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Thread: 57/08 Narrowfields. Is it terminal?

  1. #1

    57/08 Narrowfields. Is it terminal?

    The narrowfield equipped guitars seem to be falling faster than a hooker's skirt on shore day.
    It seems like the only guitars offered with them now are the NF3 and the Studio? I didn't notice the McCarty NF on the products list but it might be there. Oops..just re-checked..don't see ANY McCartys on the list...hmmm

    I haven't been spending a lot of time with my Studio lately. Did a couple of gigs with it since I got my new Tremonti SE Custom...not because the Stood is hurtin'...it's because the SE is THAT good...plus I've been filling-in with several other bands in the last couple/few weeks in standard tuning so I was using the SE for that (standard tuning..the Stood is a half step down). I miss the Stood and can't wait to plug it in again after getting used to the double bucker voices of the Tremonti.
    The Studio is/was my favorite guitar of all times and it owes a good deal of that title to it's NF pups. I KNOW that when I strap it back on and grab the NFs for some clean stuff I'm gonna go...."ahhhh...NOW we're talking!!!".

    I know that the SASNF is no more and it looks like any other NF equipped guitar that used to be available/on the products list (other than the Studio and NF3) has also been discontinued?
    Weird!
    From all the reviews I have been able to find, the NFs seem to have always received nothing but thumbs-ups. People who didn't give them stellar reviews are the people who haven't tried them yet.

    To me, the NFs seemed like they would (should) be the next best greatest innovation in the pickup world...not that the NF idea is a new one or a PRS one but still...I LOVE them!! They are SO versatile. They make my hog and maple studio that has a hog neck (not very Fender-esque) quack and chime like the best strat or twang like the best tele...but, they also give-up a nice...a NICE warm womany round brown "bucker" tone. They are articulate and dynamic. They can take-on the characteristics of many different types of pickups depending on your attack/dynamics...better than anything I've ever experienced...in fact, they almost "out-do" the pups they emulate. Hey, I have a McSoapy and LOVE the P90s for what they do. People say the NFs do a great impersonation of the P90s but to me, they are a little too well-behaved or "pretty" sounding to cop a REAL P90's snarl and vomit but....I suppose they could pull-off a convincing P90...at least probably better than anything else that isn't a real P90??

    ANYWAY....do you think that 2014's PRS Product list will still contain the Studio or NF3? Or any NF equipped guitars? If I had to guess, just based on the history (decline and fall) of the other NF models, I would say a resounding...NO...I don't think there will be any NFs after this year. Hey, if they aren't big sellers (and they don't seem to be..at least not the Studio), I too would discontinue them. I wouldn't stay tooled-up to wind those pups if they were not a money maker either. That is NOT a good way to stay profitable and in business...but...like I mentioned, the Studio and the NF pups are like my FAVORITE ever!
    Clearly a case of my poor taste or bad hearing I guess. It's like the old "I'm insane" thing...you know...if everyone ELSE seems crazy...it's probably ME. Well...if I'm the only one who LOVES the Stood and the NF pups...well then, they probably suck and I'm the crazy one :-(

    I don't imagine it's possible...their width is odd and they must be quite deep, but..maybe if they had been a standard size (of course then they wouldn't be so magical I suppose) they would have been embraced better by the guitar community? Not that Paul would allow them to be sold separately like the 57/08s. I mean, Shawn says Paul will never, if he has his way, release the 57/08s for sale to the general public..but the 59/09s and 53/10s are for sale. I have a feeling that the 57/08 NFs would also be unobtainium?

    I have to think that the reason the NFs aren't making a bigger "splash" than they are is that they are/were only available in a few non-flagship models and so not a BIG number of players got to give them a fair shake? Or again just that thing about my own poor taste in pups?

    I dunno man...it's a mystery to me. Again...when I first started playing the Studio and it's NF pups I was like :-O!!!! Now THIS is something NEW! Yay PRS for the non-stop innovations! I think the NF pups might be todays PAFs. I sure had never experienced (no pun intended) a pup like the NF before. I've always liked the tones of SC pups but always disliked their anemic output and hum and thinness. Especially in a bridge position!
    Well the NFs offer-up everything I love about SC pups but they are not weak thin gutless bright twanggy Fender singlecoils....unless you want them to sound like that. They WILL do that but they will also do just about anything else you demand of them. To me they are the one pup does it all..pup.
    Normally, just like gearing in a car's rear-end, you can have great acceleration but not great top speed...or you can have real steep gearing that'll give you an insane top-end speed but nothing off the line. Then you can get something like 3:73s which are "good" at everything...but great at NOTHING.
    Well the NF pups are GREAT at almost EVERYTHING (again...with the exception of nailing a P90 voice) I throw at them.
    To me they are the best thing since sliced bread or a humbucking pickup or X-bracing that can handle steel strings or seatbelts! Oopsies...skip the seatbelts lol.

