PRS Special Semi Hollow vs Pauls Guitar vs 35th Anni

Discussion in 'Electric Instruments' started by Jo-, Aug 19, 2020.

  1. Jo-

    Jo- f-hole lover

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    Hi everyone, these days I've been gassing for a new guitar. Something that's tonally different from my HBII with mini toggles so I can get some sweet single coil sounds without having to go the strat style Silver Sky model.

    I've been looking at the PRS Special Semi Hollow, the 35th Anniversary and Paul's Guitar models. Has anyone here got the above guitars who would like to pitch in and help me decide which one I should go for. Or are there any other mini toggle coil splitting models out there that I may not have considered.

    And please post some pic porn, you know that always helps with making a decision too.
     
  2. singularity6

    singularity6 New Member

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    I have a 35th SE, and I really like it overall. The pickups are quite noisy when using gain (it's my loudest humbucking guitar.)

    Overall, it plays really well and looks great!

    I'd love a Hollow Body II Piezo, though!
     
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  3. Mozzi

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

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    I have the Special Semi Hollow and its very versatile more so than the other two. I also have a 509 which also has mini-toggles to split the Humbuckers and both of these have a 'middle' pick up which does give them a bit more variety. I do have a Custom 24 too (in both regular and Floyd variety)

    Both Paul's and the 35th have two great humbuckers that can be split independently with the mini toggles and the 594 also has independent coil splitting with push pull pots. All of these are more like different 'flavours' so to speak with the 594 being a Vintage inspired instrument, the Cu24 being modern and the Paul's being somewhere between. Choosing should come down to which flavour you prefer and whether or not you want the fixed bridge/22 fret or trem/24 fret design. Body thickness and neck shape are also considerations. these all have a 3-way too.

    The Special adds in a NF so you get the same 8 choices the ones above offer in terms of PU selection choice - but adds 4 more to it - Neck/Bridge full/split with the Narrowfield - giving 12 options. That gives you the most options of these guitars from a combination of the 5-way and the two mini-toggles. The 509 too has a 5-way and two mini-toggles but you get just 9 options because position 3 is just the middle pick up. Both are 22 fret trem bridge guitars but differ in scale length - the 509 is a bit longer at 25.25"

    The other choice is a Modern Eagle 5 - which is a bit like a Paul's guitar and 509 combined but with an added push pull and the option to use a 250k/500k pot. This gives 17 different possible Pup selection choices but 34 different tones - although the difference between the 250k and 500k tones can be subtle.

    It really comes down to what you want/need. The only ones that I would say to consider first would be the MEv or Special because they are both limited editions. The 35th is a limited edition too of course but PRS do offer a 24-08 in their line up (if you prefer or happy to use a 3 way blade). Ultimately though it should come down to the 'flavour' or specs you want. Whether you want 22 or 24 frets, fixed/trem bridge, scale length, neck carve etc. They are all fantastic guitars. One thing to consider too is the 'year' of the one you intend to look at first. If built very late 2019 onwards, it will have the new Nitro finish and TCI process applied to the Pups, older models may not - especially on the Special. Pauls may have the TCI Pups as it was the first model to use that process.

    Ultimately, its your money and you should make that decision. Obviously I would say go with the Special as it is a very special instrument and the one I would buy out of the three BUT the 'flavour' and versatility appeals to me more so than the others do - not to say they aren't great flavours too. I would suggest trying them out in a store and go for the one you like best but I know that may not be easy right now. I am sure you can look at the specs, listen to clips and decide which you think will be the better addition to your collection
     
  4. Dead&Co

    Dead&Co New Member

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    +1 for the Special.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. sergiodeblanc

    sergiodeblanc Too Funky

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    I don’t have any of the three you’ve mentioned but, I’d be looking at the MEV if was looking for single coil(ish) tones (from the videos at least).
     
  6. Michael Lee

    Michael Lee New Member

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    Hey @Jo-, I've got a 2013 Paul's Guitar, 2019 SSH and a 2020 ME V (pickup config very similar to the 35th Anni, minus the pot switch and middle single coil) so hopefully some of what I've discovered (and obviously my own highly subjective opinions) will be of some help.

    2013 Paul's Guitar
    Of the 3, the single coil tones on the 2013 Paul's Guitar are the least 'strat-ty', and more 'thick woody P90', and my favorite of the 3 guitars when coil split. It's got the characteristics of a good P90 (comparing this against my Collings 290 with P-90 Throbaks), but slightly less spanky and trebly, which IMO is good and a very unique voicing. I've heard nothing like these pickups when split, pretty magical.
    Now, I haven't tried the new 2018 Paul's Guitar, however I believe the pickups are the same as those on the 2020 Modern Eagle V.

