I don't understand the grading system

Discussion in 'Electric Instruments' started by 88prs, Sep 10, 2019.

  1. 88prs

    88prs New Member

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    I really don't understand the grading... how is this a 10?

    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/de...-594-semi-hollow-10-top-black-gold-wrap-burst

    I special ordered a Custom in 2001 in Violin Amberburst specifically without a 10 top and it's amazing compared to the above.

    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/de...mited-edition-mccarty-sunburst?serial=0282577

    yes I agree this one is a 10 top.

    I want to special order a 594 but afraid of what I'll get... should just fly out there and pick from the wood library but it still can get trashed once the stain is applied.
     
  2. toothace

    toothace We've got, you know, armadillos in our trousers.

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  3. bodia

    bodia Authorities said.....best leave it.....unsolved

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    I’d snag that 594 in a heartbeat. I really dig that top, 10 or not.
     
  4. bodia

    bodia Authorities said.....best leave it.....unsolved

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    Also, you can’t really compare a 10 today with a 10 of yesteryear. Not as much cool wood out there today.
     
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  5. 88prs

    88prs New Member

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    I agree it still is awesome looking, PRS doesn't make anything I wouldn't buy! but 10's seem inconsistent.
     
  6. Mozzi

    Mozzi https://imgur.com/user/BAMozzy

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    Considering the grading is done by people who may have their own preference within some tolerances as to what is classed as a 10 top or not, then there will be areas that a guitar may be more appealing to you than the person who graded the wood. The ONLY benefit of a 10 top is the way it looks and, if you find a non-10 top guitar that in your opinion looks better to you, then you have saved yourself from paying a premium for an aesthetic upgrade,

    Not one of my guitars are a 10-top and to be honest, I haven't seen any Flamed Maple top as nice and as interesting as my Special 22. I think my Custom 24 is special because its in a Chevron style cut and my Hollowbody does have a 1-piece Maple top and back (which I wish photographed better because the fine grain adds a lot) but I have to say my Special beats them with the pattern.

    [​IMG]

    And I repeat, this is NOT a 10-top. Maybe you will disagree and think you have seen a flamed maple 10-top that looks much better to you than this, that maybe you find all the wood grain showing through less appealing BUT that again is the point. Its all about what someone thinks looks better BUT the only one that matters is YOU. It doesn't matter if you prefer a non-10top, in fact its a 'bonus' because you are not paying extra for a 'prettier' top that you don't think is prettier to you. It has NO impact in the way a guitar plays, sounds and/or feels. The Maple, whether 10 top, artist grade, private stock or just regular core, Bolt-on or even S2 stock, are ALL cured in exactly the same way, not treated any differently at all. Obviously the maple for CE/S2 are thinner pieces at the start compared to Core (and above) but the only difference between a regular core and Private Stock Maple is that someone has decided that the Private Stock maple looked better and its the same deal with 10 top - just an opinion that it looked better...
     
  7. Bowtiefanatc

    Bowtiefanatc #NeverGibson

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    2 of my coolest ones aren't 10-tops ;) "Feel" for me far outweighs the ranking of the top. Even though I do like a great looking top on these beauties.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. Ovibos

    Ovibos Unsure why all necks aren't rosewood

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    Both of the OP guitars are beautiful.

    Debates about 10-tops and grading are usually reserved for PRSGOW on FB, however.
     
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  9. Shawn@PRS

    Staff Member Moderator

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    I would consider both of these guitars to be 10 tops!
     
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  10. bodia

    bodia Authorities said.....best leave it.....unsolved

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    Giggle!
     
  11. bodia

    bodia Authorities said.....best leave it.....unsolved

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    I LOVE both of those tops!
     
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  12. 88prs

    88prs New Member

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    Thanks Shawn, I agree with you and the rest after understanding more. I would gladly own either!

     
    #12 88prs, Sep 10, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2019
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  13. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    They’re both 10s to me. Basically, this is a subjective decision, anyway.

    If you’re really, really into having a top you love, pick a guitar from dealer stock and don’t special order. It’s really that simple. Because what the folks who grade the tops think is a ten might not be your idea of a ten.

    I’m probably not as picky, and so have never been disappointed. In fact, one of my guitars was a PRS website photoshoot guitar, and it’s a pretty interesting ten that I love the look of, though I’m sure not everyone would agree, because it isn’t uniformly flamed. I think it’s cool.

    Subjective? Sure. Anything artistic is.

