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Thread: Aftermarket Narrowfield replacement pickups!!!!!!!!!

  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Apr 2012

    Aftermarket Narrowfield replacement pickups!!!!!!!!!

    They are finally HERE!!!

    Have those words been spoken yet?

    How many NF pups do you suppose PRS made? How many NF equipped PRS guitars have been made do you think? And the 408's NFs are not the same size as the 57/08NFs correct?

    Are the NF numbers so small that it isn't worth it to come up with an aftermarket pup that fits? I mean it costs peanuts to grab a magnet, a drill, some wire, slugs and screws, spacers etc etc...but casting plastic bobbins..unless you're gonna make your own silicone molds or you have a 3D printer (IDEA!!!! Ding ding ding ding), getting a large run of NF bobbin castings probably aint gonna be cheap...or an injection mold or WHATEVER they do to make bobbins these days...aint gonna be cheap.

    Hey...I absolutely LOVE my PRS NF pups BUT...I'd be interested in a few "options" like... splitting ability, maybe an actual P90 that would fit, or maybe even just some different magnets. Hey I haven't even LOOKED. Do the NF pups use standard sized bar magnets? If I had to guess I'd say they are AlNiCo5s? I prefer A2s usually in my (bridge) buckers but I have a feeling I would keep the A5s (if that's what they are) in the NFs. I think an A5's sparkle is what helps deliver those chimey and quacky in-between tones.

    So...I'm not even really looking for a BETTER sounding or different sounding (maybe a P90 though would be sweet) pickup but more just would be nice to know there is something out there that fits to at least have as a backup and...I'd LOVE to try splitting a NF. They give-up a GREAT SC vibe in positions 2 and 4 but on their own, to me...they sound like another (different) humbucker. and I'm very happy with that...BUT...
    If there were a few other NF sized pups available...maybe some hotter ones. Some with less output maybe? Some with more P90 personality, maybe Splittable coils... I don't know...but I do know that I would be interested in some options and I would buy one or two different ones.
    Heck, I'd even be interested in some different colored NF pup rings. Maybe.

    So again...I guess my question is..I mean questionS are...
    How many NF pups do you think are out in the world today? How many would there have to be in order for a company to find it viable to produce some aftermarket offerings? And of course... do you know of ANY aftermarket pups that will properly fit a NF PRS guitar? Do you know of any aftermarket Narrowfields at all? Has anyone heard any murmurs from any pup company mentioning they are considering making some NF replacements??

    Hey...I love the NFs. I also LOVE my Jeep but... I don't ALWAYS pick the Jeep. Sometimes I want a more economical (fuelwise) vehicle to drive. Sometimes I need a pickup to haul stuff. Sometimes I wanna go REAL FAST. Sometimes I wanna go REAL fast for a short distance. Sometimes I want my ride to have only 2 wheels.
    Sometimes much as I LOVE my Jeep and NF pups...I just want to grab the keys to something else.
    OK...bad analogies...those are all different vehicles... I MEAN..
    Sometimes I want to drive my Jeep through MUD. Sometimes I wanna drive it with the top down and doors off. Sometimes I drive it in 60below zero so I need it to have a good heater...well SOMETIMES I wouldn't mind if I had something different than the stock NFs in my Studio.

    Do you think there will EVERY be such an animal?
    I hope so.
    Sorry for the rant. YMMV, AFAIK, IMHO and all that. In the end I LOVE my Studio and I LOVE it's NF pickups. I just sometimes wish I could try something a little different in that guitar. Maybe even zebra bobbins? Variety...I like variety. I also love personalizing, modding and improving my guitars so that they perform and sound the best TO ME.

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts or knowledge on this matter.

  2. #2
    Opaque John Beef's Avatar
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    Apr 2012
    Arizona USA
    If there was a NF pickup that fit a full size humbucker rout, and worked with the rotary/bade switches as a neck pickup, I would buy one, maybe even two or three.

    Imagine a squabbin. Now, instead of running the slugs through the center of the bobbin, offset the center of the bobbin more towards the center of the pickup, make the slugs a bit smaller like a NF, wind them appropriately, assemble the whole thing in a standard* humbucker mounting plate. Your bobbins would have some empty space, sure, but you're have the whole mini-humbucker thing going on in a regular sized package that people could install in their normal-routed guitars.

