Pickup change .... wow!

#1
So I have a ML1 Pro modern which is a great guitar and I picked up a few months ago for moments of shred and as a backup on stage when I break strings etc. My ML 1 was second-hand as new and I got it for a steal of a price, anyhow my journey and experience with the guitar maybe useful to others.

The build quality (not including electrics) and fretwork is amazing, my main guitar is a USA 2001 PRS McCarty and I would say that the fret work on the Chapman rivals that, it is super playable great neck (slimmer than what I am used to) and lovely to look at IMO.

The electrics oh wow, two words, "crackle mayhem" the pots was super crackly and I replaced them with CTS linear pots and goodbye crackles, at the same time I also change the tone cap value... why?? I play drop D standard tuning in my band with 10's and this guitar is the brightest guitar I have ever played, and I also play a telecaster as well which can rip your face off. I feel that the brightness comes from a combination of scale length, maple through neck, pickups, maple cap and stainless steel frets, I was left thinking that the guitar is designed for serious drop tuning which enables it to still feel defined. However I play through a JVM head and 412, and with gain I just found that this guitar just sounded fizzy too bright thin and brittle and simply lack the mid grunt and balls that I am used to with a PRS, The sound was so different to what I was used to I was struggling in cutting through unless I severely changed my amp EQ (Which I wanted to avoid as I need some continuity in sound between guitars for this to be used as a back up). Even with the tone cap change rolling off the tone and volume I still struggled to the point in which I was tempted with selling it on.

I have read read and reread that the Sonorous pickups are great and every one loves them as stock pups, I am not a frequent pickup swapper, however I thought as a last ditch attempt, I would swap out the Sonorous with a set of Dimarzos Tone Zones I have in an old Jackson that I don't really play, to see if it made a difference. Holy fuckballs Batman, it made a massive difference.

I ended up with something that works well for me, plus during the pot and pickup swapping was the first time I ever undertaken guitar mods myself which was actually pretty fun and simple to do.

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Chu

Well-Known Member
#2
Nice one! Pickups are a strange old thing, there's really very little to them and they're very much a personal choice. I had a Tone Zone a few years ago and it really started to irk me towards the end but if they're working for you then all is dandy!

For me, it becomes an issue if I'm going from one similar guitar to another, that's when I start to get frustrated with the sounds. If I jump from a PRS to a Tele, I'm nearly always happy but when going from a USA PRS to a SE model with a band, I found the direct comparison annoying!
 

Wuzza

long time lurker
#3
Always nice to read a bit of a story, even if I haven't got anything to comment on, having no experience of Chapmans or pup swaps. Good that you've personalised it to your taste. :)
 
#4
Nice one! Pickups are a strange old thing, there's really very little to them and they're very much a personal choice. I had a Tone Zone a few years ago and it really started to irk me towards the end but if they're working for you then all is dandy!

For me, it becomes an issue if I'm going from one similar guitar to another, that's when I start to get frustrated with the sounds. If I jump from a PRS to a Tele, I'm nearly always happy but when going from a USA PRS to a SE model with a band, I found the direct comparison annoying!
Absolutely agree with this, The set we do I am mainly playing my PRS (kinda motor head meets Metallica) , and a few songs I swap over to the tele, for those moments where I break strings, and I need to continue to chug the Chapman is essential !
 

Chu

Well-Known Member
#5
Absolutely agree with this, The set we do I am mainly playing my PRS (kinda motor head meets Metallica) , and a few songs I swap over to the tele, for those moments where I break strings, and I need to continue to chug the Chapman is essential !
Exactly. I bought my SE Zach Myers for two-three songs in a band in an alternate tuning. The neck profile was almost identical to my proper PRS, both had humbuckers, stable tuning so there really shouldn't have been an issue. But after a few weeks, that feeling of satisfaction when I went back to the main guitar turned into reluctance to play the SE. A pickup swap did the trick and i now enjoy it for it's own character.
 
#6
Exactly. I bought my SE Zach Myers for two-three songs in a band in an alternate tuning. The neck profile was almost identical to my proper PRS, both had humbuckers, stable tuning so there really shouldn't have been an issue. But after a few weeks, that feeling of satisfaction when I went back to the main guitar turned into reluctance to play the SE. A pickup swap did the trick and i now enjoy it for it's own character.
I do think that a real PRS is a thing of beauty it is a complete package which is the total sum of its quality parts, if you own one I believe you can appreciate how every thing contributes to an amazing guitar. I love mine, however nowadays (children, wife, mortgage) there is no way I could afford to buy a real PRS bought mine back in 2001 and it has been a main guitar ever since, I did try out a SE custom 22, and was amazed how well it played, neck profile was almost identical to my McCarty, blind folded I would find it difficult to tell the difference from a playability point of view, soundwise however.
 

Chu

Well-Known Member
#7
I do think that a real PRS is a thing of beauty it is a complete package which is the total sum of its quality parts, if you own one I believe you can appreciate how every thing contributes to an amazing guitar. I love mine, however nowadays (children, wife, mortgage) there is no way I could afford to buy a real PRS bought mine back in 2001 and it has been a main guitar ever since, I did try out a SE custom 22, and was amazed how well it played, neck profile was almost identical to my McCarty, blind folded I would find it difficult to tell the difference from a playability point of view, soundwise however.
From what I've read about the USA Paul's Guitar and the SE version, that sonic difference might not be quite so significant anymore. They've put in a massive amount of effort into the SE range, particularly as the S2 range uses hardware from it. The S2 couldn't have remained viable if the hardware and pickups weren't up to the job.
 
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