A review of the Core McCarty 594 guitar

Revelation

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Here is my review of the PRS McCarty 594 guitar. I am someone who has played guitar for over 30 years and owns a couple of Gibson and Fender guitars. I’m a blues/rock guitar player who also plays a splash of Larry Carlton Lee Ritenour jazz style. I went with the double cut as I did not want another guitar with the same shape as my Les Paul. I also like the standard PRS body style.

  • The weight and balance of the guitar is very comfortable.
  • The neck seemed a little short compared to my Gibson guitar. However, after playing it for a while, I got used to it quickly and did not find any issues with playing rth or lead. Interesting observation was I found it hard not to smile while I was playing the guitar and hearing the tones it provides. It feels very solid but not too heavy. I like the extra thickness of the body compared to the PRS Custom 24. It is not too light and has some heft to it. However, it’s still lighter and not bottom heavy like my Les Paul. Within 2 days of playing the guitar, it already seemed like part of my body when I played it.
  • The charcoal colored guitar looks amazing and the construction was flawless. There were no issues found on the binding, or anywhere on the guitar.
  • It has access to the higher frets which is very nice. My Les Paul is comfortable to play up to the 17th fret while the McCarty 594 access goes all the way to the 22nd.
  • The neck feels very solid and secure. Its not too large or too skinny…it just feels right.
  • The turning knobs are cream as is the binding on the neck and the blocks around the pickups. This brings a uniform look to the guitar which is really nice. They also feel very soild and adjusting the pitch on a string is smooth.
  • I spent some time A/B my 1989 Gibson Les Paul Custom (LP) and the McCarty 594. The LP has a thicker tone, and the top end sounds not as clear as the McCarty 594. The 594 has a nice sparkle. The articulation in the high notes is clearer and it cuts through better.
  • PRS goal is to have the least subtractive output on their guitars. They studied which metals allowed the strings to vibrate longer and brass was one of the best options. So, they used brass when touching the strings on the tuners and bridge. To improve sustain they also used drier wood which would allow the wood to vibrate more freely. Many people feel older guitars have a better sound (especially acoustics) after they aged for many years due to the wood drying out.
  • Paul had a great relationship with Ted McCarty who worked at Gibson in the early days. He mentored Paul on how they designed the Les Paul, what glues were used, how the frets and nut were installed, how the windings of the pickups were done, and how the body of the guitars made. With this insight, I believe PRS makes the best modern Les Paul type of guitar today. Just as the PRS Silver Sky is one of the best Strat type of guitars made in my opinion. My confidence in the 594 design with McCarty’s name on it is a testament to PRS’s desire to make the best guitars period. The company has not changed hands like Gibson and Fender has done several times over the years. So, the consistency and passion the company has today are from the same people that started the company. Many of their products are made in the USA and the company has provided many jobs in America.
  • The pickups sound wonderful and I would be surprised if someone wanted to actually change them unless they needed a specific sound.
  • PRS’s consistency between a guitar made on a Monday and a Friday is pretty close. Paul and his team focused on trying to get that window smaller so they could provide a product that no matter which one you try; it will be very similar. Many stores have limited quantities due to the effects still of the pandemic. Therefore, I was not able to go to a store, try out several PRS guitars and pick the one I wanted. Thankfully the one I got was just the way I wanted it to be. This consistency is not something that every company does well. I bought a semi hollow guitar that had binding issues and rough frets from a mail order. I returned it and Guitar Center provided another one that was much better. However, it did not resonate like the first one and did not have as much of that open sound as the first one. So even though the quality of the workmanship was much better on the 2nd one, its wood most likely had more moisture it in which have it a little more closed sound. Thankfully the guitar plays and looks great so, for now, I am keeping it
  • When switching to single coil, it actually sounds very good compared to their competition.
  • Colors: PRS provides the traditional colors of cherry/red, or yellow/brown as well as modern conservative and bold colors.
  • The frets are smooth and polished nicely. No rough edges were found anywhere. This allows you to slide into notes with a secure feeling.
  • The hard-shell case is also really nice and I like the tools they added inside to make neck and string height adjustments.
The one downside is guitars of this quality cannot be made inexpensive. So paying over $4,000 for a guitar is not an easy task. Some music stores offer no interest for many months which can make it easier for some to purchase this type of guitar. If you want a less expensive PRS guitar made in America, they also provide the S2 594 which cost thousands less while many of the parts on the guitar are the same or almost the same. This guitar has easily become my favorite guitar that I own and is a joy to play each and every time.

vAcAO3C.jpg
 
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Spot on!

