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Re-wire Project for PRS SE Custom 24

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I haven't posted here in a while, but recently started getting back into playing. Need a little motivation, so I traded my PRS SE Santana (see that here: http://www.harmonycentral.com/forum/forum/guitar/acapella-41/1104227- ) for a PRS SE Custom 24. The Santana was nice, no doubt, but I really didn't like the way the neck felt. It's got the thicker profile, and the Custom 24 has the thinner one, which just feels better for me. I got lucky with this one... posted "for trade" on craigslist, specifically looking for a Custom 24... and I got a response in two days from a guy who had one and was specifically looking for a Santana.


I finally had some time to dedicate to this project and got it done this weekend. I don't do a whole lot of wiring, so I'm very slow at soldering, and it's not all that pretty either. Also, this was the most complicated re-wire I've done yet, so I took my time and triple checked every every connection as I went along.



Neck - GFS (Guitar Fetish) Hot Liverpool Retrotron (Filtertron style)

Bridge - Seymour Duncan JB

2x Bourns A500k DPDT push/pull pots

Orange Drop Caps

- .001uf Treble Bleed

- .022uf and .047uf Tone Caps (on a two-way switch)

Switches - Pickup (3-way), mini-toggle dpdt (1x 2-way, 2x 3-way)


Wiring: (per the diagram posted above)

Pickup Selector: Standard 3-way pickup selection

3-Way switches (x2): Each pickup is wired to it's own 3-way switch with the following outputs

- Standard (series) humbucker

- Single Coil

- Parallel humbucker

Push/Pull Phase Reversal: Each pickup is then routed from the 3-way to it's own phase-reversal

2-Way Tone: The Tone control is switchable between the .022uf and .047uf Caps


The Extra Mile:

I really wanted to take every measure I could to make this guitar sound as good as possible, so I took a few extra steps that I've only ever heard recommended, but never seen it done...

1. Copper Shielding Tape for the entire wiring cavity

2. Central Grounding Plate (used an old trem spring claw)

3. Larger gauge wire for ground connections (18)

4. Individual ground connections for each major component

5. Shielded (and grounded) wire for all HOT & TONE leads

I'm not sure which of these factors mattered most for the end result, or if it was a combination of all of it... but this guitar now has less buzz/noise than any other guitar I've played which cost less than a couple thousand (and still quieter than some of those too)


The Result:

Extremely happy with the results.

Tone: This pickup combo was a bit brighter in the previous guitar, AXL Badwater Pro (Super-Strat style Alder Body). But I really like the slightly darker tone in this guitar. It's not muddy by any means, but it gets these really smooth creamy mids for solos, which is exactly what I wanted this guitar to sound like. Couldn't have expected anything better. (update: after playing with this a bit more, I actually don't like the GFS in this guitar)

Options: Between the Parallel, Phase Reversal, and tone cap options, the range of tonal options is more than I will likely even use.


What I would have done differently:

- Only one phase switch. As it turns out, as I suspected, you really only need one. When you reverse the phase on both pickups, they are back "in phase". And "IF" there actually is any difference in tone between both pickups in phase one way vs another... I can't hear it. I wired it that way because I couldn't find anything definitive on that matter... nobody explicitly says this in any of the information I found on a phase switching.

- Skip the Single-Coil Option - I've heard some pickups that had a noticeable (but small) difference between Single-Coil and Parallel wiring... these do not, not that I can hear anyway. And certainly not worth the extra tedious wiring and the extra cost of the 3-way on-on-on dpdt switches..

- 250K or 300K Tone Pot. I've done some testing in some of my other re-wirings and found that a 250K or 300K rolls the tone off much more evenly than 500K. But I really wanted to implement the Phase Shift with all possibilities a lot more than I was concerned bout the tone roll-off. Besides, the 2-way cap switch makes it really easy to get the sweet spots for every tone I get all the configuration options.

- Smaller caps: I ordered these off eBay from TheArtOfTone and did not really pay attention to the voltage ratings (400 and 600). I've heard people say there is a subtle difference in favor of the larger voltage ratings... but I could never hear anything in the videos and audio clips I listened on. In any case, they aren't coming out now.

- .002 Treble Bleed: I debated getting that to let more mids through, but most of the information I read made it seem like the .001 was better... but now that I've heard it, I think a .002 would be better, at least for this guitar and these pickups.


Not quite done:

The strings on it in the pic were just what I had for the testing... but I've recently switched to the Pure Blues: Light-Top/Heavy-Bottom Pure Nickle strings and I love the way they sound. So I still need to string those up and do a full setup...

Also, I was considering getting some of the Black Graphite Saddles... I got some for another one of my guitars that has been my "project guitar"... it previously had cheap alloy saddles that came with the cheap fixed bridge and there was this very evident shrill background noise to all of the strings. The graphite saddles got rid of that completely. While there is no "shrill" sound from the saddles on this SE Custom 24 (PRS does great work), I think it will look cool... I wouldn't expect any real noticeable change in tone though.


Enough of my rambling... time for some pics:






Edited by RedJamaX
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