Getting close to VELA Semi Purchase

slyfox

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I like everything about the Vela Semi. Wanted to clarify a couple of things:

1. If the neck pick-up is a single coil, will it hum and buzz like any other single coil Strat type pick-up? If so are there some good aftermarket hum free alternatives? Seems it is a mini humbucker size or DeArmond style...which I never really knew anything about until I started learning about the Vela. I intend to play with a lot of gain for a singing lead tone so neck pick-up hum is a concern.

2. How does one set the radius for height adjustments on that bridge? Seems with 4 screws total you kind of set the middle ones a little higher and the outside ones a little lower...probably not much to it other than that is there?

3. Do those height adjustment screws on the bridge screw into anything or do they just sit on top of that plate like a Strat style saddle adjustment screw?
 
I'd have to pull mine out - haven't played it in a bit - but I don't remember any unusual buzzing from the neck pickup.

I've never had to touch the radius on the bridge, but I can look at it. Pretty sure the adjustment screws sit on top of the plate. All my other PRSi are like that, so I don't see why this would be different.
 
Had to run down to get the mail, so I took that as a chance to spend a quick five minutes w/the Vela - semi-hollow, reclaimed wood series, just FYI. Same electronics and body style you'd be dealing with.

The height adjustment screws do sit on top of the plate. Two screws for each half of the bridge, and they're adjusted just like you'd think - high in the middle, low on the ends. Like Ohio if it was Lowhilow. Think /\, but much less exaggerated.

Now for the pickups. Today is one of those days when my pedals were a tad noisy, so I had some pretty good hum going with my Horsemeat on, greatly reduced when it was off (in fairness, I've recently changed the Mary Cries settings to have a bit more boost, so that my have caused it). Short version is that noise was there whether I played or didn't. Turned off the OD, and switched between the two pickups. No noise difference - both were exactly the same to my ears, even if I wasn't playing. I thought that was pretty cool - and then realized I had the push-pull on the bridge pulled, so they were both single coil. DOH!

So, I switched the bridge back to humbucker mode and...no difference. The humbucker wasn't quieter than in single coils mode, and there was no noise difference between the neck and bridge.

And I overlooked this before, but yes, it's not a Strat-sized single coil, it's more the DeArmond style (I think PRS even calls it a D-style single coil).

Hope that all helps!
 
I have the vela solid body...the neck def hums with gain....the bridge is very easy to set up action and intonation are spot on its a great design and comfortable for the right hand as well....grab one theyre fantastic OP
 
I like everything about the Vela Semi. Wanted to clarify a couple of things:

1. If the neck pick-up is a single coil, will it hum and buzz like any other single coil Strat type pick-up? If so are there some good aftermarket hum free alternatives? Seems it is a mini humbucker size or DeArmond style...which I never really knew anything about until I started learning about the Vela. I intend to play with a lot of gain for a singing lead tone so neck pick-up hum is a concern.

2. How does one set the radius for height adjustments on that bridge? Seems with 4 screws total you kind of set the middle ones a little higher and the outside ones a little lower...probably not much to it other than that is there?

3. Do those height adjustment screws on the bridge screw into anything or do they just sit on top of that plate like a Strat style saddle adjustment screw?

1. The neck is a DeArmond style single coil - and yeah, it can hum, but I've only ever noticed it with a fair amount of gain. Many people have replaced there's with a firebird pickup or another mini humbucker.

2. You got it

3. On the plate

Always remember, Velas are magical.
 
A Firebird pickup is a great no-mod-necessary replacement for the stock neck pickup if you need a hum-free alternative that still has a single-coil vibe.
 
Thanks for the replies fellas.

I think ultimately I'd have to replace the neck pick-up which I don't mind, in fact I think it's a good opportunity to better customize the look and sound and the guitar is not atrociously expensive where I would feel bad altering it from it's stock form. When I first saw the Vela I knew I liked it but was unsure about that obscure sized neck pick-up.

I am in Ontario, Canada and we have basically one major retailer across the country and of course some smaller mom and pop type music stores. I inquired with one of the major retailers about Vela Semi in antique white and was informed that the product was discontinued.

Is it likely they are just changing the available colours and it's an in-between model year type situation or is the Vela getting phased out? Seems those that have them really like them.
 
I have owned a Vela since shortly after they came out and I agree with everything people have said before me. No problems with setting up the bridge.

