Mark Holcomb 7 SVN b-string problem / making dim weak tone

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New Member
Jan 3, 2020
Hi all,

I just bought a lovely Mark Holcomb SVN, my first PRS, on the one hand in really happy overall, on the other hand i'm facing some issues that would make me return my guitar if cannot be fixed, which I really really don't want to do.

My problem is that the low B-string is making a weak / dim sound compared with the rest of the strings, like something is blocking it. It happens with fretted notes, would that rule out the nut ? I adjusted the action quite a bit, and the weird thing it does not have any influence. I've seen one review that had the exact same issue. I would really appreciate some help, nice community you have here.
First thing I'd check - does that happen acoustically? If it does, then it's likely a mechanical problem (nut, bridge, etc.). If not, then you can look at the electronics.

If you can isolate it to the electronics, does it happen on both pickups? Single-coil and humbucker modes? You can adjust the pole-piece for just that string to see if it makes a difference.

Before I sent it back, I think I'd throw a new set of strings on there and try that. It's possible you just have a dead string.
Dear Alan,

Thank you for your reply, Its not a mechanical problem, but an acoustic one. I will try to replace the string to see what happens. Any other possible causes ?
You're welcome.

What I was trying to get at - do you hear the same problems with that string when the guitar isn't plugged in? If you do, then you can pretty much eliminate the electronics as the problem (other than maybe a pickup being too close to that string).
Hi All, Alan,

I've just replaced the B-string, Im not plugged in and still have a dim sound from the B-string, from the 12 fret further its more evident that it does not produce a good sound, again for this test the action is quite high. What should I do ?
Does it sound like that moving up every fret, or does it stop at some point? If yes, then you might have a high point at that fret.
I think @Dirty_Boogie is on to something. Have you played the B string all the way up to the 24th fret? There seems to be a bit of buzz on the E string 15th fret, which makes me think high fret, but not quite as high under that sting - like the fret isn’t quite level.
Possibly uneven frets that high up on the board.
Quick way to check is to put a fret rocker on there and check each fret.
Hi all,
Thank you for all the comments ! I'm not sure I understand you correctly, what I did is I took a long ruler - and put in on the frets to its length, I can see in the direction from 1st fret until the 24, that theres a tiny - mm or less gap towards the middle of it- it shows that there is a tiny curve on the neck, normally. The ruler cannot be bounced or moved meaning that the highest fret and lowest one are the highest, I think thats normal. -between the 1st and 24th fret all of them are lower than the 1st and 24th. I am going to stop trying fixing it myself because it gets ridicules.

About a week ago I contacted the local store here in the Netherlands and PRS customer service about the issue, I currently didnt get any concrete reply, dont know if thats the aftermath of the new year. At this point im really depressed, the guitar cost me more than 1100 euros, I spent too much time trying to figure out what it is happening, Sadly I'm going to return the guitar, Its sad that this is how I got it. I am very pessimistic about getting a new Holcomb SVN that would actually work, having read the same problem happened to another Holcomb SVN, but I hope that's only my bad nature and that PRS will find a solution. Thanks again for the help.
Sorry to hear you're going to have to return it, but that's probably the best thing to do.

The point that I was trying to get at (and I think @Dirty_Boogie was going to the same place) is that it sounds like at least one fret is high, and based on what your video shows, it's not high across the whole fret. Admittedly, this it tough to explain in text, but I'll give it a go.

What you describe above is the neck relief. That sounds good - the amount of bow is personal preference, but what you describe is far from being out of whack. So what I'm thinking is one of the frets is higher than the other, and you'd want to measure a much smaller number of frets to see this.

If you look at the neck from the side, you'd expect the frets to look something like this (I'm not going to try to draw in a fretboard, just the frets themselves):

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

Where all the frets are at the same height. What I think you have is something like this (not to scale, and not necessarily the indicated fret):

-- -- -- -- -- --
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

In addition, again based on the video, I don't think it's the whole fret, but just the part under the sixth and seventh strings (although string width could be affecting this). So I think instead of a fret that is level across like this:


I think you've got something like:


Not the most difficult fix in the world, I'd imagine, but not something you'd necessarily want to take on yourself. Nor should you have to. The dealer should be able to get this either fixed or replaced for you.
Hi Alan,

I did check what you suggested, visually and with a straight object as well. it looks quite tight, there isn't any fret misplaced. further if I play the B-string 20-24 frets they sound horrible (you clearly see that they are not blocked by the other frets), but only on that (seventh) B-string, the rest of the strings are completely fine. Another weird thing, there is a lot of fret buzz, it does happen through all frets and specially on the upper strings B, E and A. Its a very very strange and bad problem because nothing seems to be the cause of it.
It definitely sounds a little flabby. Raising the action via the saddle on just that string might help, as suggested.

