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Replacement for PRS 58/15tm (not the LT)

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  • Replacement for PRS 58/15tm (not the LT)

    Apologies in advance for the lengthy post. I’ve come here several times for advice and registered primarily because of this problem I’m having.

    I recently acquired a 2016 McCarty with a beautiful 10-top. Reviews for the 58/15 pickups were overwhelmingly positive so it seemed like a sure thing. They are brighter than I would like them to be and seem to have a lack of mids. I don’t mind them for chord work, but single notes on the treble strings between the 5th and 12th frets have this harsh, brittle tonality that is very unpleasant and this is an issue because I am primarily a lead player. I have had this same issue in the past with Suhr Thornbuckers and SSV bridge (SSV neck was great) and moved on from the guitars those were loaded in. Maybe I just don’t like PAFs? I do like clarity and articulation, but these have all had a very harsh attack to me that was not musical to me at all. I did have a set of BK Mules in an LP that were quite nice, they were bright but in a nice-sounding way.

    Anyways, I would like to keep this PRS rooted firmly in the classic rock to hard rock category so I’m not looking for a JB or anything like that. I already have JB in an HSS Strat that I love. But I do want pickups that have more mids, more harmonics, and a sweet, singing lead tone that also coil-split well. I would like to use this guitar for Zeppelin, Stones, Eagles, Black Crows, GnR, and 90s Alt/grunge material. I’ve been looking at HV, SNS and WLH sets and also a CC(a little hot) or the C/59 in the bridge with an A2P or possibly a Jazz in the neck. I have also thought about Mules again (Abraxas too, though those seem hotter than what I want) and just live with the lack of punch in the lows because the mids and highs are so sweet on those. Any thoughts on whether any of these set would help or wind up just as bad as the stock or not? Anyone used these or something else to tame a bright 2HB guitar?

    On paper, the SNS seem like a really good solution since I like the A4 Mules and the SNS are a little hotter than those. My only complaint about the Mules was that they were sometimes a little underpowered for what I wanted. I just worry that the SNS would be just as harsh and bright as the 58/15s in this guitar. Which makes me think the C/59 hybrid might be the way to go. I’ve owned the Black Dogs in another guitar and they were not what I expected. Didn’t sound bad but not really what I was looking for or expecting. It’s not super midrangey like many PRS can be. Happy to take any suggestions not listed as well. It’s too pretty a guitar not to have a tone that matches. Thanks for reading if you made it this far.

  • #2
    Welcome to the forum, and thanks for finally registering!

    I think either an Alnico II Pro set, or with a 59/Custom Hybrid in the bridge (for a brighter, louder bridge) is the ticket here, but my instincts think the Alnico II Pro set is really the ticket. They aren't too hot, but they split well, and it is like jamming 2 giant sticks of butter in your guitar for a sweet, singing sound.
    Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

    Comment


    • #3
      Some PRS pickups have an extended high end that is useful for some applications but needs to be tamed for others. Try running the tone knob at 3-4 or even consider swapping the tone pot for a 250k. This is what I do with my SE it works great, but it did take me some time to get used to and be okay with. Unlike many humbuckers the 85/15s and 58/15s can actually be used with the entire sweep of the tone knob - 7-10 for singlecoilish cut, 3-5 for "classic humbucker tone", 0-2 for the Santana tone.

      As far as new pickups you probably would dig something in the 59, Pearly Gates, AP2 realm - just classic workhorse pickups.

      However anymore I'm a homer for EMG pickups because the passive/vintage offerings sound every bit as recognizable and iconic as any other vintage voiced pickup that I've tried. Latest EMG install is Rev set in my SG and it's classic Alnico 2 PAF in tone and feel all day but with a touch more clarity and smoothness in the top end than the stock 57 Classics. Solderless install is a big bonus too - no guesswork. Anyways that's probably not going to be a popular opinion but it's been my experience lately.
      Originally posted by crusty philtrum
      Anyone who *sings* at me through their teeth deserves to have a bus drive through their face
      http://www.youtube.com/alexiansounds

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Mincer View Post
        I think either an Alnico II Pro set, or with a 59/Custom Hybrid in the bridge (for a brighter, louder bridge) is the ticket here, but my instincts think the Alnico II Pro set is really the ticket. They aren't too hot, but they split well, and it is like jamming 2 giant sticks of butter in your guitar for a sweet, singing sound.
        I have always loved Slash’s neck HB tone (doesn’t everyone?) which is what leads to me towards the A2P. I know it won’t be identical in a PRS but it should be close enough and much closer than what I have now. Any thoughts on Custom Custom vs. Custom/59? Would the CC be overkill for my desired applications or would the C/59 just be better at it?