Totally agree with your review. There’s a clarity to the 594 that is missing from many other guitars that are similar on paper. And, yes, the attention to detail it takes to get it doesn’t come cheap! In addition to the inherent clarity of the build, I’ve noticed that pickups have a nice, strong emphasis that doesn’t go away when the tone or volume knobs are rolled down, which is rare.

I think PRS is keeping a real close eye on what makes the best examples of vintage guitars so great (and modern ones less so, by comparison) with the 594 and Silver Sky. It’s kid if opposite things with those two - clarity not just “thickness” on the 594, and low end fullness and having some actual midrange on the SS.
 
I think PRS is keeping a real close eye on what makes the best examples of vintage guitars so great (and modern ones less so, by comparison) with the 594 and Silver Sky. It’s kid if opposite things with those two - clarity not just “thickness” on the 594, and low end fullness and having some actual midrange on the SS.

I've been shying away from even trying a Silver Sky, because after being tempted, I've bought any number of Strats (mainly in the late '80s and '90s), and they just didn't work out.

Maybe I should give the concept another shot at some point, because everyone says the SS is killer, and I love the tone of a good vintage Strat. Problem is, I've never loved the ergonomics or the tone in my hands. Maybe it's me, maybe I was playing the wrong guitars. Beats me!
 
I've been shying away from even trying a Silver Sky, because after being tempted, I've bought any number of Strats (mainly in the late '80s and '90s), and they just didn't work out.

Maybe I should give the concept another shot at some point, because everyone says the SS is killer, and I love the tone of a good vintage Strat. Problem is, I've never loved the ergonomics or the tone in my hands. Maybe it's me, maybe I was playing the wrong guitars. Beats me!
Buying a nice used one has very little downside and will be no loss if it doesn't work for you.
 
I wanted to add one more important about PRS guitars to my review. Unfortunately, this web site won't let me edit my post above. Perhaps someone who maintains the web site can cut and paste this to the above review.

PRS’s consistency between a guitar made on a Monday and a Friday is pretty close. Paul and his team focused on trying to get that window smaller so they could provide a product that no matter which one you try, it will be very similar. Many stores have limited quantities due to the effects still of the pandemic. Therefore, I was not able to go to a store, try out several PRS guitars and pick the one I wanted. Thankfully the one I got was just the way I wanted it to be. This consistency is not something that every company does well. I bought a semi hollow guitar that had binding issues and rough frets from a mail order. I returned it and Guitar Center provided another one that was much better. However, it did not resonate and was not as open sounding as the first one. It has a little more of a closed sound. So even though the quality of the workmanship was much better on the 2nd one, its wood most likely had more moisture it in and had less of an open sound. Thankfully the guitar plays and looks great so, for now, I am keeping it.
 
I don't have enough money to buy this guitar. So I'm looking for 58/15 lt pickups to mount on my Samick semi-hollow guitar. Perhaps the price of pickups is more expensive than the price of guitars.
 
I don't have enough money to buy this guitar. So I'm looking for 58/15 lt pickups to mount on my Samick semi-hollow guitar. Perhaps the price of pickups is more expensive than the price of guitars.
FWIW there are some other very nice PAF style pickups that are very similar to 58/15lt's for much less money than those tend to go for. Also it's more than just the pickups too. I ended up needing money and sold my first 594, but before I did put some thornbuckers in my LP studio. It was surprising how close it got the sound. Everything else not so much, but it worked until I could get another 594. So my advice would be this, get some nice pickups and make sure the Samick is well set up. That will give you a solid guitar to play, while you save up for a 594. Where there's a will there's a way. You can do it.
 
I don't have enough money to buy this guitar. So I'm looking for 58/15 lt pickups to mount on my Samick semi-hollow guitar. Perhaps the price of pickups is more expensive than the price of guitars.
Some people ask crackhead prices for the 58/15lt but the sold price is usually very differnet. With a little patience others ask a fair price in a more normal range. I passed on several decent priced sets before I got mine and have seen several more fairly priced since.

I agree there are other options out there that are as good. No need to be in a hurry or cash out the 401k.
 
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Here is my review of the PRS McCarty 594 guitar. I am someone who has played guitar for over 30 years and owns a couple of Gibson and Fender guitars. I’m a blues/rock guitar player who also plays a splash of Larry Carlton Lee Ritenour jazz style. I went with the double cut as I did not want another guitar with the same shape as my Les Paul. I also like the standard PRS body style.

