Identify pickups in SE Custom 22 SH

Discussion in 'Electric Instruments' started by derFunk, Jun 23, 2018.

  1. derFunk

    derFunk New Member

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    --intro--

    Hi all. Semi-recent PRS convert here. For years I played the same Epiphone LP standard with Duncan Alnico Pro 2's and I loved it, but as I got older, I didn't love the weight on my shoulders. It weighs more than ten pounds. A friend of mine has been playing on PRS guitars for like 15 years, and he kinda evangelized the brand to me a bit.

    I thought maybe a semi-hollow would relieve my neck/shoulder a bit, so I did some research. A little over a year ago I tried out a Zac Myers PRS SE and fell in love. Bought it on the spot and I've been playing it ever since. I love how it sounds, really the look of the Trampas green, and I especially love the weight. My right shoulder feels better now than it has in years and I can play for a couple hours and not hurt.

    --get to the point--

    So last weekend, I was in Guitar Center and saw an SE Custom 22 Semi-Hollow used on the wall. I sat with it for about 40 minutes and played it through several different amps in the store. The low action and the wide-thin neck felt great. I wasn't too sure about the pickups, but I knew I wanted the body, at the very least, so I bought it. For $425 I just couldn't pass it up.

    Thing is, I don't know what model year it is, so I don't know what pickups are in it. Every picture of a Custom 22 SH I've seen has either a hardtail with the big SE headstock and no coil tapping (which I think was the 2017 and earlier) or a tremolo and the big PRS signature on the headstock with a push-pull pot for coil tapping (current model). This one has the hardtail and no coil tap, but has the big PRS signature. The serial number starts with Q, which isn't on the PRS identification page but might indicate it was made in 2017, if I remember my alphabet correctly.

    --why does that matter?--

    The only reason that matters to me is because I'm trying to figure out what pickups it has in it (maybe 85/15S, maybe the older SE pickups)? I want to replace them because I just don't love the tone. It feels harsh. Like, really harsh under even modest gain boost. Particularly the B and high E strings, compared to my ZM (which has the 245 SE pickups, I believe). I'd love to swap them out but I don't know enough about PRS to know if I can go off brand and use my Duncans, or if I can get different pups from PRS that I would like better. I've messed with pickup height and it hasn't really helped. The 245 SE pickups are...maybe they're not amazing, but they haven't driven me to replace the pups in the ZM. I've had this Custom 22 SH for a week and it's making me crazy. Advice on the topic is totally welcome. Thanks!
     
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  2. bodia

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

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    Welcome to the forum! Congrats on your "conversion." :) I would concur with you on the model year. Makes sense. That should also mean that those are the 85/15s. Although, I am not 100%. If you have already played with the height (and the height of the pole screws individually), and you're still not digging them, by all means, drop something else in. Lots of forum members do. Some because they are looking for something different, and some because they like to tinker.

    As for what to use, if price isn't an issue, 57/08 would sound great. If you want to go outside of PRS, your Duncan's would be cool. Lots of peeps like Bare Knuckle, but they are pretty pricey. I dropped a set of Klein 59s in a 594 that sound awesome, and aren't too expensive. Maybe a Pearly Gates. Lots of options. If you go non PRS pay attention to that makers wiring diagram. What's red on a PRS may be black with another maker. Or vice versa.
     
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  3. derFunk

    derFunk New Member

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    Hey thanks! Whatever I do I'll probably have to buy something. My guitar has some sweet-looking zebra set and I don't want to ruin the look. I definitely want to get similar to replace (cosmetics are at least as important as the tone, right? LOL). Plus I didn't want to take what I have in my LP out, since I seem to have misplaced the stock pickups. Yuck.

    I didn't think about the wiring colors, so I appreciate the tip. I had (perhaps mistakenly) assumed that red was red and black was black, but I'll pay attention when I go to swap.
     
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  4. bluenova

    bluenova Electrified since '84

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    If you pop a pickup out it will say what it is on the back. Definitely check out the Dimarzio 36th Anniversary set for PAF tones without breaking the bank. You can find them in zebra too.
     
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  5. derFunk

    derFunk New Member

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    Ah, yes. On the back of the neck pickup it's identified as an 85/15S. Thanks, bluenova!
     
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  6. andy474x

    andy474x Knows the Drill

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    Trem or stoptail? Consider a Mann bridge too, they can add depth to a guitar's tone, especially SE's.
     
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  7. derFunk

    derFunk New Member

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    Mine has the stoptail. Thanks for the rec!

    BTW I've ordered a set of Duncan Pearly Gates with the zebra trim, in order to keep the original look. Looking forward to getting them!
     
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  8. derFunk

    derFunk New Member

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    I totally thought I ordered Pearly Gates, but received Alnico Pro IIs. Looked at the email confirmation from Sweetwater. APH-2s Alnico Pro II. Hmmm...I must have been drunk.

    Oh well, they're in the guitar now. It's what I ordered so no going back. It sounds fantastic, btw. Nothing "wrong" with the 85/15S, just not for me, and the more "vintage" (lower-output) pickups suit me, my style, and my desired tone better. Still plays fantastic, too. If only I was a fantastic player. :lol:
     
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