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Thread: A tale of two Custom 24's

  1. #1
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    A tale of two Custom 24's

    Hi All,

    I am new to the forum but I am a long-time player of PRS guitars! Currently, I use two PRS Custom 24's (one is a '93, the other is a '95) for my stage work. I play between 175-190 shows a year and, since I'm in Florida and many of my gigs are outside near the sea, they take a lot of abuse. I baby them and make sure they are in perfect shape for each show but lately there has been a problem with the output of one axe. Both axes has the same pickups (HFS/Vintage) and are set up the same regarding pickup height, yet one of my axes has really lost some output compared with the other.

    My question for all you PRS loving folk is this: what could be the source of this drop in output? Are there known issues of electronic failure that would be the first place to look? The main issue also includes a sub-problem. When running one axe (my amber 24), the output is low enough so I have to crank my amp a bit more, but when i kick in a pedal with the usual settings, the output is massive. Conversely, my clean sound is anemic. Yesterday at the gig, I switched from the amber to my green 24, the clean sound was so frickin' loud that i had to readjust the amp, but at least my pedals played nicely. That stated, I am still at a loss for what might be the source of my weak output on the amber 24. I don't want to take it to the local tech as I feel I could fix the problem just as well and he is very expensive.

    I use the same axe so I don't have the problem of resetting all my gain staging and amp settings; I already have enough to think about and consistency is key. As such, I really want to fix this problem ASAP and would appreciate any good advice you all could offer regarding this problem.

    Peace!

  2. #2
    Opaque John Beef's Avatar
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    Does this happen on all pickup settings or just one?
    The Bovine Fury <-- stream and download our album "Eleven by Twelve" for free.
    05 Custom 22 with DGT pickups ~ 07 Mira with old birds ~ 08 SE Baritone Fralin/Suhr pickups ~ 03 SE Santana

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Beef View Post
    Does this happen on all pickup settings or just one?
    It seems to occur across the board. And the output of the guitar in question can be scratchy if moved. I've shot everything with contact cleaner and tried to clean it as best I could with out taking it apart, but it has not rectified the problem.

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    Cream Crackered Mikegarveyblues's Avatar
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    Sounds like it could be a loose wire or cold solder joint.

    I'd make sure the two wires that connect to the output jack are ok first and work back from there.

    If you have a multi-meter you can check the output of the pups at the jack.
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    Opaque John Beef's Avatar
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    Yeah, what Mike said, or maybe a bad volume pot, but most likely just a bad connection around the output jack if it's scratchy when you move it.
    The Bovine Fury <-- stream and download our album "Eleven by Twelve" for free.
    05 Custom 22 with DGT pickups ~ 07 Mira with old birds ~ 08 SE Baritone Fralin/Suhr pickups ~ 03 SE Santana

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    Alright, so I re-opened the electronics cavity and resprayed everything carefully with contact cleaner. I tested the ohms value at the volume pot (full on, rotary switch on #3) and it read 11 ohms. I tested the output, both at the wire end of each cable and at the contact points on the output jack itself and it also read 11 ohms. Could it be the output jack is bad, even though it reads correctly? Where should I go from there?

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    Opaque John Beef's Avatar
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    Wait, you're using the same guitar cable here right? Not two different cables?
    The Bovine Fury <-- stream and download our album "Eleven by Twelve" for free.
    05 Custom 22 with DGT pickups ~ 07 Mira with old birds ~ 08 SE Baritone Fralin/Suhr pickups ~ 03 SE Santana

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Beef View Post
    Wait, you're using the same guitar cable here right? Not two different cables?
    Right. I've done both in my tests (using one cable, using two cables, switching the cables) with the same results. BTW, they are brand new cables from Lava Cable.

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    Senior Member Woundtight's Avatar
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    you need \m/ pickups

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    Hi,

    This has happened to me. I had to replace the HFS pickup. It actually took the tech a long time to figure it out because he had never had an HFS "go bad". Once the new pickup was in, the guitar was back to its old self and like its twin.

    ~B

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    OK, so after a more vigorous cleaning of the pots and connections the problem of scratchiness went away. However, the gain disparity between the two axes still persists, if ever so slightly. Maybe I fixed it. I don't know. I've got two acoustic gigs between now and when I use it again on a gig on Saturday. That said, I tried to replicate the problem with my stage rig and though it no longer has the scratchy output, it lacks some gain compared to its sister axe. Any thoughts on this ghost in the machine?

