NGD: Finally got a 7 String PS 'Holcomb' Custom 24

Utkarsh

A Les Paul guy who loves PRSs
Joined
Apr 13, 2017
Messages
404
Location
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Alrighty folks, as promised, here is the second of the NGDs. This was ordered on 31st December so it didn't break my no guitar purchase 365 day promise, unlike the other Stealth Holcomb.

Now all of us on the forum are familiar with the fine art of online guitar watching. We spot a guitar we like but we just can't get at that moment. Maybe it's too expensive. Maybe it's in the wrong country. Maybe one can afford it but just doesn't want to pay that much. Point is, we want it but can't quite get it so we watch it obsessively.

My story with this guitar begins in either November or December 2018. This was the time I was going to Japan 15 days a month for work (quite an assignment. Half Singapore, half Japan) and of course it was guitar heaven since Ochanomizu was just a couple of train stops from my office. Ochanomizu, for the uninitiated is Guitar street in Tokyo and Japan is quite good for used guitars in general.

Around this time I did not play 7 String guitar. I also did not own the dozen or so PRSs I have now, having but my purple Cu22, my 594, and the recent acquisition of the 513.(and oh my Private Stock 'Emperor' Custom 24 which I had just bought the month before at a stonking price from Ishibashi Shinjuku). So I walked into Ishibashi's showroom on Ochanomizu, a multi-storey affair where there is a wonderful floor of premium guitars. And which is when I spotted one of the most stunning guitars I had ever seen in real life. It was a purple bluish colour with a crazy top which wasn't flamed maple but something. I didn't know that much about guitars at the time but I know now it was burl maple.

I did not understand why it looked so good, beyond the colour. There was something about the shape as well. Recognition came a second later as I counted the strings. It was a 7 string. Since that day, I have maintained that the PRS shape looks better as a seven string than a six. If I ever bought a guitar on looks alone , love at first sight so to speak, it would have been that guitar on that day.

However there were two obstacles. Firstly, I did not play seven string. That would happen only a couple of years later around early 2020. No chance I was playing Private Stock money for a niche instrument for me. Talking about Private stock money, I simply could not understand the price. It was almost double what a Private Stock should cost, once I converted to USD. I understood why a while later as the guitar was ordered in 2016 when the Japanese yen had been much weaker. However since then the yen had appreciated but the price of the guitar had been pegged in yen.

In any case it was just eye candy for the moment. But the guitar left an impression. Over the next few months and years, everytime I was browsing online, I would go to the Ishibashi website and eye the listing, hoping that
1) It would not sell
2) they would reduce the price when they realized how absurd it was
3) The Japanese yen would weaken (this actually is not great for my business so count this more of a silver lining to a grey cloud).

Well the days and months and years passed and we arrive at December 2021, a time period where travelling to a country for 15 days a month sounds like science fiction. I check the Ishibashi website and they are running a significant price drop promotion. I check the rate between the SGD and JPY and it was 15% better than it ever was. I have played 7 string as much as 6 string for one and a half years now. It is not a passing phase.

So ample self justification then. The deed was done. A simple matter of 12 days later, a package arrives at my door. I unbox it and here we are

Picture time. The Caveat is that my studio has really warm yellow light so I'll take some daylight shots tomorrow to give you a more accurate sense of the colour

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Utkarsh

A Les Paul guy who loves PRSs
Joined
Apr 13, 2017
Messages
404
Location
Singapore
Ran out of space (unsurprisingly). Let's talk a little of the specs and first playing impressions, which are a touch insane
- The coupe de grace, the Burl Maple top finished in Purple Mist with a Blue Burst. The Private Stock and the dealer nicknamed it 'Boo Berry Burst' (well only in Japan?)
- The magnificent black limba body from before black limba was cool
- Solid Hormigo neck. This thing is incredibly resonant. You feel each note in the palm of your fretting hand even if you strum it lightly. Never quite experienced this even on Brazilian rosewood. Guess there is a reason they make Marimba's from this wood
- Snakewood fingerboard. I have really not done justice to the snakeskin like patterns. I also noticed it felt incredibly smooth and hard, like the perfect ebony. And then I googled it and found out that snakewood is the densest and hardest of all woods worldwide. What an unexpected bonus! I have a new favourite fretboard wood though on the flipside, it is extremely unlikely I will ever have the chance to get this on another guitar. Beyond price, these are rare and rare woods even on PS orders depend on whether you are lucky enough to catch them when they are in the vault
- Holcomb' Omega and Alpha' pickups and of course fixed bridge. On the topic of why I put the 'Holcomb' in the name, this is specced exactly like a Holcomb with the exception of the hipshot knobs (I could swap them out but I'm not a crazy Periphery fan and PRS lampshade knobs are the best). Also the scale length is the correct 26.5, just like Mark's original PS 7 unlike the 25.5 on the beautiful purple Holcomb 7 that Brian guitars had ( that had really tempted me. But the scale length dissuaded me in the end)

This thing is a chug and ambient machine. Those are the two ends of my sonic spectrum and the flat fingerboard radiuss is something I am really starting to love. So as it turns out Holcombs may just become some of my favourite PRS's.