    *It would be almost standard, anyway... you'd have to offset the mounting holes for the bobbins but otherwise it would be the same size and shape.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member garrett's Avatar
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    Jul 2012
    Atlanta, GA
    Nothing but a Narrowfield is going to sound like a Narrowfield. The skinny, deep bobbins are key.

    I don't know the measurements, but if you could keep the coils the same and fit them in a P-90 rout, I'd totally want a pair for my SE Soapbar II. I don't understand why they didn't put them into a housing that fits a standard P-90 rout anyway. I wonder if the lack of aftermarket potential was part of the undoing of the NF.

    I don't have any interest in splitting them. They seem to be designed to work as-is, sort of the way hum-canceling singles are. Split tones are usually marginal at best anyway, in my opinion.

    Will there ever be aftermarket Narrowfields? Highly doubt it. The application is too specific. I'm sure there are some pickup makers who could custom build something to fit, if you got the cash for that.

  4. #4
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    Apr 2012
    Quote Originally Posted by garrett View Post
    Split tones are usually marginal at best anyway, in my opinion.
    I would mostly agree with that. With the right bucker though, splitting it just makes an actual SC tone. I HATED my Studio's split tone when it had the 57/08 (mostly because it was SO weak compared to the NFs in the middle an neck slots) but when I swapped that pup for a different one, the split tone worked very well. I'm just personally not a lover of most SC bridge pups anyway though so...meh.
    But..take my old CE with the rotary selector that selects split coils and runs them together in series or parallel, in and out of phase etc...and those split tones sound GREAT to me.
    For the most part though, I'm with garrett. And the NFs (I cant remember their output but it isn't THAT hot IIRC), for me, split..would surely be too weak for my liking.
    But ya never know.
    I'm not dying to try a split NF but I am curious.

    Again...I LOVE the NFs just the way they are. If there was an aftermarket version, I don't even know that I would want it. You know...if it aint broke...

    Now if mine was a NF3 or a McCarty NF etc...where the bridge pup was also a NF, I'm like 99% positive I'd be jonesng for some aftermarket options. I think it's just that I'm not GOOD enough to like a bridge SC pup (except a tele's or if it is a P90). They are too revealing and lave me nothing to hide by blundering fingering and chicken scratching. Maybe too much transparency for a hack like me.
    In the end though...variety is the spice of my gigs and sets and ....if it aint broke, just give me 5 minutes on it with an iron and some strippers and a screwdriver probably WILL be :-(
    I'd still like to see some alternatives for the PRS NF pups though. Whether I'd buy them or not...I don't know but... I like OPTIONS.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by blaren View Post
    Again...I LOVE the NFs just the way they are. If there was an aftermarket version, I don't even know that I would want it. You know...if it aint broke...


    Whether I'd buy them or not...I don't know but...
    You've just answered a couple of the questions regarding why they aren't ever going to be marketed in a million years.

    Here's another answer: PRS isn't making them any more, and not that many were sold in the first place. Kinda limits the aftermarket, doesn't it?
    I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken...


  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Apr 2012
    Yeah it does. It's too bad I think.
    Wouldn't mind sticking a P90 in one of those NF slots.
    In the end though...I do love them as hey are.
    One day a 3D printer. First thing I might make with it... black NF rings. Maybe lol.

  7. #7
    Hey, if you love them, they're only going to sound better as they age (just an opinion of course).

    I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken...


  8. #8
    Senior Member Whitecat's Avatar
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    Apr 2012
    Surrey / London, UK
    I wonder if the Seymour Duncan Custom Shop would do some a bespoke version if you asked... they do claim "if you dream it we can build it."
    PS Starla (burnt orange smokeburst), Starla (vintage cherry, IRW neck, birds), 30th ann. Custom 24 WL (honey), HB12 (black gold), 25th ann. Mira 245 (frost blue metallic)

  9. #9
    I don't believe that the NFs did nearly as well in the market as PRS expected them to and have been disappointed in terms of their acceptance. I love them, very P90ish to my ears but extremely robust with much more tonal variety. I have them in both my goto guitars, a 25th SAS and a 2011 Studio.
    My favorite PRS is my Artist V, but it's to nice to gig with except in a "protected" environment which we play once in a while.

  10. #10
    Junior Member
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    Sep 2013
    Dublin, OH
    Quote Originally Posted by garrett View Post
    I wonder if the lack of aftermarket potential was part of the undoing of the NF.
    It's certainly the reason I've always been a little leery of the PRSes with oddball pickup form factors (NF included), and I doubt I'm alone in that regard.
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