The neck is a single coil and can hum but I don't find it noisier than most single coil pickups.
 
I am in Ontario, Canada and we have basically one major retailer across the country and of course some smaller mom and pop type music stores. I inquired with one of the major retailers about Vela Semi in antique white and was informed that the product was discontinued.

Is it likely they are just changing the available colours and it's an in-between model year type situation or is the Vela getting phased out? Seems those that have them really like them.

I can’t find anything on the internet saying they’re being discontinued. I’d inquire with another dealer (maybe Sweetwater) or just call PRS yourself and ask them directly. It would be a real shame if they discontinued it, it’s the coolest guitar in their lineup IMHO.
 
Thanks for the replies fellas.

I think ultimately I'd have to replace the neck pick-up which I don't mind, in fact I think it's a good opportunity to better customize the look and sound and the guitar is not atrociously expensive where I would feel bad altering it from it's stock form. When I first saw the Vela I knew I liked it but was unsure about that obscure sized neck pick-up..

Also the neck position is routed to fit a humbucker so that opens up tons of options. I have humbucker-sized P-90’s in both positions of one of my Velas.
 
Also the neck position is routed to fit a humbucker so that opens up tons of options. I have humbucker-sized P-90’s in both positions of one of my Velas.
I did come across that somewhere and I thought a hum bucker sized P90 would be cool. Dimarzio has a lot of nice options and all their descriptions sound like a pick-up I'd like.

If I changed the pick guard, is there a company somewhere that can do a Vela pick-guard for 2 hum buckers or is this a job for a Dremel?
 
I did come across that somewhere and I thought a hum bucker sized P90 would be cool. Dimarzio has a lot of nice options and all their descriptions sound like a pick-up I'd like.

If I changed the pick guard, is there a company somewhere that can do a Vela pick-guard for 2 hum buckers or is this a job for a Dremel?

Quick Guards or Chandler would be my suggestion. However, make sure that they cut the neck pickup hole correctly. The side that’s closest to the bridge pickup needs to be the same distance from the bridge pickup hole as it is on a stock pickguard, meaning they have to extend the hole in the direction of the neck so that you have less of a gap between the pickup and the end of the fretboard, otherwise it won’t fit.
 
The neck pickup is one of many things I love about my Vela. I couldn't imagine changing it unless I picked up a second Vela.
 
Just in case anyone was curious about why the dealer had indicated the Vela AW Satin Semi was discontinued, PRS got back to my inquiry and said that the color code for 2024 has changed.
 
Quick Guards or Chandler would be my suggestion. However, make sure that they cut the neck pickup hole correctly. The side that’s closest to the bridge pickup needs to be the same distance from the bridge pickup hole as it is on a stock pickguard, meaning they have to extend the hole in the direction of the neck so that you have less of a gap between the pickup and the end of the fretboard, otherwise it won’t fit.
Does that mean it's not possible to modify the stock pick guard without having the mounting screws off center?
 
I honestly haven't noticed it? It's there but only if you use high gain settings. To be honest its definitely more of a glassy or crunch pickup. I wouldn't say it's optimized for metal tones, so if you play to it's strengths the hum is unnoticeable.

I wouldn't touch the vela bridge height and angle. Unless you bought it used and its clearly been fiddled with, it should be set up out of the box.
 
I use my Vela SH through my Pod Go at church. I've never noticed any hum from the neck pickup nor have I ever had any complaints from the soundman. But when I do use overdrive on the neck pickup it's always on a very low gain setting.
 
I think the fly in the ointment is the obscure sized neck pick-up. I intend to use a lot of gain and saturation for a singing lead tone...and while playing I'm sure it won't be a big deal but otherwise as soon as you stop it's got that 60s cycle hum.

I browsed some DeArmound style pick-ups that would be a direct fit replacement but non specifically say they are noiseless or hum cancelling.

There is the mini humbucker option that would be a direct fit and I believe hum cancelling in all cases although there's not a lot of attractive options compared to noiseless single coil, humbuckers, and humbucker sized P90s. The PG13 from Dimarzio might do the trick but according to its specs it's a ceramic and I was ideally looking for a warmer Alnico 2, maybe Alnico 5 option.

Of course there's a chance I'll like the stock single coil enough to play the guitar and enjoy it for a while before I really want to get into changing something. I like everything else about it.
 
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