I’ve been a long time user of Fender guitars, but, as you can see from the enclosed picture [right], things have changed – and it’s all thanks to Guitarist. In edition 504 you published details of the new for 2024 PRS SE guitars. I couldn’t believe how good the Swamp Ash Special looked with its blue finish coupled to a maple neck.

In a case of, “I don’t need it, but I want it”, I found one online at Peach Guitars at a reasonable price. My Swamp Ash Special is nicely finished, looks even better than the pictures and sounded quite good right out of the box – but I wanted to make some changes. The pickup selector was way too far back for me (I fully blame Fender for this), and the bridge pickup wasn’t quite what I liked. A quick rotation of the controls in a clockwise direction put the switch where I wanted, just leaving the bridge pickup to think about.

Another search online led me to Oil City Pickups’ Telecaster bridge pickup in a standard humbucker-sized unit. Ash [Scott-Lockyer] couldn’t have been more helpful. He makes all the pickups himself and my Big Block pickup arrived a week later, which was really impressive.

Having installed it, I hooked it up in series with the middle single coil, so they would run as a sort of hybrid humbucker resulting in a usable kind of Strat-alike sound. To be honest, I didn’t really like the sounds with the pickup selector in positions 2 and 3 with the tone control pulled up, so I reutilised the pull-up switch to give me the bridge and middle single coils in parallel, as a sort of hybrid humbucker, for positions 1 and 2 and the single coil on its own at position 3.

I can now say that, for me, my PRS SE Swamp Ash Special has really nice single coil and hybrid humbucker sounds to complement the two humbuckers. Colour me happy – at last!

Peter Cooper

Thanks for sharing your tasteful modding project, Peter, in which you have brought about significan­t and highly personalis­ed changes without, we think, upsetting the aesthetic and utility of the guitar. Great, too, to see the creativity of British pickup makers take pride of place in your design. We wish you plenty of enjoyment from your modified swamp beast – and your new headphones!

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