Prs is one of the largest manufacturers of guitar pickups. Their low-cost Soapbar pickups are extremely popular and well-regarded among guitarists who prefer these vintage-sounding single-coil pickups to the more modern humbucking designs. If you play an electric guitar, then you probably know that there are two primary types of pickup: humbuckers and single coils. Pickups are small magnetic devices that capture the vibrations produced by your strings and speakers as they’re amplified. Based on how they’re constructed, each pickup type will produce different tones when you play your guitar. Although it might seem like a trivial detail, knowing which type of pickup you have installed in your guitar is important for understanding what kind of tone it produces.
What is a Prs Se Soapbar?
A pair of soapbar pickups installed in a Les Paul guitar. Soapbar pickups are generally single-coil designs that are very popular in American-made guitars like the Stratocaster, Telecaster, and ES-335. They’re also common in vintage Gibson guitars like the Les Paul and SG. Soapbar pickups are easily identified by their rectangular shape and lack of mounting rings or “bells.” This design makes them very sturdy and reliable. Soapbar pickups typically sound very warm and full. They’re not as bright or snappy as most single-coil designs. Many soapbar pickups are designed to be hum-cancelling. This means they have two coils wired in series and connected to opposite polarity “hot” wires. When the two coils are wired in series, the hum is cancelled out by the electromagnetic effects of the two coils opposing each other.
Soapbar Pickups vs. Standard Single Coils
A bridge humbucker pickup from a Squier Stratocaster. Single-coil pickups have round-coil magnets wrapped around the coils and are usually found in guitars with maple or rosewood fingerboards. They’re generally brighter and more jangly than a soapbar pickup. They’re used in two-pickup guitars because they are sensitive to both the sound of the strings and the sound of the guitar’s wood. A humbucker pickup is generally a large, round-magnet pickup with a more focused sound. They’re generally used in guitars with alder or basswood fingerboards because they’re less sensitive to the vibration of the wood. Some guitars have bridge and neck soapbar pickups and some have bridge humbuckers and neck single-coils. Typically, the bridge pickup is louder and more focused, while the neck pickup is more diffuse and quiet.
What’s the Difference Between Prs Se and P-90 soapbar?
A P-90 soapbar pickup in a Fender Telecaster. P-90 soapbar pickups are found in vintage Fender guitars like the Telecaster and the Esquire. They’re also used by many boutique guitar builders who want the sound of a P-90 without having to modify the vintage tooling on their guitars. P-90 soapbar pickups sound very similar to Prs Se soapbar pickups. They’re both single-coil pickups with a vintage sound and moderate output. Both of these pickups use round magnets that are larger than the magnets found in a typical humbucker. A standard single-coil pickup uses small alnico magnets. The larger magnets in a P-90 and Prs Se soapbar pickup create a more focused sound that’s less susceptible to the sound of the guitar’s wood.
Pros of Playing with a Prs Se Soapbar
A vintage-style neck pickup on a PRS Custom 22. The main benefit of a soapbar pickup is that it’s very durable. There’s no fine wire or magnets that can be broken by a fall or a few years of hard use. They’re also very affordable. You can buy a set of soapbar pickups for less than a set of standard single-coils. They’re also very simple to install. All soapbar pickups have the same wiring pattern, which means you only have to learn how to solder two wires instead of eight.
Cons of Playing with a Prs Se Soapbar
The main drawback of a soapbar pickup is that it sounds a little different than a standard single-coil pickup. There’s more warmth, less spank, and a little less definition. As with any design choice, there are trade-offs. If you want your guitar to sound like vintage guitars from the ‘50s and ‘60s, a soapbar pickup is the way to go. If you want to sound like modern metal bands or classic rock bands, you’ll probably want standard single-coils.
Some guitarists will tell you that soapbar pickups sound better than single-coils. Other guitarists would disagree. At the end of the day, the best pickup is the one you like the best. The only way to know what you like is to try a bunch of different pickups. The best way to do this is to buy an electronics kit and build your own guitar from scratch. That way, you can try as many pickup combinations as you want. If you play an electric guitar, then you probably know that there are two primary types of pickup: humbuckers and single coils. Pickups are small magnetic devices that capture the vibrations produced by your strings and speakers as they’re amplified.