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Thread: The Studio needs a different pickup!!

  1. #1

    The Studio needs a different pickup!!

    Hey everyone. If you've been to other PRS forums then you've surely already heard me rant on this subject. If you haven't....THIS is your lucky DAY!! lol.

    I have to set-up my profile still...you know...list my gear and stuff...
    I have been a PRS player for quite a few years. Was always a strat guy. Been playing in bars since I was 12 (36 years now).
    I first got a '94 CE24 and an '03 McSoapy Standard. The CE was my main stage guitar for a lot of years until this last Christmas when my Wife bought me a new 2011 Studio. It's a plain top...well..far from PLAIN but not a 10 in SapphireSomkeBurst with trem and PatternThin carve. I LOVE it and it has been my #1 since the day I got it.

    But...also since the day I got it, I couldn't understand who the genius at PRS was who thought the 57/08 was a good match to the NarrowFields in the Studio. I immediately found the 57/08 to be badly whimpy compared to the Narrowfields. Hey, I think both the 57/08HB and the Narrowfields are GREAT pickups but...just not together in the same guitar.
    At first I thought it was surely just my poor taste, bad ears, or that this guitar had a problem.

    I fell head over heels in love with the Narrowfields. So warm and powerful but also still as spanky as a fender...crystally, punchy AND smooth....but then you switch to the bridge 57/08 and it sounds like it's in a tin can...well..not THAT bad but..I DEFINITELY couldnt hope to gig with it and be able to switch from bridge to NF pup in the same song..
    So, the first gig/night I mostly stayed on the NFs. The next day I did some height adjusting. Way lowered the NFs and raised the 57/08. The balance improved a bit...obviously, but it still wasn't really useable as a 7 sound guitar.

    Again, I think the 57/08 on it's own, or maybe paired with something a little less overwhelming, is a great pickup. For the next couple months I gigged the Studio only using the 57/08.

    OK...background time again....I didnt like the HFS in the CE when I got it either. To me and for my style it was a little scooped and ...I dunno...modern sounding? So I put an old Dimarzio PAF PRO into it and liked it much better.
    I still have the HFS.

    I was thinking that maybe I'd throw the old HFS into the Studio instead of the 57/08 but instead I bought a Duncan Custom Custom from a PRS forumate. I went a couple months before finally getting off my lazy butt and last weekend I yanked the 57/08 and put it in the CC.

    I had written to PRS Customer Service and told them that I felt the 57/08 was a BAD match for the Studio back in January probably. I havent tried one but surely an uncovered 59/09 would be a better option tonally and maybe for some, visually? I have a feeling that the 59/09 would also be underpowered in the Studio though.

    I then started the above mentioned ranting at forums, whining about the 57/08 being in the Studio and quickly discovered that my taste and hearing and even the Studio had nothing wrong with them. It seemed that almost EVERYONE who replied who had a Studio felt the same as I did. Many had sold their Studios, others like me, just managed to get by and make it work with some height adjustments and by not switching pickups a whole lot. I don't think I heard a single Studio owner say..."I think the 57/08 is a perfect pickup for this guitar with the Narrowfields...".
    It made me re-ask myself....the people at PRS and PRSh say this is a good pickup combination??? Really? Because....

    With this CustomCustom in the Studio it is a NEW guitar again. The CC has an Aii magnet so I guess some people might find it a bit "dark" in the Studio...maybe the Custom5 or whatever it is (a CC with AV instead of 2) would be better for them but I like the CC. No...I'm LOVING it.

    Not only can I now go back and forth between the Bridge and NFs without it sounding like the guitar amp is cutting in and out...I can actually USE the coil split!
    I've never been crazy about ANY bridge pickup. Especially not sc ones. Yes I was a strat guy but I always had a hot bridge pup. Either a bucker or a rails or something.
    The CC in the Studio sounds WICKED as a singlecoil. And of course, the bridge/middle pickup tones are awesome with the bridge as an hb or sc.

    It now really DOES have 7 USEABLE tones...with the same amp setting...in the same song if you want...without having to change anything but the pickup selector.
    It had a nickel or chrome cover on it but I flipped the magnet and didnt bother putting it back on.
    My Wife says it looked better with a covered bridge pup. Says it "ties-in the chrome tuners to the rest of the guitar better". I'm on the fence. It looked more "elegant" with the cover and looks meaner and tougher without it...I think.

