A 2024 return from MA Pete - Quadruple NGD with a plot twist on the scale length...

Greetings, all!

I took about a 3 year hiatus here, and from guitar playing altogether.

My younger brother passed away about 3 years ago from Colon Cancer, and it was the most traumatic thing I have ever gone through - we were very close. He didn't have anything to do directly with my love for playing guitar, directly. But the process of grieving just completely broke the part of me that plays music, and even that actively listens to music, it was like part of my soul was broken, missing or not accessible. I can count the times on two hands that I tried playing guitar and tried actively listening to music, during those three years. Every attempt to do so for playing or listening just didn't all work and/or was unpleasant.

As my friend Bodia reported previously, after my brother passed I had sold almost all of my guitar and amp collection and got back into sports cars and joined a Race Track Country Club, and bought a dedicated Track Car for that. (Both the street car and race car are Porsche Caymans of some sort.) That has been great fun and a great outlet for my time and energy for a hobby.

It has been about 3.5 years since I posted here, in mid 2020 I went down a Collings/Huber path for a while before my brother passed and I stopped playing.

Something changed in me a couple of weeks ago, I was able to listen to music much more easily, and then when I tried to play guitar again, that felt okay too - except I had forgotten just about everything I knew how to play, LOL. (But that has been coming back over time.) It was like someone flicked a switch, and that part of me was okay again.

I was very excited to get back into it, both listening and playing. I went down to the Chicago Music Exchange (December 23rd) and traded my two guitars that remained (a Knaggs Kenai Singlecut and a PRS Silver Sky) for two other guitars, a Private Stock Custom 24 and a Myles Kennedy Signature. After extensive playing of many guitars there, I determined that this time around I wanted to focus on 25" PRS Guitars, not at all the Shorter Scale 594's, which I was previously smitten by and known for (and for the 245's before that). The 25" scale felt very "right" to me, and the 594 scale felt uncomfortably short. That might have had something to do with the fact that I had previously gone down that Collings and Huber path previously, I had gotten used to the 24 7/8 and 25 scales of those guitars, and also I had a 25" McCarty that I really loved, at the tail end of my 594 lovefest. Over time "back in the day" I did favor the 245s and 594s, and that dominated the the bulk of the over 100 PRS Guitars I owned from 2008 to 2020, but I did also own (and gig) many 25" PRS Guitars along the way as well.

As I previously mentioned here years ago, I am very sensitive to both scale length, and also nut width and the resulting string spacing. In fact I think that I am most sensitive to the nut width and string spacing, and then scale length. I don't like to hop back and forth between significant differences in either.

(Please ignore the 25.5" Myles Kennedy Sig Guitar, that was really just an impulse buy because I love Alter Bridge and Myles Kennedy. It is cool, but it won't be one of my main guitars.)

From there I sought out two more 25" PRS Guitars, a 25" McCarty and a Tremonti Stoptail. I am not big on Signature Guitar models usually, but I do love Alter Bridge and Mark Tremonti. But actually more so I love PRS Singlecuts, and this time around I wanted to go 25" scale - so for a new Core guitar that is the only option.

One thing I am very pleasantly surprised by is that as long as the scale length and nut width (and resulting string spacing) is the same, I don't at all seem to mind the difference between the Pattern Neck of the McCarty and the Pattern Thin of the Custom 24 or the Tremonti. If fact, I really like the necks on the Custom 24 and the Tremonti, I barely even seem to notice the difference. I used to have it in my head that I didn't like Wide Thin / Pattern Thin Neck Carves, I am glad that I am changing my thinking on that, that really opens up a lot more 25" PRS options.

I also got a (new) Tremonti Trem Standard, just to have a practice guitar to beat up at my computer table. It was discounted to $500 and change. I also snagged an MT15 Amp for fun, to round out the Alter Bridge Signature fun. My Main Amp is still my 100W Metropolous Superplex (has been since 2017), plugged into an Ox Box to use through headphones or through my beloved vintage Marshall 4x12, which used to be JD Simo's main Marshall Cab for touring and recording, for many years. (I am curious about the new HDRX Amps, as I did love my HX/DAs. All in due time.)


But I consider the Custom 24, the Tremonti and the 25" McCarty to be the 3 main guitars to jump back into it with.


I will expand here with more thoughts on these new acquisitions.

