#1
Just recently bought a used PRS Custom 22, and the stock Dragon II pickups aren't quite doing it for me.

I'm looking for something that isn't extremely high output (so nothing like an X2N, basically), is passive, with a lot of clarity and girth to the sound.

I play mostly classic rock, hard rock, and classic metal, and I play through a Splawn Quick Rod.

Some tones I really like (in no particular order) are Jerry Cantrell, Paul Rodgers-era Bad Company, Steven Wilson from Porcupine Tree, John Petrucci (especially on the Scenes From a Memory album), Joe Bonamassa, and Neal Schon.

Budget-wise, I'd be willing to spend enough for something like Bareknuckle Pickups, but I'd like to keep it under $400 if we're talking boutique pickups.

I realize a lot of the tones I mentioned are PAFs or some sort of hot-rodded PAF, so I was looking at something like a set of BKP Mules or Black Dogs, a Duncan Custom 5, or a 59/Custom Hybrid. So fire away with the suggestions, please!

EDIT: Would prefer 4-conductor pickups for those in-between split sounds.
Splawn Quickrod
Avatar Contemporary 2x12
Various Pedals
PRS Custom 22
Ibanez RG560
American Standard Strat
Last edited by mailbox2112 at Nov 25, 2014,
#2
Seymour Duncan's Custom Shop has exact replica's of the pups in one of Joe Bonnamassa's 59's,

The Joe Bonamassa Signature humbucker set accurately replicates the P.A.F. pickups in Joe’s beloved 1959 sunburst Les Paul®. Their rich, dynamic, and nuanced voice will appeal to all tone connoisseurs who cherish the passion and power of the original humbucker. Wound on the historic Leesona machine that created humbuckers for Gibson back in the ‘50s and ‘60s, the set features an Alnico 2 magnet in the neck pickup and Alnico 3 in the bridge. Period-correct butyrate bobbins, lightly antiqued nickel covers, wooden spacer, and retro-style “Bonamassa” P.A.F. stickers heighten the vintage vibe.

Each is hand signed by Seymour Duncan and Joe Bonamassa and includes a USB flash drive with video interviews, special features, and more.

Just like Joe’s 1959 Les Paul, there’s a limited number of these 1,959 sets left.


http://customshop.seymourduncan.com/joe-bonamassa-set/
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#3
Ah, they sound lovely, but I forgot to mention in the original post that they have to be 4-conductor. I have the 5-way rotary switch on the C22 and want to keep those in-between single coil sounds.
Splawn Quickrod
Avatar Contemporary 2x12
Various Pedals
PRS Custom 22
Ibanez RG560
American Standard Strat
#5
I've used the PAF Pro before in a basswood Ibanez, loved the sound it got in the neck. I'll definitely check out the PAF Joe.

I'm not sure I want to get just a regular PAF in the bridge though. I do like having the bridge pickup hot enough to push the pre-amp, I just don't want something absurdly hot. FWIW, I really like the Tone Zone in basswood guitars, though I've heard it tends to get muddy in mahogany guitars. I want enough output for stuff like Dream Theater, but still enough vintage character to play classic rock on it.
Splawn Quickrod
Avatar Contemporary 2x12
Various Pedals
PRS Custom 22
Ibanez RG560
American Standard Strat
#7
I'd say BKP HolyDiver/VHII. That's a pretty versatile set - I'm actually going to get a set for my Charvel when I get the money.
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Quote by Anonden
You CAN play anything with anything....but some guitars sound right for some things, and not for others. Single coils sound retarded for metal, though those who are apeshit about harpsichord probably beg to differ.
#8
Quote by mailbox2112
I've used the PAF Pro before in a basswood Ibanez, loved the sound it got in the neck. I'll definitely check out the PAF Joe.

I'm not sure I want to get just a regular PAF in the bridge though. I do like having the bridge pickup hot enough to push the pre-amp, I just don't want something absurdly hot. FWIW, I really like the Tone Zone in basswood guitars, though I've heard it tends to get muddy in mahogany guitars. I want enough output for stuff like Dream Theater, but still enough vintage character to play classic rock on it.


look for a dimarzio crunchlab and liquifire if you want to go on the cheap, i got the JP set for a tad under $100 new from MF on a price match. the site was dodgey so i didn't expect to match but they did.

also with dimarzio if you get their pickups and aren't happy with your selection, they will give you a new set of pickups (obviously you send yours in). so you could have a second try.

there are tons of options out there. just have to sift through and roll the dice.
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#9
You coud try checking the AT1, breed, gravity storms, norton, air-zone/classic & paf 36th anniv pickups from the dimarzio camp.

From the duncan side they have a lot paf veined options, custom, patb, screaming demon, wlh, full shred, etc. Dont get the custom 5, its sounds too scooped in the Cu22.

No idea for BKPs.
#10
I'd look at:

Tesla- VR-Extreme (B) OPUS-1 or OPUS-4 (N)
Lace- Alumitone set
RailHammer- Chisel (B) and HyperVintage (N) or 2 Chisels.
Rio Grande- Dirty Harry HB (B) Dirty Harry, Jr. (N)
The Creamery- Dirty Shirt set

Beyond that, do what I do: contact the makers you're most interested in with your list of tonal demands, and see what they suggest. Most are quite happy to tell you what they offer that will fit the bill.
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#11
Holy crap, that's a lot of suggestions from everyone. I think I'm going to email Dimarzio, SD, and BKP today and see what they recommend from their lineups and go from there. In the mean time, I'll start sifting through all of these recommendations!
Splawn Quickrod
Avatar Contemporary 2x12
Various Pedals
PRS Custom 22
Ibanez RG560
American Standard Strat
#12
The PRS HFS and VB set are awesome in the PRS guitars.

My CE22 has Dragon II's in it, what don't you like about them? I'm pretty pleased but I have thought about getting a BKP Nailbomb
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#13
Quote by Robbgnarly
The PRS HFS and VB set are awesome in the PRS guitars.

My CE22 has Dragon II's in it, what don't you like about them? I'm pretty pleased but I have thought about getting a BKP Nailbomb


The Dragon II's seem to be a little on the fizzy side and just a bit too polite sounding for me. They're definitely not bad, just not quite what I'm looking for.
Splawn Quickrod
Avatar Contemporary 2x12
Various Pedals
PRS Custom 22
Ibanez RG560
American Standard Strat