Different - or no WOW factor?

henryjurstin13

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Aug 14, 2013
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So.... I've been saving & shopping for a while now, and I finally bought a guitar. PRS Silver Sky.

I've been primarily playing 22 fret PRS guitars with humbuckers for the last 20 or so years. (McCarty Archtop II, McCarty, and now my #1 by a longshot, a DGT) I thought I wanted something with positions 2 & 4, because I missed having that in my first real guitar. When I was 16/17 I was lucky enough to get an barely used '93 American Standard Strat, and I still have it - but, I don't love it. It sat neglected by me & was loaned out to a lot of friends over the years.... currently, I'm still trying to get the setup dialed in & I've just not managed to get it there yet. I almost pulled the trigger on a Reverend Gristlemaster, despite it having no positions 2 & 4 -- it was just that nice of a guitar.

But, I held out because I wanted to explore other PRS options. On paper, I think I would absolutely love a PRS Special 22 semi-hollow, but those guitars are NOT cheap!! I've yet to play one, or see one in person.... but, I sure think that it would be perfect to my hands. I posted a thread here about HSH options....

So, all that being said.... the Silver Sky is really, really nice in lots of ways. Especially nice in the fact that notes are very consistent up/down the neck, and in all pickup positions. But, at the end of the day it doesn't seem to hold that "wow factor" for me. I remember being in awe of my DGT when I first got it, and I want this SS to have the same wow factor. I can't tell if it doesn't have that wow factor, or if I'm just so accustomed to PRS humbucker styled guitars - and this SS is such a radical shift away from that feel/vibe I'm used to. I'm not too worried about the investment on the SS, as it wouldn't be too tough to sell/trade towards something else.

TL/DR: How do you know if a guitar is NOT right for you? Or, it's just really different from your favorite guitar?
 
I personally wouldn't have expected to be wowed by a SS if I had a neglected strat. Sure some get along with a SS that don't like this other that about a strat,but I'd guess that number is low of those that neglect strats. That said I dig my strats but not much for a SS. Go figure.

I'm very much a variety guy when it comes to guitars. I'm more about a guitar that is right, plenty are wrong and less are right.. I usually know right pretty quick. My girlfriend has gone to enough guitar stores with me that she can see it on my face right away. She's even told me to buy a guitar before I was debating because of price. It didn't help negotiating for her telling me that in front of the guy, but she was right. I love that guitar!
 
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Do you play in a band/live setting? Our frontman plays on a few tunes, and has amassed a fairly large guitar collection (because he can). He has a Silver Sky, and it's my favorite guitar he has because it sounds so good in the mix. He has a $4000 CS Strat that doesn't touch the SS to my ears.
 
Do you play in a band/live setting? Our frontman plays on a few tunes, and has amassed a fairly large guitar collection (because he can). He has a Silver Sky, and it's my favorite guitar he has because it sounds so good in the mix. He has a $4000 CS Strat that doesn't touch the SS to my ears.
No gig right now... and actually, I've mainly played out as a bassist the last 10+ years. I played a CS Strat that I would've bought on the spot once... but, it was just shy of $7,000!!!!!
 
So going from hum buckers to single coils is a thing , If you want to be at WOW then you will need to dial in something for the guitar IMHO in fact I have all my amps dialed in for single coils for gain and tone and have to adapt to hum buckers or just play the 513 or 408. I basically run the gain kinda high and use the vol knob to get where I need to go.
Another thing is try 2 things
1 - Try tuning to Eb or go down on the string gauge ( I use 9.5-44s )
2- Set the trem to float makes the guitar more alive IMHO , you can experiment with this my just loosening the trem springs until the bridge comes off the body you won't have a lot of wiggle but you will get the idea.
Also back the tone knob for the bridge pickup back just bit and check out the middle pickup , I think 2 + 4 are over rated as a tone except for clean.
Great luck with your Silver Sky :)
 
I completely sympathize with your plight -- I have no idea! When you figure it out, please do let me know.

I've been on a baritone kick lately, myself. I just have so much more fun playing them.
 
I couldn't agree more with getting dialed in for singles from humbuckers or vice versa. I've been playing my newly acquired SC58 with 57/08 a lot the past few days, peppered with some other humbuckers for comparison. Last night I plugged in my main strat at the humbucker amp settings. Man I couldn't unplug it fast enough. Went from glorious to what happened just like that. A few adjustments later and I was in single coil expression heaven.
 
I have an American standard strat myself that I have worked with alot.It never had the “wow” factor but after a custom shop 2-point tremolo and van zandt pickups with 9s it now sounds and feel amazing.Stringheight is 2 mm at 12th fret for all strings.Pickupheight is 4/32 for low E and 3/32 for high E.Middle pickup is set at 4/32 for both sides.Measuring from pole to bottom of string pressed downed at 22th fret.I also loosened the neck screws a tad before tuning up to standard pitch to make the neck seat well in the pocket.Soundswise I have also realised that I like a lot of mids in my sound.Especially with single coils.My DGT had the “wow” factor from the start.I just had to set it up to my liking.I have this weird way of testing if a guitar will work or not for me(both humbuckers and single coils).I use a distorted sound and play Loudness-Crazy night riff at 2nd fret and Black Sabbath-Paranoid riff at 12th fret.:).If the mids are right,bass is tight and highs are snappy I have a winner.
 
