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Thread: What pickup to choose for a PRS 87' Custom Edition

  1. #1
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    What pickup to choose for a PRS 87' Custom Edition

    I have an old PRS CE24 '87 with serial 7/3027 and now I'm considering to buy a new pair of pickups. A few weeks ago I had my guitar to a guitar maker and he found my HFS pickup coils to have corroded. Consequently, the gain from the pickups are imbalanced.

    Looking at current pickup options I see there are Standard Treble and Bass (sold out) pickup options. What's the difference between the two? Do you buy them as one treble (bridge) and one bass (neck)? Or is this an either or choice..

    I don't think I'd like to go for the HFS, since a play more progressive rock, jazz, blues style.

    Any recommendations on what pickups to choose?

    Cheers,
    Ove
    Last edited by oranheim; 06-22-2014 at 05:47 PM.

  2. #2
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    Hey there, the first thing you should know is that your guitar is a 1990 model. The 7 at the start of the serial number is to indicate that it's a CE model. See https://www.prsguitars.com/csc/year.html for more information. The first CEs appeared in 1988.

    The original pickups in that model were an HFS in the bridge and a Vintage Bass in the neck. PRS has always referred to neck pickups as "bass" and bridge pickups as "treble". I wouldn't go for the standard pickups for a number of reasons, primarily because they were never intended to be in that guitar and also because they're an acquired taste. They hark back to PRS's early days. In your place, I'd look at the current offerings: the 59/09s in particular.

  3. #3
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    I've just started to wonder: is it a set-neck Custom or a bolt-on CE? As it happens, 73027 could refer to either a 1987 Custom or a 1990 CE. It depends on the model.

  4. #4
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    First off, thanks for your advice!

    I bought this guitar before 1990. I think it was in '88 or '89.. Not sure if I can answer you question wrt set-neck or bolt-on. Here's a couple of photos that might be helpful.





    Do you think the Dragon II are applicable choices for this PRS too?

  5. #5
    Senior Member toothace's Avatar
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    That is a sweet axe!!!

  6. #6
    Senior Member sergiodeblanc's Avatar
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    Yeah... That looks more like an 87 Custom 24 than it does a CE. there may be a tiny discrepancy in price between the two.

    Hold on to the original pup just in case you ever decide to sell.

  7. #7
    Senior Member AP515's Avatar
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    That's a beautiful and valuable guitar. You have an eary CU24 not a CE24. The pups were not changed to HFS/Vintage until 91 so you probably had the T&B pups. If you change them, save the originals so that you can sell them with the guitar later if you choose. There are T&B reissue pups on the used market you can find if you want to replae the original sound.

    Dragon 2's are a love hate kind of thing with the PRS guitar community. You may want to try 59/09's. They seem to go with the music you play, and they have a history in the CU24. You have a sweet switch in yours which isn't like a tone pot. It may react differently to different pups so you may want to try a few different sets.
    1988 CE24, 1995 CE22, 2000 SC, 2003 Standard 22, 2003 Cu24 AP, 2006 Cu24 AP, 2006 SC AP, 2007 CuRo22, 2010 Mira
    2007 SE Soapy 2, 2010 SE 25th Anni Cu24, 2012 SE Bernie, 2013 SE Angelus Custom

    PRS 2 channel "H", PRS SE50, Mesa RectoVerb, Mesa Lonestar, Fender HRD

  8. #8
    Happy Egads's Avatar
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    Oh my! That is hot, hot, hot! Find some pups that work for you, and ride that thing like you stole it!

  9. #9
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    Nice guitar!

    I'm not an HFS/VB fan so I recommend 57/08s. Nice tone and really well rounded.

  10. #10
    Senior Member gush's Avatar
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    That is a very cool machine indeed! For sure keep original pickups.

    The dragon 2 pickups can be purchased used pretty reasonable so if you want to try them you won't be out a lot of dough but the 5909s and 5708s will cost you some cash.

    I happen to like dragon 2s but some people complain about them being too muddy. If you go with 5708s or 5909s be sure to check the depth of your pickup cavity. I have found some of the newer PRS pickups have longer mounting legs and simply won't fit, not cool when you have already paid for them. I don't know this to be fact but it could be that the squabbin pickups have the longer mounting legs. Can anyone verify this?

    Good luck and keep us posted.

  11. #11
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    Thank you all for sharing and enlightening me! :-) I absolutely love this guitar!! It's just so easy to play on. Too bad I need to consider buying new pups. As I like distinct sound, the dragon seems not an option.

    What is the major difference in the sound characteristics between 5909 and 5708? Does anyone know if the tone sweetener switch will work with those pups - and does it fit my CU24 pickup cavity?
    Last edited by oranheim; 06-23-2014 at 03:15 AM.

  12. #12
    Junior Member 089Ray's Avatar
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    I tried a cu24 with 57/08 briefly and it was more vintage-y than my 59/09 loaded cu24.
    They are a bit more "open" and airy, but with less "grit" on the bridge pickup for sure. The neck 57/08 is to die for.

    I'm in the opposite situation: I have a 59/09 set and want more gain, so I'm selling mine to fund the new \m/ pickups (just ordered)

    Your dragons I are pretty hot, I remember playing a cu24 with those. I definitely reccomend the 57/08 or 59/09 set for your purpose.
    Keep in mind that while I'm looking for a more hot bridge pickup, I was able to play in drop C with a Bogner Uberschall profile (59/09 bridge) and DARN it sounded good!
    Onyria - check out my band

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