    Is it purely a matter of most people just not having TRIED the NF pups?
    Who of you has tried the NFs but DID NOT like them? And what don't you like about them?
    I hope I'm wrong but I have a feeling I might receive an invite to a funeral early in 2014. It's gonna be the PRS 57/08 NF pickup RIP party :-(

    In one way I hope I'm wrong. I still say the NFs are a big step (forward) in guitar manufacturing/design. I thought that they would almost flip the industry on it's ear. Other than active pups, I think this is a serious innovation in guitar pickups..and maybe the only major one SINCE active pups...or piezos in electric guitars.
    There was the magnetic pickup, the humbucking magnetic pickup, piezos in an electric guitar to give it an acoustic guitar voice...or just piezos in general, the active EMGs, and....the PRS Narrowfield pickups. Since the PAF, piezos and actives...the pickup industry has been pretty stagnant.
    Sure there are many boutique/custom winders out there but they aren't really CHANGING anything...they're just trying to improve on an old design but without actually changing it.

    It took like 55 YEARS for someone (Paul) to realize that square topped bobbins are "smarter" than the two round bobbin SC pups stuck together. For almost 60 years we have been putting a round peg into a square hole and no one even noticed. Now they fit a square hole...properly...crap wont find it's way down into the cavities of the pup rings. It took PRS and over 5 DECADES to figure that out???
    For over 50 years people have been trying to recreate or improve upon the PAF. They haven't done it yet. At least I have yet to see ANY non-PAF pickup fetch even 10% of the price of a real PAF..yet, that's all anyone seems to do...try to improve upon perfection.
    OK...we know...you can wind and make a pup that is real close to a PAF. Companies try to use the same winders, wire, wire making machines, alnico composition, wire gauge and type, spacer materials, polepiece materials, bobbin colors...anything they CAN to get closer to the real thing.

    Meanwhile, Paul was busy creating pups like the HFS, which is probably amongst the hottest passive pup out there. He tries to come up with brand new(-ish) designs. Granted, he is not immune to jumping on the PAF bandwagon..but...he also came up with the NFs and 408s and 513 and 503 pups.

    To me, the NF pup is an important step in the evolution of the electric guitar. I just don't understand why almost any PRS model that came with them seems to go the way of the Do-Do bird :-(
    We still have a couple..the NF3 and the mighty Studio.

    Hey...if they discontinue them too, I think anyone who does have a NF equipped guitar might be sitting on a gold mine. I have a feeling that in 50 years or so people will be talking about and wanting those rare old awesome 57/08 Narrowfield pups that PRS offered for a few short years on a few short-lived models. People will be claiming to have bought the old wire making machine from PRS..the same machine that made the wire for the old Narrowfield pickups (and other pickups before that rotflmao).

    So...in conclusion...for those of you who have never tried...I mean EXPERIENCED a 57/08 NF pickup...GET out to a store and TRY a Studio or NF3...or any other older model that came with them. It could be one of your last chances to do so. :-(

  2. #2
    Goatee Practitioner Danerada's Avatar
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    I agree Blaren...the NF's are freaking awesome! I have an absolute NEED to have SAS NF in my life...
    - Dane

    “He had a voice that could make a wolverine purr and suits so fine they made Sinatra look like a hobo.”

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    Senior Member sergiodeblanc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Danerada View Post
    I agree Blaren...the NF's are freaking awesome! I have an absolute NEED to have SAS NF in my life...
    There is one for sale locally that I've been watching, it's price keeps getting lower and lower..... but it's blue.

  4. #4
    Goatee Practitioner Danerada's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sergiodeblanc View Post
    There is one for sale locally that I've been watching, it's price keeps getting lower and lower..... but it's blue.
    No blue SAS...not my cup of tea...
    - Dane

    “He had a voice that could make a wolverine purr and suits so fine they made Sinatra look like a hobo.”

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    Member TFC's Avatar
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    Not sure if they're terminal, but I don't see many used guitars with Narrowfields available, which makes me think they haven't sold a lot. If I had to guess, it's because the NF pickups really have their own thing going on, and most people aren't interested in that. And other than Jimmy Herring, who is hardly a household name, what well-known guitarists regularly play an NF3 or Studio? I can't think of any off the top of my head.

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    Happy Egads's Avatar
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    I really like the NFs too, but I get the feeling narrow 408s are the "future." I don't mind that change--if both aren't available, I'll take the splitable 408s any day.

    Better grab that SAS NF ASAP. I hear STC can cure the blues...

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    Senior Member VHTStark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Egads View Post
    I really like the NFs too, but I get the feeling narrow 408s are the "future." I don't mind that change--if both aren't available, I'll take the splitable 408s any day.

    Better grab that SAS NF ASAP. I hear STC can cure the blues...
    This right here. The 408's are kind of the evolution of the narrowfield and, you could say, the 513/305 pickups. With their popularity and ability to split so well, it wouldn't surprise me if in the future the current NF and 513/305 offerings were converted to a 408 iteration of some sort. Personally, my favourite NF model is definitely the Studio. In large part because you have the humbucker in the bridge. I really like the NF's in the neck and middle (very clear and articulate) but not so much in the bridge.

