Replacing 85/15s with HFS/VB in a Custom 24

JJDon

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Jan 13, 2020
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I have two Custom 24s that both have 85/15s. One has the newer 85/15 TCIs and I plan to keep those in. The other Custom 24 is an older, 2015 30th Anniversary model and I feel like changing the pickups up for some variety and because the 85/15s don't have a ton of clarity or output regarding 80s/90s rock/metal. I'm thinking of replacing them with the HFS/VB. Thoughts? I know these are a love them or hate them pickup on a lot of sites, but from what I've heard of them in clips, they sound pretty good. Are they similar to any other pickups out there?
 

Simon Says

A Dentist for the Lawyers
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Dec 21, 2012
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Agree a lot people love them. I had them in one of my 24's and I couldn't flip them fast enough. I like bounce and fast attack and these are nothing like it. For my application HFS/VB was a dull station. 59/09 did the trick in this guitar. I have 85/15TCI in my other guitar and after initial shock to the system I cannot speak highly enough about this set. Took me a little time finding perfect hight but once I dialled them in I'm happier with what I hear than I ever was
 

Boogie

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It depends on your target tone and genre. Some people can make them do anything, but I’m not one of them. Fought the HFS/VBs for years until I started the swap fest. Then I think, “maybe I should give them another chance?” For the umteenth time.

There’s a 59/09 in my bridge and an empty cavity in the neck, right now. Love the the 59/09 but I just haven’t found a good match for the neck yet (yes, I know…what about a 59/09?). I suggest trying everything you think would work, but don’t forget to mess with pickup height and zeroing out your amp tone stack and starting from scratch.
 

Simon Says

A Dentist for the Lawyers
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It depends on your target tone and genre. Some people can make them do anything, but I’m not one of them. Fought the HFS/VBs for years until I started the swap fest. Then I think, “maybe I should give them another chance?” For the umteenth time.

There’s a 59/09 in my bridge and an empty cavity in the neck, right now. Love the the 59/09 but I just haven’t found a good match for the neck yet (yes, I know…what about a 59/09?). I suggest trying everything you think would work, but don’t forget to mess with pickup height and zeroing out your amp tone stack and starting from scratch.

See, for me I think neck 59/09 is the best neck pickup PRS makes. Great presence with a lot of body, no mud at all and it splits like a dream. 85/15 bridge and 59/09 neck would be my fav combo. I like 59/09 bridge enough but I often thinking to try Tremonti bridge with this particular guitar
 

NBW

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Mar 25, 2019
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My experience was that both the 85/15s and the HFS/VB weren’t great. I have the TCIs in a SE24 35th anniversary and like them. But then again I was comparing them some pretty pricey aftermarket pickups.
 

AaeCee

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Apr 27, 2012
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The HFS/VBs are a polarizing set. I adore them in my '06 Cu24AP with 5-way rotary. They get a range of tones I could never get in other 24s with different set-ups, and while their output is up there, I've found that with the right tweaks on both sides, they can be quite nuanced and expressive while always delivering a solid wallop. In that guitar at least, I'd never consider swapping them out.
 

SinSir

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Sep 7, 2020
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It depends on your target tone and genre. Some people can make them do anything, but I’m not one of them. Fought the HFS/VBs for years until I started the swap fest. Then I think, “maybe I should give them another chance?” For the umteenth time.

There’s a 59/09 in my bridge and an empty cavity in the neck, right now. Love the the 59/09 but I just haven’t found a good match for the neck yet (yes, I know…what about a 59/09?). I suggest trying everything you think would work, but don’t forget to mess with pickup height and zeroing out your amp tone stack and starting from scratch.

Have you thought about a 57/08? It's a combo I've been wanting to try myself.
 

Boogie

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I had an early set of 57/08s in this guitar and didn’t like them. :eek: I know, I’m a heretic, but my set sounded unlike so many others I’d played before, so out they came and were sold. I would consider either the 57/08 or 59/09. Just have to pry open the wallet and drop some coin.
 
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