If you’re interested in learning about what I think are the best PRS pickups, you’ve come to the right post!
In short, my favorite PRS pickups are:
- Vintage Bass
- \m/ (metal)
I’ll discuss these more in the following sections!
PRS Guitars is one of the best brands on the market. My honest opinion is that they often outperform Fender and Gibson. And all of their guitars are super-consistent.
At the same time, they’re not that well-known for their pickups. Don’t get me wrong, these are awesome guitars with great pickups. But they tend to have somewhat of a limited line of pickups. And buying them as separate sets isn’t as popular compared to other brands.
Nonetheless, we can still choose the best ones, right? In this article, I’m including what I think are the best choices.
But before we begin, I should also note that PRS has their designated names for pickup positions. When they mention a bass pickup, that’s actually a neck pickup. And when they say treble, it refers to the bridge position.
Alter Bridge guitarist Mark Tremonti is one of the most famous musicians to use PRS guitars. So it’s not a surprise that the company made his signature set.
Since he’s a predominantly metal guitarist, Tremonti’s signature set is a high-output one. Sure, they’re passive ones. But you can get some hard-hitting tones with them.
The bridge position humbucker brings a very powerful output. It’s the standard deal for a metal-oriented pickup. However, the frequency response is a bit different. It’s really bass-heavy.
Surprisingly enough, the high-ends are noticeably quieter. Nonetheless, the mids are still present. Such a frequency response and the output level make it a great choice for chugging riffs. And it’s also a great choice for those who love lower tunings.
The neck pickup is completely different. However, it complements the bridge pickup. It’s a lower output one with a significant boost to higher-ends. This brings some sparkle for an otherwise smooth and bassy neck pickup position.
The bridge pickup is designed to work with push-pull pots for coil splitting. It can also support 5-way selector switches. However, the neck pickup is just for your regular 3-way switch.
Almost all humbuckers today are pretty much copies of Gibson’s P.A.F. pickups. It’s the same basic design that we see to this day. But not many of them can convincingly copy the tone of the original 1957 humbucker.
However, that’s exactly what PRS’ 57/08 set is doing. In 2008, the company introduced this set and they’re still making it today.
This humbucker set is manufactured with a special vintage-style wire. Along with this comes a somewhat unusual choice of magnets, the Alnico 2. (You can read about this in my post about Alnico pickup magnets.)
Additionally, both come with nickel covers.
PRS 57/08 pickups come with a lower output. They’re pretty mild for humbuckers. But this is what plenty of musicians are aiming for. What’s more, this helps them get some dynamic response as well.
Their frequency response is pretty interesting as well. The bridge pickup has weaker bottom-ends and a noticeable boost in lower mids. There’s a slight drop in the higher mids and then it gets sharper with a significant boost in high-end.
Meanwhile, the neck pickup is slightly scooped. Bottom-ends are pronounced, as well as high-ends. Meanwhile, the mids are less noticeable, especially in the higher-mid range.
Overall, these pickups are smoother and mellower. But at the same time, they allow for some sparkle if you don’t roll off your guitar’s tone knobs. This is exactly what lovers of vintage-style humbuckers are aiming for.
If you’re looking for an awesome neck position humbucker, PRS’ Vintage Bass is a viable choice. It brings some warmth with the lower mids. Meanwhile, there’s a significant drop in the higher mids, while the high-ends are still pronounced.
The bass is substantially cut from the mix. However, this is intentional. The pickup is placed in the neck position, so it would still have bottom-ends present in there. The high-ends add some jangle and sparkle, ultimately making it an incredible pickup for lead parts.
PRS recommends it for jazz and classic rock. However, I have found it to be useful for all settings where a neck humbucker comes in handy.
Yeah, it’s not a typo. This is how PRS actually named one of their pickup sets. And, as you would expect, they’re metal-oriented.
They’re a really interesting pair. The bridge humbucker is high-output. Meanwhile, the neck pickup is a really quiet one. And, of course, both come with ceramic magnets.
This gives them an interesting tone. The bridge one is really mid-heavy. It’s just the perfect machine for heavy chugging riffs. Meanwhile, the neck pickup gives some pretty scooped and dark tones. In my opinion, these are the perfect humbuckers for metal.
The Old Stuff
Over the years, PRS had some pretty interesting pickups on their instruments. And if you’re up for some online digging, you’ll find that they’re still in demand. So you can find a lot of used PRS pickups.
In particular, I’m talking about their original humbuckers. These humbuckers were available on their earliest guitars. They’re pretty hard to find. And, as you would expect, they’re expensive. While I’m not sure if the price is justified, these are incredible humbuckers.
PRS isn’t exactly famous for single-coils. However, they have had some single coils on some of their instruments over the years. But aside from 635JM on John Mayer’s signature model Silver Sky, they didn’t have many noteworthy single coils. Plus, they were never sold on their own. However, PRS still made decent single-coil pickups. And, what’s more, they shouldn’t be that expensive.
Best PRS Pickups: Conclusion
I hope this article has given you some ideas as to what the best PRS pickups are (in my opinion).
And if you think another pickup belongs on this list, let me know in the comments below!
Lastly, if you want to read more about PRS on this site, check out: