PS Rosewood necks and swamp ash bodies?

Discussion in 'Electric Instruments' started by Base6, Sep 11, 2016.

  1. Base6

    Base6 Guitar Addict

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    For those who know,

    I am contemplating a PS build and have been wondering about those being build with swamp ash bodies, topped with maple and a solid rosewood neck and fingerboard. I am mainly thinking about a singlecut model.

    What does this wood combination sonically do compared relative to more traditional combinations?

    Thanks for any advice.

    Michiel
     
  2. veinbuster

    veinbuster Freeze zone

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    I wish I could help but I don't recall having played that combination.

    I haven't noticed swamp ash bodies with a maple top sounding significantly different from maple on mahogany, but that is just from a few minutes at a time in a store.
     
  3. HANGAR18

    HANGAR18 What Would Evel Knievel Do?

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    If you can hear the difference between a Rosewood and Maple neck, you've got a better ear than I. I've owned both necks and they both feel really good as far at the no-stick qualities of each. One of these two necks is probably going to be less expensive than the other. For your consideration, in the photo below you will see a photo of a guitar with a Swamp Ash body and what I think must be a Private Stock neck.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. Drew

    Drew New Member

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    Sigh.. i don't know why rosewood is the sexy neck to go with these days. Sonically, it's nothing special at all. Feel wise it has large pores and itsn't as smooth as a maple neck. That just leaves you with looks and that is subjective. I just know that if I was going to spend that much money, I'd go with a proven combo. Maple/swamp ash is about a proven as it gets for sound. Ask yourself this... ever seen a legit pro musician playing a guitar with a rosewood neck? I think that says something on its own. Steve Lukather had a signature guitar with one that lasted just a year in production before going back to maple. He actually switched his tour guitars back to maple within months after the model was introduced.
     
  5. CatStrangler

    CatStrangler PRS Enthusiast

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    This may not answer your question as I have certainly never played the combo you are contemplating although I've seen a few builds out there like this. I've had a couple rosewood necks and agree with others that they certainly seem to have a lower mid push and IME tend to sound a bit compressed relative to mahogany or maple, which is great if that is what you like. An alternative I would offer up as consideration is a dense mahogany neck with an African Blackwood fretboard. In the builds I have commissioned this combination provides some of the lower mid push and piano like highs and sustain you can get with an all rosewood neck while maintaining the punch and dynamics you expect from a mahogany neck with perhaps a little weight savings in the neck as well over an all rosewood neck. IME the African Ribbon Mahogany backs are great with this combo, and I suspect Swamp ash or Korina would be as well depending on what exactly you are looking for. Also keep in mind singlecut guitars already generally emphasize a lot of lower mids as a consequence ( I believe) of the large neck joint. Scale length will play a factor here. If you go with the woods that emphasize lower mids, I also recommend a 25" scale length. Of course the PS team is also really good about giving advice if you are receptive. Good luck with he process!
     
  6. WiredGuitarist

    WiredGuitarist Authorized PRS dealer
    Authorized PRS Dealer

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    I have had two guitars with the specs you described and wasn't a big fan of either. They never quite sat right in a mix and didn't have enough midrange in the right places.
     
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  7. Base6

    Base6 Guitar Addict

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    Thanks guys!

    I'm definately not definitive on the combo I suggested which is why I asked for your opinions. I saw a couple of builds this way and was just wondering whether there was some magic going on that only a few yet discovered.

    Guitarist being guitarist, in general, I see most of us being quite conservative. No offence... The ever lasting lust for 50s models guitars are a clear testimony of that IMHO. Sure the well known combinations work, but that does not necessarily mean there is nothing more out there that works but sound a little different. I, for sure, am not conservative.

    I may very well reconsider. Maple is fine, but the wrong piece lacks presence and the guitar may not have that "freshness", and may sound a little dull. I had a gorgeous SC58 that I felt suffered from this. I own a Modern Eagle I and a US version Collection V, both with Braz necks, and rosewood sure does bring something different to the table, which I quite like. But it is mated to a mahogany body...
     
  8. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    Actually, Albert Lee's signature model by another maker has a rosewood neck, and it's something he uses on a lot of his major-label Nashville pro sessions (he's an absolutely amazing player). It's also still in production. There are others who use, and record, with them, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a player more "legit" than Albert Lee.

    PRS' RW necks (I've had a couple of them) are not full of pores, they're smooth as glass and feel great. Tonally, they are very pure sounding, with a bit more lower midrange emphasis and a lot of upper-harmonic sparkle, compared to a mahogany neck. They're vibrant and lively sounding, and they record very well clean or dirty. Though IMHO the vibrancy and immediacy of the necks sounds most amazing played clean.

    I played quite a bit of RW neck bass when I was recording in Europe where I rented one, and again, it was a very lively sounding and responsive instrument, though that one (not a PRS) did feel kind of rough in comparison to what PRS makes.

