Brazilian Rosewood Necks - Tones? (Context - For a DC 594)

Discussion in 'Electric Instruments' started by MA Pete, Feb 27, 2020.

  1. MA Pete

    MA Pete SC 594 Addict

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    Hi guys!

    Some interesting threads and comments here recently on Rosewood necks - for instance the Holy Grail thread, and the newer Quatro thread below.

    I have owned many Rosewood Necked PRS Guitars in the past, most of them IRW, a couple with BRW. I have more often than not struggled with the tones from them, I have liked certain things about them but by and large have not liked them overall as much as the more "traditional formula" of Mahogany body and neck, with a Rosewood Board. My context has mostly been 245 and 594 scale guitars, with a few 25" guitars in the mix over time (for instance a couple of ME IIs and a couple of ME Quatros).

    With the current collection I have been enjoying the 594s immensely, and I have been particularly enjoying having a diverse mix of models of 594s to mix up the tones, for instance in addition to some great Solidbody DCs and SCs, also a DC Hollowbody, an SC Semi-Hollow and a DC Soapbar. I am considering a Brazilian necked Private Stock DC 594 to continue to mix up the options and tones, and it would be helpful to get inputs on what you guys think and have experience with with regards to Rosewood necks, particularly Brazilian Rosewood necks, on DC PRS Guitars with Mahogany Bodies and two Humbuckers.

    What tones are they best for? What are they not as good at? Best types of amps to combine with? Amp setting changes from Mahogany necks?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. FJ4

    FJ4 New Member

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    In my experience, the rosewood neck guitars have a little more scooped Mids which is more noticable in a Band mix with less projection.

    On the other hand, some have said that rosewood being a harder wood gives the split tones more Snap.
     
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  3. Kiwi

    Kiwi New Member

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    I have owned many Rosewood Necked PRS Guitars in the past, most of them IRW, a couple with BRW. I have more often than not struggled with the tones from them.

    I am considering a Brazilian necked Private Stock DC 594 to continue to mix up the options and tones, and it would be helpful to get inputs on what you guys think and have experience with with regards to Rosewood necks, particularly Brazilian Rosewood necks, on DC PRS Guitars with Mahogany Bodies and two Humbuckers.


    MA Pete, I've always enjoyed your guitar and tone journeys here, and I appreciate your sharing your adventures, thoughts, and experiences with us.

    But I have to ask: You've owned several rosewood-necked guitars like the MEQ and (like me) have struggled a bit with their unusual tonal response and playing attack. You know the deal already.

    What would be any different about putting a rosewood neck on a PS DC 594, compared to all the others you've owned?

    I'd be happy to offer my two cents on rosewood neck versus mahogany on double-cut two-humbucker PRS guitars, and I have: https://forums.prsguitars.com/threads/prs-modern-eagle-quatro.16643/#post-249619 But I think you could write the entire encyclopedia entry.

    I know the true spirit of PRS Forum guitar slutdom is to tell you: Go for it, and post pictures! - but I'm pretty sure you already know the answer to your question. You're going to hear and feel that solid rosewood neck, just as you have before.

    With respect,

    Kiwi
     
    #3 Kiwi, Feb 27, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2020
  4. 11top

    11top Cousin Eddie's cousin

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  5. VHTStark

    VHTStark New Member

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    I have had 4 Rosewood neck PRS's over the years: 2 McRosies, a ME1 and a PS SC. All 25" scale.

    They are all gone now; I have come to terms with the fact that I much prefer the tones I get from PRS's with Mahogany and maple necks.

    Generalizing things, I notice a full rosewood neck giving a guitar much fuller lows and low-mids compared to a mahogany or maple neck. I found the 4 I owned to really excel at clean to mid gain tones; I found it difficult to get higher gain tones I really dug with my Rosewood neck models. They are also really picky when it comes to pickup swaps, I find. The one I dug the best was the ME1; the full Brazilian neck and fingerboard combo is very articulate and to my my ears provided the most snap and attack; even compared to my PS, which had an ebony board. I have played a couple ME1's and have found this to be the case.....so to my ears, anyway, there is definitely a difference in attack between a full IRW and BRW neck independent of fretboard wood.

