In this upgrade and build guide we're going to be providing some budget-friendly suggestions for improving the PRS 245 SE electric guitar, which is already very affordable. We'll be switching out the pickups, strings and the strap hardware which, in many of the cheaper SE models, tends to get loose and doesn't hold onto the guitar strap very well.
We'll leave the stopbar bridge as-is, as well as the tuners and machine heads.
In total, this is a distinctly affordable upgrade that makes an ideal beginner guitar with some added longevity.
Here's everything you'll need for the build:
Strap Lock Hardware
The Neck and Bridge Pickups
The pickup combination we chose pairs two Seymour Duncan humbuckers, where the bridge flavor is a high output "trembucker" built with ceramic magnets and the neck is a smoother, full-sounding jazz pickup with a tight response.
Pairing these two on the same guitar will widen the scope of the tone this guitar is capable of, as well as give you a good foundation for adding distortion pedals or high-gain amp settings.
Step by Step Pickup Replacement
- Remove the old strings
- Remove the mounting rings around each pickup
- Make note of which color wire goes in which spot
- Remove the old pickups
- Use a soldering gun to install the wires for the new pickups
- Use the old mounting rings to fix the new pickups back into place
- Add the new Elixir strings
To install the pair, you'll need to remove the existing strings, then take the mounting rings off the guitar and remove the original pickups. Make sure you make notes of the color of each piece of wire you remove so you'll have an easier time adding the new humbuckers.
Once you're ready to install the Seymour Duncan pair, you'll need a soldering gun to fix the new wires to the guitar's electronics.
When you have the wires secured to their proper spots, test the guitar before putting the mounting rings back on. You might also want to put just one of your new Elixir strings on for testing purposes. If you're good to go, you can add the rest of the strings as well.
Adding the Straplock Hardware
The Schaller straplock system is easy to install.
Simply remove the old hardware using a screwdriver, then add the base piece (the one that the top part clips onto) first. If it's loose from the old screws, consider using wood glue and toothpicks to tighten up the base of the straplock.
Once it's in place, you can add the top piece, which your strap can be screwed on to.
Your Questions and Ideas
Have a mod or part that you know would work particularly well with the PRS SE 245 electric guitar?
Maybe you disagree with the choices we've listed?
Let us know in the comments section below. If you have an idea that holds water, we'll add it to the list so others can benefit as well.
Likewise, if you have an idea for a guitar (electric or acoustic) build, you can drop it there as well and we'll take a look.
Flickr Commons Image courtesy of Bryce Bradford