PRS Explains Pickup Design - I was right!

gpdb

Guitar Pickup Database
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I'm so happy PRS released this information to the public in their latest video:


I wrote an article earlier this year explaining what I believed was PRS's TCI process (link: https://guitarpickupdatabase.com/prs-tci-pickups-explained/). Every time I heard Paul describe how pickups have a "whistle," I was sure he was referring to these frequency response graphs. I'm glad they finally put this information out there, mainly to clarify what they mean by TCI-process, but also because it validates using the frequency curves as a method for determining a pickup's sound. I have similar equipment to do these pickup measurements and have been working to measure every pickup I can. For example, here's all (except for Tremonti S) of the PRS SE Humbuckers compared:
PRS-SE-Bridge-Pickups-Humbuckers.png

PRS-SE-Neck-Pickups-Humbuckers.png


Or even more fun, here's the USA 635JM vs. the 635JM S pickup:
cc45d0ee-23ec-47d5-800c-1891560c0a61.png


I have a ton more of these - I've measured roughly 150 pickups so far from Seymour Duncan, DiMarzio, BKP, and others. I'm sorry if this sounds like an advertisement because I don't mean for it to be. I'm just incredibly excited that PRS made a video on this topic and put their reputation behind this method.
 

BrianC

more toys than talent
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Very interesting, yes. I get why he wants to go in this direction and thinks its important.

For me though, I want my humbucker to sound like a humbucker not a single coil per se. I have played Pauls pups, narrowfield, LT's. They do not go with what I am after.

It seems this chases the thought process of pure tone of the guitar, cleanish amp and using pedals to change all of the tones to get what you want. Paul talks about the pedal board like a synth.

Again, I get it, I hope it makes the company more successful, but probably not going to work for me.
 

aphantomvaper

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That video was very good. I was enjoying his test guitar, the grain on that neck is excellent!

He started off with the 85\15 pickups which to me are my favorite pickup yet. In the video Paul reinforced my feeling about that model.

Other than that...yes OP when Paul was drawing those response lines your posts were exactly what came to mind. In fact, I assumed Paul made this video in response to your research!
 

Broseph

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I get making the bass pickup as single coilish as possible. I doubt they aim for that in the treble. If I understand correctly TCI then infers that each pickup has been individually tested to meet their desired frequency standard? So despite looking physically the same it’s gone thru more testing than their older pickup.
 

gpdb

Guitar Pickup Database
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Other than that...yes OP when Paul was drawing those response lines your posts were exactly what came to mind. In fact, I assumed Paul made this video in response to your research!
Wouldn't that be cool if true! I doubt it. I did actually speak with Paul on the phone for about 45 min earlier this year after sending them several plots. So he specifically has seen what I've done.
 

gpdb

Guitar Pickup Database
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Again, I get it, I hope it makes the company more successful, but probably not going to work for me.
I think you might be misunderstanding the technology. It's not specifically to make a pickup sound like anything - it's to visualize the sound in a more accurate way. It's like the difference between a Plek-machine setup vs. setting up your action by feel. More specifically, they're visualizing "holy grail pickups," seeing their response curves, taking the measurements, and reproducing them. That's the whole goal. So maybe the pickups they make intentionally to sound like single coils don't work for you, but that's not the purpose of the tech.
 

gpdb

Guitar Pickup Database
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I get making the bass pickup as single coilish as possible. I doubt they aim for that in the treble. If I understand correctly TCI then infers that each pickup has been individually tested to meet their desired frequency standard? So despite looking physically the same it’s gone thru more testing than their older pickup.
It's actually simpler than that. Just take the name literally - "Tuned Capacitance and Inductance". The capacitance and inductance are the main variables that determine the curve. They're just focusing on keeping those tightly controlled. It's not a different build process at all though. They're still just making pickups like everyone else does, winding wire around a bobbin. They're just focusing on more than turn count now.
 

Rod/

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Very interesting, yes. I get why he wants to go in this direction and thinks its important.

