SE line = Bad pickups

Discussion in 'Electric Instruments' started by mlbchicago, Jan 7, 2020.

  1. mlbchicago

    mlbchicago New Member

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    Hello. I really want to find some SE guitars I like, but the pickups just sound harsh. Is this a common perception? What replacements are worthwhile? Blues, rock, cleans, overdrive etc. Not metal.

    How about any SE with P90, do those sound better? I am adding this portion - Custom 24 - I think 2012 model.

    I also really dislike seeing the zebra colored pickups. Black or covered would be better or even all creme not mixed.
     
    #1 mlbchicago, Jan 7, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2020
  2. 64 Tele

    64 Tele New Member

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    I've got a 2010 and 2014 SE (Custom 22 semi hollow and Custom 24). The pickups on the 24 were really hot,
    the semi hollow 22 slightly less hot. But, both were too hot for my taste.
    I replace with Seymour Duncan Seth Lover pickups. Much improved overall sound with both.
     
  3. StillCantankerous

    StillCantankerous Deja Voodo

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    I think the newer "S" SE humbuckers have more character than the ones from the early / mid 2000s/2010s definitely. The stock SE P90s are fantastic in those axes so-equipped.

    Replacement-wise for a humbucker, sticking with the present company, I don't think you'll go wrong with a set of 57/08s for "not metal" but again depends on what you're putting them into. Hope that helps.

    BTW if you think the stock SEs have "bad" pickups you should play some other brands' "entry-level" models with stock pickups. The stock PRS SE pickups, even the old old ones, are generally much better. So perhaps more judicious choice of a thread title is in order ;)
     
  4. Ovibos

    Ovibos Naughty Wood Librarian

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    Trolling subject line aside, the older SE Customs had the HFS (bright, high output) and vintage bass ( mellower) combo.

    The new 85/15s are more evenly balanced. Tremonti pickups will roar.

    Lower/raise the pickups, they’re sensitive. Use the tone knob. Different guitars need different amp/pedal settings. Etc etc.

    Or find something that plays and feels the way you like, and put Duncans or GFS or Dimarzio or Dragonfire in it.
     
  5. goat-n-gitter

    goat-n-gitter Dismembered

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    My 2019 SE Standard with 85/15 S pickups doesn't sound harsh (to me, anyway). If you're not into metal, I can see where the HFS/VB combo might sound harsh to you.
    There are lots of great pickups from Duncan, DiMarzio, etc, etc, so you can find something you love to put in a great guitar.
     
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  6. mlbchicago

    mlbchicago New Member

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    I am comparing them to a Samick from the 80's which sound much smoother and more beefy.
     
  7. shimmilou

    shimmilou Established in 1963

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  8. bluenova

    bluenova Electrified since '84

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    Psh, they’re not bad pickups, they’re just not the sound your after. I generally think of pickups as being different from each other, not better or worse. Black or covered would be different but not better. All creme wouldn’t make them better either... but it would make them Dimarzio :).
     
  9. Tim S

    Tim S King of the barre chord

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    I have a number of SEs with different original pickups. I found the following to be very good:

    - SE Soapbar
    - 85/15 “S”
    - 58/15 “S”

    I found the “Standard Bass/Treble” a little lacking in my SE Standard 22, so I replaced them. For the money, these pickups were fine but I felt they were letting down an otherwise great guitar.

    As they say “One man’s meat is another man’s poison.”
     
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  10. GADonis

    GADonis New Member

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    I have an SE Soapbar II Maple with the stock P90s. I think the guitar sounds great. Both plugged in and unplugged.
     
    Bill SAS 513 likes this.
  11. grausch

    grausch New Member

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    Bernie Marsden makes the 245 pickups in his Bernie sound pretty good. Wish I could say the same about me playing my Bernie...:oops:
     
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  12. drdoom8793

    drdoom8793 THAT guy at Chick-fil-A

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    Man, what's with all these clickbait titles lately?

