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Are The Pickups On A Prs 513 Avtive?

Daniel Sorbera

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The 'proprietary' refers to the fact that they're a PRS design. Technically, any pickup design that is particular to a company is "proprietary", but what they're really referring to is the fact that the 513 uses a specific wiring harness that is not meant to be compatible with other pickups.

Each of the single coils has 5 thin wires coming from it, which are connected with special connecters to PC board. What makes the system unique is that it combines "coil splitting" (nothing is really split, because they're 5 independent single coils) with "coil tapping" which means that only a part of the coil is used; hence the extra wire, for 'tapping' the coil.

So, merely by virtue of wiring, you can get:

Single coil mode

Clear Humbucker (2 single coils in conjunction, but with a coil tap)

Heavy Humbucker (2 single coils in conjunction, no coil tap)

And then the middle single coil is just reverse-wound to provide hum-cancelling options like a strat, for the in-between positions.

SO, it's called the 513 because you get a 5-way selector switch (like a strat) times the number of modes (3 of them), minus 2 superfluous tones because the middle position will ALWAYS sound the same no matter what mode is used.

5X3 = 15 - 2 = *13* different tones. :D

To answer your question-- the literature I'm getting this information shows the 'guts' and there is no battery compartment. It seems like the circuits are all passive, and the special wires and harness are just to accomodate the complexity of it all, otherwise you'd have a LOT of standard-sized wire and solder floating around in the control cavity. :D

I'm 98% sure, then, that it's a passive system.


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Strictly speaking, you could do it yourself, or get a custom pickup maker to make one for you. It'd take some research to figure out where to tap the coils for a good tone, though, and the wiring would be a headache. :D

Also, they sell their other pickups. They may want to sell it only on their guitars for a while (to captitalize on the 'wow' factor), but then they may end up selling it separately! It wouldn't be against their ethos to sell it separately.


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