        Comment


        • #5
          You might dig the BKP Crawlers. Very mid-focused, smooth, not a lot of "bite" up top. I thought they were good for leads, held on to single notes really nicely. The bridge might be a little hot for you, but it's not a super aggressive sound - much more rock than metal - and it should split well (didn't try that myself).
          Take it to the limit
          Everybody to the limit
          Come on Fhqwhgads

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by alex1fly View Post
            Some PRS pickups have an extended high end that is useful for some applications but needs to be tamed for others. Try running the tone knob at 3-4 or even consider swapping the tone pot for a 250k. This is what I do with my SE it works great, but it did take me some time to get used to and be okay with. Unlike many humbuckers the 85/15s and 58/15s can actually be used with the entire sweep of the tone knob - 7-10 for singlecoilish cut, 3-5 for "classic humbucker tone", 0-2 for the Santana tone.

            As far as new pickups you probably would dig something in the 59, Pearly Gates, AP2 realm - just classic workhorse pickups.

            However anymore I'm a homer for EMG pickups because the passive/vintage offerings sound every bit as recognizable and iconic as any other vintage voiced pickup that I've tried. Latest EMG install is Rev set in my SG and it's classic Alnico 2 PAF in tone and feel all day but with a touch more clarity and smoothness in the top end than the stock 57 Classics. Solderless install is a big bonus too - no guesswork. Anyways that's probably not going to be a popular opinion but it's been my experience lately.
            I have always been a set and forget player who uses pedals and/or channel switching to change my tone and leaves volume/tone at 10 always. Didn’t even get turn on to the fact that others do this until I had been playing for many years. I could try it but it’s definitely outside my comfort zone.

            Interesting observations about EMGs but active pickups are off limits for me. Just a personal choice.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Analog Kid View Post

              I have always loved Slash’s neck HB tone (doesn’t everyone?) which is what leads to me towards the A2P. I know it won’t be identical in a PRS but it should be close enough and much closer than what I have now. Any thoughts on Custom Custom vs. Custom/59? Would the CC be overkill for my desired applications or would the C/59 just be better at it?
              Well, the Custom Custom has a similar EQ to the APH-1, so if you want a more powerful pickup with almost the same EQ, try that. The 59/Custom has the opposite EQ (like a smiley face) which some people love in the bridge. It is brighter than the CC, so therefore might appear to sound slightly 'louder'. A Slash in the bridge is hotter and brighter than the APH-1, but not as powerful as the CC.
              Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Analog Kid View Post

                I have always been a set and forget player who uses pedals and/or channel switching to change my tone and leaves volume/tone at 10 always. Didn’t even get turn on to the fact that others do this until I had been playing for many years. I could try it but it’s definitely outside my comfort zone.

                Interesting observations about EMGs but active pickups are off limits for me. Just a personal choice.
                When I started playing my volume knobs and tone knobs it opened up a whole new world for me. In addition to their normal tones humbuckers can be thin, single coils can be fat, so much extra character to be found once I understood the relationship between guitar controls and amp controls.

                The EMGs I'm repping are all passive. Solderless, yes, battery/preamp, no. The Rev set came with two pickups, four 500k pots, jack, and all the solderless connector cables. The Geezer P bass came with the pickup, two 250k pots, and solderless connections. Rock and roll baby. No battery.
                Originally posted by crusty philtrum
                Anyone who *sings* at me through their teeth deserves to have a bus drive through their face
                http://www.youtube.com/alexiansounds

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by alex1fly View Post
                  Some PRS pickups have an extended high end that is useful for some applications but needs to be tamed for others. Try running the tone knob at 3-4 or even consider swapping the tone pot for a 250k. This is what I do with my SE it works great, but it did take me some time to get used to and be okay with. Unlike many humbuckers the 85/15s and 58/15s can actually be used with the entire sweep of the tone knob - 7-10 for singlecoilish cut, 3-5 for "classic humbucker tone", 0-2 for the Santana tone.
                  A bit of an update. After this post, I did start playing around with the tone knobs for a few days and found that tone knob on 4 was just about right. Still a little thin in the mids but also to handle all kind of gain while remaining clear and articulate up and down the neck. “Classic humbucker tone” indeed. Coil splits also retain plenty of spank at this setting so need to mess with it there.

                  However, there is still an issue. When the tone is set to 4 and you try to engage the coil splits, it is impossible not to spin the tone knob up a few turns up to at least 6-7. No biggie for recording but for live use, I really don’t like to have to worry about these things. I don’t intend to make liberal use of the coil-splits but I do want to use them without stressing over that inconvenience. So, my search would be for humbuckers that are as bright with the tone knob at 10 as the 58/15s with the tone at 4. And I want to clarify that I’m not looking for darker pickups specifically. I’m actually about going to dark if the brightness I’d truly coming from the pickups and not from the guitar itself. It’s a bit of a conundrum but I’m still searching. Still trying to decide between SNS, WLH, and A2Pro for this guitar.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Sounds to me as if this particular McCarty has a fairly bright and slightly scooped character. I think the CC should suit you here.
                    It's creamy sounding with a chewy feel and rich mids give it a nice singing lead tone.
                    Still has enough cut for classic rock, especially if running with the tone knob dimed.
                    And it splits well too.

