The Official "McCarty 594" Love Thread!!

Discussion in 'Electric Instruments' started by MA Pete, Feb 23, 2016.

  1. garrett

    garrett Not a New Member

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    Sah-weet! I drooled over that one a few times online.


    In other news, I guess I really own mine now. It received is first ding this afternoon. The V12 on the tip of the headstock lost a fight with the 75-year-old plaster on the wall in my guitar room. Oh well, it's minor and a headstock ding or two is practically a requirement for PRS ownership.

    I'm still on the mend from thumb surgery, and have now progressed to where I can do some things without a brace on. I was finally really able to dig in and play today. The 9.5 gauge strings were effortless to play and I love the guitar even more now that I can play it the way I want to.
     
  2. Tramp

    Tramp To and Fro, Mostly Fro

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    I drooled over that one as well. How do you like it?
     
  3. ViperDoc

    ViperDoc Plugged In.

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    I'll tell you next week, I just ordered it minutes ago. I was looking for a vintage finished core guitar with mahogany neck and RW board. I'll be honest, I almost got hoodwinked by an ebony boarded 594 variant with different pickups, but I held true to my mission. Finally I'll get to know what you guys have all been gushing about.
     
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  4. ViperDoc

    ViperDoc Plugged In.

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    "Look at the flame on that one!"
     
  5. ViperDoc

    ViperDoc Plugged In.

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    I like the white tuner button upgrade many of you have done. Are you going for the PRS faux bone phase 3 buttons?
     
  6. MA Pete

    MA Pete Singlecut Addict

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    Yes, we have been all doing the "Ivoroid" Phase 3 buttons available on the PRS Store for $60 and change. A must-have upgrade to complete that vintage look!

    I noticed they improved the tone a bit too... :)
     
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  7. kingsleyd

    kingsleyd New Member

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    Kingsley weighs in...

    There are really two different things going on here.

    One is the scale length. It's sort of shocking how much difference even very small differences make there. Of course you also have to factor in string diameter and tension, all that. To really dial in the "string-stretching" thing, it helps to standardize whatever the specs are that work for you and go deep.

    The other thing is, I believe, specific to the 594, and it's not scale length. I'm pretty well convinced that PRS changed the way they do the nut on the 594s. Historically PRS has always used a compensated nut, which is to say the nut is cut in order to compensate for the fact that traditional nuts are slightly out of tune because of the way that pressing down the strings to fret a note changes the geometry that gives you the desired pitch. Buzz Feiten came up with a similar system and patented it, which I'm sure some of y'all have encountered. The idea is to make the guitar more exactly in tune with piano pitches, i.e., the set of pitches that ostensibly makes up our musical playground.

    That's all well & good, but the bottom line on planet guitar is that, a lot of the time, you really don't want to be exactly in tune in the sense of the set of pitches that a piano is set up to make. [12 tones to the octave, each semi-tone being an equal subdivision] Blues-based music, in particular, isn't based on that set of pitches. In blues-based music, the key you're in is determined by the third and the seventh. (to appropriate Western scale degree names) Say you're in E blues. The third is the pitch you get when you play the harmonic that's just toward the nut from the fourth fret on your low E string. Play that, and then play the same note on the fourth fret of your high E string, which we know as G#. Two different notes! Close, but the real third is about 16 cents below the third you get when you fret the note. Your ear kinda fudges that difference unless you hear them next to each other. Once you learn to hear the "real third," the fretted third starts to sound sharp and kinda nasty. In a not-so-good way.

    The seventh is even more extremely wrong in the fretted, piano world. You can hear it by pinging the harmonic on the low E that's toward the nut from the third fret, maybe 1/3 of the way to the second fret. Play that, then play the D on the first string, 10th fret. Not even in the same ballpark! No wonder REAL blues players always hit the seventh by bending up from the sixth, or by using a slide. (it's possible to stretch a string as you fret a note so the pitch goes down, but that's a pretty under-the-radar technique, and to pull it 33 cents flat, which you need to do in order to hit the proper blues seventh, is pretty frikkin' hard)

    What does this have to do with the 594 and the nut thing?

    Well, those harmonics are part of every note you play, especially once you get some distortion happening at the amp end. They're all baked in to the way a guitar string oscillates when you play it. So if the guitar is "more in tune" to the piano notes, it's necessarily LESS in tune to those harmonics. You end up with a bit of a nasty, grindy thing in the upper harmonics of the notes that is subtle, but once you start hearing it, you can't un-hear it. Seriously. I have a bunch of high-endy PRS guitars and I'll tell ya, at this point every one of 'em is basically firewood as far as I'm concerned. (none are 594s, btw)

    I haven't spent enough time with a 594 to be sure that I'm correct in my hypothesis, and Paul Smith won't say ["If I told you, I'd have to kill you"], but I'm pretty well convinced that a lot of the specialness of that model has to do with abandoning the compensated nut routine.

    And hey, Pete, too bad you never got to play my 52/59 Les Paul. If you want to really know what a guitar of this type can sound like, you need that as baseline data. FWIW, the guy who bought that guitar also bought one of the original February GOTM 504s...
     
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  8. ViperDoc

    ViperDoc Plugged In.

