TCI pickups don't exist ...... say what ??

waswell

New Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2021
Messages
62
Would like to clear up some confusion regarding TCI pickups:

My PRS SE Custom 24-08 states the pickups are "TCI S". There is no such pickup. Let me explain. TCI is a process used to enhance a pickup, nothing more. The actual pickups are 85/15 S which have had the TCI process done to them. I feel PRS did quite a marketing job in their 2021 launch. I would love to see PRS produce a video which compares a 85/15 S to a 85/15 S that has been TCI processed. We could then make a true comparison if a difference can be heard. Just my 2 cents. Thanks for listening.

BTW - My SE Custom 24-08 is a thing of beauty. Will post pics once I get done with the mods.
 

SinSir

Mad Scientist
Joined
Sep 7, 2020
Messages
1,912
There's another thread with a discussion similar. I'd prefer if PRS could say which pickups are in a guitar vs calling them TCI S.
 

Masta' C

New Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2017
Messages
9
Location
Tone Heaven, USA
TCI is clearly a marketing ploy. Take an existing design, make a small change (ex: more winds/less winds = increased/reduced capacitance and inductance) and call it "new".

I think the biggest fallacy is that they imply, at least in some of the initial videos for the Core series, that the TCI pickups are tuned for each guitar, but I 100% guarantee that they are not. It's true that every guitar has its own qualities and it would be amazing if they were fine-tuning each pickup to each specific instrument, but that's not the case.

These are tweaks on current pickup designs and nothing more. Nothing to get overly excited about. If you were to try the regular 85/15 next to a "TCI" 85/15 in the SAME guitar, I bet not a single person could hear a difference that warrants the marketing hype.
 

Austin_Taunt

New Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2021
Messages
66
Location
Indiana
TCI is clearly a marketing ploy. Take an existing design, make a small change (ex: more winds/less winds = increased/reduced capacitance and inductance) and call it "new".

I think the biggest fallacy is that they imply, at least in some of the initial videos for the Core series, that the TCI pickups are tuned for each guitar, but I 100% guarantee that they are not. It's true that every guitar has its own qualities and it would be amazing if they were fine-tuning each pickup to each specific instrument, but that's not the case.

These are tweaks on current pickup designs and nothing more. Nothing to get overly excited about. If you were to try the regular 85/15 next to a "TCI" 85/15 in the SAME guitar, I bet not a single person could hear a difference that warrants the marketing hype.

A lot of bold claims. Do you think perhaps you should compare them first? Have you tried a TCI guitar yet?
 

]-[@n$0Ma☩!©

Zombie Zero, DFZ
Joined
Aug 1, 1985
Messages
7,076
Do the folks at PRS leverage marketing to sell products? Fellas... is a frog's ass water tight? But the drama over TCI labelling is a little hard to take seriously. This isn't a sinker-wood scandal (yeah, I said it. I'm a fan, not a sycophant).

Components are always going to vary in tolerance. a 500k pot is almost never 500k. It could be 465k or 545k. And what about capacitance and inductance of the pickups? Cap values? Wires? They all contribute to a final result. PRS defined a process to ensure the values for components selected for each model's electronics package are within a standard deviation, based on a desired tonal response. In marketing speak, they 'tuned' the circuit. I doubt PRS is doing this for each individual guitar. Have they said otherwise?

Result: They (manufacturer) and you (consumer) get a more predictable result with a higher success rate. Win/win.

We musicians are a wonderfully odd bunch of people. Some of us want to believe in magic and assign more value to the successful accident from a skilled luthier with a bag of pixie dust than we do to a predictable result from a godless machine. The engineers amongst us are probably the easiest to accept the later. We're used to working with named processes (ISO, CMMI, Scrum, 6 Sigma, ITIL. etc.) and understand that any 'result' can be measured, analysed, defined, and replicated.

I have some bad news for the superstitious amongst us; Paul Smith is an Engineer, not a Wizard.

i-xFXwn6K-XL.jpg
 

Tim S

King of the barre chord
Joined
Aug 1, 2018
Messages
543
PRS is applying the term TCI to their Signature Series cables made by Van Damme, so apparently it’s a process that’s not just for pickups or the electrics inside your guitar (or things made by PRS).
 

68reissue

New Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2018
Messages
118
Location
Erie PA
I’m really interested in the topic, because I love 85/15s pickups, which I have in my SE Customs as well as my S2. From the videos I’ve watched, the TCI S seem to have a bit richer, more classic tone. The 85/15s have a modern, HIFI thing going on, which I personally love (coming from years of playing single coils, the 85/15s are among the very few humbuckers with enough “clarity and snap”, as Bryan Ewald calls it, for my taste). But it’s hard to really compare pickups from videos and sound samples.
 

