1 piece tops: What’s the attraction?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by 11top, May 19, 2019.

  1. Goldfixer

    Goldfixer Is it football season yet?

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    I've never been keen to one piece tops. They generally have grain that goes at an angle from the bridge/pickups, and it looks unbalanced to my eye. That said, I just bought a one piece top P22 that I really like. The pattern goes straight across the body. Since I'm on my soapbox, I don't like reverse chevron 2 piece tops either, just looks weird .
     
  2. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    This whole fixation with tops is interesting. I read an interview done a long time ago with Ted McCarty, who mentioned that when he got to Gibson, he learned that even in the ‘50s, players were very fussy about the grain on the guitar backs (this was for jazz boxes that generally came with spruce tops).

    And looking at examples of very old violins, apparently 17th Century customers were concerned that the backs of the fiddles be “fiddleback” maple (hence the name). I’d guess it was part of customer demand, even then.

    As for me, I love a beautiful guitar, but my main preference relates to tone; there’s a certain thing I listen for, and if a guitar has it, I’ll get all juiced up over the guitar.

    I know, you want both things! Can’t blame you. But sometimes there’s a legit sonic choice. I gotta go with ears over eyeballs.
     
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  3. Mozzi

    Mozzi https://imgur.com/user/BAMozzy

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    I know I am particular to a degree and I have been very open about the fact that I couldn't car less about how great certain guitars are if they don't do it for me visually - and I am not just referring to grain either but colour. If a blue 594 is tonally better than my Fire Red Burst 594, there is NO way I will swap. There is also the 'ignorance is bliss' mentality with me because I won't even try the blue 594 and so won't know how much better, if it actually is better - to me its 'worse' because it doesn't do it for me visually. If there are 5 Red 594's, I would pick the one that I like best, I connect with most.

    Connecting with an instrument for me isn't 'just' tonal but I also have to have a visual connection too. I won't necessarily go for the one with the 'best' grain if I have the choice of 5 594's but I do need to connect visually. Its that visual connection that will pull me in to wanting to try that instrument, to want to pick it up and play in the first place and I couldn't care less if a blue, a relic or 'ugly' guitar in the corner is the 'best' in the shop, I will not want to pick it up and try it so I leave the shop with the 'best' guitar of the guitars I tried. Because I don't try guitars that don't appeal visually, I don't feel like I have missed out. I feel like I left the store with the best guitar.

    I don't feel that any of my PRS guitars are sub-standard, not the 'best' they could be - but I certainly haven't tried every 594 to see if others can beat it. I am sure that some/all will have micro-tonal differences as you would expect but for me, I do need to connect visually first and if I don't like the colour or style, I cannot bond with that instrument. Nothing would make me want to pick it up, want to play it - whether that's right or wrong, I don't care but the visual appeal matters to me and its one aspect that a guitar has to have - along with tone and playability.
     
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  4. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    First of all, you, sir, have an absolutely gorgeous set of guitars that anyone would be proud to own. And I have yet to hear a PRS that’s a slouch in any category. So I’m with ya! I’m sure your guitars all sound extremely good. More power your way..

    I kinda think there’s a little bit of unusual tone magic to a few guitars. I don’t know if all of mine would have that for someone else, but they do for me. Nonetheless, there’s nothing wrong with wanting both! And as I’ve often said, I’m kind of a sucker for a cute one.

    The great thing about PRS, however, is that they’re uniformly damn good guitars, and I’ve never personally played a bad sounding one, as I have with other brands. Doesn’t mean they don’t exist, just that I’ve never come across one.

    So yes, I totally understand, and I don’t disagree with your points. I may be a little pickier tonally, but then, I feel I have to be, given my occupation. I will sacrifice looks for that special tone. Fortunately, PRS is making awesome guitars. I think it’s easier today than it’s ever been to pick a winner.

    Two thumbs up to your post. And I suppose, two big toes. That’s all I got! ;)
     
    #104 LSchefman, Jul 12, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
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  5. 11top

    11top Cousin Eddie's cousin

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    Post a picture of your northern lights top so I can see how good it sounds.
     
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  6. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    If you’re interested in how it sounds, I’ve posted clips already.

    https://soundcloud.com/lschefman/ps-20-hxda

    Which, you know, is more than I can say for SOME people with mega PRS collections! ;)

    I should really have it turned into a gold top.
     
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  7. 11top

    11top Cousin Eddie's cousin

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    [​IMG]
     
  8. 11top

    11top Cousin Eddie's cousin

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    [​IMG]
     
  9. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    Aw. Not really.
     
  10. Mozzi

    Mozzi https://imgur.com/user/BAMozzy

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    First of all, thank-you. I know its not the largest or the most diverse in terms of colour or indeed body-shape, but I am more than happy with it which is the most important.