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    Opaque John Beef's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sergiodeblanc View Post
    There is one for sale locally that I've been watching, it's price keeps getting lower and lower..... but it's blue.
    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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    Prince of Paisley iahawk36's Avatar
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    good lord I hope they don't disappear....I LOVE the NF's!!! IMHO, they're a better innovation than the 408 pups.
    "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

  10. #10
    Goatee Practitioner Danerada's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iahawk36 View Post
    good lord I hope they don't disappear....I LOVE the NF's!!! IMHO, they're a better innovation than the 408 pups.
    NF3...NF3...NF3...NF3
    - Dane

    “He had a voice that could make a wolverine purr and suits so fine they made Sinatra look like a hobo.”

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    Happy Egads's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iahawk36 View Post
    good lord I hope they don't disappear....I LOVE the NF's!!! IMHO, they're a better innovation than the 408 pups.
    You shut your mouth when you're talking to me!


  12. #12
    Angry Southern Gentleman Hopeful Sinner's Avatar
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    The Narrow 408's in my Paul's guitar could be the best sounding pickups I've ever heard and I think are the natural evolution of the 57/08 NF's...

  13. #13
    Senior Member slev's Avatar
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    The NF3s are a winner, it was hard to part with my NF3. I'm GASn for another one. So many sweet tones from those pickups, I'd hate to see them go.
    Gear: Fender, PRS, Orange, Budda

  14. #14
    I love the nf's in my mccarty 25, and my guitar partner loves them in his nf3. i used to be totally puzzled why people didn't like these, or even try them, but now i could care less. it's their loss. and when prs totally drops them from the line, then us lovers of the nf's will be able to buy other equipped nf guitars at a cheaper price!!

  15. #15
    Name Manglin' Putz alantig's Avatar
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    I have only one point of dispute with your post...

    Quote Originally Posted by blaren View Post
    The narrowfield equipped guitars seem to be falling faster than a hooker's skirt on shore day.
    Wouldn't the hookers just hike their skirts up? Seems like it would be quicker, and less chance of tripping since they wouldn't catch their stiletto heels in the skirt that way.

    I have no NF experience, so I can't comment about those pickups.

    Come to think of it, I have no hooker experience, so I can't comment about those pickups either.

    Although I do know a couple stories from friends of mine...
    Alan

    "I watched approximately 45 seconds of 'Rock Of Ages'. It was like getting punched in the soul." - Abby Krizner

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    Just one more... HighGain510's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TFC View Post
    Not sure if they're terminal, but I don't see many used guitars with Narrowfields available, which makes me think they haven't sold a lot. If I had to guess, it's because the NF pickups really have their own thing going on, and most people aren't interested in that. And other than Jimmy Herring, who is hardly a household name, what well-known guitarists regularly play an NF3 or Studio? I can't think of any off the top of my head.
    Maybe those greedy mofos are just buying them and hording them instead of putting them back out on the used market?! I know a couple folks who dig 'em! The NF3 is a killer, killer guitar IMO. Super versatile, I'm glad you let me check yours out, those pickups are GAS-inducing to say the least! I'm still planning on potentially throwing together some sort of Super-PS next year, now that I've played the NF pickups I'm wondering if going with a DGT-NF-DGT pickup combo and a 5-way blade might be badass, or perhaps even the Brent Mason config might be killer (still have to try one of those!)? Either way, the NF pickups rock and I sincerely hope they don't plan to get rid of them any time soon.
    -Matt

  17. #17
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    NF's are not just good, they are fantastic. As much as I like 408s (and I really do like them), I like NF's better. It's actually a relatively bogus comparison though since to me, they sound nothing alike. NFs have defined an entirely new tone. They aren't trying to be PAFs, not trying to be Fender single coils, not trying to P90s. They have created a new 4th category of pickup so far as I'm concerned.

    Fine by me if the rest of the world doesn't "get it" though. My guess is that some of it is related to looks. I actually think that they look classy, but I can understand the criticism. As much as I love 513's, I just don't like the looks of those pickups.

  18. #18
    Opaque John Beef's Avatar
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    I wish they were available to buy separately. Wait, maybe I'm glad they're not available to buy separately. Then I'd have to get a new pickguard made for the Mira, and then I might end up selling my other guitars and buy new ones with NFs, maybe some new amps too. You know how one new gear choice can cascade into MANY gear changes.
    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

  19. #19
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    they sound fine in my ME3 and I don't expect it will be leaving the fold any time soon ;-)
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  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by John Beef View Post
    I wish they were available to buy separately. Wait, maybe I'm glad they're not available to buy separately. Then I'd have to get a new pickguard made for the Mira, and then I might end up selling my other guitars and buy new ones with NFs, maybe some new amps too. You know how one new gear choice can cascade into MANY gear changes.
    Yup. It's the old, "If you give a mouse a cookie," thing.

    Get a new mic, then you need a new mic cable, and the next thing you know, it's a new preamp, etc. By the time you're done with the new mic, the entire studio is new. And then you do it all over again. Because after upgrading everything due to the new mic, you need a better mic! LOL!
    Last edited by LSchefman; 06-27-2013 at 05:50 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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