    So...for you Studio owners or future owners, get a Custom Custom or a Custom5 or even an HFS. The Duncans can be had used for $50 or less.
    And for you PRS employees/family....the 57/08 doesn't work in the Studio with the NFs. TRY one! It seems no one has?? ...or they are all seeing the Emperor fully dressed??.
    And for anyone who is still reading...sorry for the long-winded rant. I'm bad for that.
    Have a great day!

  2. #2
    chief Shawn@PRS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blaren View Post
    I couldn't understand who the genius at PRS was who thought the 57/08 was a good match to the NarrowFields in the StudioI
    That would be Paul Smith

  3. #3
    Prince of Paisley iahawk36's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn@PRS View Post
    That would be Paul Smith
    Well played, Mr. Nuthall!

    While I prefer the sound of a 59/09 bridge pup in my Studio, I can understand why they chose the 57/08 to be a match with the NF's.
    "He's kind of like a bear at a campsite...you think he's cute and kind of want to hug him, but in the end you know he's dangerous and is going to stomp on your tent and eat all your food..." - martysnarf

  4. #4
    Senior Member themike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn@PRS View Post
    That would be Paul Smith
    ¿Quien es "el Paul Smith"?
    Paul Reed Smith 7 - S t r i n g A c t i v i s t | Fueled by P T C

  5. #5
    Senior Member slev's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blaren View Post
    I don't think I heard a single Studio owner say..."I think the 57/08 is a perfect pickup for this guitar with the Narrowfields...".
    I think the 57/08 is a perfect pickup for this guitar with the Narrowfileds. That makes one. I actually got mine from Wedge, who must have had the same experience as you because he put a Dragon I in the bridge. I put a different 57/08 back in there. Love it. The split coil position #1 is fine but I've never thought it really achieved a full on strat-type tone. If you want a strat tone buy a strat. I will say that the amp I play through makes a big difference. Position 2 sounds sounds awesome through my Mesa 5:50 but less great through my buddy's Fender. I find the NF and 57/08 combo to be perfect for a gig where I'm playing everything from Paul Simon to Rancid or Green Day. In the end, I don't think you can make blanket statements on tone. Everyone's ear is a little bit different and no two players are going to sound exactly the same through the same rig. More analytically with respect to the 57/08s, I have gathered that there is definitely some variation in the output from the earlier batches to the more recently made lots. Maybe one of the PRS guys can shed some light on that rumor.
    Last edited by slev; 06-21-2012 at 11:43 AM.
    Gear: Fender, PRS, Orange, Budda

  6. #6
    One man's meat is another man's cheese.

    The whole point of interchangeable pickups is so that a buyer can, you know, actually change out the pickups!

  7. #7
    chief Shawn@PRS's Avatar
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    Have you ever watched Bob Ross on TV? He's the guy who shows you how to create really awesome looking paintings during his 30 minute PBS show. Well, usually about 3/4 of the way through his show I would be in awe of what Bob created and I'd think to myself, "Leave the painting just as it is". But at that very moment Bob would say something like "I'm going to add a barn over here" and I'd yell "NOOOO, don't do it, you’ll ruin the painting!" But as if Bob couldn't hear me or he just chose to ignore my pleas, he'd go ahead and paint a barn. And wouldn't you know, that barn looked like a long forgotten hideaway nestled amongst the gnarled pines and stately oaks and known only to the forest creatures. Once the barn had been added, it looked right at home and I'd think again to myself "It's perfect, it's complete", but Bob wasn't done, no. He'd go on to add some happy little trees and maybe a windswept valley with patches of snow peaking out from under tufts of tall grass. Bob saw the painting in his mind and knew what he wanted it to be when it was completed.

    Paul is constantly building, tweaking and modding as he goes through his creative process. The 57/08 pickups did go through several iterations before Paul added his final “happy little tree” and felt the pickups were complete. He then went on to his next painting called “the 408’s”.


    RIP Bob!

  8. #8
    Prince of Paisley iahawk36's Avatar
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    Now all we need is for Paul to go back to the afro, and the Bob Ross comparison will be complete!!!
    "He's kind of like a bear at a campsite...you think he's cute and kind of want to hug him, but in the end you know he's dangerous and is going to stomp on your tent and eat all your food..." - martysnarf

  9. #9
    Senior Member slev's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn@PRS View Post
    Well, usually about 3/4 of the way through his show I would be in awe of what Bob created and I'd think to myself, "Leave the painting just as it is".
    I could never make it through more than15 minutes. I'd be out cold from his soothing monotonous narration.

