PRS Pickups Like Super HiLo'Tron's

jacobmatthew

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Aug 3, 2018
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Hi, I am new to the PRS world and just picked up a SE Custom 24 with 85/15's. I am coming from a Gretsch Electromatic with Super HiLo'Trons and one thing I loved about the bridge pickup of that guitar was how bright almost "tele'ish" it was. Turning on some drive was perfect for playing power chords while still cutting through the mix (I play in a church band so it's a lot of contemporary type stuff).

That said, the neck pickup on the SE is a little dark, almost muddy, for my taste when playing power chords. So what pickup should I be looking at if I wanted to replace the bridge with something a little lessy bassy and brighter than the 85/15?
 

markd21

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Look at some of the TV Jones offerings. People will say the Starla is Gretsch-like, but it's nothing like a HiLo'Tron. I play Gretsch too - have a really nice Terada-built Duo Jet - and IMO the only way you are going to get CLOSE to the Gretsch sound with your PRS is to use the TV Jones pickups.
 

jacobmatthew

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Aug 3, 2018
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Look at some of the TV Jones offerings. People will say the Starla is Gretsch-like, but it's nothing like a HiLo'Tron. I play Gretsch too - have a really nice Terada-built Duo Jet - and IMO the only way you are going to get CLOSE to the Gretsch sound with your PRS is to use the TV Jones pickups.

I hadn't thought of that, thanks I will put that on the list. I'm also considering a Seymour Duncan JB or a Dimarzio Super 2 as I've read those are also fairly bright.
 

eclecticsynergy

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Yep, TV Jones - quite Gretsch-y sounding and available in humbucker size. Not splittable but with pickups that clean there's no need. I love the PowerTrons. Still, if the guitar has extra midrange in its tone (as many of the SEs do) the TV Classic might be a better option.

I'm a little surprised that the 85/15s aren't doing it for you, particularly the neck - and especially in a 24-fret guitar. The pickups in my '87 have excellent bite and clean up really well. Plus they sound amazing when split. Last Spring I dropped a set of '85 reissues in a CE22 and they sound very close indeed to the old ones. My impression was that the 85/15 design is based on those same pickups.

Then again, the import humbuckers aren't remotely the same as the USA pickups. I love PRS humbuckers but I have one SE and I couldn't get rid of the stock pickups in that one fast enough.
 

jacobmatthew

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Yep, TV Jones - quite Gretsch-y sounding and available in humbucker size. Not splittable but with pickups that clean there's no need. I love the PowerTrons. Still, if the guitar has extra midrange in its tone (as many of the SEs do) the TV Classic might be a better option.

I'm a little surprised that the 85/15s aren't doing it for you, particularly the neck - and especially in a 24-fret guitar. The pickups in my '87 have excellent bite and clean up really well. Plus they sound amazing when split. Last Spring I dropped a set of '85 reissues in a CE22 and they sound very close indeed to the old ones. My impression was that the 85/15 design is based on those same pickups.

Then again, the import humbuckers aren't remotely the same as the USA pickups. I love PRS humbuckers but I have one SE and I couldn't get rid of the stock pickups in that one fast enough.

The neck actually sounds great, I just prefer some extra top end on my bridge pickups. I may try switching out the neck at some point with an American 85/15.
 

Boogie

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Stella humbucker. Period. It’s the closest thing, but like MarkD mentioned, it’s not a TV Jones anything. Now, you can get humbucker adapters for any of the ‘Tron series...

And, I’d be looking at the rest of your rig...amp EQ, specifically...as an alternative to changing pickups. Twisting a knob is much easier, and can be reversed. ;)
 

JJJ

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Mar 21, 2018
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Another vote for tv jones man. Or you can try your luck finding secondd hand Gretsch pickups.

The closest PRS set would be Starlas... I use an s2 version and they're definiteky gretschy but they're not quite the full bore tv jones type vibe. They're more a hybrid between a vintage gretsch pickup and a PAF.
 

eclecticsynergy

PRS user since '87
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Jul 6, 2014
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Starla pickups are great, and definitely the Gretschiest of any PRS pickups that I own.

Jacobmatthew, I bet you'd be really happy with a USA 85/15 - if you can find one.
 
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