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Thread: 53/10 vs. 408

  1. #1
    Senior Member PRSHB2's Avatar
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    53/10 vs. 408

    An idea came to me today. I'm curious, is there any chance that the reason 53/10 wire is no longer available is due to it being used exclusively for the 408 pickups? I suppose the real question is do they use the same wire? The reason I ask is that awhile back I was able to compare my PS Bahama Mama #1 with 53/10 pickups to a Sig Ltd that I owned for a short while. I really could not tell a difference between them in Humbucker mode. The similarity was amazing. I was able to hear a difference in single coil mode, with my ears much preferring the single coil mode of the 53/10's. I'm doubting that the answer is this simple, but I thought I'd ask. Whatever the reason is for the lack of wire for 53/10 pickups, I hope they become available again someday.

  2. #2
    Senior Member jfb's Avatar
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    Let's buy them all up!
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  3. #3
    I have an SC58 with 53/10s, and the Sig with 408s. Just going in humbucker mode, I hear very significant differences between them. Partly of course, the SC58 has a thicker body, but they're both stoptails, and I play them through the same amp.

    I hope I can describe what I'm hearing accurately, but later this week if I have some time I'll record something so the comparison can simply be heard.

    In any event, here's what I hear, assessing bucker mode only...

    Bridge:

    In 'bucker mode, the 408 bridge has significantly more treble and a hotter output than the 53/10 bridge. The treble does tend to mask midrange and lower midrange, but I find that the 53/10's frequency balance is much more midrange-oriented, even with everything on the guitar full up. Also, the 408's attack on the onset of the pick is sharper, where the 53/10's attack is more rounded. Again, this can be attributed in part to the HF response, but I think there are other factors at work as well.

    Neck:

    The 53/10 and 408 are a little closer here, but the 408 still has more output and sounds a lot brighter. The 53/10 has a more jazzy-bluesy sound full up, where the 408 is more of a rock tone, though with the tone control and volume pulled back, it can do the jazzy-bluesy thing nicely. But it's not the same. The 53/10 has a beautiful clarity and shimmer, the 408 has a nice pick attack and also cleans up nicely, but it reminds me more of a single coil (even in humbucker mode), sort of a P-90-ish type of overtone but without the noise. To my ears, the 53/10 sound is huge and full on the neck, but that might be the guitar it's screwed onto.

    Obviously, it's fairly subjective, and different guitars are going to sound different. So there's that.

    This is just my take on things, and everyone's mileage will probably vary.

    But if someone asked, "Which of your guitars have the least overlap?" I'd have to say the SC58 with the 53/10s and the 408, with the Artist V coming a little closer to the Sig Ltd than it does to the SC.
    Last edited by LSchefman; 03-05-2013 at 06:05 PM.
    If something is too hard to do, then it's not worth doing. You just stick that guitar in the closet next to your short-wave radio, your karate outfit and your unicycle and we'll go inside and watch TV.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by PRSHB2 View Post
    Whatever the reason is for the lack of wire for 53/10 pickups, I hope they become available again someday.
    Same here. I just got a PS piece with 53/10's and I think they're the best pickups PRS has ever developed, a total home run. Don't get me wrong, I'd never change the pickups in my Cu24, Archtop, etc., but these 53/10's capture something really special for the right guitar, notably one with more of a vintage aim. They seem to capture more of a sweet PAF-ish vibe than I've ever heard from any others from PRS, and I'd seriously consider them for some of my other guitars, PRS or otherwise. Hope they're available in the future.

  5. #5
    Senior Member PRSHB2's Avatar
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    I feel fortunate to have 2 guitars with the 53/10's. The Bahama Mama and a JA-15. No plans for them to leave the harem, that's for sure!

  6. #6
    Senior Member sergiodeblanc's Avatar
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    The 53/10 neck pup split sounded fantastic in Chris' video, I would love to hear the 408's sometime.... why don't I just but a PRS with single coils? That seems to be the only thing I'm looking for!

  7. #7
    Plank Spanker justmund's Avatar
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    Interesting theory, but apparently it's the same wire/magnet type as the 57/08s:

    http://www.musicradar.com/gear/guita...ple-top-568144

    Not sure where they got their info from, maybe someone from PRS can chime in...

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by justmund View Post
    Interesting theory, but apparently it's the same wire/magnet type as the 57/08s:

    http://www.musicradar.com/gear/guita...ple-top-568144

    Not sure where they got their info from, maybe someone from PRS can chime in...
    Well, that makes sense, since if I had to describe the tone of the 408 bridge, I'd say it comes closer to the 57/08 than the 53/10.
    If something is too hard to do, then it's not worth doing. You just stick that guitar in the closet next to your short-wave radio, your karate outfit and your unicycle and we'll go inside and watch TV.
    -- Homer J. Simpson

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