SE Mods

I would do the nut first. Replace it with a PRS Core nut. Easy, and inexpensive. For me, I'd do tuners next, just because I'm lazy and can't live without locking tuners. If it has the wraparound bridge, I'd replace it with a MannMade2300 bridge. I'd leave electronics for last, and do pickups next. Heck, if you're in there already, you may as well kill two birds with one stone and do electronics at the same time.

Bottom line; have fun with it. Be an owner!

Is that the only nut you would consider? Graph Tech TUSQ??? I have no idea just asking. I agree with you though. Those are the first two things I think I will do. Any suggestions on tuning keys? Some black sperzels??? or ???
Hi all, first post. I have an SE single cut that I have had a few years now. I bought it thinking it would be a short hold and move on to custom and some thought of a les Paul, but here I am 5 years later still flailing away at this thing. I bought it second hand for $250.00. The action is great, the tone is good enough, but I am at a point where I want to either rod this thing out, or realize I need to spend a lot more money and get something better off the rack. I have thought. about the following, and hoping you guys can steer me in the right direction. My desire is to improve the physicality, playability of the guitar, I don't care about it cosmetically, and secondarily, beyond action and sustain, resonance, work on tone, electronics. That said, in what order and importance do you rate the following? Upgrade the nut, upgrade to locking tuning keys, refret (they are ok, but def some wear), pups and rewire. It only has the volume and tone control. It works fine, very playable. Of note, while its in excellent condition, I really don't care what it looks like, I want it to play well above all else. I should also mention I typically play with 10's and do occasionally play 11's but don't know what it was originally set up for. Thanks much in advance.
I'd start with the lampshade knobs :D
USA, or Graphtech nut to start. I'm a huge fan of the Hipshot open back locking tuners. They have an 18:1 tuning ratio and can be easily installed wth UMP plates in about 20 minutes. And they're American made. Locking studs would be next, try the Schroeder ones. Live with the guitar for 2 weeks and see what you think of the sounds. Next on the hit parade would be changing the pots to CTS, 500K true value. Try the volume. If you want to change the pickups, go with the push pull on the tone so you can coil tap them. I don't think a total refret would be necessary, but a trip to a good luthier for setup at this point can give you an experienced set of ears and eyes. If near Baltimore, I highly recommend Philtone Music. Add two sprinkles of mojo, and rock on.
Hello everyone!

17 CU 24 SE is what I got. Took out the 85/15 pups. Now has a SD Jazz in the Neck and a Duncan Distortion in the bridge. IMHO its really come alive.
I think I have lampshades, I will post a pic and you can tell me.

Thank you for the input, I check out the tuning keys, is it plug and play? What is a UMP plate? Anyway, going to order the nut and tuning keys, check backing a few after I get that done and see whats next
I think I have lampshades, I will post a pic and you can tell me.

Thank you for the input, I check out the tuning keys, is it plug and play? What is a UMP plate? Anyway, going to order the nut and tuning keys, check backing a few after I get that done and see whats next
UMP plates are universal mounting plates, which come with the hipshot tuners. You don't have to drill holes if you use them, and you can put the original tuners back on if you decide to sell the guitar. John Beef should have pictures of them installed on 2 of my guitars.
John Beef to the rescue!


Im thinking about adding a second volume pot to my 2001 Santana Se. What is the proper way to drill another hole without damaging the guitar? Im also thinking of swapping out the other pots while im at it. Can anyone point me in the right direction for which pots to order?
IWhat is the proper way to drill another hole without damaging the guitar?

Tape up the area with blue painter's tape. Measure and mark carefully to place your new hole, making sure it's where you want it and that it will fit the cavity. Mark center of the future hole and use a center punch or an awl to add a dimple to guide the drill bit. If you skip this, the bit will wander off center. Clamp the body down so it doesn't move. Go gently with the drill; it won't take much to go through.

Can anyone point me in the right direction for which pots to order?

There's a gazillion options. Most people would go with some flavor of 500k CTS, which will involve lightly enlarging the existing pot holes. No biggie.
Mods? Yes, I did some. Here is the story...

I've been a Les Paul, Flying V, Tele and Strat guy for eons. Those tones at their best into an organic amp, like a JTM45 with 30 watt Greenbacks, do it for me. But I like all sorts of modern tones, as well. I tried to get into PRS guitars back in 2009 when I purchased a Mira, thinking it would be a thicker sounding Les Paul Special. That guitar didn't do anything "special" for me, so I sold it.

Fast forward to early 2018. I pop into GC in Paramus, NJ on lunch break with a co-worker and see this cool SE Custom 24 Floyd with a black quilt top and binding around the neck and headstock. I was looking for a Floyd Rose guitar anyway, and this guitar looked and felt very solid. So I came back one Saturday with my Kemper in tow and gave it a listen. First impression? Bright and Boomy. Not knowing what 85/15's were about, I did a little research and immediately understood why (nailed it). But the guitar played so well that I decided to take the plunge and work out the pickup details later. I actually liked the upper midrange cut quite a bit, as it has great crunch. All these pickups needed was to be lowered into "the tone zone" to get the bass under control. There is that magic zone where string definition becomes focused and bass is in balance. That changed my opinion about these pickups. I like 'em!

