The Dilema: NF53, Core Paul's or Core 24-08

MarcWink

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Okay, PRS done did it to me again, they got me looking at a new guitar (and probably amp). . . again since picking up my latest two in January (SE Silver Sky and 10th Anniversary S2 Custom 24). Even though I absolutely adore the new S2, and the Silver Sky ain't half bad now that I got the fret ends sorted and have it set up to my preferences, I'm now finding myself eyeballing the NF53, the new Core Custom 24-08, and Core Paul's Geetar since each of these look like they'd give me a sound completely different from anything else in my guitar rack. For the record, I've got 7 guitars in the rack 4 of them are double humbucker PRS, one is a triple single coil PRS, one is an HSH Ibanez and one is a double humbucker Gibson. Are my ears correct in finding that the 408 TCI pickups in the Core 24-08 and Paul's seem to be more P90 than true humbucker and the NF53 appears to be the PRS that can out "Tele" a Fender with it's bright snappy tones? For the most part, I play hard rock and metal, and whatever guitar I land on will ultimately be setup for an alternate tuning (more likely than not drop C). Any thoughts? And please refrain from recommending that I buy ALL THREE! If I could do that, I wouldn't be posting this.

As for the amp, the MkII Archon has really caught my eye as every tube amp that I've owned over the years has been some flavor of the classic Fender black panel or a Vox AC series. I did also have an original Peavey 5150 for a stretch, but I could never push the volume enough to get the most out of it tone wise and consequently always had a bit of a fizzy top end due to the low volume. That's what you get for being an idiot 16 year old that thinks the answer to good metal tone is more wattage.
 
I do a lot of music in C# standard. While I use my 594 for most of the main tone, I ALWAYS use my Esquire to support the tone of the 594 - which is thick, dark, and "doomy". Having the Esquire in C# standard allows me to add some snap and clarity to the chords and riffs. Often, the single coil sound of the Esquire fits the part better than the humbucker or split tones on the 594. There's just something about a great "tele" tone that becomes indispensable in music.

My vote is the NF53.

Having said that, either of the other two would be great also (or better) if you are looking for more of a "one size fits all" guitar. What I mean by that is you can have the HB and SC tones. Having had PGs I will say that the tones are awesome. Personally, I like 22 frets and the neck pickup sound on a 22 fretter better than on a 24 fretter. But, I like what a trem does to the tone on HB guitar. So, in choosing between the other two I can't give as much advice. It'll come down to preference on the PZG vs. 2408.
 
Regarding the TCI pickups in the new 24-08, here's a quote from the man himself (PRS) in the reddit\guitar forum from a few weeks ago: "I love the sound of P90s, but they hum like banshees. Our TCI pickup is a P90 without hum."
 
Have you considered the SE Mark Holcomb? It's actually designed & set up with Drop C in mind. Longer scale (25.5), and the nut is slotted for 10-52 gauge strings. I've had one for several years now and love it. The current model has different pickups that I haven't heard so I can't comment there but IMO it's a badass guitar. The pickups are Seymour Duncan, so they'll definitely give you a different sound than your other PRS ones will
 
Have you considered the SE Mark Holcomb? It's actually designed & set up with Drop C in mind. Longer scale (25.5), and the nut is slotted for 10-52 gauge strings. I've had one for several years now and love it. The current model has different pickups that I haven't heard so I can't comment there but IMO it's a badass guitar. The pickups are Seymour Duncan, so they'll definitely give you a different sound than your other PRS ones will
The SE Holcomb has crossed my mind on a couple of occasions, but given my less than smooth sailing experience with my SE Silver Sky Maple, I've got a bad taste in my mouth as far as QC for the SE lineup...I also want to give something a try that isn't a true humbucker, hence why I've started looking into the newly updated Core 24-08, Pauls, and the NF53. I've also been keeping an eye out for a McCarty Soapbar, but I haven't seen many of those come up for sale.
 
Are my ears correct in finding that the 408 TCI pickups in the Core 24-08 and Paul's seem to be more P90 than true humbucker...?

No. To borrow an expression, they're chalk and cheese - especially overdriven.

A P-90 is its own thing, and a 408 is also its own thing. The 408s are humbuckers with more focus and detail than traditional humbuckers, especially in the treble range due to the narrow field. A good P-90 is more raw, and significantly warmer, with a thick midrange, and low midrange emphasis that's different.

Here are a few original pieces I created a while back that show the differences between the 408s, humbuckers and P-90s (all done with PRS') through the PRS DG30 and HXDA amps.

P-90 / Traditional Humbucker; PRS 594 and DG30 amp, same settings. Rhythm track is edge of breakup with P-90s, melody tracks are 594 Soapbar for first half, 594 with humbuckers for second half:


Paul's 408 crunchy - All the tracks on this were done with the Paul's 408s:


Paul's 408 Clean - there's a very slow, repeating guitar part that starts a little over 1/3 of the way in on this electronica track:


I hope these tracks help a little with your decision-making!
 