For me though, I want my humbucker to sound like a humbucker not a single coil per se. I have played Pauls pups, narrowfield, LT's. They do not go with what I am after.

It seems this chases the thought process of pure tone of the guitar, cleanish amp and using pedals to change all of the tones to get what you want. Paul talks about the pedal board like a synth.

Again, I get it, I hope it makes the company more successful, but probably not going to work for me.
I agree with ya @BrianC .. He seems be going in this very clean direction whereas my favorite PRS pickups are their hotter ones like the Dragon 1’s and 2’s, 50/09’s and SC250’s……. But maybe I’ve misinterpreted this technology….I guess it could be for any pickup he’s made in the past…….
 
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John F

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I agree with ya @BrianC .. He seems be going in this very clean direction whereas my favorite PRS pickups are their hotter ones like the Dragon 1’s and 2’s, 50/09’s and SC250’s…….
Using the TCI techniques to copy holy grail pickups is a logical first step. I would guess that after those are perfected, they would move on to improve pickup designs of their own. There may be a future where TCI versions of dragons are available.
 

Rod/

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With humbuckers or single coils, there has always been a midrange or treble frequency that is more dominant . That’s where the Q , the more dominant frequency of the pickup is voiced
Now that Paul and @gpdb have a way to graph these results, it will certainly make the voodoo of pickups more reality based
 
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VHTStark

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Edmonton Alberta Canada
So with this video on pickups and 58/15 and 85/15 being available to purchase on PRS Accessory shop - who's with me on new pickup models to be available soon?
Very good possibility. If not a new model for retail sale, then certainly a new model in a "ltd edition" guitar run or maybe even in an existing model as an update. I think we are due for some.
 

Simon Says

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At $500 a set I’d say that would be a good business move. With 300 employees working all week, their payroll has to be $500,000 a week. $25,000,000 a year. That’s a lot of $$…….Their pickup business could really help their bottom line. I’ve owned and used many pickups over the years starting in the 70’s when I put Dimarzio Super Distortions in an LP Deluxe. Tom Scholtz did the same thing. Duncan’s, Velvet Hammers, Bill Lawrence, EMG, WCR, Zhangbucker, Wolfetone ect ect…God, the pickups I’ve tried and mostly been disapointed is endless……..
Imho, I really like the voicings punch and feel of the PRS pickups I have in all 8 of my electrics, including 2 handmade non Gibson LP’s, a Warmoth Korina TelePaul and L5S I built…much more really than anything else I’ve used.
245’s in an SE Santana. The Dragon 1’s in my ‘93 Custom 22, The 59/09’s in my Corsa LP, the 53/10’s in the P-22, the DGT pickups in my Grissom model, the Dragon 2’s in my Swain Guitar Works Korina/maple LP, Tremonti bridge Dragon 2 neck in my Korina Warmoth L5S slide guitar.They all sound great but all very different, which I love

Same here mate, I have been on the never ending pickup hunt. In all fairness, my fav pickups was probably the cheapest pickups I have ever tried - Saymour Duncan SH5 and SH2. I'm currently sporting 100% PRS pickups in my guitars too, and I really can't complain. The 85/15 in my Custom 24 - it's the perfect pickup combo, not to hot but defo with a rock character, full, yet quick bridge pickup, warm, yet articulated neck. My other PRS has a Tremonti Bridge and a 59/09 neck - for what it is - its a perfect combo. Absolutely fucking kills in drop C#. As far as I'm concerned, my pickup hunt is finished. I may try some \m/'s at some point, maybe
 

Simon Says

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One thing about TCI pickups. I think I said that somewhere on the forum before but I always believed the TCI thing was "invented" mainly for in-between positions and pickups in split mode.

When it comes to strats - In question of position 2 and 4 sound, if the 3 pickups have the same specs (same resistances/inductance), the quack will be more prominent. But If you put different resistance/inductance pickups to compensate the volume because of the position of the pickups, the desired inbetween effect will be diminished.

