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Author Topic: Replacing Dragons on PRS Standard  (Read 5802 times)

SteveJG

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Re: Replacing Dragons on PRS Standard
« Reply #15 on: September 19, 2013, 11:34:38 AM »
Thanks Telerocker, I hadn't actually looked at the Abraxus pickups before but I've been doing my research and see which ballpark they're aiming for now. Certainly have that airy quality I was looking for, and checked against the Dragons and they seem to be more powerful too . . . I'm leaning towards them now as the Crawlers sound good but a little too round at the top end. It's a close call. So I'm thinking an Emerald in the neck as Slarti did a great review and they sound like just what I'm after there, and then an Abraxus in the bridge . . . still looking into the Crawler though as I've got time to think about it . . .

Slartibartfarst42

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Re: Replacing Dragons on PRS Standard
« Reply #16 on: September 19, 2013, 12:01:38 PM »
I think with either an Abraxas/Emerald or Crawler/Emerald combo, you'll have a great sounding guitar. The Abraxas bridge is one I've often been drawn to without ever actually buying one. My impression is that the Crawler is hotter, thicker and more 'growly' while the Abraxas is a bit brighter and tamer. Have you tried asking Tim?
BKP owned:

Bridge - Emerald; Cold Sweat; Crawler; A-Bomb; Holydiver; Miracle Man; Sinner; Trilogy Suite

Neck - Emerald; Cold Sweat; Crawler; Holydiver; Sinner; Trilogy Suite

Telerocker

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Re: Replacing Dragons on PRS Standard
« Reply #17 on: September 19, 2013, 05:50:40 PM »
I'm always a bit carefull recommending the Crawler for mahogany setneck-guitars. This pickups kills in strats, but in mahogany and a dark or midrange focussed amplifier it can smoother the tone a bit. The Abraxas has more chime, more air and less midrange beef, yet still good mids, and is a powerful pickup compared to the Mule. It's the middle of the road between the Mule and the Crawler. I think that would fit a PRS well.

You can ask Tim for advice, like Slarti suggests.
Mules, VHII, Crawler, MM's, IT's, BG50's.

SteveJG

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Re: Replacing Dragons on PRS Standard
« Reply #18 on: September 20, 2013, 10:04:09 AM »
thanks guys, your advice has been spot on. I had a chat with Ben this morning and have placed an order for an Emerald in the neck and Abraxas in the bridge, with a three way toggle harness to replace the 5-way and a couple of PRS lampshade knobs too, because I'm sad. Can't wait to stick them in! It was touch and go between the Abraxas and Crawler in the end, but decided I liked the open nature of the Abraxas slightly more. We'll see!

Slartibartfarst42

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Re: Replacing Dragons on PRS Standard
« Reply #19 on: September 20, 2013, 12:25:46 PM »
Congratulation, I'm sure you'll love those pickups. Please do a detailed review on them both when you can, especially the Abraxas as we're short on those and I'm thinking of one myself.
BKP owned:

Bridge - Emerald; Cold Sweat; Crawler; A-Bomb; Holydiver; Miracle Man; Sinner; Trilogy Suite

Neck - Emerald; Cold Sweat; Crawler; Holydiver; Sinner; Trilogy Suite

darrenw5094

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Re: Replacing Dragons on PRS Standard
« Reply #20 on: September 20, 2013, 02:54:22 PM »
Surely that 24 fret model came with HFS bridge pickup and not the Dragons. Anyway, i have been complaining about the natural mids of the PRS 24 models. The vintage pickup with a bit of scoop to counter those mids would be the Mule, but not hot enough maybe. Definately don't go Black Dog as the mids would be too much.

Abraxas is the Mule with more mids and a hotter feel.
BKP: Abraxas - Les Paul
Holy Diver - Charvel
Mule - Les Paul
Rebel Yell - Les Paul
VHII - PRS CU22
A-Bomb + Cold Sweat - Les Paul
Warpig - Caparison Horus

SteveJG

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Re: Replacing Dragons on PRS Standard
« Reply #21 on: September 20, 2013, 04:07:28 PM »
thanks Darren. No it's defnitely fitted with Dragons as I whipped them out to have a look (and it also says so on the papers). I like the sound of the Black Dogs on the BKP page, but was scared away by the mids, so hopefuly the Abraxas will work fine. It's strange, because you would think that PRS's would need beefing up, being so slim. My experience of thin bodies and necks is that they are bright, so I guess it's the wood they use (is all mahogany born equal?) or those reinforced horns?

Telerocker

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Re: Replacing Dragons on PRS Standard
« Reply #22 on: September 21, 2013, 01:02:41 AM »
Good choice mate! Hope it works it fine.
Mules, VHII, Crawler, MM's, IT's, BG50's.

