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 PRS CU22 - swapped Dragon II bridge p/up w/Duncan C5 nickle View next topic
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Curator: Carvin Museum of NY

Joined: 13 May 2005
Posts: 1117
Location: NY

PostPosted: Sun Feb 02, 2014 1:31 pm   Reply with quoteBack to top

Inspired by the C5 Trembucker I threw in my Strat I found a nickle covered SD C5 to replace the stock Dragon II bridge p/up in my PRS I got off this BBS. The look is basically the same, so once again, I'm gonna have to use a stock pic(s) ...

I found the stock bridge p/up to be a bit brighter than I cared for, although it had a very good amount of output. This is similar to what alot of ppl said on the interwebs about the Dragon IIs as I've found, and I find I'm in agreement. Its kinda like a Custom Custom, which I have in a couple guitars, and I kinda like, but after a while it doesnt work for me.
The neck p/up is very '59-ish and I like it alot. I was thinking about going with a black '59-N + C5-Br set, but decided to try and find a chrome (nickle) covered C5 - and I found 1 on ebay (same place I got the C5 Trembucker from).

I found the same result with this covered p/up as I have in a few other cases where I used a covered version of a usually non-covered p/up. Slightly less output, a bit thinner, and somewhat brighter. (This is similar to the M22T I put a cover on in a CT3, a Carvin-covered (and potted) M22T in my Koa CT3, and a Carvin-covered/potted M22SD I got on this BBS that I put in a CT6. So, pretty consistent anecdotal results.)
But all in all, its an improvement I think I'm keeping here (especially since un-soldering the original p/ups was a BEE - YOTCH!!! - especially the shield - the circuit board for the p/up leads on the 5-way knob wasnt too bad tho).

The covered SD C5 has a good amount of output. As with the Trembucker I put in the Strat, its a bit less than an M22T. It has a good low end balance, but a bit more treble emphasis than the Strat has. But still less than the DII had. Also the Strat uses 250K tone pots, which I think rounds off the hi end in a real good way. Thats pretty consistent with a warmer tone from 250K pots (right? - typically for brighter single coils?).

In addition to the p/up swap, I also changed out the 5-way selector knob with a (Carvin) 3-way switch. I already have an ST300 with the middle positions, but dont use them much. I like the more basic 3-way setup, with both HBs in the middle. (You'll just have to squint and imagine the black switch where the 3rd knob is. Wink )
I'll be keeping the original parts in case I ever decide to go back.

Some other (boring) details -

Its odd that PRS winds their DIIs as Neck = S, N and Br = N, S but then uses the hot lead of the bridge for the bottom coil.
So for the SD C5 wound N, S I used the hot lead of the bottom coil (green). A good guess as it worked with no phase issues.

I thought I knew how the Carvin 3-way lugs worked, with the physical connections OPPOSITE the switch direction. Uh-uh! Not talking It apparently re-routes the leads internally to work like you'd think visually. Had to do a re-take on the p/up leads to the 3-way.

I dont know what magnets PRS uses on the DII bridge, but it measured 13.97 K-ohm over all, 6.98K top coil, 6.99K bottom coil. (For those keeping score.)

The SD didnt come with a mounting ring, but it fit right in to the reused PRS ring. Altho the DII had the height adjust tabs a bit further away - just had to compress the springs a bit more. Also, the SD C5 tabs JUST barely fit in the pocket. Almost too wide, but I got them in there.

The hole for the 3-way was a bit too tight - since it was for basically a pot shaft. I used my cordless tools and a 1/2" hole boring bit I had, and used the slowest speed (I think the largest drill bit I have is 3/8"). I went from the painted side into the cavity, so if any wood split, it would be in the cavity. It turned out OK, and the old switch/knob still worked with its washer, and I used a blue sharpie to color in the removed wood. Hands were a bit nervous doing the drilling at 1st (used a test block of wood before taking it to the guitar). You cant tell I hacked this thing. Very Happy

There was more work than a typical p/up swap-out I've done before, and took a bit longer.

Anyway, I believe I'll be playing this PRS more rather than just looking at it. Cool
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