I was going to say maybe the stock low-B string isn't beefy enough, but I see that PRS ships with 10-64s on the Holcomb SVN, so that should be nicely tensioned, and not sound flabby.

Maybe check to see if it is the stock/correct string gauge on that string? Perhaps the guitar ship swapped in out (got broken during test/set-up, whatever), and didn't put on the right thickness?
Thanks for the tips, to give an update - The guitar is going to the shop and then to PRS europe, they committed for a refund, fix or a new guitar. Ill keep an update.

As for the .64 string I replaced it once, the thickness is right. FYI ,The saddle does not naturally fit the .64, it is to thick to slide inside slit next to the round opening in the saddle , i purchased an extra saddle and modified it to fit the string to test it (made the slit a tiny bit wider so it fits) but that does not have an effect at all. I've read on other posts that even when it does not fit the slit but just sits on it should be fine as well. Some suggest that such a thick string curved in such an angle on the saddle (due to string through body) is killing the string. But anyway i will take the guitar to the shop, everything on my own expense just so i can say im part of the PRS family :)
Some suggest that such a thick string curved in such an angle on the saddle (due to string through body) is killing the string. But anyway i will take the guitar to the shop, everything on my own expense just so i can say im part of the PRS family :)

To be honest, that doesn't sound right to me. Is the 64 the default string? I don't remember what's on my 7-string (CU24), but that sounds about right, and I've had no issue with that.

They'll get it sorted out, one way or another!
Dear all,

I am just back from the local PRS dealer. There was another new Holcomb SVN there, it had the same issue. The guy from the store says that setup might reduce it but probably not eliminate it, and that for this price range € 1150, I should adjust my expectations, that the low b string is for chugging, for the first frets, that amped with distortion is sounds okay.

Now im not a professional musician but enough to acknowledge a problem with the guitar otherwise I would keep it. I really want to.

That being said, all Holcomb SVN seems to come with a weird sounding low b string from the factory. Maybe thats okay with PRS, Mark Holcomb, the dealers, but its really not okay with me, for sure some people here would share this opinion. I dont have any problem saving more money to buy a more expensive guitar, but i did understand that PRS are not about compromising, apparently I was wrong.

The guitar is now shipped to England to ‘try to fix the issue’. I will have to make a decision if I would like to keep it. That model comes like that from the factory the whole Holy PRS reputation for me is gone.

I would like to hear your opinion about this. Cheers.
I'm trying not to be harsh here, but...I think your guy is wrong.

The low B is not just for "chugging". Sevens have gained some popularity in jazz circles - not much chugging there. Hell, just listen to Emil Werstler. Yeah, he'll chug, but he plays so much more. So you shouldn't have to settle for limiting yourself to just chugging on that one string. It's capable of more.

I get your frustration, but I can tell you it's not all Holcomb SVNs. When my dealer called yesterday to say mine was in, I asked him if he'd noticed any issues with the low B string and if he played it. He said he didn't give it any special attention but he didn't play it. I told him about your issue and he said if it happened, he didn't notice it, but he offered right away to get it fixed if there was an issue. That's what a stand-up dealer should do. I told him if it was happening, he'd have noticed it. When I went in to pick up the guitar and played it a bit, we discussed it some more and it is not there on this one. I suspect what happened is your dealer got a couple from the same batch that suffered from a similar flaw, whether it happened during manufacturing or shipping.

Either way, your dealer should work w/PRS to get this resolved. You shouldn't have to compromise - you're not wrong about that. If they can't get this guitar fixed, what I'd suggest is either find another dealer (which is not always an option, admittedly), or give it a few weeks until they get another one in. But with either of those options, I bet I know what you're going to check first!

Thanks again for commenting, (PRS should endorse you for defending them) so far everyone has the best intentions to help so that goes in a good way and appreciated by me. I understand you have the guitar now ? Can i ask you to record the (LOW) B-string specially in the 12-fret, unplugged, preferably in video form ? and privately send it to me, if I have proof that this model exists without this problem I won't stop until get a working Holcomb.Cheers man !
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