10 Top vs. Artist

krb813

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What is the difference in a 10 Top and Artist Top? if I got that right?

Thanks
 

LSchefman

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The tops are subjectively chosen to be 10 or Artist, or Private Stock, for that matter.

There are criteria for each, but ultimately it's a judgment call.

I've often bought Artist models because it's hard for me to resist the pretty package, and lately that includes neck and fingerboard options that don't exist for the regular models, but the top itself isn't a game changer in terms of tone.

The Private Stock models have their own thing going on, that goes beyond the usual stuff and includes things that can change the tone, but that's its own kettle of fish (that I happen to also get fried in from time to time).
 

Whitecat

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The grading system goes thusly, as I understand it -

Opaque - "Custom" (what we know as a 'regular' figured top) - 10 - Artist - Private Stock - Collection

There is some conjecture out there that 'Wood Library' tops actually fall somewhere in between Artist and Private Stock, does anyone know how exactly that works? When a dealer does a short Wood Library run, they obviously don't have the absolute "run" of the private stash - does PRS have some stuff set aside that they can choose from, maybe?

Lately Wood Library runs in the UK have been getting '10' designations on the headstock as well which is adding to the confusion, there's no real "explainer" anywhere for how that program works exactly.

Yes, it's subjective in a lot of cases, and I've seen 10-tops that are as good or better than many Artist tops in my opinion... - and I've even seen some Private Stock tops that I just think are a bit boring and could have just as easily been an Artist top.

This applies only to cut, not finished tops, but they say that grading tops by eye is something that you either can do or you can't, and that "if you have to look twice" at a slab of wood to decide the grade then the grade should always be the lower of the two possibilities you were thinking about. :)
 

sergiodeblanc

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I don't think I've ever held a Private Stock... I've played "hot potato" with a ME before.

EDIT: No! I have, but it was an acoustic. I forgot.
 
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goat-n-gitter

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My new "Wood Library" 30th anni. CU24 is labeled 10 on the headstock. I wondered about this as well. Is there even still an actual "wood library", or does the dealer just get to rummage through everything except "the vault" in search of tops they like?
I also have wondered about some of the criteria - as mentioned above some artist or even PS tops don't look all that spectacular, while some 10 or even non-10 look amazing. Perhaps uniformity, as in perfect straight flame stripes vs wavy and inconsistent (but more pronounced)?

Tom
 

Whitecat

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My new "Wood Library" 30th anni. CU24 is labeled 10 on the headstock. I wondered about this as well. Is there even still an actual "wood library", or does the dealer just get to rummage through everything except "the vault" in search of tops they like?
I also have wondered about some of the criteria - as mentioned above some artist or even PS tops don't look all that spectacular, while some 10 or even non-10 look amazing. Perhaps uniformity, as in perfect straight flame stripes vs wavy and inconsistent (but more pronounced)?

Pure speculation but it seems to me that with these guitars they do choose tops from the available 10-tops, they can pick the ones they like best, but the neck/fretboard do/must come from the Wood Library (it does still exist AFAIK, its the Private Stock stash) - they don't even use those woods in Artist Packs let alone Core models. And then perhaps there are instruments where only the top comes from the WL but the other woods come from the Core supply room? It seems to me that these WL guitars, being half to a third of the price of a PS build maybe can't be 100% PS materials, but can partially be and that's the USP. It's a bit, uh, opaque.

Theory number two is that the tops ARE from the WL but are maybe the "B-grade" Private Stock tops (heh), and because the WL grows over time PRS feels the need to 'thin out the herd a little' and these WL runs allow them to do that. So they pick out the "worst" of the PS stash to allow dealers to pick from. Which is to say, it's still exceptional. Maybe the '10' is simply added to differentiate it as a regular Core model and not a custom Artist Pack.

As far as your second point, tops change too when they are carved and sanded... sometimes they change the grade afterwards, but not always. So one that might have looked spectacular as a blank might be less so in finished form, because there's no way to know exactly how far down some of that figure goes. In addition, some colours seem to amplify or even subdue figure more than others. Otherwise I think there's just some subjectivity about consistency of figure, what looks "good" and the fact that the graders "just know."
 
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LSchefman

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as mentioned above some artist or even PS tops don't look all that spectacular, while some 10 or even non-10 look amazing.

As the old saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It's all very subjective, from grading them, to buying them. One person's idea of spectacular can be another person's idea of unattractive.

However, that's not a bad thing, variety makes life interesting! I'm actually glad for the variety and slight unpredictability.
 

vchizzle

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As the old saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It's all very subjective, from grading them, to buying them. One person's idea of spectacular can be another person's idea of unattractive.

However, that's not a bad thing, variety makes life interesting! I'm actually glad for the variety and slight unpredictability.
Says the guy who wears a plain black t-shirt every day. :laugh: I keed, I keed, Les! :wink::hello:
 

nflea7

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I had a 06 Artist and now have a 13 10 top both quilt. Personally I think my 13 10 top is artist grade level and is overall nicer than the 06 artist. I could make an argument for the 13 based on color finish uniformity and how evenly matched the 2pc top is. I'm sure something has to do with how the grains match if its a 2pc top that separate 10's from artist. I'd imagine they have a special finishing process for the private stock guitars to make the finish "pop" more than a 10 or artist.
 

justmund

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tabl10s

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Pure speculation but it seems to me that with these guitars they do choose tops from the available 10-tops, they can pick the ones they like best, but the neck/fretboard do/must come from the Wood Library (it does still exist AFAIK, its the Private Stock stash) - they don't even use those woods in Artist Packs let alone Core models. And then perhaps there are instruments where only the top comes from the WL but the other woods come from the Core supply room? It seems to me that these WL guitars, being half to a third of the price of a PS build maybe can't be 100% PS materials, but can partially be and that's the USP. It's a bit, uh, opaque.

Theory number two is that the tops ARE from the WL but are maybe the "B-grade" Private Stock tops (heh), and because the WL grows over time PRS feels the need to 'thin out the herd a little' and these WL runs allow them to do that. So they pick out the "worst" of the PS stash to allow dealers to pick from. Which is to say, it's still exceptional. Maybe the '10' is simply added to differentiate it as a regular Core model and not a custom Artist Pack.

As far as your second point, tops change too when they are carved and sanded... sometimes they change the grade afterwards, but not always. So one that might have looked spectacular as a blank might be less so in finished form, because there's no way to know exactly how far down some of that figure goes. In addition, some colours seem to amplify or even subdue figure more than others. Otherwise I think there's just some subjectivity about consistency of figure, what looks "good" and the fact that the graders "just know."

My WL McRosie doesn't have a "10" on it. I think it's because the top is more of a non-10 on the neck side, but would definitely qualify towards the rear.
 
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