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PRS 305 Pickup Mod



Making this mod will invalidate warranty.


Although I liked the sound of the original PRS pickups in my 305, they have hum problems at high gain.  I do not want to have to use a noise gate, or have that authentic Hendrix buzz, so I decided to replace pickups with new Fender N3 pickups.

Unfortunately screw spacing of PRS pickups is a little non-standard and new Fender N3 pickups have a large wiring board.  Also Fender pickups are a little taller than PRS ones due to stacked coils.

Summary of Mod

  • Check Fender pickups with Ohm meter, should have several KOhm between outer terminals. Each outer terminal to GND (middle) should be very high impedance; I bought 2 bad pickups from EBay before getting good ones

  • Remove original pickups, fill screw holes with plastic side-fret marker (small diameter plastic) or alternatively wooden toothpick.

  • Recommend: Put protective masking tape on guitar to avoid damaging finish, e.g. 3M Automotive

  • Drill new pickup holes in guitar body, these holes butt against plastic or toothpick filler

  • Hacksaw off Fender pickup wiring board that extends past pickup cover

  • Push out metal threaded inserts in Fender pickups, now there is nothing to hold cover in place so use Sellotape

  • Use a sharp knife to scrape etch resist from wiring board to create solder terminals, solder a short between big GND tab and right hand side pin (Black wire), solder Red wire to left terminal

  • Add a strip of thin foam tape to rear of pickup and Sellotape wires in place

  • Cut clear rubber pickup tubing to size, to replace PRS pickup springs (which I was not able to re-use) on underside of pickup

  •  I used original long PRS screws and red rubber pickup tubing on top side, which I liked look of.  Could probably just use shorter screws.

  • There was some fiddling with wiring path (cut out a little wood with Dremel tool) to get pickups sitting flat

  • There are probably other (better) ways to mount pickups, but this is just what I figured out at time.

  • [I also fitted a MIDI pickup, but that is another story]



Sounds like a strat, but feels like a PRS.


Some details with photos

PRS & Fender pickup comparison

Fender pickups with printed circuit board cut and new solder terminals made.

Pickup tubing top and bottom.  Also note filled/re-drilled screw holes in guitar body.

Pickup with tape to hold cover and wiring in place.

Phew, new pickups in place.