    I won't call myself a 'legit pro musician,' compared to others whose chops run circles around what I can do, but I did an awful lot of national TV ad tracks with my RW neck PRSes over a period of about 5 years.

    I have come back to preferring mahogany neck PRSes over RW, mainly because I like more midrange emphasis, but wouldn't knock the RW.
     
    #8 LSchefman, Sep 11, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2016
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  9. bodia

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

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    I'll second your take on rosewood necks.
     
  10. Bill SAS 513

    Bill SAS 513 Just another old guy in a T-shirt

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    It's all about what you hear...I've got a couple other company's basses with RW necks, and the exact same models with maple necks...love them both , but I always describes RW as adding mids and depth, especially to a bass. Btw, I've played a few RW necks, including PRS, and never felt anything "pourous"...VERY smooth to play...
     
  11. 11top

    11top Cousin Eddie's cousin

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    Sounds killer.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    Looks killer to match the tone.
     
  13. Base6

    Base6 Guitar Addict

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    What a gorgeous guitar! Killer looks for sure! And, actually one of the inspirations why I started thinking about doing one.

    Steve, can you elaborate on how it sounds compared to traditional wood combinations? What does "killer" sound like to you?
     
  14. 11top

    11top Cousin Eddie's cousin

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    It's no secret that it's difficult to describe tone. However, if your fear is that it might sound too bright or harsh, I wouldn't (or woodn't) be concerned. I think this combination with the 408s works well. I think it would work well with 59/09s, too. Keep in mind that my music genre is mostly classic and heavy rock.
     
  15. toothace

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

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    Love that guitar!
     
  16. Tag

    Tag New Member

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    I agree with Les. I love my RW neck guitars (now guitar) and they do have something unique. The one weakness I find is that they can be a bit muddy in the lower end compared to Maple and Mahogany, and thus sound better clean than distorted for the most part. Unless you have loads of money, I would go with a proven combination in a PS. Something a little diffent can be great, but it kind of sucks to have a 10k guitar sitting most of the time while you enjoy the sound of a far cheaper production guitar more.
     
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  17. kingsleyd

    kingsleyd New Member

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    I agree with the "they can be a bit muddy in the lower end" part but not with the conclusion drawn. I think rosewood necks shine with some distortion, especially with more of a Jeff Beck-type distortion. (read: classic fuzz, baby! not over-the-top fuzz, but raspy, medium-gain, 60s-style fuzz)

    I've had quite a few rosewood-neck guitars, 5 of which are still around. The main thing I've observed is that the rosewood seems to change the overall texture of the sound. I would describe it as "grainy," sort of like a photograph shot with a high ISO. That quality seems to vary depending on the species of rosewood, as does the feel of the wood. Honduran/Guatemalan, such as was used on the old Klein Electrics and on my "KingsleyDGT" private stock, is my favorite in both regards. Smoothest sound, smoothest feel, but as Tag noted, the bass isn't as tight as it is with maple or mahogany necks. Brazilian, which I had on my Modern Eagle (gone now) and on my Artinger Convertible, is similar in feel but a little grainier in sound. (that probably depends on the quality/density of the BRW!) Indian RW, which I have on a mahogany/koa Artinger with P-90s as well as a somewhat Strat-like (alder body) guitar from Scott Walker (with vintage Danelectro lipstick pickups) is the least smooth-feeling, but actually seems to have a little more clarity and less of that distinctive rosewood texture to the sound.

    One of my Klein Electrics (which I sold a while back but owned for about 15 years) had a Guatemalan rosewood neck and a swamp-ash body. Of course the body shape was rather different (!) and it was a bolt-on so I don't know how much my experience would help you, but I thought the rosewood darkened up the natural brightness of swamp ash considerably. To a point where, after a while, I thought the two woods might have been working against each other a little bit. Here's a track I recorded with that guitar. The pickups are Joe Barden two-tone humbuckers (there was a Barden s/c in the middle position as well) and the amp is a Budda Stringmaster. Guitar was plugged straight into the amp.

     
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  18. kingsleyd

    kingsleyd New Member

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    Speaking of my KingsleyDGT (PS #3825), that one was built to DGT specs but with the aforementioned Honduran RW neck (and a coco bolo fingerboard), a korina back, and a wild flamed eastern maple top. Although the bass is just a little woolly, overall it's a great-sounding guitar, especially for classic rock. It's my best guitar for channeling mid-70s Jeff Beck. I think a single-cut made with that wood recipe could sound pretty awesome.

    Here's a demo I did for Carol-Ann amps. The guitar is the KingsleyDGT.

    https://soundcloud.com/kingsley-durant/satin-demo-b-3
     
  19. clmazza

    clmazza Bullet the Blue Sky

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    I have a PS that is close... SC250 with a solid Madagascar rosewood neck with ebony fretboard, maple top and an Obeche body. Obeche is more similar to basswood... Light and dare I say midrangy. Not sure it's the body, neck, pickups or a combo that simply makes this guitar shine, sonically.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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