  • The weight and balance of the guitar is very comfortable.
  • The neck seemed a little short compared to my Gibson guitar. However, after playing it for a while, I got used to it quickly and did not find any issues with playing rth or lead. Interesting observation was I found it hard not to smile while I was playing the guitar and hearing the tones it provides. It feels very solid but not too heavy. I like the extra thickness of the body compared to the PRS Custom 24. It is not too light and has some heft to it. However, it’s still lighter and not bottom heavy like my Les Paul. Within 2 days of playing the guitar, it already seemed like part of my body when I played it.
  • The charcoal colored guitar looks amazing and the construction was flawless. There were no issues found on the binding, or anywhere on the guitar.
  • It has access to the higher frets which is very nice. My Les Paul is comfortable to play up to the 17th fret while the McCarty 594 access goes all the way to the 22nd.
  • The neck feels very solid and secure. Its not too large or too skinny…it just feels right.
  • The turning knobs are cream as is the binding on the neck and the blocks around the pickups. This brings a uniform look to the guitar which is really nice. They also feel very soild and adjusting the pitch on a string is smooth.
  • I spent some time A/B my 1989 Gibson Les Paul Custom (LP) and the McCarty 594. The LP has a thicker tone, and the top end sounds not as clear as the McCarty 594. The 594 has a nice sparkle. The articulation in the high notes is clearer and it cuts through better.
  • PRS goal is to have the least subtractive output on their guitars. They studied which metals allowed the strings to vibrate longer and brass was one of the best options. So, they used brass when touching the strings on the tuners and bridge. To improve sustain they also used drier wood which would allow the wood to vibrate more freely. Many people feel older guitars have a better sound (especially acoustics) after they aged for many years due to the wood drying out.
  • Paul had a great relationship with Ted McCarty who worked at Gibson in the early days. He mentored Paul on how they designed the Les Paul, what glues were used, how the frets and nut were installed, how the windings of the pickups were done, and how the body of the guitars made. With this insight, I believe PRS makes the best modern Les Paul type of guitar today. Just as the PRS Silver Sky is one of the best Strat type of guitars made in my opinion. My confidence in the 594 design with McCarty’s name on it is a testament to PRS’s desire to make the best guitars period. The company has not changed hands like Gibson and Fender has done several times over the years. So, the consistency and passion the company has today are from the same people that started the company. Many of their products are made in the USA and the company has provided many jobs in America.
  • The pickups sound wonderful and I would be surprised if someone wanted to actually change them unless they needed a specific sound.
  • PRS’s consistency between a guitar made on a Monday and a Friday is pretty close. Paul and his team focused on trying to get that window smaller so they could provide a product that no matter which one you try; it will be very similar. Many stores have limited quantities due to the effects still of the pandemic. Therefore, I was not able to go to a store, try out several PRS guitars and pick the one I wanted. Thankfully the one I got was just the way I wanted it to be. This consistency is not something that every company does well. I bought a semi hollow guitar that had binding issues and rough frets from a mail order. I returned it and Guitar Center provided another one that was much better. However, it did not resonate like the first one and did not have as much of that open sound as the first one. So even though the quality of the workmanship was much better on the 2nd one, its wood most likely had more moisture it in which have it a little more closed sound. Thankfully the guitar plays and looks great so, for now, I am keeping it
  • When switching to single coil, it actually sounds very good compared to their competition.
  • Colors: PRS provides the traditional colors of cherry/red, or yellow/brown as well as modern conservative and bold colors.
  • The frets are smooth and polished nicely. No rough edges were found anywhere. This allows you to slide into notes with a secure feeling.
  • The hard-shell case is also really nice and I like the tools they added inside to make neck and string height adjustments.
The one downside is guitars of this quality cannot be made inexpensive. So paying over $4,000 for a guitar is not an easy task. Some music stores offer no interest for many months which can make it easier for some to purchase this type of guitar. If you want a less expensive PRS guitar made in America, they also provide the S2 594 which cost thousands less while many of the parts on the guitar are the same or almost the same. This guitar has easily become my favorite guitar that I own and is a joy to play each and every time.

vAcAO3C.jpg
BEST GUITAR EVER MADE BY ANYONE ANYWHERE IN THE GALAXY.
 
FWIW there are some other very nice PAF style pickups that are very similar to 58/15lt's for much less money than those tend to go for. Also it's more than just the pickups too. I ended up needing money and sold my first 594, but before I did put some thornbuckers in my LP studio. It was surprising how close it got the sound. Everything else not so much, but it worked until I could get another 594. So my advice would be this, get some nice pickups and make sure the Samick is well set up. That will give you a solid guitar to play, while you save up for a 594. Where there's a will there's a way. You can do it.
Thanks for your comments.