Boogie

Zombie Two, DFZ
Joined
Apr 26, 2012
Messages
7,574
Location
Indy, IN
TCI is a tuned system, not an individual component. The same concept happens on many electronic device production lines, especially for parts in systems that vary widely (like EMI/RFI applications). Economies of scale dictate that it’s cheaper to tune 5% tolerance parts than to spec expensive 1% parts. And since pickups are still hand installed and soldered on all guitars, why not measure resistance/capacitance/inductance and tweak to reference? It’s not rocket science, just good engineering and a more consistent end result. PRS is just spending a little more time producing a more predictable result. Again, the masters of consistency.
 

Mozzi

https://imgur.com/user/BAMozzy/posts
Joined
Jun 2, 2018
Messages
3,280
Would like to clear up some confusion regarding TCI pickups:

My PRS SE Custom 24-08 states the pickups are "TCI S". There is no such pickup. Let me explain. TCI is a process used to enhance a pickup, nothing more. The actual pickups are 85/15 S which have had the TCI process done to them. I feel PRS did quite a marketing job in their 2021 launch. I would love to see PRS produce a video which compares a 85/15 S to a 85/15 S that has been TCI processed. We could then make a true comparison if a difference can be heard. Just my 2 cents. Thanks for listening.

BTW - My SE Custom 24-08 is a thing of beauty. Will post pics once I get done with the mods.

First off, let me explain...

The TCI process came out of developing pickups for the Silver Sky. The first guitar after that that utilised the knowledge from this was the Paul's guitar. The 408 pickups that it had used were also 'tweaked' so they were a 'new' pickup that needed a name and as they were the first to utilise the Process, they were called the TCI pick ups.

Then PRS made an 'S' version of this pickup for the SE Paul's guitar and that is what is also being used in the SE Santana Singlecut and SE Custom 24-08. It is the TCI pickup - not an 85/15 'S' with the TCI process applied. They do still offer the 85/15 'S' too and no doubt could apply the TCI process but in this case, they are using the 'same' TCI pickup that was developed from the core TCI pickup found in Pauls Guitar. I know its perhaps more confusing because PRS opted to call their 'new' pickups created for the Pauls Guitar after the Process itself, but you can have Pickups 'called' TCI and those that are not but have had the TCI process applied.

Every Electric guitar has Capacitance and Inductance. Every Pickup and pot, despite how exact they are made, will vary in values. If you know exactly what 'value' you want to achieve coming out of the input jack, you can have a formula/equation that basically tells you what you may need to put into your circuit to get the value you want out. It takes a few seconds to get certain measurements and calculate which value resistor you need to add to get the desired and repeatable results - instead of relying purely on the random chance of just installing the 'next' in line. Yes they may all be within +/- 20% values but being able to 'tune' that circuit creates more consistency - make every Silver Sky sound incredibly similar so you don't have to go searching for that one where all the stars aligned on that day...
 

bodia

Authorities said.....best leave it.....unsolved
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
28,471
Location
Suburban Chicago
TCI is clearly a marketing ploy. Take an existing design, make a small change (ex: more winds/less winds = increased/reduced capacitance and inductance) and call it "new".

I think the biggest fallacy is that they imply, at least in some of the initial videos for the Core series, that the TCI pickups are tuned for each guitar, but I 100% guarantee that they are not. It's true that every guitar has its own qualities and it would be amazing if they were fine-tuning each pickup to each specific instrument, but that's not the case.

These are tweaks on current pickup designs and nothing more. Nothing to get overly excited about. If you were to try the regular 85/15 next to a "TCI" 85/15 in the SAME guitar, I bet not a single person could hear a difference that warrants the marketing hype.
You. Can. Hear. The. Difference.
 

aphantomvaper

Cogent Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2020
Messages
1,713
Location
Illinois
Do the folks at PRS leverage marketing to sell products? Fellas... is a frog's ass water tight? But the drama over TCI labelling is a little hard to take seriously. This isn't a sinker-wood scandal (yeah, I said it. I'm a fan, not a sycophant).

Components are always going to vary in tolerance. a 500k pot is almost never 500k. It could be 465k or 545k. And what about capacitance and inductance of the pickups? Cap values? Wires? They all contribute to a final result. PRS defined a process to ensure the values for components selected for each model's electronics package are within a standard deviation, based on a desired tonal response. In marketing speak, they 'tuned' the circuit. I doubt PRS is doing this for each individual guitar. Have they said otherwise?

Result: They (manufacturer) and you (consumer) get a more predictable result with a higher success rate. Win/win.

