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Discussion in 'Electric Instruments' started by P90s, Feb 13, 2017.
Would love to hear feedback on what you like about each, and how they compare. Thanks!
Yes, I have a PS509 and a PS513 with practically the same wood. Both are maple necked monsters with slightly different fretboard woods, Brazzy vs. Kingwood. And, both of them are hand-wired though the 513 PS's is a little more creative than the average 513.
When you ask about how they compare, it becomes a loaded subject. I still love both of them for different reasons, but the fact that the 509 has replaced the 513 for the time being is a sore spot for many. The truth is that they are different instruments that only look similar. Yes, they both have a similar strat like coo on the neck pick up and a similar brightness. But, there is a definite difference in the pick ups as the 509 is clearly more articulate with more rounded highs. The voicings of the singlecoils are also closer to strat territory on the neck and tele on the bridge, and it twangs a bit. And, there is no drop in volume between single coil and humbucking modes that one would see on a 513, because the 509 is actually hybrid of a 408 and a 513. So, it's coil stealing like a 408. BUT and this is a big but, gone are the modern humbucking tones that 513 people love-- that semi-muddy, almost untameable thick goodness. The 509's humbucker tones are closer to the clear humbucking mode in the 513 and even that has more of a vintage flavor. I am not really a fan of the pattern regular neck on the 509 and still would prefer that PRS went back to the original 513 carve neck which was slightly narrower and deeper than a pattern neck, but that feature and the modern bird inlays that made the 513 more unique vanished with the 25th Anniversary 513.
I suspect that the 509 production models are bit different. They'll be less bright with more harmonic bloom than the PS which is a characteristic of a mahogany neck, but I suspect they still have the characteristic rounded highs. They'll also have less sustain and might sound a touch thinner due to the fact that the Gen III trem doesn't have the locking saddles that are on the PS. That's not a bad thing necessarily, because the locking saddles make it a little bit of a pain to change strings and are not captive which makes them likely to go missing at some point.
Then, there is hand-wired vs. not hand-wired. The 509's all are, and some of the 513's are. The PC board in the 513 that was used to streamline electronics assembly makes it less open sounding especially the oldest ones. If I recall correctly, the last couple of 513's off the line were hand-wired.
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I want to add a detail that as of introduction of production line 2014 513 got hand wiring instead of PCB.
Thanks for this great reply! I have two issues I'm hoping to address. My 513 is one of the early versions with the BRW neck and fretboard but - remarkably - the high register notes are piercing. Not in a good way. If I adjust guitar/amp tone settings, I lose the great definition of the mid and lower range notes. From your description, it sounds like the new pick-ups will give a more rounded-tone, which would be great. And I'd go for a Hog neck. I'm also tempted to do a PS and request a 25" scale neck; that is my favorite PRS scale length, and hope that the loss of a 1/4" of length wouldn't have TOO much of an impact on the tone. What are your thoughts?
The 509 doesn't have the piercing tones. I have found that I don't have to knock down the treble and turn up the presence that I usually do when playing some 513's. I usually use Curt Mangan strings on the 513's to broaden the tone, so it's less shrill.
Changing the scale length probably has less effect than the wood. It does push the tone toward less clarity, so I have read. I think you'd be able to compensate a bit with an ebony fretboard instead of rosewood. That will pop up the attack a bit.
I had the opportunity testing four 513s awhile ago: A 513 RW, a 513 MT from 2011 with PCB, a 513 MT from 2011 with hand-wiring instead of PCB and a 513 MT from 2013 with 513.
The adjustments of action or else have been individually, but in their unplugged behaviour the MTs sounded equal, the RW sounded less bright in the high ends, but more balanced.
Amped - Mark V - there have been more differences to hear. The 2013 was very harsh, the 2011 PCB was little dully, the 2011 hand-wiring and the RW were sounding the balanced way.
Strings and pickup heights adjustment are the first points of interest to take care of.
I'm little sceptical regarding improvements of pickups. Industry seeks to prevent of extra costs. Once being built industry keeps products. I know a lot of PRS guys that are annoyed by the outlook of the pickups mounted on 513, 509, 305, because they could not be changed to other brand's stock pickups in an easy manner. That being said, guitar-industry adjusts their pickups by electrical parts setting resistance and capacities by potis and so on.
But in order to stay relevant, models often under go changes during their lifetime. PRS pick ups have changed quite a bit through out the years, from the original T&B's through the McCarty's and Archtops and RP's through the 5808 and 5909 and back to 85/15. A lot of PRS guys swear that the 58, 59, and 53 wound from vintage wire sounds superior to the previous pick up generation. Is it real or snake oil?
What the 509 sounds like is that the pick ups were wound from that wire, but the only thing I know for sure is that the release of the GOTM version was held back because they weren't satisfied with the voicing.