Custom 24 pickup sound differences over the years?

Revelation

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I am interested in understanding the different pickups in the Custom 24 over the years. How has the humbucker and split sound has changed?

My impression is Paul and his team have fine tuned the Custom 24 over the years to get to where he wants them to be. I specifically am more interested in the Core pickups.

The Custom 24 is trying to be in-between a Les Paul and a Strat. The issue I had with the guitar in the past was a Les Paul sounded much better for a Les Paul sound and a Strat (Silver Sky) had a better single coil sound over the Custom 24. So just buy both guitars instead of one that was just a ok sound in between both Gibson and Fender. However, it seems PRS has spent much time developing this guitar and it's sound and tweaks have made it a more attractive guitar in 2024. Are there any videos that go through it's changes to where it is now?
 
I started off with the HFS/VB combo back in the '90s and almost immediately bought Dragon 1s to replace them. Did this on my old Custom and Standard. Not sure I trust the new ones, since I really haven't played a guitar with them. I guess I'm gonna hafta one of these days.
 
I started off with the HFS/VB combo back in the '90s and almost immediately bought Dragon 1s to replace them. Did this on my old Custom and Standard. Not sure I trust the new ones, since I really haven't played a guitar with them. I guess I'm gonna hafta one of these days.

Nah, nothing wrong with D1’s. Keep those great pickups
 
85/15’s my least fav PRS pup, Custom 24 my fav PRS model go figure. But wait I actually have all iterations, liking the 2011 w 59/09’s and the OG VB&HFS late 80’s/90’s models post T&B.
 
The combo is like a “modern Dragon 1”. Works really great in Customs where I feel D1’s work best in all mahogany models.

That’s just my personal opinion and experience though.
 
The 85/15 neck with Squabbin \m/ bridge should have been an available combo from the factory. It’s fantastic.
Couldn't agree more. \m/ is so much more what I would like to see the Custom 24 to be. But I totally understand why the 85/15 are used: they are great at everything you throw on them. Clean to mean! The Custom 24 was always all about flexibility, so 85/15 make sense
 
Oh have \M/‘s in an S2 Mira and another non PRS guitar and love um. Nice splits too.
They do split better than 85/15 indeed. The middle, both in split option is to die for. I have the Alnico \m/ TCI in my Standard and I had them wired with small value capacitors added in split like in 24-08 or Paul's guitar. Beautiful pickups
 
I believe the latest pickups in the latest Custom 24 08 are the TCI pickups that sound like a large single coil pickup without any hum. The standard Custom 24 has the 85/15 pickups which provide a fuller sound vs the TCI pickups. One would think the single coil sound on the TCI pickups are more strat like?
 
I believe the latest pickups in the latest Custom 24 08 are the TCI pickups that sound like a large single coil pickup without any hum. The standard Custom 24 has the 85/15 pickups which provide a fuller sound vs the TCI pickups. One would think the single coil sound on the TCI pickups are more strat like?
I'd agree the 85/15 is a very full sound, even with splits. Hard to tone down that fullness if you need to.
 
It seems for rthy, the mids are very strong with the 85/15's. The top end does not cut through because of the strong mid and lows. Some adjustments are needed for it to cut through. For lead it sounds wonderful, but the rthy settings need to be adjusted.
 
I just found out that an employee of a new music shop in my town has a Custom 24 serial number
6-0929 he bought new. He explained the neck pickup and how he finds it the best of humbuckers he's had in other guitars.

He asked me what I thought the guitar was worth. I suggested $8k since it's a first year PRS from the first thousand made.
It's just an odd ball guess.

Anyone else want to chime in?
 
Couldn't agree more. \m/ is so much more what I would like to see the Custom 24 to be. But I totally understand why the 85/15 are used: they are great at everything you throw on them. Clean to mean! The Custom 24 was always all about flexibility, so 85/15 make sense

The sound of the 90s was a PRS through a Dual Rectifier with HFS/VB bridge. You'd think PRS would lean more into that with the \M/ Metal pickups in Custom 24s as the Metal is the HFS' successor and also ceramic.

It seems for rthy, the mids are very strong with the 85/15's. The top end does not cut through because of the strong mid and lows. Some adjustments are needed for it to cut through. For lead it sounds wonderful, but the rthy settings need to be adjusted.

