Help with Private Stock Archtop II info

Josh B

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Nov 18, 2021
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2
I'm looking to order a Private Stock guitar based around the Archtop II that was produced from the late 90's to early 2000's. I really love the tone that Mike Einziger from Incubus got with these guitars on the live Morning View sessions.

If you listen to that droning overdriven guitar sound on songs like "Wish You Were Here", he's actually using the neck pickup on the Archtop which is crazy considering how it never gets too boomy or muddy. It retains a lot of midrange, clarity, and note definition. I have same amp as him, the Mesa Tremoverb Dual Rectifier. You can actually see rig rundowns of Mike and the EQ on the amps is even setup to be bass heavy, mids and presence slightly scooped, and not even that overly bright on the treble.

I also have multiple non-PRS archtop guitars and the neck pickup on them is exactly what you would expect with this kind of overdriven amp.. boomy / muddy, lacks note definition, completely the opposite of the tone he's getting on those live sessions.

Is there something different about the PRS Archtop II that lends itself to this sound? Or if I do order this guitar, should I be expecting to do some custom / aftermarket stuff with the pickups to accomplish this? Thanks for any help you can give on the matter, I'm a bit confused on this one.
 

AaeCee

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Apr 27, 2012
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Not sure if he used the stock pickups, but the stock ones in original Archtops (actually called 'Archtop pickups') are like underwound McCartys, which could explain their greater clarity. Some players found them lacking a little punch, but I like them a lot in the right guitar for that extra bit of clarity and definition they can produce. I still have them in an Archtop Spruce where they excel IMO.
 

ChesterB

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Jun 8, 2019
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AaeCee is correct about the Archtop pickups. The 58/15LT pickup is another great choice if you are looking for a neck pick up that doesnt sound muddy or muffled.
 

jak3af3r

Jake
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Apr 16, 2018
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Nashville, TN
We also have to consider all the factors beyond just the guitar and amp like the mics used, placement of the mics, and the eq set on the mixing console.

And on the other end your amp's placement in a room will affect the overall sound. Cabinets on the floor (or in a corner especially) will have more bass response.
 

Josh B

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Nov 18, 2021
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Thanks for the replies. I also relayed this question to PRS and they said a similar thing, that what was shipped out to Mike had stock Archtop pickups which are underwound McCartys and hold up under high gain conditions on the neck pickup better than what my current archtop guitars can do. They also recommended the 58/15LT as another pickup that could do the same thing but possibly even better.

I agree about mics, mic placement, EQ and all of that having a big impact. I would assume there's some low end being cut at the console.

This is gonna be a long 2 years waiting on this thing to get built.
 

FunkyFreeman

Moo Panuwat
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Aug 15, 2012
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Bangkok, Thailand
Mike mostly used MC Archtop Spruce back in the day, including in the Morning View Session. I also read somewhere that he has PRS customized the pickups to be a bit hotter than stock.

I remember his remarkable driven tone of his Archtops and would like to share with you that a McCarty Hollowbody Spruce with stock McCarty Archtop pups through the Archon sounds so close to his old driven tone.

I haven't had experience with Archtop before but with lots of Hollowbody. One thing I've never liked about Hollowbody with maple top/back is that they all sounded too thin to me - having highs and almost completely lack lows, while the spruce counterpart has much better balanced frequencies having obviuosly more lows and mids.

That being said, regarding your needs, in my opinion, I recommend going for Archtop Spruce instead of maple.


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