McCarty pickup shootout

Discussion in 'Electric Instruments' started by Apothecarius, Feb 4, 2019.

  1. Apothecarius

    Apothecarius New Member

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    The stock pickups in my 2003 McCarty were OK, but I never was really happy...
    I was looking for some bright, articulate, PAF type of pickup.
    After thinking for a long time which pickups to install, I asked here and got tons of suggestions. A few sleepless nights later, I finally ordered a pair of 57/08's.

    If you are in the same situation, don't really know which ones to install and don't want to spend your money on trial and error, here's a video I made with a direct comparison (under the same conditions).

    McCarty stock pickups vs. 57/08's

    Hopefully I can help with that...cheers.

     
  2. shallbe

    shallbe New Member

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    Wow. The 57/08' are so much clearer. I expected that, but you illustrated it well.
     
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  3. Kiwi

    Kiwi New Member

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    Thanks for putting that together. The differences are pretty plain when recorded like that. We appreciate the effort.

    =K
     
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  4. danktat

    danktat Award winning tattoo artist ... Amateur guitarist

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    This has me at a tossup. The 57/08 pups are much more articulate on the cleaner chords. BUT I like the stock for the clean single note stuff better. 57/08's in the split tones. Stock for what sounded like the fingerstyle/hybrid picked stuff. 57/08's seem to have a bit more cut when there is some breakup.

    I mean, is there a way to jam all 4 in the same fiddle? o_O
     
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  5. Apothecarius

    Apothecarius New Member

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    Market niche? ;-)))
     
  6. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    I’m a big fan of the 57/08s. Very nice work!
     
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  7. ScottR

    ScottR If nobody saw it, it didn't happen.

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    Noticable difference to my ears for sure! Great demo!

    Same here! I have become hooked on the 57/08s too. They just do it for me. They've been my happy place since December of 2017.
     
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  8. Beery Swine

    Beery Swine New Member

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    I already said this in your pup-swap thread, Apothecarius, but thanks for the demo. There aren't nearly enough PRS pickup comparisons on youtube. It'd be nice if someone did a full Keith Merrow style video with every PRS pup.
     
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  9. JDutch

    JDutch New Member

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    While I think I prefer the 57/08s, I'm impressed by how good the McCarty pickups sound. I think there's a good reason why so many people end up leaving them in guitars, like HBIIs.
     
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  10. Mozzi

    Mozzi https://imgur.com/user/BAMozzy

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    The new HBii's come with the 58/15 LT pick-ups - like all the 594 guitars inc the new Hollowbody 594.
     
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  11. JDutch

    JDutch New Member

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    Yes, but many of the earlier HB models had archtop pickups, which, to my understanding, were slightly lower wound McCarty pickups. Those were the models I was referring to. IMO, in spite of how much PRS' pickups have improved over time, those archtop pickups still work really, really well in those guitars, especially if you like mellow, warm, punchy tones.
     
  12. Ajp

    Ajp New Member

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    Would anyone know what the differences are between the 57/08s and the old McCarty Archtop pickups?
     
  13. shimmilou

    shimmilou Established in 1963

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    Great job Apothecarius, nice comparison.

    While both pups sound great, each in their own unique way, and in this instance for what you played, I prefer the stock pups. The stock pups have this organic, liquid tone that was very full, rich and musical to me, while the 57/08s sound thin in comparison.
     
  14. ]-[@n$0Ma☩!©

    ]-[@n$0Ma☩!© Der Hans der kann's

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    Good stuff. I'd like to hear something like this for the different generations/iterations of McCarty pickups.

    When 57/08's first hit the streets, I did a fairly comprehensive comparison of them against RP's with high-end recording gear and posted the results to SoundCloud. Wish I had kept it up so I could add to your thread.

    Like all pickups, RP's were better with some amps and musical styles than others. To my ears, they sucked hard with my Bad Cat amps but sounded great with my BlackFace Twin. The 57/08's were more consistent across multiple amps.

    In the end, I came to believe that context was too important to ignore but was most difficult to communicate in a venue that people would take the time to consume. You have to account for personal taste of the player, playing techniques (which absolutely impact tine), plectrums, strings, as well as the way the tone 'sits' with the band. It doesn't always work-out like you think it will until you hear the whole recipe in its final context. To that end, I stopped making assessments about which tone (and the pickup that contributed to it) was 'better'. I can't only tell you which one I prefer - in my guitar - with my signal-chain - with my band - for my sound.
     