Do you play in a band/live setting? Our frontman plays on a few tunes, and has amassed a fairly large guitar collection (because he can). He has a Silver Sky, and it's my favorite guitar he has because it sounds so good in the mix. He has a $4000 CS Strat that doesn't touch the SS to my ears.
The leader/lead guitarist of the band I'm in also has quite a guitar collection (he's a doctor) which includes 3 PRS plus a SS. He plays his American Standard Tele about 80% of the time! Go figure.
 
The beauty of life is that we don’t all like the same things. How boring if we did? If so, we’d be like lemmings. But isn’t it great that PRS (and others) offer us choices.

I had a literature professor in college who said to read the first 50 pages of a book. If you don’t like it, stop reading it; there are too many other books, and life is short. I think that advice applies to many things other than books.
 
I’ve figured out what my wow factor is…. that sensation of constant noodling, when you just can’t stop playing & don’t wanna put it down.

I just wanna keep comparing this guitar to my other guitars. I’m 95% it’s just not a guitar for me. (Probably why I’ve neglected my Strat so much over the years, and usually just focus on my humbucker equipped PRS guitars.)
 
I have tried tons of very nice Stats and Teles for years. Got rid of them all.
No question I am a humbucker guy (have had about 25 Les Paul Historics and Es 335s) , but do love the single coil tone.

I now have my 5th DGT.
It is a very nice 2021 I grabbed used. The split coil taps are ridiculously good. The best they have ever done on a DGT. It sounds a lot like a Tele or Strat but different and better IMO.
 
I have tried tons of very nice Stats and Teles for years. Got rid of them all.
No question I am a humbucker guy (have had about 25 Les Paul Historics and Es 335s) , but do love the single coil tone.

I now have my 5th DGT.
It is a very nice 2021 I grabbed used. The split coil taps are ridiculously good. The best they have ever done on a DGT. It sounds a lot like a Tele or Strat but different and better IMO.

I’ve posted this before, but just in case you haven’t seen it -

 
What amp are you playing through. I've struggled for years with strats. I always tried to plug into the same amp I used for humbuckers - typically a one amp guy. It never worked out very well.

I now play through Fractal gear, so I have so many modeled amps. Putting a strat through a Fender Bassman, Deluxe Reverb, or similar sounds much better. A nice clean or slightly dirty Fender style amp always seems to sound better through single coils. I had a really nice custom shop strat that played and sounded great, which I had to sell when in need of cash, sadly. I have a basic American Pro Series strat which also sounds nice through those models.

Looking at the Strat next to my Santana Retro - there's no wow factor though, strats are kinda plain.
 
Do you play in a band/live setting? Our frontman plays on a few tunes, and has amassed a fairly large guitar collection (because he can). He has a Silver Sky, and it's my favorite guitar he has because it sounds so good in the mix. He has a $4000 CS Strat that doesn't touch the SS to my ears.

That is weird because most of the Custom Shop Strats I have played have been amazing. My Wildwood "10" '61 Hardtail is the nicest Strat I have ever played by a large margin, even the Strats I built from cherry-picked components, which were significantly better than a production Strat. A Strat is finesse instrument. Any weaknesses in one's technique show up fairly quickly. A Tele can be even more punishing.

I prefer single coils to humbuckers. There is more snap. That is why I have sold most of the HxH PRS guitars I have purchased. Every PRS guitar I have owned is been amazing from a build point of view. It is just that I find most humbuckers to be overly congested sounding and feeling. The only PRS pickups that I can stand anymore are 57/08s. That is no an indictment of PRS. It is more an indictment of humbucking pickups, especially in the bass (neck position). I am willing to bet that 57/08s have asymmetrically wound bobbins like the original PAFs. That practice tends to result in a more lively pickup with less phase cancellation and more sparkle in the highs. I have grown to absolutely hate the 85/15s in my CE24. They may be Jack of all trades pickups, but they excel at nothing. I cannot believe how much these very clinical sounding and feeling pickups go for on the used market.
 
What amp are you playing through. I've struggled for years with strats. I always tried to plug into the same amp I used for humbuckers - typically a one amp guy. It never worked out very well.

I now play through Fractal gear, so I have so many modeled amps. Putting a strat through a Fender Bassman, Deluxe Reverb, or similar sounds much better. A nice clean or slightly dirty Fender style amp always seems to sound better through single coils. I had a really nice custom shop strat that played and sounded great, which I had to sell when in need of cash, sadly. I have a basic American Pro Series strat which also sounds nice through those models.

Looking at the Strat next to my Santana Retro - there's no wow factor though, strats are kinda plain.

right now, all I’ve got to play through is my Line6 DT25. My Carr Slant 6V & PRS 2 Ch. H are currently in storage (moving homes).
I actually like the DT25 a lot & I alternate between the bassman, plexi, and park 75 voices….
 
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First of all, the amp settings have to be different for the single coils vs the humbuckers. I have a 30 day rule. I live with a guitar for thirty days before I do anything, especially selling it. My Strat itch is scratched by a DC3 with a maple board. I still play P90’s or humbuckers 90% of the time. I just wanted to have a stratoid for when I needed “that sound.” It took me a full 30 days to get the sound on the DC3 dialed in. I wouldn’t go near a Strat for years…….one is enough.
 
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