Please fill me in on Dragon II pickups.

Discussion in 'Electric Instruments' started by Burstbucker, Jan 31, 2020.

  1. Burstbucker

    Burstbucker New Member

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    Do any of you guys have any first hand experience with these Dragon II pickups that were stock in the soon to be mine 2003 Custom 22?

    What kind of sound was Paul shooting for when he designed these pickups?

    I have read some bad reviews on them but why would Paul sign off on terrible sounding pickups? I mean he's generally regarded as something of a genius when it comes to guitar building, you wouldn't think that all of a sudden he had a tin ear and messed up royally.

    I read somewhere that the bridge pickup is kind of like a slightly hotter version of a '57 Classic and the neck pickup sounds close to a McCarty neck pickup.

    If any of that is remotely accurate it sounds like the Dragon IIs aren't really bad, are they? Are they on the darker side or on the brighter side? Output is too high?

    I know one thing, replacing them with a pair of 57/08 or similar would cost a fortune, especially when you're paying with Canadian dollars! Ouch!!!
     
  2. veinbuster

    veinbuster Zombie Three, DFZ

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    See answer in the other thread you asked this
     
  3. Burstbucker

    Burstbucker New Member

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    Yeah, sorry about that but right after posting this question in my other thread regarding a 2003 CU22 that I plan on buying on Saturday I decided to delete it there in that thread and post it as a separate question just in case a lot of folks aren't following what is going on in my first post.

    Thanks for your input BTW!
     
  4. danktat

    danktat Award winning tattoo artist ... Amateur guitarist

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    I LOVE dragon 2s. They are a little hotter than PAF but not quite as modern as some of the HFS or dragon 1s. There is a slight natural compression that comes from them that some hate, but I love. That is because my picking is a little eratic and it allows me to smooth over that inconsisancy and still sound like what I play is on purpose. Let me post you this video, that has been posted here before. Go to the ACTUAL YOUTUBE page to view it. Because it allows you to look in the description and just click on what pickup and configuration that is being played. The D2s are being played right next to the much coveted 57/08s. And you can just lick on the links to skip you to each setting to A/B them pretty easily and actually HEAR the differences without a time lapse in between.

    I think people kind of didn't dig them because they were stock in so many different guitars from PRS that they were almost the "generic" PRS pickup. But if you really listen, they are a pup all their own that sound great and really do cover a lot of territory.

    Here is the video....you can judge for yourself.

    Here is the thing. Everyone has a differing opinion and things they look for in a pickup....but if you really listen to this comparison, there isn't a crappy pickup in the entire lot. A minor difference here and there, but if you can play guitar, you can do just fine with ANY of them .... including the overseas ones.

     
  5. FunkyFreeman

    FunkyFreeman Moo Panuwat

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    Either good or bad depends on how listeners perceived it. To my ears D II sounds great especially on dirty sound. To be honest I think it sound more balanced than HFS set came equipped with core CU24, at least the D II has better defined mids.

    Lately I put a D II neck on my Modern Eagle with \m/ on bridge position. Even though that sounds fine but finally I ended up with Bare Knuckle pups, hahaha.
     
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  6. Black Plaid

    Black Plaid just another Alan

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    I have a couple of guitars with them. They are a good mid output pickup that sits well in a rock band mix from my experience.
     
  7. Burstbucker

    Burstbucker New Member

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    Thanks for danktat for this super helpful response to my question!

    It sounds like the lack of love for the 490R and 498T pickups in a lot of Gibsons, they are found in so many of their guitars that I think some people feel that they are maybe lacking in certain ways and are generic sounding but I have no problem with them, the neck pickup sounds pretty close to a '57 Classic and the bridge pickup is quite a bit hotter and certainly has some natural compression going on but I wouldn't say that they are crap, just different flavours.

    And thanks for the link to that video, I'm going to go watch it on YouTube now.
     
  8. Burstbucker

    Burstbucker New Member

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    OK, I watched some of this video, I will watch the rest later when I have more time but wow, if that's how the Dragon II pickups are going to sound in that 2003 CU22 guitar than I'm planning on buying I'll be a very happy camper! :D

    I expected them to sound good with distortion going on but they even sound good when played clean, nothing wrong with what I heard there. What was notable was there were a few people that left very favourable comments in the comments section for the Dragon II pickups.
     
  9. danktat

    danktat Award winning tattoo artist ... Amateur guitarist

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    Like I said, some people just really can't control themselves when it comes to complaining about stock Parts. Be it on a guitar, a motorcycle, a tattoo machine, just about anything where there are possibilities of changes or "upgrades". And PRS have been using these pickups since the early 2000s for quite a few years on a lot of guitars. It became their standard on the custom 22. And you could find them in a lot of c e models, and other guitars. So they were almost Paul Reed Smith generic pickups. So the first thing people try to do was Flavor their tone by swapping them out.

    I did mention before that there is a little natural compression that happens with dragon two's that you won't get on something like the 57 / 08. Some people don't like that. I personally do. But in that video, they are played right next to the 57 / 08 pickups. And though there are some subtle differences, with someone who can really play the guitar, if I were to have done a blind test, I would not have been able to tell you which set was which.
     
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  10. 88prs

    88prs OCD for PRS

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    never mind,,,, I have no opinion
     
    #10 88prs, Jan 31, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2020
  11. danktat

    danktat Award winning tattoo artist ... Amateur guitarist

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    So are you saying that PRS pups in general aren't as good as, say, Seymour Duncan or Lollar...or are you just one of those that don't like D2s?
     
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  12. Bowtiefanatc

    Bowtiefanatc Confirmed Bird Snob

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    I had a set of DII's in my old Standard 24 and they were a nice fit. Gave that classic SGish feel to it.
     
  13. AdenM

    AdenM New Member

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    I have a set in my 03 Custom 22 Stoptail. Not quite as clean/modern sounding as the 85/15s in my Custom 24, but more aggressive than a PAF-style pickup or the #7s, for example. Under high gain, they sound quite '80s to me. I will say I find them unremarkable clean, esp. compared to the 85/15s.
     
  14. Sekunda

    Sekunda Music is life

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    My 2000 Custom 22 has them... they are aggressive, hot, ripping pups! Love them. Very articulate when you roll back the volume knob too...
     
  15. markd21

    markd21 New Member

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    Aside from the 57/08, the Dragon IIs are some of my favorite pickups - especially with the 5 way rotary switch. I am always able to get great clean and dirty sounds. While the bridge pickup is very cool, it's the neck pickup that rules!!
     
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  16. Coral Sky Music

    Coral Sky Music Authorized Dealer
    Authorized PRS Dealer

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    The one set of Paul Reed Smith pickups where there is no middle ground people either love them or hate them.
    I have a 2000 Custom 22 w/ Dragon II's and I absolutely love them. I play everything from Journey to Fates Warning and my guitar sounds amazing. To my ears it might be the best neck pickup I have ever heard. They are aggressive, warm, articulate, and can easily be cleaned up and tamed with a minor roll off. I actually cannot understand how people love a HFS/VB set and hate Dragon II's.. To my ears the HFS & VB sound dated but everyone's ears and tastes are different. I honestly could not think of a better set of PRS pickups for a 22 fret guitar although I have always toyed with the idea of putting a Covered 59/09 in the bridge & a Dragon II in the neck.
     
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  17. bodia

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

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    I loved the DIIs in my 2006 Cu22. That guitar rocks! But, like a doophus, I pulled them out. I did put in a 59/09 and 57/08, though. That guitar still rocks! I'd have no problems putting them back in there. Except, I gave them to Sergio. I won't ask for them back :D
     
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