  15. Micky!

    Micky! Dragon trainer

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    Very nice comparison. Both pickups sounds good to me. I like both, but for different use. I always like brighter pickups when I play at home, but I discovered that I was not liking this agressive brigter tone when I play in band situation. I use to prefer rounder tone with fuller mids and softer highs. When I discovered that I didn't play PRS at the time, but I was playing mainly SG with T-Top like PU, ESP Eclipse with EMG, LP traditional with C57/C57+ and SG Special with P90. First 2 were my top home guitar, very alive sound feeling at low level; but in band situation C57 or P90 were the best option in the mix.

    With my taste and experience I would go on McCarty PU :)
     
  16. zumaboy

    zumaboy New Member

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    I have two guitars that started life with McCarty pickups, a ’98 IRW neck McCarty and a’99 Swamp Ash Special. I stuck with the McCarty pups for a long time, gigging in a variety of small clubs, outdoor festivals, and the occasional theatre. I also had possession for a while of a friend’s ‘96 McCarty that had the original “round corner” pickups, which were great and should never be changed. The McCarty pups in my guitars did not suck, but didn’t always shine either (I liked them the least in the SAS). When I started down the replacement path, I started with the McRosie, opting for a set of customized Manlius Hot Rod 59’s. Mick winds great pickups and I liked the results, these stayed in for several years. Having the opportunity to play a few guitars with lower output vintage-style pickups was a bit of a revelation for me and I found a sound that suited my style. The McRosie now has a set of Sheptone Blue Sky pickups installed, and the SAS has a pair of 53/10’s and a Fralin Vintage Hot for the middle position. I’ve finally got both of these guitars where I want them to be, tone-wise. The fun is always in the chase...
     
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  17. gush

    gush I'm not a new member!!!!

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    I always thought the McCarty neck was very good but the bridge was just ok.

    The only experience I have with 5708s are squabbins I had in my ce24. The neck is incredible and still in there the bridge was ok and replaced with 5909.
     
  18. Ajp

    Ajp New Member

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    What about the lighter wound McCarty Archtop pickups that came with the old Hollowbody 2s? Anyone done any comparisons with the 57/08s (which come with the newer model Hollowbody 2s)?
     
  19. Mozzi

    Mozzi https://imgur.com/user/BAMozzy

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    I think Pick-ups are subjective and really depend on what you want/expect from a guitar. I have a McCarty 594 and I love the 58/15 LT's in both the Bridge and the Neck positions. I also find the Split coil sound of these to be very usable as well. I am a 'Humbucker' fan and prefer the thicker sound a Humbucker delivers but I am also a solo player and don't need to worry about fitting into the mix, taking up and/or muddying the frequencies other band members may be filling etc so Split, tapped and even Single coil sounds are at best, good, usable etc - although I much prefer to hear SC's than play them if that makes sense.

    That's a bit of a digression and to get back to the topic, I think its incredibly difficult to advise others on Pick-ups. Even if you try and demo or compare them, you are still hearing them through anothers set-up, their preferred amp, cab and/or mic, the way they EQ'd their amp, any post effects, any pedals etc too. Even if the player sets the EQ at noon, someone may prefer a 'mid-scoop' tone and dislike a 'balanced' Pick-up because it has too much mids and prefer the other because it has poor mids. A tweak in the EQ, turning down the Mids a bit, and that listener may prefer the original PU's but because the EQ was set at 'noon', they are either put off from buying the guitar or looking to see what PU's to buy before they even get the guitar.

    The 'newest' Hollowbody 2's come with the 58/15 LT's as standard - the same PU's as the 594 and 594HB. I think these sound great in both the McCarty 594 and Hollowbody 2 and have absolutely no desire to replace them in either guitar.

    I can see why some may want to change the PU's in the 594 to increase their output, bring the guitar from its 'vintage' era tone to more modern higher output PU's - drop some Seymour Duncans in to emulate Slash for example but with PRS build quality. I still think though that people should decide for themselves, compare with their rig and their set-up. Don't be afraid to alter settings rather than plug a completely different guitar with different output PU's and expect it to sound its best. If your gear is EQ'd for an ESP with EMG PU's or ice picky Strat, then plugging in a 594 probably won't sound at its best.
     
  20. Rider1260

    Rider1260 New Member

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    Nice work :)
    I can hear why I like the McCartys I just put in my CU22
     

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