    [​IMG]
     
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  14. Mozzi

    Mozzi https://imgur.com/user/BAMozzy

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    Now you know, does that change anything? Are you still adamant that you have to have a little '10' on the back of the headstock or have yo been freed to look for guitars that appeal aesthetically to you regardless?

    The way I look at it is, if I see a guitar that I like the look of, that's all that matters. If it happens to be a 'non-10-top' (as all of my guitars are), then that is a BONUS. Why? Because its saved me having to pay extra for it. I certainly don't go out of my way to find a 10-top and, if anything, I avoid them. In my opinion, I prefer the woods to be more random - random thickness of the stripes, some of the wood grain coming through to add more unique patterns etc. I really don't like the 10-tops that look as if they could of been drawn with a marker and ruler - thin, tight striping that covers the whole top evenly - it looks less natural to me but that would certainly be a 10-top.

    [​IMG]

    This is my Custom 24 and again not a 10 top - so you can see what you can find if you aren't looking for a 10-top specifically...
     
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  15. 88prs

    88prs New Member

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    Never was adamant about it being a ten top just didn't understand after seeing such a difference. I also own both 10 tops and non-10 tops, my favorite PRS is not a 10.

    Thanks for your insight though!
     
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  16. Going Modal

    Going Modal I should be practicing right now.

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    88prs, the 2nd link in your original post reminds me a lot of the top on my 2011 McCarty 58, which was given the "Artist Top" label. I honestly didn't factor the top-quality into my decision much (bought it because I wanted a classic/standard McCarty) and I'll admit I would've called it a "10-top" myself. Though, if I had to guess, I'd say the significantly consistent & tight/narrow grain lines (i.e., a lot more number of flame "lines" than your typical flame top, and very consistent at that) is what made it "Artist." With that in mind, I wouldn't argue if that 2nd link of yours was labelled as Artist.
     
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  17. newfmp3

    newfmp3 New Member

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    I have an Artist top, a 10, and a non 10. There is a difference between all 3. But not something I'm going to be able to capture e with a picture. The Artist has much more 3d effect and as you move it there's a lot of movement in it enough to mess with your head wondering how this is possible. The 10, nice flame but less movement in it, and the non 10 little less again and the grain between the 10 and non 10 depending on what angle you look at it, well there's not a lot of difference. Basically with either, if you take a picture at the correct angle and lighting they all look great, and at the wrong angle they can look flat. But the Artist top has movement in it like no other. My only other guitar with similar movement is a tiger flame top LP which is like a 5a I think. I'm with the folks above, if a non 10 looks great, grab it and run. Having a non 10 might hurt resale for some people though. But if you want a sure bet, you want Artist/wood library or of course PS.
     
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  18. Jkater

    Jkater New Member

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    I do wonder if these grading criterias vary over the years. My Modern Eagle's "Artist grade" top looks like some PS I have seen.
     
  19. 88prs

    88prs New Member

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    I agree, My '88 Custom has a 10 but I think by today's standard an Artist top. but that's ok, I've come to realize I like all PRS core guitars, they are works of art!
    2018 McCarty and 2001 Custom 22 are non-10's but still totally stunning.
     
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  20. Mozzi

    Mozzi https://imgur.com/user/BAMozzy

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    I don't know if the criterias have actually changed or that the quality of the Maple they can get has changed. If the highest grade of Maple available isnt as good as it was 10yrs ago, then of course what qualified as Artist back then maybe better than what qualifies for Private Stock today. They can't turn round and say to people that want a Maple capped Private Stock can't have it because its not good enough to be Private Stock. I assume that it has a knock on effect down the line too so what was once only good enough to be a 10top, may well be Artist grade if the quality of the maple isn't as figured.

    We are talking about Natural materials and flame/quilt isn't a 'natural' growth pattern. Its a result of stress during the growth cycle so even if you plant Maple trees - even from seeds from quilt/curly maple trees, unless it has stress, it will NOT become curly, quilt or flame maple and, I believe, only on one side of a tree.

    As I have said though, the look is subjective. Your 'Artist' grade may look like a PS beater to you but to someone else, the PS maple or even a 10-top or non-10-top could be better to someone else. Relying on someone else to pick your 'top' for example may result in them picking their favourite which may well not be your favourite at all. If the 'quality' of the aesthetics of the maple is 'important', then you are better off either picking your own top before its built OR finding a guitar for sale that you like the best. It is a purely aesthetic option and has no discernible difference to the tone - certainly not that can be directly attributed to its look....
     
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