IMPROVING BRIDGE AND WIRING ON SE

Discussion in 'PTC - PRS Tech Center' started by David1111, Aug 15, 2019.

  1. David1111

    David1111 New Member

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    I am a new member. Joined today.

    I bought a pre owned SE a few months back..Made in S Korea with the old SE logo and dots instead of birds so price was very good. I know my way around guitars a bit and used to gig with an amateur band (around 35 years ago) performing covers.

    I got back into electric guitars around 14 months ago when I bought a MIM Tele (also pre owned ) I use a Vox 50T Amp and have an ancient Digitech RP80 multi effects pedal. (again all pre owned) Am currently on a bit of a budget as still recovering from the costs of a divorce.

    The SE is not that bad. I did some fret work ( mainly rounding and polishing the ends..took quite a while) and cut away and reshaped the top of the nut and have got the first fret. string gap height pretty good. Love the neck shape. The guitar plays good with minimal relief and a fairly low action.. I changed the pots to CTS push pulls and have separate coil cuts for both pups.Knobs did not fit new shafts so had to fit some Tele ones.
    Am not that happy with sustain for which PRS are supposed to be excellent. Am thinking a better bridge might help. I am currently using PRS 9.5 strings. Anybody have experience of upgrading an SE with either a core or possibly a Mastery bridge and getting a marked improvement?.

    The pick ups are not that brilliant but get plausible sounds with my Amp and multi pedal . Not that keen on the clean tones . Am thinking of improving single coil sound by doing Paul wiring. I have played one of the new SE Pauls in store and was quite impressed . I checked out the schematics in the PRS site but they seem to be down. Am I right in assuming the Paul single coil sound is mainly achieved by a resistor in series with the earthed coil? I think I read somewhere that the resistor values are 8.8k for the neck and 2.2 k for the bridge although others recommend 4.7 k on both. Has anybody tried this mod? Did it achieve?
     
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  2. sergiodeblanc

    sergiodeblanc Get in, loser, we’re going shopping.

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    You talkin’ stoptail or trem?
     
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  3. David1111

    David1111 New Member

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    Stoptail
     
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  4. sergiodeblanc

    sergiodeblanc Get in, loser, we’re going shopping.

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    I’ve played around a bit with every version of PRS stoptails (except the Paul’s with the brass inserts) the TonePros, and the Mann 2300(?)... they’ve all had subtle tonal and tension differences, but to be honest, the SE one is just as valid, well constructed, and accurate as the ones they put on the Core guitars.

    If money is an issue with you at the moment, I’d put a bridge change at the very bottom of your list of things to upgrade.... unless of course you’re into really down-tuning your guitar or using really heavy strings.
     
  5. David1111

    David1111 New Member

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    Thanks for that.. I thought,for some reason that all the core models had the brass inserts.I was told by a dealer that the SE Paul had the core model bridge. Presumably he meant the Paul core model. Anyway the cost of upgrading the bridge (over $200)in a guitar of this second handvalue ( under $150)was probably not viable anyway. .The sustain is not that bad but could be better following hammer ons and slides. Just have to be a bit more aggressive with the vibrato.

    Any views on the Paul wiring mod? Are there recommended resistor values for SE pups.. I was informed by the seller that one of the previous owners had "upgradedt" the pups by installing 3 wire pups from a later SE model so the pups could be split as the stock ones had been only 2 wire. Could be true. Not that relevant to the current mod program.
     
    #5 David1111, Aug 16, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2019
  6. andy474x

    andy474x Knows the Drill

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    If you want to address the bridge without spending big money, I recommend a set of the Tonepros locking studs. Some older SE’s had an issue with the bridge leaning forward under tension, due to the space in the stock studs being excessively larger than the actual thickness of the bridge. Basically causes an unfavorable change in break angle over the bridge, which can affect sustain. There’s also a cheaper mod using some thin washers that someone posted her a few years ago, I’m sure you could google and find it, but the locking studs aren’t too expensive.

    Regarding the coil splits, I do feel the resistors help, have not tried the 4.4’s but based on the fact that the stock 2.2’s on my S2’s still leaves the bridge sounding pretty thin, I would give it a shot.
     
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  7. David1111

    David1111 New Member

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    andy474x.....Really appreciate all that imput. Especially bridge info..The Tone Pros look a good idea Have looked for the thread you suggest but have not found it yet. Will proceed with rewire. Gonna try a 8.8 in the neck and a 4.7 in the bridge. Or similar values...depends whats available.

    Good forum . Glad I joined just to get the feedback I did. Not sure if I can personally contribute anything useful myself. Despite my experience of tinkering with guitars, I'm sure most here are far more knowledgeable.
     