Time to get back to playing the thing!
 

21Hemispheres12

Old Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2017
Messages
574
Wow, that is absolutely amazing! Looks like it was definitely worth the wait! I really wish PRS would do a core 7 string custom 24 with the 26.5 inch scale length, but unfortunately it looks like they are stuck in a vintage phase right now.
 

Utkarsh

A Les Paul guy who loves PRSs
Joined
Apr 13, 2017
Messages
404
Location
Singapore
Wow, that is absolutely amazing! Looks like it was definitely worth the wait! I really wish PRS would do a core 7 string custom 24 with the 26.5 inch scale length, but unfortunately it looks like they are stuck in a vintage phase right now.

That has been my constant hope. But the reality of tbe world is that LPs and Strats rule the roost
 

Mozzi

https://imgur.com/user/BAMozzy/posts
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Jun 2, 2018
Messages
3,586
That is a great looking guitar - not my thing as I don't play 7's but still a beauty.

As for the 'Vintage' phase, I think that also comes down to 'modern' amps and pedals that have all the 'gain' so don't require really 'metal' pick-ups to push the amps. You used to need a modern guitar with 'Hot' Pups to push those Vintage Amps to 'Metal' types of distortion/gain but now you can buy a 'Metal' amp that has so much Gain in that you can take a 'Vintage' guitar and get all the gain you want/need for metal...
 

21Hemispheres12

Old Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2017
Messages
574
That is a great looking guitar - not my thing as I don't play 7's but still a beauty.

As for the 'Vintage' phase, I think that also comes down to 'modern' amps and pedals that have all the 'gain' so don't require really 'metal' pick-ups to push the amps. You used to need a modern guitar with 'Hot' Pups to push those Vintage Amps to 'Metal' types of distortion/gain but now you can buy a 'Metal' amp that has so much Gain in that you can take a 'Vintage' guitar and get all the gain you want/need for metal...

Good points but I think it really depends on your definition of high gain and metal. If you’re going for 80s metal tones you can probably make it work with low output pickups. But if you are trying to get modern metal tones like between the buried and me, Haken and Periphery, you’re going to need higher output, quicker responding pickups. I’ve tried playing modern metal on my 594 with the 58/15 LTs and they absolutely did not cut it for me.

I’m also talking about things like extended scale length and adding strings which you obviously can’t do with any processor. Obviously the vintage thing is working for PRS which is great, but it’s just kind of irritating for people that are looking for modern instruments but still want a PRS.
 

Mozzi

https://imgur.com/user/BAMozzy/posts
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Messages
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Good points but I think it really depends on your definition of high gain and metal. If you’re going for 80s metal tones you can probably make it work with low output pickups. But if you are trying to get modern metal tones like between the buried and me, Haken and Periphery, you’re going to need higher output, quicker responding pickups. I’ve tried playing modern metal on my 594 with the 58/15 LTs and they absolutely did not cut it for me.

I’m also talking about things like extended scale length and adding strings which you obviously can’t do with any processor. Obviously the vintage thing is working for PRS which is great, but it’s just kind of irritating for people that are looking for modern instruments but still want a PRS.

Perhaps why they offer the Tremonti, Dusty & Holcomb models too - as well as a Cu24 with \m/ Pups as standard. Pup's are personal choice and a Cu24 with BK's in seem a 'popular' choice for some but for a 'business', putting in Pups that can cover a 'wide' range of uses - not just Modern 'Metal' - maximises the reach and sales.
 

Utkarsh

A Les Paul guy who loves PRSs
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Messages
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Haha this has turned into a good discussion which can actually be quite informative.
My thoughts
You can use traditional guitars like the 594 to play modern metal thanks to modern amps. Metal bands like Gojira use PAF style pickups. Baroness uses single coils However there is little doubt that hotter (particularly ceramic) pickups have a tighter low end (I describe it as a chunky feeling) that does make playing metal a bit more satisfying and cuts through a bit better in the mix.
I was playing my Holcomb SE and 594 core back to back the other day and marveled how much I preferred Holcombs bridge pickup while the 594s neck was magic.

