View Full Version : Differences in pickups

12-08-2012, 06:07 PM
I'm researching guitars for an eventual purchase and I would like to understand the differences between pickups in the PRS lineup, US and SE models. I'm a novice and when reviewing the specs, I do not understand 53/10 vs 57/08 or 57/09. In some cases, it just indicates PRS Single Coil Pickup. Is there a Fact Sheet or website that can help me make sense of differences?


12-08-2012, 08:10 PM
The 57/08's are a recreation of the classic 50's PAF humbucker. The 59/09's are very similar, but with a tad more output. 53/10's are humbuckers too, but their voicing has a bit of classic single coil influence. All are great pickups from what I've played and heard. The SE line have good pickups too, but the new USA stuff is top of the line.

12-08-2012, 08:29 PM
Andy's got good info; the PRS store has most of the pickups with descriptions as well, that you might find useful:


57/08, for example, was intended to get a 1957 classic humbucker PAF style sound, and was introduced in 2008, hence the nomenclature 57/08. Etc. I think the 5x/yy series are incredible pickups, with a palette of classic sounds. But others love the earlier PRS pickups, and there are as many opinions as there are players.

One thing you'll discover about PRS pickups as you play the various models and try them out, is that they work extremely well with the guitar's volume and tone controls. Set the amp up to sound good with the guitar controls around 5 or so, and then use the controls to really put the pickups through their paces. Lots of players just put the guitar on 10 and really miss out on what the pickups are capable of, in terms of nuances, tones, etc.

Hopeful Sinner
12-08-2012, 09:14 PM
Any particular tones you're going for? I have a good bit of first hand knowledge of past and current PRS pups, as do many of is here. Might be better able to show the way of we know where you are going..

12-09-2012, 08:52 AM
Thank you for help!

I gravitate towards the rich sound of Santana or Jimi Hendrix on Pali Gap. I also like some distortion, but as a topping, not the main meal. I love Beatles, Zeppelin, Floyd and that range of must, as well as Allmans. It would be great if i could get all those sounds in one guitar.