my first 594 to get a twangier, more Tele type of tone, and it worked in the context of my track just fine; the client was happy. But I may not be as picky as others, so don’t take my word for it.
     
  9. elvis

    elvis Hamfisted String Banger

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    Play it through the bright channel of a Deluxe Reverb
     
  10. Jimi D

    Jimi D New Member

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    I have a couple P90-equipped PRS guitars, and I just don't hear any Tele DNA in them... As others have noted, a Tele is a rather unique beast and there's more than just a different pickup involved in the DNA... ultimately, there's a reason I own 12 PRS of various stripes and still have two Fender Telecasters...
     
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  11. elvis

    elvis Hamfisted String Banger

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    Same for me. A variety of PRS plus three tele shaped guitars. Even building rock or metal guitars out of tele shapes and materials has its own thing going on, proving out the DNA hypothesis.
     
  12. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    I posted a quick EQ demo you might find interesting.
     
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  13. JJJ

    JJJ asleep

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    I like PRS treble bleeds very much

    If you're after a tele vibe, have you tried an S2 vela or starla?

    I'm not saying the bridge pickup (or the brass saddles on the vela) has a tele vibe, but they have a tele vibe. The starlas feel and sound to me like an SG had a baby with a tele.

    I have always loved P90s but never found them to sound anything like regular SCs. They have this papery quality and such a strong midrange, they are a totally different character when you hear them side by side. IMO of course
     
  14. Jimi D

    Jimi D New Member

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    I'll put the link here for anyone else interested... EQ Or Pickup Swap? A Quick EQ Demo

    That little demo is very revealing, and pretty darned impressive... Clearly, you can cover most ground on one guitar when recording with informed EQ tweaking, and I'm sure that in the band context it would work just fine live as well if you had that kind of deep-dive EQ pedal on your board... For me, however, I prefer to have a good Tele at hand because my style is to plug it directly into the front of my Mark V on Channel 1 Tweed and turn it up... maybe add a TS-9 and Crybaby to taste... ;)

    There's something about a really good set of Tele pickups that is a little different, a little special, imho... that soft, wide, round airiness you get on the neck is like a distant church bell, and the twang and kerang that leaps from the bridge seems to me that it's rebellious, angry, with a sharp-wit and a sharp-tongue... Is it anything anyone else can hear? Damned if I know... but I'll never give it up. :D
     
    #14 Jimi D, Jul 16, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2018
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  15. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    I get where you’re coming from, and I don’t disagree at all with your approach (incidentally, when I had a Mark V, I liked that Tweed channel best).

    A Tele has a particular tone, a gestalt of its own that’s more than pickups.

    However, if one has a CU22 Soapbar, one can’t make it sound like a Tele by switching pickups; there are too many other parts affecting the tone. But it is possible to tweak it with EQ and get something different out of any guitar - without a pickup swap. Another tool in the box, so to speak.
     
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