Now scale lengths and extended range. That's a different topic. There are two gaps in the PRS core portfolio for metal heads despite the Tremontis, Warings and Cu24 Floyd's.
One is a 25.5 inch , ideally hard tail guitar. This is why core Holcombs are so sought after and the Tremonti Baritone is a good shout too (I have hoarded both of course)

The second is a core 7 string, ideally with 26.5 inch scale. This I believe is a matter of time before the younger extended range crowd cutting their teeth in Solars, LTDs and PRS SE SVMs starts getting enough money to afford core PRSs. I give it five years
 

Mozzi

https://imgur.com/user/BAMozzy/posts
Joined
Jun 2, 2018
Messages
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Haha this has turned into a good discussion which can actually be quite informative.
My thoughts
You can use traditional guitars like the 594 to play modern metal thanks to modern amps. Metal bands like Gojira use PAF style pickups. Baroness uses single coils However there is little doubt that hotter (particularly ceramic) pickups have a tighter low end (I describe it as a chunky feeling) that does make playing metal a bit more satisfying and cuts through a bit better in the mix.
I was playing my Holcomb SE and 594 core back to back the other day and marveled how much I preferred Holcombs bridge pickup while the 594s neck was magic.

Now scale lengths and extended range. That's a different topic. There are two gaps in the PRS core portfolio for metal heads despite the Tremontis, Warings and Cu24 Floyd's.
One is a 25.5 inch , ideally hard tail guitar. This is why core Holcombs are so sought after and the Tremonti Baritone is a good shout too (I have hoarded both of course)

The second is a core 7 string, ideally with 26.5 inch scale. This I believe is a matter of time before the younger extended range crowd cutting their teeth in Solars, LTDs and PRS SE SVMs starts getting enough money to afford core PRSs. I give it five years

Solar Guitars too use Seymour Duncans that are NOT hot or 'Metal' pickups in their guitars which are aimed predominantly at the 'metal' market.

Whilst I do agree that for certain applications, then you may well want Hot Ceramic pickups to achieve that 'tight' Low end but in doing so, you also then have to concede that you probably won't get the same 'clean' tones as most amps will break up - even with the volume rolled off a lot. Its much easier to use a 'Boost' to push the amp harder than to make hot pick-ups clean. Of course, most Metal guitarists don't want 'clean' but that does limit those guitars. That's NOT a criticism btw but not everyone can afford or would buy a Guitar purely for that and those that do, often replace their Pups with 'Metal' Pups like BareKnuckles.

Didn't you spec a Private Stock with a Tremonti in the Bridge and a 58/15 LT in the neck? I believe Tremonti pups are not very 'hot' at the neck either - pretty average but the Bridge is 'Hot' so also goes for a similar (maybe not as Low as a LT) Hot Bridge and standard/Low neck.

PRS did make a 7 string SE, that was replaced by the Holcomb 7 and of course offer 7/8 string for custom orders which may well be 'costly' to us - especially without Artist relations with PRS. Its a 'niche' Market so I can understand why they don't do a 7 String Core. Sales have to justify the 'cost' and the 'risk' is much reduced when you have a lot less invested in each instrument. Also they do make a SE 277 (27.7" Scale) SE Baritone so there are options.

I'm sure there are always 'something' that you 'wish' they'd just release to suit 'your' wants/desires but its got to make sense to PRS - Especially as they are still trying to catch up with all the 'orders' they have for the models they currently offer. I'd LOVE a 594 Hollowbody II but with the Piezo stoptail of the HBii but they don't offer that - hence I have both guitars.

I tend to see more people asking for 'SE' versions (594, Silver Sky, 509/513 etc) and in fairness to PRS, they have listened. I think that's why you don't get 7's in their Core line because there isn't enough demand to include it as a 'regular' model and the materials and labour are better used to meet the demands for their other models. They can offer these at SE and PS and see if 'demands' change.
 

DISTORT6

NJ Devil
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10,231
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New Jersey
Oh yeah I just noticed it. And with a big sigh of relief. It's there in the guitar case.
Hmm a bit of a dampener (points deducted for the dealer). I'll take it to my guitar tech tomorrow to reattach it properly.
Thanks for the pointer
Glad you found it.
That could have been a disaster if that got loose and bounced around in the case.
 