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    Yeah, that was my experience exactly. I didn't have the scratchiness but one guitar didn't have the "edge" of the other one, even though they were previously identical. After replacing the bridge pickup, the guitar was back to normal.

    ~B

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    Quote Originally Posted by Beret View Post
    Hi,

    This has happened to me. I had to replace the HFS pickup. It actually took the tech a long time to figure it out because he had never had an HFS "go bad". Once the new pickup was in, the guitar was back to its old self and like its twin.

    ~B
    Hi Beret,

    I am curious: previous to changing the pickup, did the pickup register any output at all? Or did it die a gradual death? Was it intermittent for a time before dying?
    It's possible I may have killed the pup; I mentioned I play in Florida and I sweat all over my poor guitars, week in and week out. Hell, I sweat so much on my axes that I have had to change the saddles on a strat after sweating on it for 7 months. Though I am quite loving and caring about my guitars, I play very often and they take the "abuse of use". That said, I'd like to know if your HFS showed signs of its demise or did it just go?

    Peace,

    C

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    The sound degraded to having less of an edge (could be described as less gain) and remained there. It still registered output. It never stopped working altogether. After my tech had tested everything he could think of he finally bypassed all electronics and went straight from the bridge pickup to the output jack and the sound remained degraded. At that point, we concluded it was the pickup and replaced it and everything worked normally.

    The odd thing was unless you were intimately familiar with how the guitar was supposed to sound, you'd claim it was functioning fine. It took me a bit to get my tech to hear what I was hearing. I happen to know it had degraded and it was easy for me to demonstrate because I had another custom 24 with the exact same specs to compare it with. Thankfully PRS guitars are consistent.

    At any rate, you're not going insane.

    ~B

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    Quote Originally Posted by Beret View Post
    At any rate, you're not going insane.
    I was beginning to think I was going insane. I know when I bring this in to a tech I will be trying to sell him on the idea that one has less gain than the other. I hear it, but I'm not sure those who don't know these axes well could tell the difference. What is drastic is when I go from my anemic clean sound to any overdrive (currently an analogman ts-9 and an OCD) the perceived increase in volume is huge. My other guitar maintains a fairly seamless gain-staging from clean to crunch to lead. I think because I have to have amps volume set higher for the troubled guitar, when I engage a pedal it's now at a regular line level and pushed the amp into ludicrous loud mode. When I switch to the other axe, I have to turn down my amp to a reasonable clean level but, as stated, the gain staging remains consistent when using the pedals. Does this sound like a pickup failure to you all?

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    Opaque John Beef's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coque View Post
    I was beginning to think I was going insane. I know when I bring this in to a tech I will be trying to sell him on the idea that one has less gain than the other. I hear it, but I'm not sure those who don't know these axes well could tell the difference. What is drastic is when I go from my anemic clean sound to any overdrive (currently an analogman ts-9 and an OCD) the perceived increase in volume is huge. My other guitar maintains a fairly seamless gain-staging from clean to crunch to lead. I think because I have to have amps volume set higher for the troubled guitar, when I engage a pedal it's now at a regular line level and pushed the amp into ludicrous loud mode. When I switch to the other axe, I have to turn down my amp to a reasonable clean level but, as stated, the gain staging remains consistent when using the pedals. Does this sound like a pickup failure to you all?
    I have never heard a failing pickup before, so I don't know what it sounds like. But if at one point they had equal outputs and now they no longer do, there is an electrical problem for sure. There are only so many electrical components in a guitar that can fail and pickups have done it before. I remember on BaM several years ago when Frankie's T pickup from Casper (86 Standard) died suddenly.

    I asked early on if this was with all pickup switching positions and you said yes. So, if that is actually the case, and you compare both guitars through every pickup setting and there is still a lack of output from the one guitar, that would lead me to believe the pickups are fine and something else is the matter - I would look at the volume pot next since all your signal flows through it all the time.

    However, if you switch both guitars to the neck pickups only and compare them and they are the same, then the bridge pickup is likely to blame, and vise versa.
    Last edited by John Beef; 06-13-2013 at 11:27 AM.
    The Bovine Fury <-- stream and download our album "Eleven by Twelve" for free.
    05 Custom 22 with DGT pickups ~ 07 Mira with old birds ~ 08 SE Baritone Fralin/Suhr pickups ~ 03 SE Santana

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