    I am sure this phenomenon exists - I remember watching Rob Chapman and Lee Anderton discussing Robs Wood Library 594 he bought for his 'son'. Lee said that no-one else made that guitar 'sound' inc Rabea like it did with Rob, as if that guitar was meant to be his. Why this maybe, who knows but this isn't the first I had heard of this and doubt it will be the last either...

    I don't honestly know if I have the 'best' Fire Red (or Charcoal Cherry in the case of my Special) as far as that extra 'special' thing that seems some people find with a certain guitar and, to a degree, I don't care either.

    And this is the reason why I don't really care. I could spend the rest of my life looking for that 1 Fire Red 594 that really speaks to me and probably only me or I could buy the one that I did when the money was available to buy that guitar and be enjoying its quality ever since, reaping the benefits now. I know that PRS are so consistent, its obvious to anyone who walks into a shop and plays all the 594 double cuts through the same amp and same settings - yes there will be very slight differences but in general the will all be virtually identical - identical enough to pick the one you like the look of best.

    Its not like wanting a Cherry Sunburst Single Cut but the one in the shop sounds 'meh' and has more cosmetic fit and finishing issues so you either buy the tobacco burst that has barely any grain in the top and the brown has been sprayed too thick that they may as well of sprayed the whole thing but that was the one that sounded best. If you did go for that one, you may want to fill that gap in the neck pocket in or use it as a pick holder...

    The fact that five 594's in a shop all feel remarkably similar (small variation in weight), play the same with no fit/finish issues and, in the shop all sound very similar too, even if you go to the next shop and try 5 more, they are all in the same ballpark that you can literally pick the one you want - whether that's colour, grain pattern, weight or whatever criteria that helps you decide which of the 10 you want to take home and don't feel that you are compromising on anything. By me buying 'red' for example, I am not compromising on build, playability and even tone because those small differences on a shop aren't an issue when you get it home, plug it into your rig and tweak any settings specifically for your new guitar. PRS are one of the few brands where you can pick on 'trivial' matters - like colour - without worrying about whether other guitars were vastly superior. or have better build quality.

    So do you find enough of a difference between PRS guitars that 'tone' is clearly better? I can understand if you may prefer some microtonal difference over another as it would be incredibly difficult to build two guitars that sound exactly the same - especially with natural materials. I am referring to 'core' guitars rather than wood library or Private Stock which no doubt use different woods. Is it case of this one is fractionally preferred over that one or do you notice a 'big' difference than can actually be quantified? Have you ever been in a position where you couldn't pick on tone alone and just picked the one you liked the look of best?

    Its an interesting thing to consider, the reason we picked a certain guitar and even whether or not psychological factors play into that too. Do I think the Red Guitars I have for example are the best or at least on a par with others because I want a red guitar? Not just me, but I wonder if others have psychological factors playing into their guitar buying or even selling. Maybe wanted a Red guitar but had to pick green as that was all they had in stock, does that influence the way they hear that guitar?

    Paul wasn't stupid when he made his guitars stand out, look amazing with the bright (but not neon) colours, amazing flame etc. He knew that when you walk into a shop, the aesthetics is what draw you in, make you want to pick it up and play over any of the others. I know that if its not backed up by great quality, playability/feel and great tone, you will move on to the next guitar that caught your eye but visual appeal is still an important aspect. I guess though if you are buying PRS, they are generally all stunning so its not like you have to settle with an 'ugly' PRS and even less so if you have no particular favourite colour or perhaps more importantly, no dislike of any colour.

    It would still be an interesting experiment to see how many people think a certain colour of guitar is the best sounding to them. A room of fairly evenly matched flame top 594's (for example) in various colours and see which people think the guitar that is the best sounding also happens to be the one that is their favourite colour. See how much colour really plays in deciding which guitar sounds 'best' to them.
     
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  11. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    I wouldn’t say I’ve found guitars that were necessarily better, just that the differences in some are more appealing to my ear. As you say, they’re probably minor tone differences where I’ll say, “This one sounds more vintage.” Etc. I kinda go for that woody tone and sustain, and when I find that I’m all excited and think it’s magic. But magic for me could be a dog for someone else who’s into a different tone or style of music.

    My current non-WL or PS Core is the 594 Soapbar. I really got a lucky strike with that one, but my dealer particularly recommended it knowing what I like after many years of working together on picking guitars, and he was right.

    Could the difference be quantified? I would guess that using a real-time analyzer the differences would show up. I’ve never compared two of the same model that way, so I’m speculating.

    I have indeed picked with my eyeballs, and later realized a guitar wasn’t quite what I wanted, sold it and bought a different one of the same model. Of course my butt gets kicked in those cases, and I can just hear my wife asking “how much of a hit did you take on this one” as I pack the guitar for shipment. ;)

    I’ve also had a few eyeball picks that worked out perfectly! Happy days, huh?
     
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  12. ElrytNamrogo

    ElrytNamrogo My name be scrambled

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    Very true! Such a classic look!
     

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