                    The lows are not especially firm - doesn't chunk tightly, but for this application you don't really need that.

                    A2Pro neck would be a great companion, should get you in the right ballpark for Slash neck tone even in a PRS.
                    McCartys have a slightly thicker body than most PRS models; it brings them a step closer to Les Paul territory tonewise.


                    .
                    "Brains have been washed. Fear has been mongered. Now we prepare for the final stage of our conspiracy theory." - Isle Of Dogs

                    .

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Analog Kid View Post

                      A bit of an update. After this post, I did start playing around with the tone knobs for a few days and found that tone knob on 4 was just about right. Still a little thin in the mids but also to handle all kind of gain while remaining clear and articulate up and down the neck. “Classic humbucker tone” indeed. Coil splits also retain plenty of spank at this setting so need to mess with it there.

                      However, there is still an issue. When the tone is set to 4 and you try to engage the coil splits, it is impossible not to spin the tone knob up a few turns up to at least 6-7. No biggie for recording but for live use, I really don’t like to have to worry about these things. I don’t intend to make liberal use of the coil-splits but I do want to use them without stressing over that inconvenience. So, my search would be for humbuckers that are as bright with the tone knob at 10 as the 58/15s with the tone at 4. And I want to clarify that I’m not looking for darker pickups specifically. I’m actually about going to dark if the brightness I’d truly coming from the pickups and not from the guitar itself. It’s a bit of a conundrum but I’m still searching. Still trying to decide between SNS, WLH, and A2Pro for this guitar.
                      If the tone knob spins too easily you have a few options. You could wire a switch to do the coil split rather than have a push-pull pot. You can also get a different push-pull pot that doesn't turn as easily - this would be a separate research process but some pots are known for having tighter resistance, some have less, etc.
                      Originally posted by crusty philtrum
                      Anyone who *sings* at me through their teeth deserves to have a bus drive through their face
                      http://www.youtube.com/alexiansounds

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Analog Kid View Post

                        A bit of an update. After this post, I did start playing around with the tone knobs for a few days and found that tone knob on 4 was just about right. Still a little thin in the mids but also to handle all kind of gain while remaining clear and articulate up and down the neck. “Classic humbucker tone” indeed. Coil splits also retain plenty of spank at this setting so need to mess with it there.

                        However, there is still an issue. When the tone is set to 4 and you try to engage the coil splits, it is impossible not to spin the tone knob up a few turns up to at least 6-7. No biggie for recording but for live use, I really don’t like to have to worry about these things. I don’t intend to make liberal use of the coil-splits but I do want to use them without stressing over that inconvenience. So, my search would be for humbuckers that are as bright with the tone knob at 10 as the 58/15s with the tone at 4. And I want to clarify that I’m not looking for darker pickups specifically. I’m actually about going to dark if the brightness I’d truly coming from the pickups and not from the guitar itself. It’s a bit of a conundrum but I’m still searching. Still trying to decide between SNS, WLH, and A2Pro for this guitar.
                        It’s not something I’ve done myself, so hopefully someone more knowledgeable than I am can weigh in, but I recall reading that some people who don't like to mess with their knobs have wired a resister into the circuit so that the tone knob on ten simulates the tone knob being on whatever the preferred position is—sounds like it’s around 4 in this case. I think you’d need to use a multimeter to take a reading of the tone knob at the preferred setting, then do the math to find out what value of resister you’d need to track down.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Analog Kid
                          Junior Member
                          Analog Kid , have you looked at the PRS 57/08 and/or 59/09? Either of those might accomplish what you are looking for.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Given my past experiences with PRS humbuckers, I’m a little reluctant to try their other offerings, especially at their prices. However, I did pull the trigger on a set of Porter Anthem Plus pickups, which seem like exactly what I’m after. If those don’t work, I actually dug in my spare parts drawer and discovered what I think is an older MJ-wound Custom. I always thought it was a JB. It only has a sticker on the back with the initials DGJ, so not 100% that it’s a Custom but it measured out at 13.7k on the multimeter so it seems to fit the bill. Might swap out the ceramic mag for an A2, turning it into an CC, and give it a shot if the Porters don’t cure the shrill highs and lack of mids on this guitar.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              As Alex suggested, a different p/p pot that doesn't spin so easily or a switch to do the split. But you can also replace your push/pull pot with a push/push pot. Generally it's the "pulling" that turns the knob. Very rarely does your knob (pot's shaft) rotate when you just have to push.

                              https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MB9JNQ6...v_ov_lig_dp_it
                              Originally Posted by IanBallard
                              Rule of thumb... the more pot you have, the better your tone.

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