We musicians are a wonderfully odd bunch of people. Some of us want to believe in magic and assign more value to the successful accident from a skilled luthier with a bag of pixie dust than we do to a predictable result from a godless machine. The engineers amongst us are probably the easiest to accept the later. We're used to working with named processes (ISO, CMMI, Scrum, 6 Sigma, ITIL. etc.) and understand that any 'result' can be measured, analysed, defined, and replicated.

I have some bad news for the superstitious amongst us; Paul Smith is an Engineer, not a Wizard.

i-xFXwn6K-XL.jpg
No argument with your statement of process. In this day Engineers and Wizards of olde are the same thing, manipulating reality to achieve a different and better result.

And the result in this case is PHENOMENAL!
 

veinbuster

Zombie Three, DFZ
Joined
Apr 26, 2012
Messages
13,312
Location
GTA or wandering aimlessly
TCI is a tuned system, not an individual component. The same concept happens on many electronic device production lines, especially for parts in systems that vary widely (like EMI/RFI applications). Economies of scale dictate that it’s cheaper to tune 5% tolerance parts than to spec expensive 1% parts. And since pickups are still hand installed and soldered on all guitars, why not measure resistance/capacitance/inductance and tweak to reference? It’s not rocket science, just good engineering and a more consistent end result. PRS is just spending a little more time producing a more predictable result. Again, the masters of consistency.
The first electronics product I had ownership of was able to go to market because I specified a higher tolerance capacitor. Changing one part was a much faster path to an acceptable product than trying to engineer around poorer speced components. Not all engineering is rocket science - pickup systems certainly aren’t.
 

dogrocketp

I drank the PRS kool aid, and it was tasty!
Joined
Apr 28, 2013
Messages
4,155
Location
Washington, DC
TCI is clearly a marketing ploy. Take an existing design, make a small change (ex: more winds/less winds = increased/reduced capacitance and inductance) and call it "new".

I think the biggest fallacy is that they imply, at least in some of the initial videos for the Core series, that the TCI pickups are tuned for each guitar, but I 100% guarantee that they are not. It's true that every guitar has its own qualities and it would be amazing if they were fine-tuning each pickup to each specific instrument, but that's not the case.

These are tweaks on current pickup designs and nothing more. Nothing to get overly excited about. If you were to try the regular 85/15 next to a "TCI" 85/15 in the SAME guitar, I bet not a single person could hear a difference that warrants the marketing hype.
Marketing Ploy? Where have you been the last 90 years? The whole goal of marketing is to create value in a tweek or redesign. When it’s valid, it usually succeeds. Clearly, you’re either a troll or work for one of the competitors. I’m not selling all my old PRS to get everything TCI, but there’s a difference, and it’s a logical one. And as Mozzi said, the goal is consistent quality.
 

waswell

New Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2021
Messages
62
"Then PRS made an 'S' version of this pickup for the SE Paul's guitar and that is what is also being used in the SE Santana Singlecut and SE Custom 24-08. It is the TCI pickup - not an 85/15 'S' with the TCI process applied. They do still offer the 85/15 'S' too and no doubt could apply the TCI process but in this case, they are using the 'same' TCI pickup that was developed from the core TCI pickup found in Pauls Guitar. I know its perhaps more confusing because PRS opted to call their 'new' pickups created for the Pauls Guitar after the Process itself, but you can have Pickups 'called' TCI and those that are not but have had the TCI process applied."

Mozzi,

I called PRS and they informed me the pickups in my Custom 24-08 are 85/15 S that have been TCIed, hence a TCI pickup. Again, TCI is not a new pickup it is a process and nothing more. I bet if someone called PRS and asked them what pickup is in Paul's Guitar you would get a specific pickup with TCI applied not a new TCI pickup.

FYI - the pickups do sound fantastic and are keepers.
 

waswell

New Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2021
Messages
62
Found this on the SW site. This is the verbiage used on a $4000 USA Custom 24-08. Notice they are 'tuned" not TCI pickups

"TCI-tuned 85/15 pickups: vintage character and modern clarity
PRS 85/15 pickups balance vintage character with modern clarity to deliver the sweet — yet articulate — sound and rich harmonic overtones of vintage humbuckers. Featuring a powerful bridge pickup and neck pickup with the perfect amount of brightness, the 85/15 set packs a real sonic punch, from chimey cleans to full shred. The pickups are treated to PRS’s TCI (Tuned Capacitance and Inductance) tuning, which means the team at PRS has used their years of know-how to sculpt the sound to be perfect to their ears. The end result is a very musical pickup that’s true to its lineage, but updated for the modern player."
 

Ovibos

Naughty Wood Librarian
Joined
Jan 9, 2015
Messages
2,685
Location
Wilmette, IL
It's all marketing, and that's fine.

I mean, a "Narrowfield" is a mini-humbucker, right?
 
Top