I like samick guitars. Samick guitars aren't expensive, but they have personality and sound good. Of course, they don't have the same quality as high-end instruments.

I have several Samick guitars and have tried several pickups, including the Gibson 57 Classic, Gretsch's Broadtron, Stewmac's golden age, etc. with good results.

Perhaps the 58/15 lt will be the final destination in my attempt at a Samick guitar. I was looking for a pickup capable of splitting coils and the 58/15 lt excites my ears. The 58/15 lt are some really good sounding pickups.

I think your opinion is also very wise. If you know of any pickups similar to the 58/15 lt, could you please let me know?

Thank you.
 
Some people ask crackhead prices for the 58/15lt but the sold price is usually very differnet. With a little patience others ask a fair price in a more normal range. I passed on several decent priced sets before I got mine and have seen several more fairly priced since.

I agree there are other options out there that are as good. No need to be in a hurry or cash out the 401k.
Thanks for your comments.

I'm checking the prices of pickups on eBay, Reverb and other channels. As you said, the price range of those pickups seems to be widely distributed.

Since each seller has their own circumstances, they would have set their own prices, but for me, it is often not easy to try.

However, as you said, there are sellers who offer fair prices from my point of view, so I will be able to wait happily. You seem like a pretty reasonable scientist.

Thank you.
 
Thanks for your comments.

I like samick guitars. Samick guitars aren't expensive, but they have personality and sound good. Of course, they don't have the same quality as high-end instruments.

I have several Samick guitars and have tried several pickups, including the Gibson 57 Classic, Gretsch's Broadtron, Stewmac's golden age, etc. with good results.

Perhaps the 58/15 lt will be the final destination in my attempt at a Samick guitar. I was looking for a pickup capable of splitting coils and the 58/15 lt excites my ears. The 58/15 lt are some really good sounding pickups.

I think your opinion is also very wise. If you know of any pickups similar to the 58/15 lt, could you please let me know?

Thank you.
Well the thornbuckers are a good choice if you want the brighter paf style humbuckers. Imo they had just a smidge more top end, and not quite as thick in the low mids as the 58/15lt’s.

Now I will admit they don’t split as well for sure. So I actually set mine up to do series/parallel. That imo actually works really well. It’s definitely more of a single coil sound, but no hum. You can also add a resistor for split mode. That should help. I never tried that. But I think PRS actually does that on some of their split setups.

But imo, you won’t be truly happy until you get a 594. I basically just went through this. I bought 4-5 really great guitars. But they weren’t a 594. Then I found a stupid good deal on a artist sc594. I have barely looked at reverb/eBay since I got it. Until you get what you want, nothing else will truly satisfy. Just my .02.
 
I've been shying away from even trying a Silver Sky, because after being tempted, I've bought any number of Strats (mainly in the late '80s and '90s), and they just didn't work out.

Maybe I should give the concept another shot at some point, because everyone says the SS is killer, and I love the tone of a good vintage Strat. Problem is, I've never loved the ergonomics or the tone in my hands. Maybe it's me, maybe I was playing the wrong guitars. Beats me!

I'd never discourage anyone from giving any guitar a try, and I'm certainly not going to do that in this case. You should definitely give one a go. Just be aware that it may get you in trouble. That's what happened to me.

Very short version, my local store was having a PRS day, and the PRS rep was bringing a Silver Sky. @BeerBatteredPhish had expressed a strong interest in it. I just wanted to play it to see what the interwebz hate was all about. Short version, we were both pretty blown away. We were getting huge bends w/no fretting out. The pickups were reminding me of what I love about single coil sounds but could never get. He kept having me switch to the middle pickup, then he'd shake his head and say, "The middle is not supposed to sound that good. It's just not." In the end, he didn't buy it, but I did. I thought we passed the guitar back and forth for 15-20 minutes. He said the PRS rep told him we played it for about an hour, and that we were the only people who went into any real depth with it.

It's not my #1 - I'm a humbucker guy, and I've got several killer humbucker guitars - but the Silver Sky has sat in a guitar stand at the side of my desk for over a year now. It's the only guitar that hasn't moved out of that spot. It's just a fun guitar to pick up and play, and the couple of backing tracks I have that call for a Strat-type sound (like "Watermelon In Easter Hay") are more fun to play with it.
 
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