It is nice to be back here! I had some fun over the last couple of weeks catching up on some threads here, particularly the epic PSF thread. :)
So very sorry about your brother.
Very glad your music none is healing. The guitar can be excellent therapy, and pain can sometimes bring out music we never knew we had.
Welcome back! I have wondered a few times over the past few years where you had gotten off to. I remember seeing posts on the Huber journey. I remember many posts of new private stock guitars. You had some really nice instruments built over the years. Looking forward to seeing your journey. I have been trying to pull myself out of a funk with playing too. I bought a new guitar in November and that has helped a little but I need to find a way to really ignite it this year if I can. I am not exactly sure what has caused my lack of interest but shaking it is taking some effort.
Wow, thank you everyone for the kind welcome back, and condolences!

It was very heartwarming to see these responses, and all the familiar names - and some new ones too.

Yes, I need to change my Avatar and phrase below it - I will work on that. ;)

I mentioned that "this time around" that things seemed a bit different for me, in that I was focused on the scale length and the the nut width and string spacing, but not as much the neck carve, allowing me to really enjoy the range of the Custom 24, the McCarty and the Tremonti. And everything feels consistent and familiar with doing so.

Another thing that is new for me this time around is that before when I got focused in on the Ted 245's and later the 594's, I became a "binding snob". I felt like I wanted all of my guitars needed to have neck binding. This time around, I don't seem to care at all - I don't at all mind that the Custom 24 and the Tremonti don't have Neck Binding. In fact, I find those two to be quite beautiful to look down at, seeing both the grain in the back up against the side of the Rosewood Fretboards, they are both really terrific in that regard. That is good that I don't seem to mind that this time around - because my options are much more limited in a 25" scale, just the McCarty has binding, pretty much the rest don't.

The other big thing I think about between these three guitar models is the geometry of them. All three are very different from a standpoint of the geometry of the body versus the neck, particularly when standing up and playing with a strap, which was crucial for me when playing out in a band quite a bit from 2009-2015, but not as much so now, as I am just enjoying playing at home. I don't think I will seek another band opportunity (at least for the foreseeable future in the near term, maybe a few years down the road) - it is too much of an investment in time, that I can't give right now with work and travel for work, and the race track hobby 7 months a year.

There is a continuum of how far the neck is away from the body of the guitar, how far out your left hand goes relative to the body of the guitar. It goes like this:

McCarty (shortest) -> Tremonti (in between) -> Custom 24 (furthest out)

That was also the case over my years of switching from DC 245's, 594's, 25" Scale 22 Fretters and Custom 24's, but it gets more muddied in my perception when you start mixing in a scale length difference as well. With the scale length the same, that geometry difference is what I experience the most between the 3.

I have owned Custom 24's before, not too many, but enough to experience that difference. I did have a special Custom 24 Private Stock that I gigged twice in 2012 (including my most epic gig at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that year!). It was a special lightweight model with an Obeche back, it weighed like 6 pounds, which helped me with a bad back I was struggling with at the time. But I did feel like the left hand was too far out from the body relative to a 22 fret PRS (in 245 or 25" scale length) and after the RORHOF gig was done, I had the guitar touched up at PRS and sold it. And after that I don't think I ever owned a Custom 24 again.

In general, I normally wouldn't think of or buy a Custom 24, or at least I wouldn't have thought I would have. Standing up with a strap, I greatly prefer a 25" 22 fretter or an SC over a Custom 24, due solely to that feeling of the left hand being way out there. It is much less significant when you are sitting down on a guitar stool, you can sort of lean a certain way that helps the left hand not feel so far out there. Of course the upper fret access is best on a Custom 24, that is to tradeoff, at least to me. In my band I did occasional solos, but I was more the rhythm player than the lead player, so the compact nature of a shorter DC 245/594 or 25" 22 Fret PRS always felt better for me.

Hypothetically if I were to grab one of these guitars for a gig, it would be the McCarty, no question. But playing the three of them at home here, it is actually my third favorite of the three, shockingly. Not by much, all three are amazing, I am very happy with all three of them for getting back into it here.

There is a cool story with regards to how I ended up with a Custom 24 for the first one, which I will share shortly - I need to take some more pictures of it to include with the story. :)
Pete, it's great to hear that you're back to playing. I am truly sorry for your loss. Can't wait to see what rabbit hole your newest journey takes all of us on! That Cu24 looks fantastic, and I really love the classic look of that McCarty! You grabbed the MT-15, but what we really want to know is if you will take on an MT-100????

Welcome back!!!
I'm glad you're here, Pete - your journey has always been fun to read about and very interesting. Also sorry about your loss.

The new guitars are hot!

Your string spacing issue is something I share as of late; iIn the past I had no issues going back and forth between anything I played. Now going from my electrics to my acoustic with its 1 3/4" nut width has become quite the transition, and it takes me a while to get comfortable. I have to warm up after I switch for a good 20 minutes to a half hour these days.