    I like cheese and meat...where does that leave me?
    Gear: Fender, PRS, Orange, Budda

  10. #10
    That Video Guy crgtr's Avatar
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    I am among the group who hated the 57/08 in the Studio. I sold mine because of it. I also actually sold Blaren the Custom Custom. I did think it was a much better match in there. but I guess I am also not a big Narrowfield guy. I think they are ok, but a bit dark sounding for me & I could never get the middle pup down low enough for me to get it out of the way of my picking. Would've been nice to be able to split the Narrows. That may have changed my mind about the guitar, but I still would need the middle pup to move down a bit further. Anyway, just my opinion.
    Twang On!
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  11. #11
    What a great post, Shawn.

    "Now we'll just fire in some wild-flowers along the river bed. Just... [deeeeep breath] let 'em live."

    If I were a betting man, I'd say that guy only packed the very best... ummm... "tobacco" in his pipe.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn@PRS View Post
    Have you ever watched Bob Ross on TV? He's the guy who shows you how to create really awesome looking paintings during his 30 minute PBS show. Well, usually about 3/4 of the way through his show I would be in awe of what Bob created and I'd think to myself, "Leave the painting just as it is". But at that very moment Bob would say something like "I'm going to add a barn over here" and I'd yell "NOOOO, don't do it, you’ll ruin the painting!" But as if Bob couldn't hear me or he just chose to ignore my pleas, he'd go ahead and paint a barn. And wouldn't you know, that barn looked like a long forgotten hideaway nestled amongst the gnarled pines and stately oaks and known only to the forest creatures. Once the barn had been added, it looked right at home and I'd think again to myself "It's perfect, it's complete", but Bob wasn't done, no. He'd go on to add some happy little trees and maybe a windswept valley with patches of snow peaking out from under tufts of tall grass. Bob saw the painting in his mind and knew what he wanted it to be when it was completed.

    Paul is constantly building, tweaking and modding as he goes through his creative process. The 57/08 pickups did go through several iterations before Paul added his final “happy little tree” and felt the pickups were complete. He then went on to his next painting called “the 408’s”.


    RIP Bob!
    One Life

  12. #12
    Prince of Paisley iahawk36's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hans View Post
    What a great post, Shawn.

    "Now we'll just fire in some wild-flowers along the river bed. Just... [deeeeep breath] let 'em live."

    If I were a betting man, I'd say that guy only packed the very best... ummm... "tobacco" in his pipe.
    Kind bud?
    "He's kind of like a bear at a campsite...you think he's cute and kind of want to hug him, but in the end you know he's dangerous and is going to stomp on your tent and eat all your food..." - martysnarf

  13. #13
    Member jrw32's Avatar
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    To each his own, though I'd have to agree with some of the other posts here in that I think the 5708 is a GREAT match with the Narrowfields. I have a SAS Studio so not sure if the swamp ash has something to do with it as opposed to the maple cap/mahogany body. I did have to adjust all the pickups a bit to taste, but I think they blend very well together. I was in the studio recording tracks for about 6 hours last night using only my SAS...tracked 9 songs, & the producer and I made full use of all the pickup combinations throughout...very versatile for a studio session or live IMO!

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by slev View Post
    I like cheese and meat...where does that leave me?
    Cheeseburger.

    http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-li...taurant/280281

  15. #15
    Senior Member slev's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LSchefman View Post
    NICE! Awesome pull...
    Gear: Fender, PRS, Orange, Budda

  16. #16
    I effin LOVE(d) Bob Ross and I was exactly the same way. He's get the sky and some trees in and I'm thinking...how AMAZING...I need to get some paint and a board next time he's on cause he makes it so easy. Then I look at the time and think...what? There's still 25 minutes left. Is he gonna make TWO awesome paintings or something? Oh look right here...here's a little shrub living here just loving the sunlight...and in front oof it, a pond...with a duck...and ducklings..and rings in the pond and a happy tree...nahhh..let's just put a bunch of trees in there so they aren't lonely..just lay them in like this...ever so gently with the edge of the knife...and let's say there's an old trapper's cabin in the fore...GEEZE!!!!
    I would have been proud to hand the sky and field on my wall...now there IS no sky and field!!??
    And the same thing happens in the recording studio. You lay everything down and then the producer or engineer says...ok now can I have some high octavey stuff to reinforce that vocal line? like some Edge kind of stuff ...and I'm like...wow..I would have never thought of that!!