The 85/15s remind me a bit of a Duncan JB. It sounds good for lead stuff, but its overly middy/bassy/flubby for rhythm work.

They do split better than 85/15 indeed. The middle, both in split option is to die for. I have the Alnico \m/ TCI in my Standard and I had them wired with small value capacitors added in split like in 24-08 or Paul's guitar. Beautiful pickups

How do you have an Alnico Metal in the bridge since its only a ceramic pickup? Did you just put the neck one in the bridge or replace the magnets in the stock one?
 
The sound of the 90s was a PRS through a Dual Rectifier with HFS/VB bridge. You'd think PRS would lean more into that with the \M/ Metal pickups in Custom 24s as the Metal is the HFS' successor and also ceramic.
HFS/VB and \m/s pickups have very little in common. The HFS has a lazier bass response and sounds flabby, while the Ms are quick and grabbing low frequencies well. Ms also have more projection. The neck pickup in the Ms is sweeter and more articulate compared to the VB. I initially had the HFS/VB in my Standard and I loved the way the guitar felt and resonated, but I didn't like the pickups at all. I believe the HFS/VB is the reason why PRS guitars get **** for sounding sterile even to this today.

How do you have an Alnico Metal in the bridge since its only a ceramic pickup? Did you just put the neck one in the bridge or replace the magnets in the stock one?
Reverb.com

I never inquired, but I think mine has been removed from the Floyd CU24. The quote for you I did in a different topic:

"I wanted to share some news. Recently, I was browsing through the PRS accessory shop and found the description of Metals a bit confusing. The UK Accessory Shop has listed the specifications for the bass and treble pickups as follows:

Bass:
- Magnet Ceramic
- DC Res 8.5k

Treble:
- Magnet Ceramic
- DC Res 15.7k

However, the US Accessory Shop listed the same DC resistance for both pickups, but the Bass pickup magnet was mentioned as AlNiCo (no rank). When I bought my Square-Bobbin TCI \M/s set, the seller advertised them as AlNiCo. I had thought that the Alnico magnet was a typo in relation to Metals, but I emailed PRS Customer Service to clarify this.

Although I cannot quote their response word-for-word, PRS Customer Service essentially mentioned that pickup specifications are subject to change as they improve them. The type of magnet used in Metals has been altered at some point, and the four-conductor TCI versions that I have are indeed Alnico, although the magnet's rank remains a secret.

To summarize, according to PRS customer service, all currently manufactured PRS Metal pickups are Alnico-based."
 
HFS/VB and \m/s pickups have very little in common. The HFS has a lazier bass response and sounds flabby, while the Ms are quick and grabbing low frequencies well. Ms also have more projection. The neck pickup in the Ms is sweeter and more articulate compared to the VB. I initially had the HFS/VB in my Standard and I loved the way the guitar felt and resonated, but I didn't like the pickups at all. I believe the HFS/VB is the reason why PRS guitars get **** for sounding sterile even to this today.

I'm not saying the HFS/VB have anything in common with the Metal pickups from an EQ perspective. I much prefer the Metal pickups over the HFS myself. But besides the Tremonti, which is a bit different than both (its Alnico and Ceramic), the Metal pickup is closer to what PRS was trying to do with the original Custom 24s with a hot ceramic pickup in a Custom 24. The Metal pickup is the only other ceramic pickup that PRS offers, so it can be seen as a successor to the HFS in way.

And people hate on PRS to just hate on PRS and use the pickups as an excuse. The number of records the HFS/VB was on in the 90s/00s is pretty big, and none of those records or guitars sound sterile. Whether anyone likes or dislikes a pickup is just up to personal preference. I hate Gibson PAFs and most PAFs in general, but I won't deny the amount of successful records they were used on.

Reverb.com

I never inquired, but I think mine has been removed from the Floyd CU24. The quote for you I did in a different topic:

"I wanted to share some news. Recently, I was browsing through the PRS accessory shop and found the description of Metals a bit confusing. The UK Accessory Shop has listed the specifications for the bass and treble pickups as follows:

Bass:
- Magnet Ceramic
- DC Res 8.5k

Treble:
- Magnet Ceramic
- DC Res 15.7k

However, the US Accessory Shop listed the same DC resistance for both pickups, but the Bass pickup magnet was mentioned as AlNiCo (no rank). When I bought my Square-Bobbin TCI \M/s set, the seller advertised them as AlNiCo. I had thought that the Alnico magnet was a typo in relation to Metals, but I emailed PRS Customer Service to clarify this.

