#1
So it's been a crazy couple of weeks, with my amp seemingly dying, then magically coming back to life the day my new PRS SE Custom arrived.

So I've had a couple of days to play around with the guitar. Love the feel of it, and it certainly suits my style of playing, but I want to take it from just good to amazing.

My issue with it is I can't get a good rhythm sound out of it. On the neck pickup, I quite a nice smooth, fuzzy sound that is great for lead. Think along the lines of Santana or John Mayer in "Friends, Lovers or Nothing."

There is a lack of tonal difference when it comes between having the switch on the neck or middle positions. Still that great lead tone, but its way too muddy for playing chords.

And the bridge pickup is pretty weak and thin sounding.

So I'm looking for new pickups.

I run a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe, and I use a treble booster to get "my sound" during lead work, but I need pickups that have a lot more clarity.

I need something that can cover the likes of Santana/John Mayer/Mike McCready like lead tones, then crunchy clear rhythm, like Oasis/Powderfinger/Pearl Jam.

I don't want active pickups! Would rather not have to pay over $500AU for both (will search ebay and such when I settle on pickups).

Cheers.
Fender USA Standard Stratocaster
PRS SE Custom
Fender Hot Rod Deluxe
Tonerider British Distortion
Tonerider American Overdrive
Boss DD7
Big Muff Pi with Tone Wicker
Treble Booster.
#2
I highly recommend Bare Knuckle Pickups. Tim, the owner, handwires some great pickups and has top notch customer service. I recently put in a order for two BKP Nailbombs and can't wait until they arrive.

They are based in the U.K and you can shoot Tim an email about the tone your looking for, and any questions. He'll get you exactly where you want. A matched pair costs around 500 Australian dollars I think so they are quite pricy, but its a good investment that should make you not want to try another pickup from the big three (EMG, Seymour, Dimarzio) again.
Only real problem is that they are RIGHT on your budget. But you get what you pay for, up to you.

Heres the Australian dealer page that I got off BKP's main website:

Pro Audio Supplies
87-89 Gladstone Street
Fyshwick
ACT 2609
Australia

Tel: 0061 26249 7766


Damn I sound like a salesman Anyway, I don't know much about other brands but if you decide to look for something else, best of luck man!
Gear

Mesa/Boogie Mark V Head
Mills Acoustics Mach 212B
Peavey Vypyr 15w
ESP LTD EC-1000 guitar (BKP Nailbombs)
Fender American Standard Strat
PRS Custom 24
Dunlop KH Signature Wah
Menatone Red Snapper
Boss DD-7 Delay
Zvex Fuzz Factory
#3
Cheers man, they do sound awesome! Pricey, yet awesome haha! I'll shoot him an email at some point soon once I see what else is out there in the world of pickups!
Fender USA Standard Stratocaster
PRS SE Custom
Fender Hot Rod Deluxe
Tonerider British Distortion
Tonerider American Overdrive
Boss DD7
Big Muff Pi with Tone Wicker
Treble Booster.
#4
No pup in the world will give you a Santana-esque tone through a HRD with a treble booster. Maybe you should look into an overdrive/distortion pedal.
#5
When I say Santana, I don't mean spot on "Oh he's playing Smooth" tone. Just something sort of similar, a sweet, fuzzy tone with lots of sustain if that makes sense? I completely understand I have no chance in hell in perfecting the tone, which is a good thing because I want my own sound, just wanted to point people in the right direction of what I play/want to achieve?

Does that make sense?
Fender USA Standard Stratocaster
PRS SE Custom
Fender Hot Rod Deluxe
Tonerider British Distortion
Tonerider American Overdrive
Boss DD7
Big Muff Pi with Tone Wicker
Treble Booster.
#6
This makes sense, but you're overestimating what pups can do for you. Your current setup will not get you in the general ballpark for the tones you mentioned, no matter what pickups you choose. The stock ones in PRS SE guitars aren't glorious, but they're not your main problem.
Pups are for fine tuning your tone, the other stuff has a much more drastic influence. Before you can fine tune your tone, you need to have the basic stuff figured out and set up, so don't go buying pups just yet.

I think a simple tubescreamer will get you a lead tone that fits your description nicely, while something crunchier like a Fulltone OCD will work for the rhythm stuff well. You might also look at more versatile pedals like a Fulltone Fulldrive to cover both areas.