If the guitar didn't sound so stellar, I'd get one with a narrower nut width, but it doesn't seem worth taking the possible tone and financial hit - I don't play that much acoustic guitar.

Of course, that in itself might be one reason the transition is more difficult!
Welcome back Sir.

Sorry to hear about your brother, hard pill to swallow.

Life can change in the blink of an eye and I think about that a lot. It has made me realize that if people mean a lot to you then say it.

I want the people that are important to me to know that. I told my youngest son that when I'm gone I don't want him to wonder how I felt about him. Kind of brings me some peace of mind I guess.

Anyway, welcome back and enjoy your journey.
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So there seems to be a lot of comments about the Private Stock Custom 24 - so I better share the story and details of that! :)

On Saturday, December 23rd, I set out for the Chicago Music Exchange to trade in my 2 remaining guitars (a Knaggs Kenai and a PRS Silver Sky) for a guitar or two to focus on getting back into playing. That was only a couple of days after I picked up the Knaggs for the first time in 6 months or so, and I was pleasantly surprised that for the first time in three years it felt good and was fun again.

I got there and I chatted for a while with David and also Jason (who is sort of the PRS Specialist there), while waiting for the room there that the MT15 was already set up in to become available. We started pulling out guitars for me to try, a gorgeous DC 594 Private Stock, a different Custom 24 Private stock with a nice brown finish, and I was going to move on from there and try out some Core guitars, DC and SC 594's and some 25" McCarty's (which I never got to).

Jason suggested playing the Laguna Glow PS Custom 24, he said it just came in the previous week or so, and it was pretty special. I said it really wasn't my cup of tea, with the weird looking Burl top and the flashy Laguna Glow finish and bright colored Birds. He pushed me a little, saying "okay, I hear you, but you should check it out". So we pulled it down from the top row, and I played it acoustically. It did indeed ring and resonate in a special way, so I said, "okay, I will try it".

So I went into the room and started playing, focusing on the PS DC 594 and the other more vintage finished maple topped PS Custom 24. They were both really great. I didn't connect with the scale length of the DC 594, I preferred the 25" scale length of the Custom 24. David A came into the demo room to check on me, and I played both the DC 594 and the other Custom 24 for him. We agreed they were both great. The Custom 24 had a Maple Neck and an Ebony Board, and while it played and sounded great, there was something about the tone that was a little off. I have not at all done well in the past in straying from the "traditional" wood formula of Mahogany Body and Neck and Rosewood Fingerboard. Many many times I have bought guitars that had Korina Bodies and/or Necks, Maple and Rosewood Necks on PRS Wood Library and Private Stock guitars, and initially really liked them because they were a little different in a refreshing way, but almost always I grew tired of them in the not too distant future because they didn't have that tone in my head.

So then David asked "did you try the Laguna one yet"? I said no, and plugged it in. We were talking, and I hit a few open chords with a decent amount of gain, and we both stopped in mid sentence in disbelief and surprise on how good this guitar sounded, it was on another level compared to the other two. It sounded MASSIVE! How on earth that skinny bodied Custom 24 can sound like this, it was a crazy moment. I went on to play some rock riffs (Joe Bonamassa's version of Just Got Paid, which I played for years in my band, so I hadn't forgotten it) and some lead noodling, and it just sounded amazing at everything. It was quite a special experience to share with another guitar guy, I don't think I will ever forget it.

I ended up buying it on the spot, and throwing in the MT15 for good measure. Also I did check out the MK Sig and bought that too, sort of as an afterthought. I decided to just get the Custom 24 as far as the traditional 25" PRS Guitars, and not spend the time to check out more Core guitars, I was kind of mentally exhausted by then, and smitten with the Custom 24.

So that is the story of the Custom 24. I had seen it on the website prior to showing up, and it didn't make the shortlist to check out. When I arrived, I didn't love it hanging on the wall, and didn't want to check it out. I told Jason there that I owed him big time for pushing me to check it out.

Also of note, like 10 minutes after I committed to buying it, before I had paid, someone called and said they wanted to buy it, right at that moment - like take my credit card now and ship it to me today. Had I showed up later in the day, or if the room was not available when I first got there (which is what caused me to chat with David and Jason), I wouldn't have played it, and it would have been sold.

That all made it clear to me that it was "meant to be" for that special guitar to make it into my hands, just a couple of days after the "magic" coming back for me for playing guitar after three years off. It also changed my perspective a bit on the importance of going to a place in person to play guitars a see what speaks to you, versus shopping on the internet and hoping for the best.

Also cool that it was December 23rd. Merry Christmas to me! Ha-ha. ;)

Pics and more on the guitar shortly. The background story needed to be told first...