tremolo vs hard bridge?? help!

Tremelo or Hard bridge?

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New Member
Jun 12, 2020
Hey there, looking to purchase my first PRS. I'm leaning towards the 85/15 pick ups but I'm wondering if there is a model withOUT the tremolo bridge. I don't use tremolo and not interested in having it. I've asked some friends and everyone is like.. "put a block of wood in there like Clapton". This seems silly. Why would i want to buy a beautiful new guitar and shove a hunk of wood under the bridge??

anyway, I'm sure the tremolo bridge is quality but I'm still shy about it. Would rather just avoid it. Maybe i just need some calming reassurance that a tremelo bridge is great and don't worry about it. Or maybe there is a model i'm missing that has the 85/15's and a hard bridge?

Sort of looking at the S2 McCarty but not sure those pick ups are what i want. not looking for an old school retro sound. more of a modern high def clear dynamic tone. That being said I am not a pro or very advanced player, rather a enthusiastic hobbiest that plays with friends.
I have the same attitude towards trem/hardtail as you.

However, the CE24 I have is the only guitar in 50 years of playing that I have not blocked. It doesn't detune during double stop bends. Its the only trem I've used that does what its supposed to without penalty. How? I dont know.

Even so, yes I prefer a hardtail. Someone will be along with more knowledge of the model range to advise soon I'm sure. Good Luck & welcome to the forum.
PRS makes lots of guitars without a trem.
That said, I agree with merciful-evans and find a PRS trem guitar plays very well without the trem arm installed.
Play the one with the pickups you want and see what you think.
The 85 series only come on trem guitars. The PRS vibrato bridges are great, though, so you may get into using the bar.

It's really not a big deal to block a vibrato bridge. Once you put the backplate back on, it's completely invisible. You could also spend money on a Tremol-No, but a block of hardwood and a little handiwork is less intrusive and cheaper.

If you really want a hardtail, new pickups are easy to come by. If you're thinking of the S2 range, the 85/15 S come up often on eBay and Reverb.
If you're thinking of the S2 range, the 85/15 S come up often on eBay and Reverb.
I’ve done ^this^. Silly people on Reverb practically give 85/15 “S” pickups away. (Don’t tell anyone and grab a bunch while you can)

FWIW, I rarely have a trem arm in and and don’t feel any need to block the trem. It’s not like it was designed over 65 years ago. :rolleyes:
I have not had very good experience with trems, especially floating trems. when you go to drop d, the entire guitar is out of tune. hit a heavy can hear the strings go slightly sharp. You can find a few PRSs with hard tail bridges and I will strongly recommend that's the direction to go. Outside of that, if you must go with one with a trem, blocking it works or you can use a tremel-no.
The trem definitely changed the character of the guitar, wether or not you 'play' it or even block it.

I've heard Grissom likes the pseudo reverb sound the springs add.

I like to have both, but I find myself gravitating to the fixed bridge ones a lot more than the trems when I reach for a guitar.

Get a fixed bridge model and just pick up an 85/15 for it!
I have 3 guitars with the PRS Trem - all floating - and it doesn't bother me at all and frequently play without the bar in. As for changing tunings - like doing a Drop D, then yes it can be a bit more work to set up and you can't drop D for one song and tune up again for the next without affecting the tuning across all strings. The Bridge is floating and balances the tension in the springs with the tension of the strings so if you change the tension in one, you need to change the tension in the other. That maybe a downside but if you regularly play in a fixed tuning, having a trem is no issue at all and its an extra option to your playing or not use it if you don't want.

I must admit, I am not a big trem user but if I like the sound and feel of a guitar with a trem, I would (and have) happily bought it. Just because its there, doesn't mean I have to use it all the time. Of course a fixed bridge has advantages - easier to change tuning, change strings etc but its not something that really puts me off - otherwise I wouldn't own my Cu24, Special Semi-hollow and 509. No doubt you could buy a fixed bridge PRS and put 85/15's in if you wanted too...
I am an older CU22 guy. MANY of those have stopbar tail pieces. And I do prefer them. But, the one I have now has the trem. I haven't once used it since I purchased it. Thought I might try it, but I never did. But I can go through an entire rehearsal and not have to retune from playing. And it isn't blocked. (I had one more that was a trem several years back but it was immediately blocked). The alternate tuning thing is the one real drawback of leaving the trem functional. But I don't do much of that anyway. I have a hard enough time trying to play in standard tuning. lol
Personally I like the PRS tremelo. I have two PRS’s, one has hard tail the other has the Trem. I would normally encourage you to try out the Trem, but since you seem sure you want a hard tail, find a hard tail.
I would go hardtail. I think that tremelo is good for the silver sky because it's part of the sound. I'm not a big whammy bar user so take that into account.