    These are just my experiences. Going forward, I will likely stick to mahogany and maple. My favourite guitar right now is a McCarty AP in Copperhead with an ebony board and 58/15's.
     
  6. MA Pete

    MA Pete SC 594 Addict

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    Kiwi:

    That is a GREAT question! I actually have a good answer for that. ;)

    In the past I have looked it a little differently, in that if the tones were different and required me to think differently, use it for only certain types of tones, and/or dial in the amp differently, I found that annoying and eventually lost interest and sold them.

    At this point I am looking at it with a more open approach, in the context of having fun different options for variants of the 594 model. Soapbar, Hollowbody, Semi-Hollowbody, BRW Neck, Trem, etc. - how are they different and what sorts of tones and playing would I appreciate with each of them? So my openness and tolerance for being unique and different is much higher "this time around". I just want to make sure that there will be some things that I would appreciate about them, as I do with the Hollowbody and the Soapbar.

    -Pete
     
  7. veinbuster

    veinbuster Zombie Three, DFZ

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    I’ve followed your story for quite a while. I like rosewood, Brazilian in particular, but it might not be for you.

    Longer version:
    I like rosewood for the deep, ballsy, dirty blues sound that I play in the dark of night. Both my Brazilians favour the bottom end. So if I’m playing the bottom 4 strings, up to about the 15th fret, I get exactly what I’m looking for. I favour the neck pickup to the bridge and the Brazilian magnifies that.

    If I’m playing something biased towards the top 4 strings and working towards the skinny frets, the rosewood can do it, but mahogany or maple are more naturally in the tonal space I expect up there.

    Rosewood probably won’t be my last electric guitar, but it will be one of my last three. The greater the degree to which you like to have a range of sound available, versus searching for one perfect sound, the more it makes sense to have a Brazilian necked guitar on your preferred platform.

    All of my rosewood necks are PRS DC with two humbuckers. All are on models that I have with another neck. I play them through Boogie Mark III &V or the MDT 4x10. I don’t play rosewood the channel 3 of the Mark V but everything else suits it fine. You are welcome to come over and do some comparisons - it’s a bit more rosewood than I want to carry across the border.

    So...good chance it is not for you, but it’s worth trying.

    Sorry if that’s too many words.
     
  8. RickP

    RickP Established 1960, Still Not Dead

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    I have two BRW 513s and an IRW DC594, and a mahogany necked DC594. I have also had two other mahogany necked 513s. There are positives to all three necks, in my experience, and no real negatives unless there is something specific you want that a different neck does better.

    Mahogany: The brightest and most aggressive sounding of the three. Definitely the quickest to get used to because it feels and sounds like every good Gibson, Carvin, etc I’ve ever played. On a quick 5 minute comparison I’d likely pick it every time, as long as the amp was set up for my Les Paul or SG. It is a good all around neck and what I’d recommend for anyone coming to PRS from another brand. Unless you just hate gloss finish feel, there’s no down side.

    BRW: The more complicated of the three. In a quick comparison with a standard neck, it seems to sound soft and unfocused. This is especially true if you don’t set the amp to get the best of it. It needs less EQ help, and sounds more balanced across the range. Instead of giving it what it lacks, better to start kind of middle-of-the-road and take away anything you don’t need. Turn up the volume and tweak a touch, and you’re golden. I find it to be clearer and more evenly broad toned once dialed in, much like the LT pickups versus the standard ones. Using the same amp settings for both woods won’t get the best out of either. My BRW 513s have been my main gigging guitars for several years, there simply isn’t a guitar capable of doing more things well. We play many styles, and the combo of the pickups and neck are fantastic to use live. The second pair behind the 513s are the 594s.

    IRW: No offense intended to it, but I consider this the rosewood you get when you can’t get Brazilian. It feels as good as BRW, looks as nice, but its not quite as round or ringy in tone, nor as forward as the mahogany. Because of this I tend to favor the box-stock black SC594 (mahogany) over the Artist Package DC594 (IRW) by a slight margin. Maybe it’s just years on the Gibsons/Carvins, but it surprised me. Seriously makes me want to try a stock mahogany 594 Soapbar now!