If you look at the Silver Sky, all three pickups are the same. I mean I don't know their inductance or capacidance, but the resistance is even across all three pickups. PRS stated the first pickup model with TCI was the SS pickups. I believe the same approach was introduced to HE'S in a way where pickups are working in splits they have similar parameters of neck and bridge coils for more pronounced in-between quack...

It's all only a theory but to me it does make perfect sense
 

gpdb

Guitar Pickup Database
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One thing about TCI pickups. I think I said that somewhere on the forum before but I always believed the TCI thing was "invented" mainly for in-between positions and pickups in split mode.

When it comes to strats - In question of position 2 and 4 sound, if the 3 pickups have the same specs (same resistances/inductance), the quack will be more prominent. But If you put different resistance/inductance pickups to compensate the volume because of the position of the pickups, the desired inbetween effect will be diminished.

If you look at the Silver Sky, all three pickups are the same. I mean I don't know their inductance or capacidance, but the resistance is even across all three pickups. PRS stated the first pickup model with TCI was the SS pickups. I believe the same approach was introduced to HE'S in a way where pickups are working in splits they have similar parameters of neck and bridge coils for more pronounced in-between quack...

It's all only a theory but to me it does make perfect sense
If you read my article about TCI, you can see all the information that was available prior to this recent video: https://guitarpickupdatabase.com/prs-tci-pickups-explained/

In short, TCI was used for multiple things, but it has always meant "tuned capacitance and inductance." That is significant because capacitance and inductance are the variables that affect the curve. You can change capacitance and inductance in multiple ways, but it's the measurement that's important.

As far as TCI and humbucker splits, this gets into their use of the mini-toggle switches. Again, you can see the full info in the article, but the mini-toggles allow them to change the capacitance of the pickup when it's engaged. Generally, vintage style humbuckers (which are on all of the models with mini-toggles) are wound pretty low (~8k range). This means when split it will be roughly half of that, and that's a really bright sound. By increasing capacitance, you can reduce the high-end. It's still tuning the capacitance, so it fell within the TCI name. Here's an example of tuning capacitance from a recent pickup I was working on. This single coil was roughly 6.5K, and had copper tape around the coil that was part of the circuit. That copper tape was adding 80pf of capacitance. When I removed the copper tape, the resonant frequency of the pickup increased by 500Hz, and the Q-factor also increased. Put simply, the additional capacitance was making the pickup darker and brought back more bass.


single-coil-with-no-shielding.png
 

Simon Says

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If you read my article about TCI, you can see all the information that was available prior to this recent video: https://guitarpickupdatabase.com/prs-tci-pickups-explained/

In short, TCI was used for multiple things, but it has always meant "tuned capacitance and inductance." That is significant because capacitance and inductance are the variables that affect the curve. You can change capacitance and inductance in multiple ways, but it's the measurement that's important.

As far as TCI and humbucker splits, this gets into their use of the mini-toggle switches. Again, you can see the full info in the article, but the mini-toggles allow them to change the capacitance of the pickup when it's engaged. Generally, vintage style humbuckers (which are on all of the models with mini-toggles) are wound pretty low (~8k range). This means when split it will be roughly half of that, and that's a really bright sound. By increasing capacitance, you can reduce the high-end. It's still tuning the capacitance, so it fell within the TCI name. Here's an example of tuning capacitance from a recent pickup I was working on. This single coil was roughly 6.5K, and had copper tape around the coil that was part of the circuit. That copper tape was adding 80pf of capacitance. When I removed the copper tape, the resonant frequency of the pickup increased by 500Hz, and the Q-factor also increased. Put simply, the additional capacitance was making the pickup darker and brought back more bass.


single-coil-with-no-shielding.png

I could swear the 220pF+330pF caps you talking about are not being "added", but simply sending portion of the split signal to the ground, effectively acting as a fixed tone pot. I have a given guitar on my laps. I may cracked it open and probe things a little for you.

Fun fact...

Did you knew, new PRS pickups are also shielded with a copper tape?

Ask privately for more fun facts ;)
 
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