    Pretty much everything that needs to be said has already been said. My personal favorite SE pickups are the 245 and the 85/15s pickups. Luckily, if the stock pickups aren't to your liking, there's loads of brands making great pickups and it's pretty easy to swap out.
     
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  13. mlbchicago

    mlbchicago New Member

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    Thanks this is helpful. I do want a guitar with P90's and I do like the neck profile on the 2012 SE Custom 24 - whats models should I check out?
     
  14. Tim S

    Tim S King of the barre chord

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    I have 3 different SEs with Soapbar pickups:
    Soapbar (25” single cut)
    Soapbar II (25” double cut)
    245 Soapbar (24.5” single cut)

    All of these have the Wide/Fat neck profile. AFAIK there aren’t any soapbar equipped SEs with the Wide/Thin carve you prefer in the Custom. (Someone please correct me if I’m wrong — you always do)

    If you haven’t tried a Wide/Fat neck, you really owe yourself the opportunity. I have small hands and never guessed I would like such a neck... until I tried it. Then I was sold.
     
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  15. mlbchicago

    mlbchicago New Member

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    I have a 305 with a thick neck that I do not like, how do I find out what that neck is? The SE 2012 Custom 24 feels thin or thinner to me, not bad. I recently picked up a Zach Myers and that felt way thick, baseball bat
     
  16. Bill SAS 513

    Bill SAS 513 Just another old guy in a T-shirt

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    The 305's have a pretty girthy neck, which many love (Including me), but certainly not everyone...
    They're nice guitars...you might be abler to get two SE's for trade, plus a little greenery, of course.
    Or an S2 Custom 24...smaller neck, anyway...Good luck.
     
  17. Tim S

    Tim S King of the barre chord

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    If your heart is set on P-90 pickups in something like an SE Cu24, I think your only option is to buy an SE Cu24 and then get some after-market P-90s that are humbucker-sized. (I think Seymour Duncan makes such a pickup. Probably others do as well.)

    This way, you have the neck you like, a very decent guitar and the (non-zebra) pickups you want as well. Sounds like a win-win to me!

    Edit: If your heart isn’t set on P-90s, you can find used 85/15 “S” or 245 “S” pickups on Reverb pretty easily. That way, you still preserve the “PRS sound”.
     
    #17 Tim S, Jan 8, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2020
  18. kipkohl

    kipkohl New Member

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    I had a 2019 SE custom 24 briefly, like you I thought the 85/15's sounded kind of thin and harsh....to me. My SE Paul's guitar with the TCI pickups sounds so much better to my ears; fuller, more articulate maybe, cleans up with the volume knob better. Also my 2019 SE 245 with 245 pickups sounds great with dirt/distortion. The cleans are not as good as the Paul's, also doesn't clean up with the vol. knob as well as the Paul's, but I like them better than the 85/15's.
     
  19. John

    John https://deathbenotproud.bandcamp.com

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    They're ok, but not my first choice. I've been more of a Bare Knuckle fan over the last few years, usually Nailbombs and Painkillers for PRS. I find they're clearer and more responsive, your mileage my vary. Those aside, the current offerings for the SE line offer the Holcomb, and the Alpha/Omega are a better fit compared to their other stock SE pickups in my opinion.



     
  20. shinksma

    shinksma What? I get a title?

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    Indeed. Adjusting height, tone knob, amp settings all valid approaches. I have a number of SEs, and I don't have any issues with any of the pups. But maybe I'm just not picky, or I automatically adjust settings and adapt. I do like the current core model pup offerings, like the 58/15LT pups in the 594s, but I seem to do OK with the HFS/VB in my 2002 CU24 and 1990 CE24. :shrug:

    Guitar pups are very personal for some folks, and I suspect the OP has an expected tone in his/her head and anything different will sound "bad" - either too harsh, too muddy, too mellow, depending on differences.
     
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