513 vs 408 - How Are They Different?

Posted Aug 10, 2016

Behind The Gear

Our 513 and 408 models both fall into a sort of "specialty" category here at PRS. While both instruments are 22 fret models with our custom body shape, they become strikingly different when you break down their electronics layout. Below, we will summarize their differences and help you find the model that works best for you.


513 vs 408

Both the 513 and 408 are designed for players who want a multitude of sounds in one guitar. If you're wondering how these models got their names, it's simple! 513 = 5 pickups and 13 sounds. 408 = 4 pickups and 8 sounds.

Here's a quick breakdown of the models:

The 513, for one, has a bit of a longer scale length (25 ¼), a middle pickup, and a 5-way blade switch. If you're a single coil player looking to add tonal range and options – this switching system may feel more at home to you. The added sounds come from a “master” 3-way mode switch that globally applies a tone to whatever 5-way position you're playing in. The 513 also gets a heavier humbucking tone than the 408 because of this setup.

The 408 is two humbuckers (no pesky middle pickup to get in the way) if that’s the kind of set up you prefer. The 408 also has a 3-way blade switch and two separate mini-toggles to get the added sounds. This is a different approach to pick up selection. For players who like a 3-way switch that gets them dual humbuckers in one position, the mini-switch set up allows a lot of further manipulation of the pickups and no volume loss in single coil modes! (more on that later).

That is just a quick overview of the models, now we can dig a little deeper!


The 513 is composed of a series of 5 single coil pickups, the outer two sets grouped into humbucking pairs. This pickup design is unique to the 513 model, which was solely designed to give players more sounds in one guitar.

The 408 is composed of two asymmetrical humbucking pickups. This pickup design stems back to Paul’s pre-factory days and the Sorcerer’s Apprentice guitars. The idea is to narrow the field of the bass pickup and increase its focus (no mud) and widen the field of the treble pickup to increase its sound field/tonal range. Again, the 408 also gets dual humbuckers in the second position.


The 513 has volume, tone, and a 5-way blade switch with the addition of a 3-way mode switch (heavy humbucking, clear humbucking, and single coils). In heavy humbucking mode, all 5 coils are at full output. In clear humbucking mode, all 5 coils are still engaged but at a lower output (approximately 65% of the full output). In single coil mode, 3 coils are engaged: the inside coil of the bridge, the middle, and the outside coil of the neck.

The 408 has volume, tone, and a 3-way blade switch with the addition of 2 mini-toggle switches (down = humbucking, up = single coil). When the single coil mode is engaged, the screw coil is disconnected and approximately 1500 turns are added to the slug coil so there is virtually no volume loss when you go from humbuckers to single coils.


Here are the sounds you can acheive with the 513:

Treble (heavy humbucking, clear humbucking, or single coil)
Treble (heavy humbucking, clear humbucking, or single coil) and middle single coil
Middle single coil
Middle and Bass (heavy humbucking, clear humbucking, or single coil)
Bass (heavy humbucking, clear humbucking, or single coil)

Here are the sounds you can acheive with the 408:

Bass singlecoil
Bass humbucking
Treble singlecoil
Treble humbucking
Bass and Treble singlecoil
Bass and Treble humbucking
Bass singlecoil with treble humbucking
Bass humbucking with treble singlecoil


Do you learn best with your ears? Check out the demo videos below!

513 Demo

408 Demo

Read the full specs for the 513 here, and the 408 here!