    As far as the tone of the 57/08..and yes, tone IS subjective so a lot of people don't agree but I think the 57/08 IS a great pickup. I think the Narrowfields are awesome too.
    What I had with my Studio wasn't a taste thing...unless someone prefers an huge imbalance in ...ummm...balance? lol ...but it wasn't for me that's for sure.
    I was going to mention you Chris...not by name but I was going to mention that a lot of "ex-Studio owners" went to DGTs or Siggys and much prefer those guitars.
    I think the Studio is a different animal and probably...well...obviously ...not for everyone.

    I don't want another strat. I have Strats but they are like Chinese food to me. I just want MORE. That's why I play PRSs now but again....preference. My record collection would be pretty bleak was it not for the mighty Stratocaster...and, in a lot of cases, heroion. I though am not big on either. I was...strats not smack but when I got my first PRS I was ruined.
    To me the Studio is the Strat I always wanted. To me it's a luxurious, mean, beefy, set-neck strat with just nicer everything.
    Maybe my 57/09 is weaker than most...well..weaker than some...I wasn't and am not making-up the part about a lot of Studio owners feel the 57/08 is a little underpowered and bright for the NFs. AND, I hate to say it but ...it seems, at least I see a lot of them....people feel the NFs a little too dark..as Chris says.

    Chris isn't Paul Reed Smith but he is a good guy who's honest and ...well...he's a REALLY great guy..seriously...and he owns and has owned a whole BUNCH of PRSs. In fact...Chris...buddy..I think you have a problem! lol
    But he has pretty big ears and has done quite a few comparison tests and youtube vids. He can definitely hear and feel tone. He and I ..and others, were not in cohoots when we came up with this "imbalance" thing. In fact, I didnt even know chris HAD a Studio till he told me he had the CC in one..the CC I was buying from him.

    I SURE am not saying Mr. Paul Smith needs a hearing test....but didn't ANYONE say...you know, I LOVE this guitar, and I really love the pickups..but...the NFs seem to kinda outdo the bridge pickup don't you find?
    Then again, I feel kinda the same way about Strats...which is why, as dude said...pickups get swapped. If every guitar had the best pickups for everyone people like Fralin, Duncan, DiMarzio, and Lollar would be unheard of.
    To each his own. I gotta say again though that this thing is a BEAST now with the CustomCustom into a plexi or plexi style amp. I don't own a Mesa or any high gain amp. I realize that probably a majority of PRS owners are into heavier more saturated stuff and maybe those MarkIVs and Bogners and SLOs work better than my old broken down amps.
    Probably the same reason I wasn't in love with the HFS. It's a pretty hot ceramic pickup and I found it to be a poor match for my marshalls.
    Come to think of it...I'm not alone when it comes to swapping pups in their PRSs am I? The D1s get good reviews, the old HFS and VBs get some good love, and the 50 series and DGT and 408s but...I dont think it can be argued that a LOT of people swap pups in their PRSs. Any more than do with their Fenders and gibsons? I don't know...kinda seems that way though.

    I LOVE MY STUDIO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!

  17. #17
    Senior Member yankeebulldog's Avatar
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    I found the 59/09 a great match but I love that pickup in just about any guitar. I also tried a WCR Godwood but the one I had on hand wasn't splittable. For my Swamp Ash Studio I went with a Wolfetone Marshallhead but it's sort of right in the same range output wise as the 59/09. My only real gripe is more with the cover on the 57/08 vs the output. I like the look of the uncovered bucker with the NFs.
    PRS Guitars - PS #4344 SC245, PS #4343 DC245, Ted SC245 Willcutt's WL Limited, Paul's Guitar
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  18. #18
    Yankeebulldog, may i just offer a compliment on how gorgeous that guitar is?

    I had one like it some years back, except with the old pickup system. You rarely see them that beautiful.

  19. #19
    Angry Southern Gentleman Hopeful Sinner's Avatar
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    I had a Studio for about 6 months before I realized it wasn't going to be right for me. I adjusted heights and eventually put three different bridge p'ups in and never quite found the balance I was looking for.

    I also had the Narrowfields customized for coil tapping and it did add another layer of versatility to the guitar but by that point, I had a custom wound 'bucker in there and didn't get to see how it worked with a 57/08.

    Anyhoo, I sold it, bought a DGT Standard that I LOVE and we are living happily ever after...
    -Jon

    "I'm a sinner and I hope I never change"

  20. #20
    Member Richard Lainegard's Avatar
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    I also thought they were a bit mismatched, until I lowered the NF pickups a bit (think neck vs bridge on a LP),
    Got rid of that low-end "woof" of the NF's when they're set too high (in relation to the bridge).

    EDIT: With that said, it still wouldn't be my personal choice of model
    -Richard Lainegard-
    RichardLainegard.com

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