Love Wasn't In My Special Plan.

Turkeyhead

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Glad you like it. Looks beautiful to me. I really like that finish. I’m usually a fan of natural to yellow or brown finishes but I absolutely love the blue and purple.

I get your story. When buying my first PRS I passed on even trying a 513 at the shop because the pickup were so ugly. I bought a Studio (narrow field model and I don’t regret it). A hand full of years later I was bored and went to a guitar shop. They has a swamp ash 513. I played it and fell in love with the feel and sound and bought it. It’s my favorite guitar now. I even am used to and kind of like the look of the pickups.
 

LSchefman

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I think the finish on your Special is pretty dang cool. Can't say I'm the biggest fan of the burst finishes where the burst color comes totally out of left field (charcoal cherry burst, the "brisket burst" purple on charcoal, etc.), but everything being based in the blue family on yours makes it more classy and understated compared to the more extreme examples.

The SSH is a great guitar. I'm happy to have scored one that had the features I wanted, they're still hard to come by. Lots of tones, and none of them are exact clones of anything else, but they take inspiration from timeless classics and mix them together in a fantastic way. The core tone of a PRS, the jangle of semi hollow construction, bell like bottom end of a Strat, quack of 3-pickup guitars, among other things. Most of the time, when I have a guitar with coil splitting, I just prefer the authenticity of using the humbucker mode, rather than the imitation of a single coil. But I can't say there's a bad single coil sound in the SSH, probably due to the tapped pickups, rather than split, and the fact that the whole platform/build of the guitar supports great sounds of all kinds.

It's funny, I can record two takes of something with the SSH, and my 594, A/B them in isolation, and they don't sound all that different. More low mid and blooming note attack in the 594, but very much in the same family. But, throw them in the track, and I can easily pick out the one I prefer. That's how it was when I recorded the "Expanse" piece, used those two a lot, and it was never a tough decision about which guitar was the one for a certain part.

If I could (mildly) criticize the SSH for anything, it would be that I don't like it as much for lead tones as the 594, which has more mid push and fatness. But I would also say the SSH has a much wider variety of sounds, and they're easier to coax out of the guitar, too. Just like you, mine broke me in - I knew what ball park I would be in with it, but didn't really know where it would take me until I started to use it.
Great post!

Solid-body humbucker and P-90 tones have been my staple for so long that comparing previous lead tones with the Special wasn't exactly a level playing field.

I'm kinda reminded of the way I can't get a decent lead tone with a Strat or Tele to save my life - no surprise, I didn't play the ones I had very often, so perhaps that's why they were never my thing.

But I've been experimenting with my amps and pedals using the Special, and I'm finding lead tones I think are pretty darn sweet. So I think sharing some of my findings is in order (these may or may not work for your style, or maybe you've found them but others haven't yet; in any case they work for me, and at some point soon I'll record them). Here we go:

One great thing about slightly less-thick lower mids in the Special is that the beauty and bloom of the upper midrange and higher frequencies comes more into play - without the mud that you sometimes get with solid body guitars.

This is especially true with the neck pickup. For me, this means I can increase the gain on the amp or pedals a little bit for color and sustain, and still have a clear tone with lots of string-to-string definition, and there can be even more responsiveness to my pick attack or guitar controls. I'm running the DG30's gain a bit higher than normal, for example, and it's proving to be a good match for the Special. I wasn't feeling that way at first - shows how wrong I can be until I get to the experimentation phase with a guitar.

I find that the Special is kiiller with modulation effects. For example, I like using a chorus pedal on a very slow speed, mixed very gently in with the original signal to create almost a Leslie speaker effect. A swampy, pitch-shifting tremolo sound is gorgeous. With a solid-body, humbucker guitar it can get muddy pretty fast. Not so with the Special.

Also, making use of the classic Eventide micropitch sound is something I've found less useful with my solid body guitars (the H3000 was kind of a Strat staple in the late '80s and '90s, but less often used with humbuckers, at least in my case), but it's magic with the Special if you don't overdo it.

In any case, with the Special I've found that I need to boost the upper mids and highs less, but it never seems to devolve into mud. The leads seem to cut through nicely. This is all to the good, as far as I'm concerned. I'm really liking this guitar.

As to the finish, it's growing on me. Sort of.

