PRS SE Custom 24 Pickup Upgrade

PogWalusiak

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Feb 23, 2015
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I am thinking about upgrading the pups on my SE Custom 24. I have looked at several, but the choice is endless. Can anyone help?
 

PogWalusiak

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Feb 23, 2015
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I like the stock pups, but I would like a more rock tone for the bridge and a sharper tone, more clean for the neck. My budget would be around £100.
 

Coldvisions34

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For your budget I would definitely suggest the Seymour Duncan JB in the bridge if your going for a hotter classic/heavy rock to hard rock/metal tone. If thats too hot for you than the 59 bridge pickup has that PAF vintage tone that rocks really well. For the neck you can't go wrong with either a Seymour Duncan Jazz or 59. So many choices out there but from my experience these would be a great place to start.
 

PogWalusiak

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Feb 23, 2015
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Thanks for the reply. I am looking at both Dimarzio Bareknuckes and Seymour Duncan. There is a price difference but I suppose thats reflected in the qualiity. I'm leaning more at the moment to the Seymours SH4 and SH2. Would these fit by Custom SE 24 and are they easy to fit?
 

sergiodeblanc

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DII in the neck and Mira in the bridge.
 

blaren

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Apr 27, 2012
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PICKUPS and Pickup Magnets 101. Here we GO!



Late to the party but...
My favourite humbucker is the Duncan Custom Custom.
It is nice and hot but also nice and vintage (classic) sound and they can be had for $50ea on eBay fairly easily.
It will not really be what you are after though because of the Alnico2 magnet.
I'll try to keep this as short and non-confusing as possible.

Seymour Duncan has 3 "Classic" pickups. Actually maybe 4 now sort of..more on this later..
There is the Classic, the Classic Classic, and the Classic5. Man it's been a while. I might not even have those names right.
They are all the same "power". They are all the exact same pickup except for the composition of the magnet inside the pickup.

The "Classic Classic" magnet composition is Alnico2. I wont get too into the tone of each but...A2 is vintage sounding without the CRISP high end you're after. It has pronounced mids and a bit of a "loose" bottom end. Fluid sounding?

The "Classic" uses a ceramic magnet. Think "tight", tight with big bottom end. Pronounced high end. Scooped midrange. Great for metal.

The "Classic5" has an Alnico5 magnet in it and (A5)tonally lies somewhere in between a ceramic magnet and an Alnico2 magnet (btw "Al-Ni-Co" just means the metal is an alloy primarily made-up of Aluminum, Nickel, and Cobalt)...sort of.

I think Duncan also uses the Classic as half of one of their newer humbuckers too. One bobbin from a Classic and the other from another of their most popular pickups. It is not part of the "Classic" Series though.

I think you're starting to see that there is a LOT you can do to modify pickups. Like everything guitar-related, you can go pretty crazy. Hey, EVH couldnt leave ANYTHING alone either. Worked-out ok for him lol.

OK so... you can buy pickup magnets on eBay for literally a couple or few quid each. Swapping them out isn't rocket surgery. In fact, it's easier than unsoldering and re-soldering a pickup. You can even leave the pickup mounted in the pickup ring.
Once you've separated the pickup from the guitar all you have to do is loosen a couple of screws, slide one magnet (it's just a rectangular bar that sits underneath the bobbins/coils) out and slide a different one in. Tighten the screws and mount the pickup (that is still wired to the guitar and still mounted to the pickup rings) back onto the guitar. Oh...you WILL have to remove the strings though...probably ;-)
If wax potted you might have to warm it up a bit with mama's hair blower thing to loosen things up a bit.

So now, for $50 (shipped) plus let's say $15...ahh let's go CRAZY and say $20... OK let me try again...
So now, for $70 (about 50GBP??) you can make all 3 of the Classic Series of Duncan pickups AND you can make a whole bunch of other NEW versions too. Maybe try one with an AlNiCo8 magnet (people say EVH used an A8 magnet in his early recordings...not chasing EVH tone, he's just SO recognizable ). Try an A7 or 9 maybe? Hey you could even try a neodymium magnet :-O How about a UOA5 (UnOriented).

In other (more) words, for your 100GBP you could EASILY get TWO used or even NEW "take-off" Seymour Duncan "Clasic" or "Classic5" pickups, or one of each...I really think you wouldnt love the Classic Classic so skip it. Unless one is very cheap.
You'll have PLENTY of money left over to buy just about EVERY magnet there is lol.

You can get magnets from Addiction-fx on eBay or at their website (I'm not affiliated). The guy is great and can help if you get overwhelmed by the vast # of options.
Basically you want magnetized of course, you can use rough/cast or smooth/ground and you want the 2.5" bar magnets. I think they're 1/2" wide and 1/8" thick? Dont quote me on that.

Google "guitar pickup magnet composition" or something. Check the subject-out in the seymour duncan forums.

Also very effective at changing the tone of a pickup are the polepieces. Not only their height but also their composition.
You just have to think about it for a second.
If polepiece height for instance, didnt make much difference in how a pickup sounds, there is NO WAY on God's warming earth would manufacturers go to the trouble of threading polepieces and their holes in the pickups.
The polepieces are MEANT to be adjusted and adjusting them DOES make a pretty drastic difference in the tone. Try it out.

When it comes right down to it, your electric guitar's pickups are the guitar's engine. Everything else is heated seats and stereos and fenders and headlights etc.
Tone is in your hands. And in your amp. And the guitar's neck, body, bridge, cable, pedals, tubes....but, tone is ALWAYS in the pickups too or especially.
Great thing about them is that you can still get great ones that are made in the USA for very fair prices. Dimarzio and Seymour Duncan. Hey, I'm not saying that made in the USA automatically means good. I'm Canadian anyway. Duncan and Dimarzio get my respect for not outsourcing anyway.