SteveJG

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Re: Replacing Dragons on PRS Standard
« Reply #23 on: September 27, 2013, 12:27:48 PM »
OK right well all the kit has arrived! I was disappointed to see that the standard McCarty harness only coil taps on the tone pot - should have seen that coming but it limits the options. I like to mix coil tapped neck with the bridge, so bought a couple of tripleshots instead. I had forgot all about these but they are amazing devices - a half hour noodle session can turn into a 3 hour adventure in coil sounds! The number of hours I must have fiddled away with instead of actually recording is shocking.

So I ditched the tone coil tap and wired in the tripleshots and came to realise that the guitar itself isn't muddy at all - which is a bit of a relief. I don't know if the Dragons were to blame or the old wiring. I reckon I could have got away with a Crawler after all, but maybe I'll test one out a little later - tripleshots make pickup swaps fairly quick if you get one for each pickup - so I'll see.

But the guitar has definitely come to life! The Abraxas in the bridge does remind me of an SG in many ways now - it doesn't have the thick chunk of a Les Paul when palm muted so much, but has a very nice open sound. It's certainly different from my Les Paul, which is what I was looking for. Very nice clean tones, especially when mixed with the Emerald. Strumming chords and hearing them decay is very pleasing now - I never realised that the guitar had so much sustain. Also, I play through a Blackstar Dual overdrive pedal, and typically switching to distortion thickens the sound such that ideally a tone tweak is required, but because the Abraxas doesn't have so much of a midrange kick, it takes the distortion very well. It also sounds great when switched to series humbucking, with an interesting shift in tone, with a woody nutty flavour. Sounds very good with great definition. Both coil sounds are very usable too, the poles being weaker, but a reduction in tone and volume remove the more cutting nature and sound very good in driving rhythm. Not as aggressive as a telecaster, but still a usable tone, far better than the Dragons. And when switching back to full humbucking tone again the Abraxas sounds thick and smooth by comparison.

Switching to middle position, I find that mixing the 2 outer coils is a very nice strumming sound. Very acoustic and chimy, encouraging chord and jangly work. I could spend hours flicking the tripleshots between the different coils - I felt that on full humbucking mode, the Emerald probably dominates the sound - at one point I didn't think the toggle switch was working properly until I started splitting coils on the bridge, and of course on a PRS you can't turn the volume down on individual pickups, but splitting the coils on the neck does blend well.

As for the neck pickup, the Emerald is very good. I think I was expecting it to sound much like the original Dragon, as it was said they have a similar spec - but it doesn't really. Very organic and open again. It's a very interesting, resonating sound, encouraging chordwork as much as solos. In some ways it reminded me more of a warmer bridge pickup, probably being the most useable neck pickup I've encountered. I don't know why, I just don't tend to normally migrate to the neck much except for noodling around, but I can see me using this for song writing. Coil splits and going to series makes for a very strummy woody sound, with complex interesting decay, and the full humbucker is into more traditional neck sound, but still maintaining that warm woody overtone - switching back to the bridge does make the Abraxas sound thinner/brighter by comparison, but this is only relative.

As a sidenote, the PRS volume and tone pots in the McCarty harness work really nicely with the pickups, and the tone pot especially creates interesting varieties. Still early days, but now the guitar has opened up and is fun again. So thanks for the advice guys, and glad I didn't go down my usual route as that would have just landed me with something that sounded like what I already had!

Telerocker

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Re: Replacing Dragons on PRS Standard
« Reply #24 on: September 27, 2013, 12:37:54 PM »
Good extensive review. I wonder if you have tweaked the Abraxas to the sweet spot. Height can make a dramatic difference with scatterwound pickups.
Mules, VHII, Crawler, MM's, IT's, BG50's.

Kiichi

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Re: Replacing Dragons on PRS Standard
« Reply #25 on: September 27, 2013, 03:12:32 PM »
Interresting review here, I will add it to the sticky. Thanks for writing it up!

I do however still suggest that you go over the review once more and make it into a full blown one with an extra thread for it once you have played around with it and tweaked it a little more.
BKPs in use: 10th set / RY set / Holy Diver b, Emerald n / Crawler bridge, Slowhand mid MQ neck/ Manhattan n
On the sidelines: Stockholm b / Suppermassive n, Mule n, AM set, IT mid

SteveJG

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Re: Replacing Dragons on PRS Standard
« Reply #26 on: September 27, 2013, 03:45:25 PM »
I'm away next week, but when I get back I'll play around with it some more and approach it more seriously. I'll try and write something a little more scientific rather than saying stuff like 'sounds interesting' 'sounds good', and so on. These are only my first impressions and they need to settle in some more. I was just struck by how open, lively and colourful it now sounds - I think colourful is a good way to describe the Emerald as there are many tones going on there, and the bridge pickup is certainly lively.