I'd vote for Faux Bone tuner buttons, coordinate with the pickup rings

That'd be nice, too. I was thinking maybe the ebony would match the fretboard and headstock veneer. I have ebony buttons on my McCarty Singlecut, a guitar that has no other ebony or black parts at all but it has mammoth ivory birds and cream-colored other trim (that's how the run was done at the factory).

Maybe I should put the ebony buttons on the Special and the faux bone on the McCarty Singlecut instead?

On the other hand, maybe I'll leave well enough alone...

 
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LSchefman

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Yes, the Special is special…….but it’s 2022 (time for your yearly guitar purchase) ... I see more love in your future with an MEV.
wink wink
I love the MEV!!

But my goodness, it's awfully close in tone to my 20th PS Anniversary model. Over the past few years, I've been traveling the path of building greater variety into my little handful of guitars.

If a project requiring another guitar comes along, I'll begin the process of looking. For now...I'm pretty darn happy with what I've got!
 

Andrew Paul

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I love the MEV!!

But my goodness, it's awfully close in tone to my 20th PS Anniversary model. Over the past few years, I've been traveling the path of building greater variety into my little handful of guitars.

If a project requiring another guitar comes along, I'll begin the process of looking. For now...I'm pretty darn happy with what I've got!
Yeah I get it, what you’re saying. ;) The 20th PS is an awesome Guitar! But there is a big difference between the 408 pups versus 408 TCI pups on the MEV. There are also like 21 switchable sounds on the MEV vs 5. Both are very different from each other… so much so that I’d want to purchase a 20th PS for my arsenal, it’s like the older Paul’s Guitars on steroids. :cool: Rock on brother:)
 

andy474x

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Great post!

Solid-body humbucker and P-90 tones have been my staple for so long that comparing previous lead tones with the Special wasn't exactly a level playing field.

I'm kinda reminded of the way I can't get a decent lead tone with a Strat or Tele to save my life - no surprise, I didn't play the ones I had very often, so perhaps that's why they were never my thing.

But I've been experimenting with my amps and pedals using the Special, and I'm finding lead tones I think are pretty darn sweet. So I think sharing some of my findings is in order (these may or may not work for your style, or maybe you've found them but others haven't yet; in any case they work for me, and at some point soon I'll record them). Here we go:

One great thing about slightly less-thick lower mids in the Special is that the beauty and bloom of the upper midrange and higher frequencies comes more into play - without the mud that you sometimes get with solid body guitars.

This is especially true with the neck pickup. For me, this means I can increase the gain on the amp or pedals a little bit for color and sustain, and still have a clear tone with lots of string-to-string definition, and there can be even more responsiveness to my pick attack or guitar controls. I'm running the DG30's gain a bit higher than normal, for example, and it's proving to be a good match for the Special. I wasn't feeling that way at first - shows how wrong I can be until I get to the experimentation phase with a guitar.

I find that the Special is kiiller with modulation effects. For example, I like using a chorus pedal on a very slow speed, mixed very gently in with the original signal to create almost a Leslie speaker effect. A swampy, pitch-shifting tremolo sound is gorgeous. With a solid-body, humbucker guitar it can get muddy pretty fast. Not so with the Special.

Also, making use of the classic Eventide micropitch sound is something I've found less useful with my solid body guitars (the H3000 was kind of a Strat staple in the late '80s and '90s, but less often used with humbuckers, at least in my case), but it's magic with the Special if you don't overdo it.

In any case, with the Special I've found that I need to boost the upper mids and highs less, but it never seems to devolve into mud. The leads seem to cut through nicely. This is all to the good, as far as I'm concerned. I'm really liking this guitar.

As to the finish, it's growing on me. Sort of.



That'd be nice, too. I was thinking maybe the ebony would match the fretboard and headstock veneer. I have ebony buttons on my McCarty Singlecut, a guitar that has no other ebony or black parts at all but it has mammoth ivory birds and cream-colored other trim (that's how the run was done at the factory).

Maybe I should put the ebony buttons on the Special and the faux bone on the McCarty Singlecut instead?

On the other hand, maybe I'll leave well enough alone...


Great points - I've certainly got enough pedals to be able to find some that were maybe a little too fat with other guitars but will work well the the Special. Always nice to just find a whole new combination of things that brings something else to the table, rather than just mild variations on a tone.
 