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I will vote NF53 also , GREAT with gain !!! light weight
I may own a Pauls someday but I have a 408 and I think the larger bridge pickup sounds better.
Problem with the 24/08 is the Pattern Thin neck , I like the bigger necks better Pattern Reg and bigger.
 
No. To borrow an expression, they're chalk and cheese - especially overdriven.

A P-90 is its own thing, and a 408 is also its own thing. The 408s are humbuckers with more focus and detail than traditional humbuckers, especially in the treble range due to the narrow field. A good P-90 is more raw, and significantly warmer, with a thick midrange, and low midrange emphasis that's different.

Here are a few original pieces I created a while back that show the differences between the 408s, humbuckers and P-90s (all done with PRS') through the PRS DG30 and HXDA amps.

P-90 / Traditional Humbucker; PRS 594 and DG30 amp, same settings. Rhythm track is edge of breakup with P-90s, melody tracks are 594 Soapbar for first half, 594 with humbuckers for second half:


Paul's 408 crunchy - All the tracks on this were done with the Paul's 408s:


Paul's 408 Clean - there's a very slow, repeating guitar part that starts a little over 1/3 of the way in on this electronica track:


I hope these tracks help a little with your decision-making!

Great Tones from the 408's with dirt on them. I really dig what you're getting with them. I wonder how they'll take high gain.
 
I will vote NF53 also , GREAT with gain !!! light weight
I may own a Pauls someday but I have a 408 and I think the larger bridge pickup sounds better.
Problem with the 24/08 is the Pattern Thin neck , I like the bigger necks better Pattern Reg and bigger.

I'm able to take to pretty much any PRS neck pretty easily. My Core 35th Anniversary Custom 24 has a Pattern Regular, my Core Custom 22 and CE 22 Maple Top have Wide/Fat necks, my 10th Anniversary S2 Custom 24 is a Pattern Thin and my SE Silver Sky has whatever they call that neck carve. I get along perfectly fine with any of them but I do prefer the Wide/Fat or Pattern Regular to the others. Having said that, I also have my Ibanez RG has the Prestige Wizard neck and my Explorer has something that is between a 50's rounded and 60's slim taper neck...it's super comfy.
 
Great Tones from the 408's with dirt on them. I really dig what you're getting with them. I wonder how they'll take high gain.
Thanks, what you heard is just the amp, no dirt pedals or boosts. I have the gain set pretty low, as I'm more an "edge of breakup" player. The HXDA (as you can tell) is a Plexi style amp.

I'm not a high gain player. Others here will probably be able to offer guidance on how the pickups work with higher gain stuff.
 
Having had the Signature Limited and 408 with the larger pickup, I'd say it all depends on personal preference. For me, both are terrific pickups.
:) Agreed
I had a Brushstroke 24 ( 24 fret Pauls guitar ) and it was really nice but not a long term keeper for me.
 
:) Agreed
I had a Brushstroke 24 ( 24 fret Pauls guitar ) and it was really nice but not a long term keeper for me.
The guitar I have with the Paul's pickups is the 20th Anniversary of Private Stock Limited model, with a 24.594 scale length, thicker mahogany, thinner maple cap, locking saddles, trem, and Madagascar rosewood fretboard.

My 408 and Signature Limited had stop tails, 25" scale length, and IRW fretboards.

The 20th PS is the most beautiful sounding electric guitar I've ever played; I really can't describe it.

My takeaway is that pickups are only part of the equation, the other stuff matters enough that it isn't apples-to-apples. And of course they all sound different, even two guitars of the same model.
 
If it were me:

1) NF53: I own an NF3, and narrowfields KILL for rock and metal stuff. They are not weak, by any means output wise, and due to the narrow build, have lots of attack and clarity. I know the NF53's pickuosare slightly different than an OG NF3, but I bet they could accomplish the same. Or you could also look for a used NF3.
2) Paul's Guitar: I don't own one, but find the pickups a bit more "vintage" in tone and feel than the narrowfields in my NF3. A bit warmer, less output and more give/chew in the feel department. I would opt for the Paul's, as I find the stoptail better for downturns and like the extra punch/attack they bring.

Those are my two choices. Both would be killer guitars and both could absolutely do metal if you want, so long as the rest of your rig is up to the task, as others have said.
 
How different are the NF53 pickups to the Myles Kennedy Narrowfields and the Studio Narrowfields?
 
I just saw a video of Mark Lettieri playing the Fiore and I was pretty impressed by the tones. Very balanced, but also quite different from a Custom 24 or SS.
 
I'm still debating this back and forth. I need to make up my mind soon, but I am kind of leaning toward the NF53 since I don't have anything in the vein of a Tele in my collection.
 
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