    2020 Modern Eagle V
    The single coil tones on these when split are very realistic, but just a touch a smidge more woody, and slightly thicker in the lower mids vs. against my Fender CS Wildwood '63 Strat. Sounds quite different from the 2013 Paul's Guitar. But single coil note definition is very present, and just a hair less jangly than the aforementioned strat but much more than the Paul's Guitar.
    2 and 4 positions with pickups split are great, very convincing as single coils. However when splitting from humbuckers to single coils, there is a noticeable volume difference (less of a difference in the 2013 Paul's Guitar).
    Full humbucking tones between the Paul's Guitar and the ME V are quite similar, very tight, slight push in the mids, sweet overtones all around, very responsive, and feel of the string bounce is immediate.
    There is witchcraft in these pickups.

    2019 Special Semi-Hollow
    Overall tones are quite different from the PG and ME V.
    I found the response to be more sponge-y, overtones aren't as crisp, but coil taps are quite convincing (but moreso than the PG, but less than the ME V). Less touch-sensitive, less 'lively' than my Hollowbody II.
    Bridge humbuckers with drive into a cooking amp is quite amazing, but in other pickup positions, while not disappointing, wouldn't be what I reach out to this guitar for.

    The obvious recommendation is to get all 3, but if I were in your position (and with my preferences), I'd definitely wanna check out the newest Paul's Guitar.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  7. watelessness

    watelessness Member

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    SSH for the win.
     
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  8. Mozzi

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

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    The Special is amazing - this is mine...

    [​IMG]

    But another you may consider is the 509 - this is mine...
    [​IMG]

    Apart from my HBii with Piezo, which does have a mini-toggle too but not to split/tap HB's. these are the two guitars I have with that options. Of course I have 2 594's too that offer independent Coil splitting via Push/Pulls but mini-toggles are easier. I would love an MEv too

    Anyway, despite the 'similarities' between the Special and 509, they are quite different instruments and I couldn't really recommend one over the other. I personally prefer my Special but really that's because I prefer the Pups and Semi-Hollow build but someone else my prefer the 509.

    I still think though that if you are considering one of various models to purchase, you should really look at the specs and sounds these guitars offer. The 58/15 MT's sound different to the TCI pickups or 509 pickups for example and you may have a preference. Other specs, such as neck carve, scale length, fixed/floating trem bridge, 22 vs 24 frets - even Knob layout (35th Anniversary vs 24-08) may also help guide you towards the right guitar for you.

    Another guitar I forgot to mention above is the 408. It seems to be out of production now but you may still find one if that's what you want - the 35th Anniversary has the 408 layout too. The 408 was the first production model to use mini-toggles to split the coils and another great guitar worth considering if its a 'mini-toggle' coil splitting/tapping guitar you are specifically hunting for.

    Anyway, good luck with the hunt and hope you find the right guitar for you...
     
  9. bodia

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

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    Mozzi and Michael pretty much hit the nail on the head. I have a 509, SSH, 2018 Exp Ltd (Paul's guitar) and a 2020 Exp Ltd ME V. The ME V and the 2018 Paul's definitely have the most "strat-y" tones when split. Simply fantastic. The ME V is so versatile it almost has me thinking of selling the 509 and the SSH. And, since you wanted to see pics, I must oblige.


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  10. Dead&Co

    Dead&Co New Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  11. Jo-

    Jo- f-hole lover

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    Thanks for all the input, you have definitely twisted my arm and so I've decided to go with the special. It's got a trem so that will be a nice complement to my HBII and most importantly it has ....... an f-hole .. duh!!! :D I love me some f-holes!

    I found a sweet looking one online (gosh it's hard to find the selection of PRSi in the UK that you have in US) from Music Street and it will hopefully be here tomorrow.. fingers crossed. Can't wait!
     
  12. bodia

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

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    Aw yeah!
     
  13. Michael Lee

    Michael Lee New Member

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    Won't go wrong with the SSH! Good luck!
     
  14. Joesnewmatch

    Joesnewmatch Semi-Special Guitarist

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    I came late, but can't say enough about my SSH. All winners to be sure. I love how light weight the SSH, which really push me over the edge. Looking forward to pics and a tone report!
     
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  15. jazzgtrl4

    jazzgtrl4 New Member

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    Yupp SSH. turned into my main guitar for everything but jazz., hell you can get a great jazz sound out of this guitar is you wanted.
     
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  16. Geo408

    Geo408 New Member

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    Yup, the SSH has become my #1, and the longer I own it, the more tones I pull out of it. Adjust your pickups to the right height, and you’ll get magic tones..A semi hollow with a whammy bar..you can’t go wrong!....And love the F holes too! I also use my Custom 24-08 quite a bit, and even though they technically use the same pickups, ( 85/15mt and 58/15mt ) they sound totally different from each other....it’s sorcery!
     
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  17. Alnus Rubra

    Alnus Rubra Loving nature’s wonders

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    I’m so far behind on here! Congratulations Jo, hopefully I find your NGD thread soon!
     
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