    Anyway, everyone hears things differently, so there are folks that will disagree with my experience and I have no issue with that. The main thing I’m trying to say is they all sound just fine when the amp is set up right. The 513s have sold me on the mahogany/maple body, BRW neck as being a pure home-run combo. On the other hand, the SC594 has reaffirmed a mahogany neck can also be a top performer... not shocking considering the Les Paul has been sailing that ship almost 70 years. No matter the materials, I don’t have a bad sounding or playing PRS. Just different kinds of good. I’d love a BRW 594 in the collection. I’m confident it would be a real player.
     
    #8 RickP, Feb 27, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2020
  9. WA Paul

    WA Paul All dogs go to heaven

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    Braz necks are my favorite (all with Braz boards). I play with decent gain, but nothing in metal territory. Think Rush Snakes and Arrows Live as the tonal space I hang out in most of the time. Marshall to hot rod Marshall space. I’ve tried Mahogany, Maple, Madagascar RW, Indian RW and Pernambuco necks on PRS - on various DC and SC594s its been Mahogany, Indian RW, Braz RW).

    To my ears, a GOOD Braz neck will enhance the highs and lows with great sustain. The mids are still all there, just the highs and lows are enhanced. Gives piano like lows for cleans and more girth on dirty channel. Slight tweaks on amp EQ, nothing drastic. Tone tap the blanks - I heard a huge difference in sound and sustain on the Braz neck blanks during my P245T build. There are some duds out there...

    Taking a DC594 or a SC594 with Braz will enhance the lower mids while retaining sweet highs. More into classic LP territory but still with great clarity. I prefer combining with a trem even though I don’t use terms very often.

    HOWEVER - pickup choice matters a lot. My first Braz neck DC594 I swapped the 58/15LT bridge for a 57/08 and was disappointed. I find 59/09s work best with Braz necks. I’ve tied 57/08, 58/15LTs and 53/10s with them but a hotter pickup seems to work best (though the 53/10s sound great on my Koa PS Cu22). Weird, because I first had 59/09s on a Cu24 with a Mahogany neck and ebony board and I found them too hot and ice-picky. Not at all with Braz necks. 57/08s tend to sound a bit more muddy with them. 58/15LTs sounded meh - I kept wanting more output on the drive channel. Clean they’re ok.

    My custom NH Orca 59 (24.75” scale) has a full old growth Braz neck, Mann Trem and the Haussel 1959+ (Hotter vintage style) bridge pickup. Sounds great, even the dealer said it was his all time favorite Orca on tone and he normally prefers Mahogany necks.

    If weight is an issue, be mindful RW necks weigh more than Mahogany necks most of the time.

    If you find a dealer with a PS DC594 with a Braz neck, you might want to go that route first rather than a custom build since you can return it. I thought CME had one with Kingwood, basically old growth Braz - weighs a ton though!
     
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  10. Rockmark

    Rockmark New Member

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    This is a great question. I've got 7 raw BRW neck PRS guitars and 4 others w IRW necks. The BRW is quite different from the IRW and to me Brazilian is the bomb. I have and love my two PS 594's and often thought how I'd spec the next. One has a hog body and the other black limba. For sure one of the main ingredients in my next one would be a BRW neck and board. I'm getting great tones from a black limba body so it would also be in my next build. But then falling back on Paul's philosophy on the sum of the parts becoming the key to the overall sound of his instruments things like a BRW neck could be the next level for something like a 594. The 594 creation imho, as an instrument, is probably as good as it can get. Can't even imagine where things might go w the new TCI also on board. Now it's up to us to go for tweaks here and there to the platform in searching for our "Holy Grail".
     
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  11. MA Pete

    MA Pete SC 594 Addict

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    Thanks, guys EXCELLENT comments and inputs so far, I really appreciate it!

    Keep it coming! ;)
     
  12. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    Pete, you’ve been around the block a bunch.

    You know what you like, and you know what you don’t like. You haven’t bonded with rosewood necks in the past, if I recall correctly.