Fun with Pickup magnets. Again, your 100GBP will buy you a dozen (dozens?) of different pickups via magnet swapping.

At just over 14Kohms, the Duncan Classic series is cheap and AWESOME platform to work with.

There. DONE! I sure hope that story helps at least one person. If it does it was worth it.
 

TroyBaer

Really knows where his towel is.
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Sep 16, 2013
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My favourite humbucker is the Duncan Custom Custom.
It is nice and hot but also nice and vintage (classic) sound and they can be had for $50ea on eBay fairly easily.
It will not really be what you are after though because of the Alnico2 magnet.
I'll try to keep this as short and non-confusing as possible.

Seymour Duncan has 3 "Classic" pickups. Actually maybe 4 now sort of..more on this later..
There is the Classic, the Classic Classic, and the Classic5. Man it's been a while. I might not even have those names right.
They are all the same "power". They are all the exact same pickup except for the composition of the magnet inside the pickup.

The "Classic Classic" magnet composition is Alnico2. I wont get too into the tone of each but...A2 is vintage sounding without the CRISP high end you're after. It has pronounced mids and a bit of a "loose" bottom end. Fluid sounding?

The "Classic" uses a ceramic magnet. Think "tight", tight with big bottom end. Pronounced high end. Scooped midrange. Great for metal.

The "Classic5" has an Alnico5 magnet in it and (A5)tonally lies somewhere in between a ceramic magnet and an Alnico2 magnet (btw "Al-Ni-Co" just means the metal is an alloy primarily made-up of Aluminum, Nickel, and Cobalt)...sort of.

:1,$s/Classic/Custom/g

I'm rather fond of the Duncan Custom also.
 

TroyBaer

Really knows where his towel is.
Joined
Sep 16, 2013
Messages
217
Location
Dublin, OH
Something you may want to consider is swapping the magnets in the stock pickups. The SE Vintage Bass pickup has an Alnico magnet (probably Alnico 2), and the SE HFS has a ceramic magnet. If you replace those with an Alnico 4 magnet in the VB and an Alnico 5 magnet in the HFS, it reduces their strong midrange focus and IMHO makes them a bit less honk-y.
 
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DHW

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Feb 18, 2014
Messages
705
I think you want a TB-4 in the bridge (trembucker) due to tremolo spacing.

Trem and stoptails have the exact same spacing. SE pups are 52mm whereas American prs pups are 50mm. F spacing is 53mm. All will work just fine. If 50mm under a trem(with the same spacing) on a core line instrument was any sort of issue Paul would never be using them.

That said. The pups that aren't specifically called trembuckers were most likely designed around the 50mm spacing and when you stretch that out 3mm you absolutely will change the pickup. You may not be able to discern the difference but it will be there. For that reason I only buy standard spacing for non-trembucker pups.
 

Huggy B

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Mar 10, 2015
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2,532
For your budget I would definitely suggest the Seymour Duncan JB in the bridge if your going for a hotter classic/heavy rock to hard rock/metal tone. If thats too hot for you than the 59 bridge pickup has that PAF vintage tone that rocks really well. For the neck you can't go wrong with either a Seymour Duncan Jazz or 59. So many choices out there but from my experience these would be a great place to start.

Coldvisions took the words right out of my mouth..... or (shall I say) off my typing fingers, but my EXACT same suggestions-Duncan JB for the bridge and the duncan jazz or 59 for the neck. If you go to the Duncan website they have sound examples you can compare to each other, the sounds won't match your guitar but it will give a comparison of the pickups because they do the same lick on same guitar (just different pups) in each example so it's easy to judge what tone you'll like better.
 

Larryboybaldwin

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Nov 30, 2019
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Just joining this thread hope someone who might know is still around. I’m looking at a set of:

Duncan TB-16 59
SH2n Jazz

will these fit in my se custom 24?
 
Last edited:

64 Tele

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163067-56ae73d97676bfb88a2cdd4b3f2bbfee.jpg

Mine is a 2014 that I loved with the exception of the pickups (which were too hot for my taste).
I did a LOT of listening to You Tube clips and (along with previous experience with Seymour Duncan Telecaster pickups) went with Seymour Duncan.
I was wanting a lower output PAF type pickup and went with Seth Lover set (you have to get a 4 conductor if you want to be able to split the coils like the stock setup).
It took a nice guitar to a GREAT sounding guitar. I liked the Seth Lover pickups so well, I put a set in an SE Custom 22 Semi Hollow I also have.
Warm, yet articulate is how I'd describe it. It sounds wonderful clean, but will rock with more gain.
You can always add more dirt, you can't add more clean.
My 2 cents worth.
 

Boogie

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Just joining this thread hope someone who might know is still around. I’m looking at a set of:

Duncan TB-16 59
SH2n Jazz

will these fit in my se custom 24?
They will certainly fit. Don’t trim the wires to fit, though. Leave the extra intact.

(That’s a little magic tone secret from your friendly neighborhood Boogieman :D)
 

NBW

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Mar 25, 2019
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I switched my 85/15s pickups for some Bare Knuckle Stormy Mondays. But I wanted a more creamy bluesy sound. But they make very nice pickups. The pain with replacing pickups is getting the phase right. I’m not sure I have it down yet.
 

Boogie

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I switched my 85/15s pickups for some Bare Knuckle Stormy Mondays. But I wanted a more creamy bluesy sound. But they make very nice pickups. The pain with replacing pickups is getting the phase right. I’m not sure I have it down yet.
Just swap the polarity (solder the hot lead to ground and the ground to the pot/switch) on one pickup and you should be good.
 

NBW

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Mar 25, 2019
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That’s what I thought I did. But I’ll mess around with it some more. It’s complicated by the splitter.
 
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