Are you using the HRD's drive channel, by the way?
#7
Quote by TheQuailman
This makes sense, but you're overestimating what pups can do for you. Your current setup will not get you in the general ballpark for the tones you mentioned, no matter what pickups you choose. The stock ones in PRS SE guitars aren't glorious, but they're not your main problem.
Pups are for fine tuning your tone, the other stuff has a much more drastic influence. Before you can fine tune your tone, you need to have the basic stuff figured out and set up, so don't go buying pups just yet.


I agree, new pickups can be a great improvement but you might want them for the wrong reasons and/or be expecting too much from them. If you have the tone you want from your current setup but just need some extra clarity, go with duncans. They make the brightest pickups and most of their options are ideal for mahogany guitars such as yours. My schecter isn't completely unlike a prs and I love the 59' in the neck and Custom 5 in the bridge. They are bright as all hell and don't ever sound muddy in clean or high gain. Check out the seymour duncan forums, there will be a couple hundred prs owners waiting to advise you on pickups and it is not a brand loyal forum, dimarzio, bareknuckle, emg, it's open game.
Peavey XXX 40efx
Schecter C1+ (sd 59bA4 neck/sd Custom8 Bridge)
Washburn Idol WI45(AirNorton/CrunchLab)

ESP/LTD Viper 300(EMG81b,89n)
Boss SD-1, Crybaby, MXR 6-band EQ,
Digitech DL-8 Delay Looper, SupaCharga
#8
when i think treble booster on a hrd my brain goes

so you like bright tone huh? that's cool.

i agree with quailman that a good od pedal is probably going to do you more good than swapping pick ups. a good od pedal can cost half of what good pickups cost usually.

the fulldrive 2 is a great classic rock od. based off an 808 with a bit more versatility. i am a fan of the eternity burst od as well.

for pick ups, you may be able to score a dragon II neck, which is pretty "close" to what carlos has in his prs and can be found on ebay pretty regularly. while a 59/jazz or custom combination is very common and for good reason, i'd look another route myself. ymmv
i like the barenuckle pups as well and use them.

pups and an od isn't a bad idea really. if possible.
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
Last edited by gregs1020 at Jun 24, 2010,
#9
Thanks for the replies so far people!

To answer some of the above questions: Yes I use the drive channel of the HRD, then engage the treble booster for lead work.

So an OD pedal has been most peoples suggestions so far. I've always been fairly happy with the tone I can just get out of the amp itself, so now I was just looking into getting a bit more clarity out of it.

Anyone got any clips of any of the above mentioned OD's running through a HRD?

What I can do is upload some clips of how I sound at the moment, and we can figure out what is needed from there?
Fender USA Standard Stratocaster
PRS SE Custom
Fender Hot Rod Deluxe
Tonerider British Distortion
Tonerider American Overdrive
Boss DD7
Big Muff Pi with Tone Wicker
Treble Booster.
Last edited by bicko19 at Jun 24, 2010,
#10
I just got a dimarzio air norton and at-1 for my se custom 24 and its helped smooth and warm up my tone. I don't know if thats the tone you are trying to get at though
#11
Quote by bicko19

To answer some of the above questions: Yes I use the drive channel of the HRD, then engage the treble booster for lead work.

Here is your problem. I do not want to offend anyone, but the HRD's drive channel is atrocious. I did not know it was possible to like it.

Anyway, new pups wouldn't help here at all.

Like, seriously. I don't know anyone who uses that amp's drive channel. Everybody buys it for it's good clean tone and high volume and adds pedals for drive.


Luckily, the HRD takes pedals very well. As I said, look at stuff like tubescreamers - Ibanez TS808 and TS9 are the "classic" models, but plenty of pedals are derived from them. The Fulltone Fulldrive is pretty much an extra versatile version that a lot of people like.

Go to youtube, and search for "proguitarshop *insert name of pedal here*". Proguitarshop have a lot of nicely recorded demos. However, that's only a place to start, you'll want to look up demos by other people as well and ultimately try out the pedals yourself.
#12
Okay thanks man, I'll check out the OD'S. I must admitt I don't LOVE the drive channel of my amp, but its always been adequate, so no offence taken
Fender USA Standard Stratocaster
PRS SE Custom
Fender Hot Rod Deluxe
Tonerider British Distortion
Tonerider American Overdrive
Boss DD7
Big Muff Pi with Tone Wicker
Treble Booster.