Utkarsh

A Les Paul guy who loves PRSs
Joined
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Messages
404
Location
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Solar Guitars too use Seymour Duncans that are NOT hot or 'Metal' pickups in their guitars which are aimed predominantly at the 'metal' market.

Whilst I do agree that for certain applications, then you may well want Hot Ceramic pickups to achieve that 'tight' Low end but in doing so, you also then have to concede that you probably won't get the same 'clean' tones as most amps will break up - even with the volume rolled off a lot. Its much easier to use a 'Boost' to push the amp harder than to make hot pick-ups clean. Of course, most Metal guitarists don't want 'clean' but that does limit those guitars. That's NOT a criticism btw but not everyone can afford or would buy a Guitar purely for that and those that do, often replace their Pups with 'Metal' Pups like BareKnuckles.

Didn't you spec a Private Stock with a Tremonti in the Bridge and a 58/15 LT in the neck? I believe Tremonti pups are not very 'hot' at the neck either - pretty average but the Bridge is 'Hot' so also goes for a similar (maybe not as Low as a LT) Hot Bridge and standard/Low neck.

PRS did make a 7 string SE, that was replaced by the Holcomb 7 and of course offer 7/8 string for custom orders which may well be 'costly' to us - especially without Artist relations with PRS. Its a 'niche' Market so I can understand why they don't do a 7 String Core. Sales have to justify the 'cost' and the 'risk' is much reduced when you have a lot less invested in each instrument. Also they do make a SE 277 (27.7" Scale) SE Baritone so there are options.

I'm sure there are always 'something' that you 'wish' they'd just release to suit 'your' wants/desires but its got to make sense to PRS - Especially as they are still trying to catch up with all the 'orders' they have for the models they currently offer. I'd LOVE a 594 Hollowbody II but with the Piezo stoptail of the HBii but they don't offer that - hence I have both guitars.

I tend to see more people asking for 'SE' versions (594, Silver Sky, 509/513 etc) and in fairness to PRS, they have listened. I think that's why you don't get 7's in their Core line because there isn't enough demand to include it as a 'regular' model and the materials and labour are better used to meet the demands for their other models. They can offer these at SE and PS and see if 'demands' change.

Yes my PS does have a Tremonti in the bridge which ironically is more sizzling than most metal pickups. The ironic thing for me for me beyond high gain palm muting , the reason I like a hot bridge pickup is the split sound in conjunction with a split warm neck humbucker. That for me is the perfect sound for playing ambient clean guitar where the notes cut through the wet mix. Use this trick on my PS 594 as well as my DGT of Doom (Bare Knuckle Aftermaths. As djenty a pickup as one can get)

I think all your points on PRSs lineup are valid.
The starting point is that PRS has more demand than they can handle right now so that would always be a priority.

I also agree there isn't sufficient demand for a core 7 string right now. I have seen many used PS7s hanging for a while right now. That said, that picture will change in 5 years as younger players are much more likely to be into 7s. So I have bitten the PS bullet for now, with this one and another one (singlecut trem) ordered a year ago.

Btw Duncan solars are reasonably hot :)
 

Utkarsh

A Les Paul guy who loves PRSs
Joined
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Messages
404
Location
Singapore
Back from the tech. And the missing screw is back in place.
Thank you Goose from Gworx Singapore, the only guy I trust with my Private Stocks.

While we were at it, gave it a run through with the guys in the shop and my guitar tech (Goose) had a go as well.

Observations: While it sounds very clear, it is definitely a darker sounding guitar (I didn't have my ash bodied Mayones Regius with me but that was the reference in my mind). In case anyone was wondering what a hormigo neck and black limba body do, its darker vs. brighter. The plus of this I have to say is that the downtuned chords have a real piano like quality in clean which is just amazing. In high gain, this will need a bit of EQing for some players but luckily I do err on the darker side (since I am the Les Paul guy who likes PRS's), so suits me just fine. What critical for me is chord clarity under gain and the pickups ensure that.

Anyway here are the pics of the guitar as it should be


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gemyneye

So many guitars, not enough time
Joined
May 7, 2022
Messages
671
Congratulations and well done! I have the SE SVN, my second entry in to the 7 string world. I enjoy playing them and the 20" radius is a nice change. I do find that I am maxed out at the 7 and couldn't do the 8 string with my short fingers (comfortably). And funny thing, 'seeing' the pattern of scales on the 7 string makes understanding the 6 easier. Beautiful guitar!
 
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