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    Sweet. I looked this afternoon and only found "faux bone" buttons in the store. Is someone cornering the market?
     
  9. Rider1260

    Rider1260 New Member

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    Interesting idea here, I have looked pretty closely at the PRS nuts ( as I've worn out one or two ) and for the life of me I can't see where ( or how they are ) compensated.

    On the other hand I believe the new 594s have a more bone like material which I believe would make a difference in tone along with the thicker body , different scale and new pickups

    It seems from all the post that PRS has hit a winner on this model regardless of how they got there :)


     
  10. bodia

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

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    Those are the ones, the faux bone, that is.
     
  11. MA Pete

    MA Pete Singlecut Addict

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  12. MA Pete

    MA Pete Singlecut Addict

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    Thanks for the reply Kingsley! Interesting thoughts.

    Whatever it is, it works for me! And it is just as perfect in my Prototype Singlecut 594 (if not even more so, there is some serious magic mojo going on with that one!).

    I thought you had your 52/59 with you in the Summer of 2009 at the Tonefest at my place in MA. You had a Les Paul there, I thought it was a conversion. It did sound amazing through your vintage Marshall, whichever one that was!! :)
     
  13. aristotle

    aristotle New Member

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    This topic is way cool. This is a great example of why and how using other people's impression of a particular guitar to base a decision is so dicey. The sort of technique and sophistication that Kingsley plays with is so far beyond what I bring to the table. I completely understand what he's saying, but I don't hear it in the same way. And the reason for that (I think) is that I'm typically sloppy enough that all of this is in the noise in comparison with the effect of this phenomenon. I do hear and feel the interaction of the guitar / pickup / amp combination, but that's (again, I think) less dependent on good technique. I'm not going to perform his experiment on the chance that I'll hear it and then not be able to "un-hear" it as he says.
     
  14. kingsleyd

    kingsleyd New Member

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    Thanks for the compliments! Of course this all came up after spending a long weekend in the same room, playing all day, with Steve Kimock. A brutal reality-check about how far I have to go...

    ...of course 40+ years of night-in, night-out gigging, in all kinds of contexts, and where really playing is expected, is something you can't just do because you want to. It's a lot of fuggin' work!

    Anyway, it came up because I was telling Steve how I just couldn't trust my PRS guitars, no matter how nice they are and no matter how dialed-in to my needs the main two are. I'd get 'em on a gig and there would always be something about the sound that grated. Especially when I listened back to recordings. My main one was all packed in the car ready to go to camp, and at 4 am I woke up and thought "I need to swap that one out" which I did. So I asked Steve what his issue with PRS guitars is, as I know he doesn't like them. I thought it was just the 25-inch scale. That's when Steve told me about the effect of the compensated nut. He'd even tried one on his regular guitar because in theory it's a great idea. He and the bassist (Bobby Vega) both had their guitar tech install actual PRS nuts one day, along with the slight intonation adjustment. They got to the gig and he said, "We sucked. We both sounded like s**t." Put the old nuts back on, re-intonated, and all was well again.

    A useful "Aha!" moment for me, but then, I have lots of good, viable alternatives. Moreover I have a guitar-builder friend who will happily replace the nuts on the two PRS guitars I really care about and want to keep & use.

    It also helps me understand why so many I've-never-liked-PRS people are into the 594.
     
  15. kingsleyd

    kingsleyd New Member

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    No, that was my crazy-flame R9. Which had had the neck reshaped, boutique pickups & electronics, the whole nine yards, but it wasn't a conversion.

    The conversion is a couple of orders of magnitude better.
     
  16. MA Pete

    MA Pete Singlecut Addict

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    You may be onto something here, Kingsley! The 594's have totally knocked my socks off relative to the previous many years with the 245's (and some time with 25 inchers as well), and it has a been a mystery to me as to why such the extreme difference for me. Also, once I got used to the feel and the tone of the 594's, I had a hard time playing and listening to the 245's, I ended up selling my pride and joy 245's that I had previously declared as lifetime keepers, it was actually quite upsetting.

    They were great guitars, and when I JUST played them, they were awesome, my favorites ever. But once the 594's came, I had a really hard time switching back and forth, it was a real mind-bender as to why, I was like "how can this possibly be"??

    It was like by brain, my hands and my ears got used to a new thing with the 594, and there was no turning back, especially in a scenario of switching back and forth...

    I feel compelled to declare that the 245's are awesome, no one that owns one should feel that the 594's are better. Just different. I would be curious to hear feedback from others that have both to see if they experienced any of the same things I did...


    Thanks for confirming that! That Les Paul was great, as was the Gustavvson , sorry I missed the Conversion if that was even better! ;)
     
  17. bodia

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

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    Man, that's some heady stuff to absorb. To think, all I can add is.............INCOMING!

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. veinbuster

    veinbuster Freeze zone

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    Wait a sec...don't you already have one?
     
  19. ViperDoc

    ViperDoc Plugged In.

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    Yo, we just got slain by the same guitar! Nice pickup! I think I get mine Wednesday.
     
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  20. kes7u

    kes7u Wife's husband and Dog's dad

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    I know, right?????? Can't believe he JUST had 1 for so long....!!

    Kevin
     
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