I go through the switch settings and dial in all my favorite tones. THAT TREBLE BLEED CAP ON THE VOLUME CONTROL HAD TO GO. This guitar doesn't need any more brightness. At my brightest tone setting, I like the tone set around 8.5. But there are many other sweet spots, including a realistic Richie Blackmore Strat bridge tone with single-coil and tone set around 3.5. Not only did I get a killer LP tone, but awesome Tele tones and Strat tones galore. The single coil combo tone with the right volume balance is pure heaven. It's like the best of all worlds. Not a bad tone to be had! I locate all the volume and tone sweet spots to get the best tones out of this masterpiece, but start to get tired of having to stop playing what I'm playing to change settings.

Then this idea hit me. We have a major plus here with the blade switch, but a minus with only one volume and one tone control. I need two volume controls to preset my neck volume different than my bridge volume, and I pretty much know where most of my tone sweet spots are, so what can I do here? I start cataloging all my favorite settings and record the tone pot resistance for each sweet spot. Then I put a 4-pole 5-way switch in, another 500k push/pull (audio taper) pot for neck volume in, and three other pots I had laying around in to set up some preset tone controls. Nice! That let me flick a switch and get a great tone and volume setting for perfect tone to fit the pickup selection. Proving the concept worked was just the start. Now what can I do to clean this mess up and get even more tone settings?

How about this?

Tone%20Board%20Prototype%20Installed.JPG Board Prototype Installed.JPG?dl=0

With two coil-split pots (bridge and neck), and five switch settings, that gives me seven "switch positions" to do seven different tone control presets for each position. I already wrote down what sounds best for each selection, so I dial in the exact resistance I wrote down on each 20-turn 500k mini-pot for that selection. Let me tell you, the satisfaction of having the perfect settings at the flick of a switch (or pull/push of a knob) is KILLER! The only thing I have to worry about are the volume controls and sweet spots for those. I COULD do volume presets on another know...but find the tone settings work across the volume range.

So we essentially have five switch settings that start with a more classic tone in position 1 (bridge) and step into more modern tone on 2. Then combo tone on 3 with the bridge pickup slaved to single coil (neck still selectable). I usually like my neck pickup on single coil set to breakup level for quick "cleaner" Strat tone. Position 4 is neck with a brighter edge, but not wide open on tone (takes the high highs out). And finally position 5 is my more classic neck tone. In humbucker selection it's the "woman tone", but in single coil it's clear without the glassy edge. The bridge number 1 selection in single coil is Blackmore country, and in number 2 it's standard bright Strat bridge tone. What about Bridge humbucker tone(s)? Wide open volume in position 1 gets you that classic metal tone. With enough amp gain, this can hang with any classic metal monster, but when you switch to position 2 it gets into thrash land. Think of the tone Metallica got when they went to ESP guitars (Wherever I May Roam...and beyond). Crunchy! But you can instantly go back to a killer Les Paul tone with the volume set between 6.5 to 8.3. You get two LP versions. Position 1 is more "Wah" like, and position 2 more open, but still VERY Les Paul. My favorite "preset presets" are bridge set to humbucker with the bridge volume at 8.3, and neck set to single coil with neck volume at 3.5. That lets me go from two versions of Les Paul tone, to a beautiful Tele combo tone, to a Strat neck breakup tone by a slide of the switch. There are many more Tele variations when you set bridge volume of 8.3 on single coil and go from vintage Tele on position 1 to modern Tele on position 2...then combo on position 3. Like I said before, not a bad tone to be had. This is the MOST FUNCTIONAL guitar I own. And with the Floyd Rose it's completely UNLIMITED. Add to that the ultra solid construction with effortless buzz-free action, and you have a winner! All it needed was better control options. Check!

So here are some pics of the tone board prior to installing it in the guitar. Why 9 pots, and not just 7? I left the option of two treble bleed cap adjustments. The 85/15 set doesn't need them, but I left that option open. I use treble bleed caps on a couple of my guitars, but never 100% in line. I always adjust the amount of bleed with a variable resistor (pot). To do this right, you should use shielded wire. Speaking of that, the twisted red and black were changed to shielded at the last minute before installation. The tone leads to the switches are at ground potential, so no shielding was needed. Some day the red wire from the ground selection in position 3 will get changed to shielded. It ties to the bridge split-coil junction, so it really should be shielded. I ran out of small insulated shielded wire for this project. Back to playing! Three days of total tonal bliss. :)

Tone%20Board%20Prototype%20Front.JPG Board Prototype Front.JPG?dl=0

Tone%20Board%20Prototype%20Back.JPG Board Prototype Back.JPG?dl=0

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All righty, I went and did a project on all four of my SE's today. I don't much care for the blank truss rod cover, so I jazzed it up a bit.

First, I started with some gloss photo paper and printed the PRS signature in white font on a black background. Then, I got some awesome crystal clear tape from the company "Gorilla." It was very sticky and very see-through. I put the tape over it, traced the truss rod cover border, and carefully cut out the design. I then glued it on the cover, and cut off any excess I missed. Here are the results:

Truss rod cover:

SE Angelus A10e:

SE Angelus Custom:

SE Custom 24 anniversary:

SE Custom 24:

The whole crew:

Hey man!
I really dig the custom truss rod you did.
I'm literally looking for the same thing to add to my PRS!
Could I ask you to make me one!? I will pay you for it! Please let me know.
Thank you for your time!