    The old saw about repeating something that didn’t work for you in the past might apply here. Caveat emptor.
     
  13. jxe

    jxe babe en der wood

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    anyone got a rosewood amp cab? thinking of converting my empire chiffonier to an open back 2x12.
     
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  14. MA Pete

    MA Pete SC 594 Addict

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    Les:

    Thanks for your comment. I hear you, and I worry about that.

    As I said above, I think I have a different perspective this time around, that I am actually proactively seeking different tone options within a 594 family of guitars.

    I also haven't loved Mahogany bodied PRS Guitars with Maple Necks either, but I find myself wanting to add one of those to the collection as well, again in the spirit of having different variations. :)

    Also, with my new multi-amp set up with the racks and the switching through the Ox Boxes, I could just leave one amp set up dialed in for the Rosewood Necked guitar, and that would make things easy when I wanted to to play the Rosewood necked one. (Much easier than carrying cases downstairs each time!) ;)

    Getting a DC 594 with a BRW and ultimately not loving it and selling would be a bummer. You know what would be WAY worse? Getting it and LOVING it, and falling out of love with the existing vast collection of Mahogany necked 594s. Now that would be catastrophic! :)

    -Pete
     
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  15. RickP

    RickP Established 1960, Still Not Dead

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    Pete, it can be as easy as just making a little pencil mark. The adjustments aren’t huge but really bring the life out of it.
     
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  16. MA Pete

    MA Pete SC 594 Addict

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    Okay, so full disclosure here - when I said above "I am considering a Brazilian necked Private Stock DC 594" - that was entirely true. What I left out is that I have one in my possession right now, and by "considering" I really meant "it is within the return period and I need to decide whether or not to keep it". :)

    Thank you guys so much for participating in that process with me! Your thoughts and comments were very helpful.

    I am going to keep it, after figuring it out and dialing in some great tones, I am finding that it is really terrific!

    Back in my earlier days I was too impatient. Also I didn't have as much experience on the amp side. So when I got a Rosewood necked guitar, I had a hard time dialing in the right tones on the amp side, and I would just give up and move on, I think. This time around I have the patience and the experience to figure things out, and appreciate the adventure of doing that.

    This one has a BRW neck and board, is a DC 594 and has the pre-TCI 5815 LTs, which sound terrific in both the neck and bridge pickups, through my Carr Mercury V, DG 30 and HXDA yesterday and today.


    Not too many words at all, great tips, thanks!

    I too play blues in the dark of night. :)


    Rick, great tip with regards to setting the EQ in the middle and changing from there! I used that today, and it worked great.


    Great feedback, thanks Paul! I remember you saying that about the 5909 matching up well with a BRW neck. I have an extra one, but I am going to leave the 5815 LT in there for a while, it sounds pretty good.


    I can't agree more with regards to "The 594 creation imho, as an instrument, is probably as good as it can get." Yes!


    The biggest thing I have noticed so far is that to get the same gain as with a Mahogany Necked 594, you have to turn the gain down a decent amount on the amp. Otherwise it would be way too much gain. (At least on this one, with my amps.) It took me a while to figure that out. Once I did, I was dialing in some great tones.

    The sustain is unreal!

    A cool guitar to complement my Mahogany necked collection...

    (What's that you say? Pics or it didn't happen? I am getting tired, maybe tomorrow.) :)
     
  17. jxe

    jxe babe en der wood

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    speechless!

     
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  18. WA Paul

    WA Paul All dogs go to heaven

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    Congrats Pete! Now it’s time to order that SC594 Trem with full Braz neck :)
     
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  19. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    Either way, it’s not an inexpensive risk! :)

    I’d be cool with a rosewood neck if it was painted. The bare wood feels good to me for about ten minutes. I’ve had a couple, and just couldn’t bond with them.

    Though I did like the tone for certain things, and occasionally used them for ad tracks.
     
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  20. MA Pete

    MA Pete SC 594 Addict

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    I am fine with the neck being unfinished. I really like the feel of a Nitro Neck, but the unfinished Brazilian is nice to mix it up a little! :)
     
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