Although I cannot quote their response word-for-word, PRS Customer Service essentially mentioned that pickup specifications are subject to change as they improve them. The type of magnet used in Metals has been altered at some point, and the four-conductor TCI versions that I have are indeed Alnico, although the magnet's rank remains a secret.

To summarize, according to PRS customer service, all currently manufactured PRS Metal pickups are Alnico-based."

What year Custom 24 Floyd would that be? I have a pretty new Custom 24 Floyd (mid 2022) and it definitely has a ceramic bridge pickup. Its pretty apparent from the voicing and sound of it. Not saying your wrong, but it could be that PRS accidently gave out the wrong information. I figure if they really switched over to Alnico, they would have updated it on their website where they sell the Metal pickups because the bridge is still listed as ceramic there.
 
I'm not saying the HFS/VB have anything in common with the Metal pickups from an EQ perspective. I much prefer the Metal pickups over the HFS myself. But besides the Tremonti, which is a bit different than both (its Alnico and Ceramic), the Metal pickup is closer to what PRS was trying to do with the original Custom 24s with a hot ceramic pickup in a Custom 24. The Metal pickup is the only other ceramic pickup that PRS offers, so it can be seen as a successor to the HFS in way.

I used to have the Tremonti bridge pickup (and the set of 59/09 before that) in my Standard 24 guitar before I switched to the Metals. The difference between them is quite significant. Some people say that the bridge Metal pickup is essentially a Tremonti with a twist in the magnet composition, but tonally they are very different. When I installed the Tremonti pickup, the signal and lows was too strong for me. I tried lowering the pickup, but as I screwed it down, I ran out of thread and the pickup dropped into the cavity. This actually improved the tone. ;) But I just couldn't go like that.

I agree that the Metals could also be seen as a well-designed successor of HFS/VB, which is why I think it's what I would like the Custom 24 pickups to be. I currently have the Custom with 85/15 pickups and the Standard with a set of Metals, and I'm finding it difficult to choose my favorite PRS pickup set between the two. I like them both a lot, but for different reasons. The 85/15 is great at everything, just like the Metal set, but in a wider spectrum. I see the splits in the 85/15 as more of a different EQ rather than the guitar simulating a stratocaster, while the middle position of the Metals pickup is seriously to die for. If I had to choose only one guitar, I would probably put the Metals in my Custom 24-08. Again, I like both sets equally, but the Metal neck is a touch more articulated than the 85/15, which I prefer.

And people hate on PRS to just hate on PRS and use the pickups as an excuse. The number of records the HFS/VB was on in the 90s/00s is pretty big, and none of those records or guitars sound sterile. Whether anyone likes or dislikes a pickup is just up to personal preference. I hate Gibson PAFs and most PAFs in general, but I won't deny the amount of successful records they were used on.

I agree, but the heavy music in the 90s and 2000s had a different sound compared to today. I personally prefer the quick response from the bridge pickup, and the HFS just can't deliver that. Both the 85/15 and Metal set can achieve it effortlessly.

I also agree with your point about people criticizing PRS. Despite not being wealthy, I could play guitars from any brand, yet I chose PRS because I believe they are the best currently made guitars. I really don't care what a little worm on a TGP forum assessment is.

As for Gibson guitars, the only ones I've owned were two Zakk LP's and a Zakk V, all of which had EMG's. I used to love the BKP Riff Raff, a 60's PAF recreation, but I'm not really into underwound pickups. The hotter PAF with no low-end oversaturation is probably what the 85/15 pickups offer.

What year Custom 24 Floyd would that be? I have a pretty new Custom 24 Floyd (mid 2022) and it definitely has a ceramic bridge pickup. Its pretty apparent from the voicing and sound of it. Not saying your wrong, but it could be that PRS accidently gave out the wrong information. I figure if they really switched over to Alnico, they would have updated it on their website where they sell the Metal pickups because the bridge is still listed as ceramic there.

Not a clue. I never asked. I recommend reaching out to PRS customer service. I will locate the email I received from them and send it to you in a private message.
 
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