How can I make my PRS SE sound more like a Les Paul?

Discussion in 'Electric Instruments' started by Cory A, Jul 5, 2021.

  1. Cory A

    Cory A New Member

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    Hi everyone,

    This year, I've gotten a guitar somewhere above "low end" for the first time. I got a PRS SE Orianthi signature. I really like everything about it, witb the exception of the bridge pickup. It has the SE HFS/VB pickups. The neck seems fine, and I'm aware of the displacement due to the 24 frets so I won't get positions 2 and 3 to sound Gibson-y. However, the bridge pickup is just too hot and mid-rangey. It feels like it can't get enough highs when not split, and the bass is overpowered by the mids.
    Are there any pickups you guys could recommend, regardless of brand? I'm still planning on using the coil split, so something that won't sound underpowered would be ideal. I'll gladly consider any maker! Presumably, something more PAF-style would be what I'm looking for.
    Thanks, Cory
     
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  2. toothace

    toothace Zombie Thirteen, DFZ

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    59/09
     
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  3. AP515

    AP515 Mostly Normal

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    Best PAF I've played is a Seth Lover set, or Antiquities which are closely related. But they are unpotted so know that going in. But even if you put PAF's in your SE, it won't sound like a Les Paul. Better to find a Les Paul in your budget or maybe the SE245. The Orianthi is a different thickness, not s singlecut, 24 frets v 22, just too many things different. As Paul says, "Everything effects everything."
     
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  4. BrianC

    BrianC more toys than talent

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    That model is very different than The Les Paul sound you are after.
    It will always be a compromise. Once you are OK with that you can move forward to try to modify your sound to be the best it can be.

    I have four custom 24 core models. I have change the pick ups in all of them.

    if you want it to sound like a Gibson then put a Gibson pick up in it. I would suggest a burst bucket III.
     
  5. RickP

    RickP Established 1960, Still Not Dead

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    The hotter the pickup, the more mid-forward the sound will be in any guitar. That’s one of the common-ground factors you can apply to your search. Accordingly, pickups like the Fralin Pure PAF or Duncan Antiquity will be clearer and less mid-heavy, like earlier Gibsons (or the 58/15LT in PRS). Pickups with a bit higher output pickups will be closer to some of the more recent pickups.

    The “Les Paul sound” can be a lot of things, because Les Pauls can sound different due to age, pickups, finishes, woods used, etc. Get on the Les Paul forum and ask what their favorite OEM Les Paul pickup is, and you’ll get as many options as there’s been LP pickup models! And many will infer that all except their fave sound like crappola. Point being that the Les Paul sound, while generally on the other end of the spectrum from “Strat” or “Tele” sound, is a broad generalization of humbucker tones. And before we leave this concept, be prepared… many will disagree with all of this, too!

    So, it sounds as though a clearer tone is what you’re looking for, and the Fralin, Duncan, and PRS pickups mentioned above are all solid bets. With so many other things affecting tone before and after the guitar, it’s impossible to guarantee one pickup as the do-all-end-all, but that’s my best guess.

    EDIT:
    I missed that you wanted to coil split. Honestly, PAFs are weak for that. They are low output to begin with, and sound weak split. PRS found a way around that in the 58/15LT, with some creative coil tapping or winding. I don’t recall the exact mad-science, but it’s effective. Just keep in mind that splitting a low output pickup will give you a even weaker pickup.
     
    #5 RickP, Jul 5, 2021
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2021
  6. chicagoslim

    chicagoslim New Member

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    For pickup sets, in the $100 range, I can recommend Porter Gatekeepers or Bootstrap pickups. I went with the vintage type sets. They also sell hotter, more modern sounding pickups.
     
  7. dogrocketp

    dogrocketp I drank the PRS kool aid, and it was tasty!

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    Try dropping the pickup before you change it. Depending on your amp sound that can be the difference sometimes. Don’t forget to try changing the amp tone settings as well.
     
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  8. RevBillyG

    RevBillyG New Member

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    I remember when I was chasing Santana’s Les Paul tone on Abraxas... only to find out it was a P90 SG. A lot of people think Led Zeppelin was recorded with a Les Paul. & depending on the day of the week, Billy Gibbons will tell you ZZ Top’s First Album was recorded with a Telecaster.


    All that to say you’re going to have to be more specific in what you are looking for.


     
  9. aphantomvaper

    aphantomvaper New Member

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    I second this. Easier to start with adjustments than a tear-out. Less expensive too...
     
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  10. Eddie kim

    Eddie kim New Member

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    Really simple, buy a Les Paul. 100% guarantee it will sound like a Les Paul. ;-)
     
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  11. Fullmoon 1971

    Fullmoon 1971 New Member

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    Unless its any of the god awful 2015 models
     
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  12. Mark Ray

    Mark Ray New Member

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    Trade it for a Bernie. Done.
     
  13. 88prs

    88prs OCD for PRS

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    """"How can I make my PRS SE sound more like a Les Paul?"""" Buy an Epiphony

    PRS guitars should sound like a PRS.... sorry I'm biased.
     
  14. GADonis

    GADonis New Member

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    I've heard multiple people say that Page's Dragon Tele sold a lot of Les Pauls over the years.
     
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  15. bodia

    bodia Authorities said.....best leave it.....unsolved

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    That's no lie!
     
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  16. Draconomics

    Draconomics Celebrating 15 years of bad tone

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    Here's the deal....PRS instruments have their own thing, their own voice. You can pop in some Gibson style PAF pickups, be it actual Burstbuckers (which I did years ago on an old SE I had) or something on the lines of a Pearly Gates set, but it's never going to sound exactly like an LP, and then there is the question of what specific LP sound you are going for, from what era. That more midrangey, vocal sound that is the signature of PRS axes is something unique to them. Don't worry too much about trying to get her to sound like some other guitar, feel what the natural voice is of your axe and choose upgrades that make that voice shine.
     
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  17. DISTORT6

    DISTORT6 NJ Devil

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    I LIKE that my PRSi DON’T sound like a les paul!
     
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  18. hord1080

    hord1080 New Member

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  19. ooglybong

    ooglybong New Member

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    Welcome to the forum!

    Honestly, I think what you might be hearing is mostly down to the nature of the high-output HFS pickup itself. My ‘90 CE-24 was, of course, loaded as stock with the HFS/VB pickups, and even those could’ve been described as you do here. And, TBH, after 25 years, I finally grew tired of that tone (yeah, lowering them in the process), but in the end, I just opted for a set of PAF-like Suhr Thornbuckers. Much, much more to my liking. But if you wanted to stick with PRS, I happen love the 57/08s, and they can be very nicely split, IMO.

    That didn’t make it sound like an LP, though (which was never my goal to begin with). I have my wonderful Stripped 58 for that. Yeah, I suppose it’s pretty close to a LP-ish direction... but way, way better.

    My final advice, though, is to just go and buy yourself a Gibson LP. Then maybe mod the SE with some different pickups and embrace its innate PRS-ness!

    Good luck, hope this helps!
     
    #19 ooglybong, Jul 19, 2021
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2021
  20. aphantomvaper

    aphantomvaper New Member

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    I put PRS 58/15's in my Les Paul because I wanted it to sound more like a PRS!

    Untrue, but still in the vein of this thread.
     
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