LSchefman

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Yeah I get it, what you’re saying. ;) The 20th PS is an awesome Guitar! But there is a big difference between the 408 pups versus 408 TCI pups on the MEV. There are also like 21 switchable sounds on the MEV vs 5. Both are very different from each other… so much so that I’d want to purchase a 20th PS for my arsenal, it’s like the older Paul’s Guitars on steroids. :cool: Rock on brother:)
Can't argue with ya, the MEV is a great axe. Seriously.

I guess when I'm talking 'different' I'm thinking VERY different, like a Hollowbody 594, or (heaven forgive me, but I've had one already and dug it) a Rick 660/12.
 

Andrew Paul

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Can't argue with ya, the MEV is a great axe. Seriously.

I guess when I'm talking 'different' I'm thinking VERY different, like a Hollowbody 594, or (heaven forgive me, but I've had one already and dug it) a Rick 660/12.
That Rick will have it's place in recordings! BTW. talk about different..... I've come sooo close to buying a PRS double neck so many times but in the end never was willing to pull the trigger. It would be cool for a little while and tough to unload without loosing quite a bit of money if I had to sell it. But then again you never know.... ;)
 

LSchefman

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That Rick will have it's place in recordings! BTW. talk about different..... I've come sooo close to buying a PRS double neck so many times but in the end never was willing to pull the trigger. It would be cool for a little while and tough to unload without loosing quite a bit of money if I had to sell it. But then again you never know.... ;)
I used my original 660 TP (a Tom Petty sig 660/12 that's now worth 4 times what I sold mine for! o_O) on a bunch of ads for Pontiac.

"Your music is why GM killed the brand."

"I prefer to think that GM had to kill the brand because they didn't use ENOUGH of my music. ;)"
 

Andrew Paul

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Oh gosh, ads are us. So many over the last 30 years...

Recents on the Artifact Detroit page on my site:

leslieschefman.com
DAMN!!! Ad's are great!! But I'm stuck on your orchestral pieces right now!! I'm playing some guitar with "Extravagance", clean tones with crystal trail delays..... I'm getting off forum now so I can enjoy more. Thanks for sharing have a great night!!
 

LSchefman

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DAMN!!! Ad's are great!! But I'm stuck on your orchestral pieces right now!! I'm playing some guitar with "Extravagance", clean tones with crystal trail delays..... I'm getting off forum now so I can enjoy more. Thanks for sharing have a great night!!
I can send you a file to download if you want to record some guitar to it.
 

gush

She said "huge bag of dibs".
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Interesting questions!

I just strummed my Special and the PS 30th CU24 back-to-back. I should mention that I lucked out with my CU24 - it sounds beautiful, and has a nice resonance.

The Special seems louder, especially in the midrange and treble when it's strummed acoustically. But not all that much louder, only a little bit louder! And the perceived loudness might simply be the result of a different tonal balance and the resonant peak I'll get into in a moment.

My thinking is that a true acoustic guitar is so fundamentally different from the Special that (for me) substituting it for an acoustic would be out of the question. And it's certainly not loud enough to substitute for an acoustic unless you basically don't care what a real acoustic sounds like.

The semi-hollow construction creates a resonant peak in the frequency response.

A resonant peak occurs just at the break point where the high frequencies start to roll off. It's typical of any instrument with body cavities, and you mostly perceive it in the upper mids, giving the instrument a slightly more vowel-like sound on certain settings when it's amplified. It's there but more subtle on the bridge pickup alone, but it becomes much more noticeable as you switch to the 2,3 and 4 positions, and there's noticeably more resonance and roundness in the neck pickup as well.

However, the Special's resonant peak is less pronounced than the resonant peak on a true hollow body guitar, or even a dual-chamber semi-hollow like a 335.

Hopefully this helps a little. But a recording is worth a zillion words, and this one from PRS does a very good job of showing what the guitar does:

This is super frustrating for me. I listened to both videos you posted and both of those guitar/amp combinations sound fantastic.

I had a HXDA and didn't bond with it. You urged me to keep it and work with it a bit longer but it just didn't click with me at the time. Same with the custom 50.

I'm beginning to think I have conditioned myself to only like or seek out a specific tone which seems to hinder tone exploration.

Is that a "thing"????

Loved the HXDA video but I did not get that from mine.
 
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