    #7 David1111, Aug 16, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2019
  8. Boogie

    Boogie SuperD

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    I upgraded the bridge in my SE245, but honestly, I completely forgot! The difference between the SE and core wrap around tail piece was so negligible, I completely forgot I spent the money. Intonation is exactly the same, so I’m not sure I’d do it again. It’s only a piece of the overall puzzle, so I wouldn’t upset the gorgeous balance I’ve happened upon with this guitar. It fells, plays, and sounds - to me - as good as many Private Stock 245s I’ve been fortunate enough to play. If you closed your eyes, you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference.
     
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  9. Dirty_Boogie

    Dirty_Boogie Still got the ol' tagger on it

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    If I closed my eyes, you could tell the difference - I'd be playing all the wrong notes! ;)
     
  10. andy474x

    andy474x Knows the Drill

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  11. 64 Tele

    64 Tele New Member

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    I've got an SE Custom 24 that I was about ready to sell or trade as I just could not bond with the pickups.
    I swapped out the stock ones (I believe it was a 2014 model) and put in a set of Seymour Duncan Seth Lover pickups
    (4 conductor) so I still have the option for coil split.
    HUGE difference from before with stock pickups. Articulate, yet warm.
     
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  12. David1111

    David1111 New Member

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    .Andy 474x....Again many thanks for the info. The thread link was much appreciated and proved to be a real find, I carried out the bridge mod with washers I had and it is impossible to deny the improvement in tone and sustain. This kind of passing on of info is what forums should be all about

    My £120 sterling (around $144 US) guitar is now turning into something completely exceeding my expectations. Well worth the many hours I spent working on the frets and nut. As a bonus I have realised that the Grover 18 tuners (presumably fitted by a previous owner) are not standard. I have really excellent tuning stability.

    Have decided to postpone experimenting with the resistors as a pup swap is imminent. I have just helped a buddy solder in some SD Pearly Gates in his cool looking 2006 Schecter Elite arch-top. I actually quite liked the sound of the stock Duncan Designed 102s (uncovered) wh ich I believe are Korean made copies of Seymour Duncan's best selling Jazz/JB set, made under licence. For help rendered I am buying these for £25 (around $30 US) and am pretty confident that I am going to like them in the SE.after I have dialed them in. If I still prefer the stock ones ,pretty sure I will be able to sell the DDs on.

    Just a bit of wiring experiment in the coming weeks and that should be it. Although the chrome Tele knobs lock a bit out of place. Need something in black that will fit CTS push pulls. These older korean made SE s seem to be very affordable and excellent;y made and have the potential to be great guitars with a bit of nut and fret work. .. I understand the production of later SE models has now been switched to Indonesia . I presume there was good reason for this. As I stated earlier I recently I have y tried the new SE Paul model in a store and was mega impressed .But then for £1000 (around $1200) I would expect to be so.....A bit behond my budget at this time.

    Hope these details of improving my fairly inexpensive pre owned SE on a fairly tight budget have not been too boring. The forum has been most helpful.
     
    #12 David1111, Aug 25, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2019
  13. David1111

    David1111 New Member

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    Just a quick up date. I am delighted with the 102 Duncan Designed pups. A definite improvement over the stock ones especially clean. Plus all round they have a bit more Mojo. Can definitely recommend as a good budget up grade on older SEs if a set is available . You can only buy second hand as you cannot buy new.

    For those interested I played around with the wiring quite a bit. The DD 102 bridge pup ( an import version of the Seymour Duncan JB pup) is really great with a bit of gain and is excellent with most effects but lacks something clean. However wire it in parallel and played clean it sounds very classic PAF ish. So my tone push pull puts bridge pup in parallel. The Vol PP does the coil cut on the neck pup and also coil cuts the bridge pup but only when it's in parallel so I can still get humbucker bridge plus cut neck. The neck coil cut is only a partial one through a 4,7k resistor. Would have liked to also have had a partial coil cut on the bridge but this does not seem possible with the parallel wiring option. You can only have full cut but its not that bad. Appreciate that this wiring is not relevant to most PRS guitars as parallel wiring is not an option on PRS 3 wire pups but thought I would post my experimentation anyway.

    I, and others, really like this guitar, for a total outlay of around $200 the results have been amazing. But I think that the Economic's Law of Diminishing Returns will now apply and the guitar has reached its economic zenith. Hopefully I will get that USA core model one day (probably a pre owned one) but suspect this great sounding SE will be a keeper.

    A buddy,very impressed with my guitar, has been looking for something similar to work on but has not been impressed by current UK ebay asking prices. I personally think that around $150 is about right for a 12/13 year old SE with a few dings . Or did I score a bargain and not realise it, especially as it already had upgraded tuners..
     

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