Custom 22


New Member
Aug 31, 2013
I am looking at a 1995 Custom 22 and was thinking it was a McCarty before up close exam. The visual diffs are the wing tuners on the Custom vs Vintage on the Mc

The pickups are covered Dragon 1 vs McCartys. Does anyone know how these 2 pickups are different? Are the Dragon 1s considered a desirable or vintage PRS pickup? Most of the Dragons I can see in pics are uncovered. This guitar's Dragons are covered.

I was thrown off at first with the control knobs. All of the CU22s have 3 knobs, one being the rotary. This one has the 2 knob Mc config and a toggle switch. The pups do not have the coil tap.

Any help or insight is apprecited
From what I’ve learned when searching out a humbucker PRS, with a lot of help from the folks here:
Uncovered Dragons = Dragon 1
Covered Dragons = Dragon 2

I’m sure others will straighten me out if I’m wrong.
I've had both. The McCarty pickups leaned much harder toward a more vintage, PAF sound, but as mentioned, both sounded great. The McCarty body was also thicker, and its headstock was slightly thinner, all to try getting closer to that old school sound.
McCartys are known for having a thicker body, sharper headstock angle and a thinner headstock.
Indeed, the solder on the bottom of the pickup (to ground the covers) is not exactly "continuous" between the baseplate and the covers. Plus, they look like they've been bent away a bit--likely evidence of them being put on afterward. Is this really a terrible thing? No, it just means that they're probably original Dragons with aftermarket covers.

Also very likely that guitar started its life with a 5-way rotary pickup switch, and then somebody changed it to the 3-way toggle. That has been very common over time. [Where do we expect that Paul relented and went with that setup for the McCarty, after all???]

Don't fear the Dragon (1) pickups! I have my own suspicions that the neck pickups in the Dragon (1), Dragon II, and McCarty sets are all the same identical pickup specs anyway. As far as the Dragon (1) bridge, it's like the hottest version of a vintage-style pickup that still sounds "vintage" in character yet has a lot of power to push an amp into overdrive. I wouldn't call it overly-aggressive; rather, just simply "hard rock."
If you lean toward a more vintage sound, get the McCarty. If you prefer a more modern sound, the CU22 is a cool guitar.

I'm not a fan of the Dragon pickups.

A few pics. Def Dragon 1s.

Question about the toggle switch - could it have had the rotary switch and had it replaced to a toggle? I just have not seen an Custom 22s with this configuration along with the covered Dragon 1s.

There is no hang tag or modcat to be found. Serial number definitely places it in 1995.
Looks like covers were added by a previous owner on those pickups. They're all bent up where they were unsoldered and then pried off. . Maybe they were removed from other old pickups and put on the Dragon I's? They look worn though.

Absolutely the rotary switch could have removed and replaced with a 3 way.

Knuckleheads do that all the time.

I've done it myself.

Is price allowed to be discussed on this site? If so, I would like to ask what some of you think it should be priced at. Here are the things that usually take off points..

No papers or hang tag

About 9.0/10 on condition. A few dings here and there on top and binding but nothing major considering it's 28 years old

Frets are Exc
Tuners good (although I hate the wing tuners)
Beautiful board almost looks BRW but I am thinning its IRW
Original case w working latches

Talking used pricing is fine. In normal times, I wouldn't pay more than $2k for either. However, guitar prices are crazy stupid. If you can find one for under $3k, you'd be lucky.
Dragon 1’s are some of my favorite PRS pickups. The neck is an uncovered McCarty basically.

I have a set in my Standard 24. I really want a 90’s-early 2000’s McCarty to add a nice vintage vibe to my group. Sergio does like to remind me that I do infact have a McCarty, she’s just hollow and full of body ;)
To me the lack of splitting on the tone pot is a dead giveaway that the guitar has been converted from a rotary switch to a toggle. Other than that I agree that the pickups look original except for the covers, which is not a big deal.

The switch change would bother me a bit to be honest, because it requires reaming the hole slightly, tho the rotary can be reinstalled.

Ultimately, it comes down to pricing: if you can have it for around 2 k or slightly less I'd grab it, especially if you can try it and like it. If not, depends on what's available on the market for you.

In Europe I bought a 2003 McCarty with no mods (except for pickup rings, nut and knobs, but the originals vere included) and a 10 top for 2k a few weeks back, but I don't know where you are based.
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Thanks for the input guys. Very helpful. I have decided to pass on the guitar.

I would appreciate someone telling me how to delete this thread. Thanks
Good thread... Whether you changed your mind or not! You stoked some good conversation! Be proud of the thread!!!