WHY would you choose PRS Guitars w/ (58/15 LT “S”) or (DGT “S”) or (TCI “S”) Pickups???

Nathan Shane

New Member
Aug 14, 2023
Dallas, TX.
Greetings fellow PRS Players…I wanted to get some feedback in regards to pickups and volume/tone controls. I’m not searching for a specific tone or guitar, but I would like to know which of these listed guitars YOU would want to play and WHY. From an overall perspective, we have three choices of pickups and differing knob/toggle controls. All these guitars “in a general sense” are very similar in what guitar tones you can create. For example, having Control Pots for Volume and Tone for each individual pickup, like on the SE McCarty 594, allows you to really mix your pickups to taste. Another example might be, you only like to use one pickup (HB/Coil-Split) at a time, such as a Humbucker Bridge for Rock Music. Like I said, I’m really interested in why you would play one or more of these guitars.

58/15 LT “S”

Various HB+SC combinations

SE McCarty 594 (22-fret)
Treble Pickups: 58/15 LT "S"
Bass Pickups: 58/15 LT "S"
Tone-1 (Push-Pull/Coil-Split Bridge)
Tone-2 (Push-Pull/Coil-Split Neck)

SE DGT (22-fret)
Treble Pickups: DGT "S"
Bass Pickups: DGT "S"
Tone-1 (Push-Pull/Coil-Split Bridge/Neck)

SE 24-08 (24-fret)
Treble Pickup: TCI "S"
Bass Pickup: TCI "S"
Mini-Toggle Coil-Split (Bridge)
Mini-Toggle Coil-Split (Neck)

SE Paul’s Guitar (22-fret)
Treble Pickup: TCI "S"
Bass Pickup: TCI "S"
Mini-Toggle Coil-Split (Bridge)
Mini-Toggle Coil-Split (Neck)
I play the Core versions of several of those pickups, so I don't know if this will be interesting or not. I don't have enough experience with the SE models to venture an opinion how significant the differences between the Core and S pickups are, but as I understand it, the tones are designed to be pretty similar in most cases.

If you like a vintage early PAF sound (I do) the 58/15s get it with a bright, airy top end, a slightly recessed midrange without honk, and a good bottom. I've had these pickups in Core 594, McCarty and Special Semi-Hollow models. When I want a little more push, I engage a boost pedal set pretty low.

In fairness, despite really liking the Core models I have with these pickups, I might prefer the 57/08s, as they're a good compromise between the vintage tone of the 58/15 and a hotter pickup; a great all-rounder, you might say. YMMV of course, as with all this stuff.

The Core DGT pickup was developed around David Grissom'specific pickups on his '59 335. It's a bright pickup with a lot of clarity and articulation, and seems to have a little more oomph and mid-push than the 58/15s, but also without the honk that you find on, say, a ceramic high output humbucker.

On the Core model I have, the coil splits work very well; I don't love coil splits on most humbuckers, including the 58/15 coil splits, but these actually sound more useful on my tracks. So there's that.

On the Core DGT, you can blend the two pickups as on a Les Paul or 594, and they blend nicely, even with both or only one split.

My guitar with the Paul's pickups is based on the Narrow 408 as on the Core Paul's Guitar; I'm not familiar with the SE model and can't venture an opinion, the pickups are too different. My Custom 24 has the 85/15s, and I love those pickups for that guitar, but again, they're different from the TCI pickup.

In general, I like a single, full humbucker for most things, neck or bridge.

On the Core models, I find the blend of both pickups works extremely well, the tone controls are useful, and the volume controls don't roll off too much high frequency signal like some guitars do. So the pickups work very well for controlling amplifier gain via the guitar's controls, especially with the single channel amps I prefer that offer more of that elusive "edge of breakup" middle ground than most two channel amps will give you.

I hope this doesn't sound too "get a core model" because that's not what I'm suggesting, though the Core pickups might be a good swap into any SE if you're so inclined.
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Seems like it's a personal preference.

The only experience I have with a Core/non-Core pairing is with the 58/15 vs. 58/15 'S' and the Core version sounded much clearer versus the 'S' version that was muddier. However, a friend now has that S2 with the 'S' pickups and likes them, especially in the coil split mode.
I had the following:
594 SE
Paul’s SE
Silver Sky SE

I have the following:
DGT Rosewood
Silver Sky Dead Spec

The 58/15 LT on the Studio bridge sounds more articulate than the 594 SE’s 58/15-S.
The MEV TCI sound more vintage and cleaner than the TCI-S on the Paul’s SE. But then again they are voiced differently than the Core Paul’s as well.
The DGTs on the other hand does not have a clear comparison cause my Core has a Rosewood neck so it sounds deeper. I didn’t sell my SE cause I really like how it sounds. I think the DGT SE is the only one close enough to the Core models cause of how particular Dave was if his name was going to be attached to it!