Why is the 509 being phased out? And what is replacing it?

Jay7347

New Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2024
Messages
6
Location
Loveland,CO
Hi Folks, just signed up after lurking here and there for the last couple of months for info. My question is why is the 509 being phased out and what is replacing it? I've been doing my research or should I say lusting for a new PRS to fit in my rotation for playing at church. I love my 594 and I love my Silver Sky but I'm lately leaning towards the single coil end of things for a "Swiss Army knife" type of guitar. Looking at a used of three options, the ME-V or possibly a Semi-Hollow Special but then I ran across the 509. Hence the question. I really like the tone of the 509, the ME-V seems quite "focused" and has a Mayer sounding pickup option that really caught my ear. Then the Special seemed as sweet toned as one can get. Of course it all gets back to saving my pennies up since retirement is kinda ah... fixed "incomeish". From what I've seen from PRS if they are discontinuing the 509, it's for a reason and to focus more on a "better" option. Just trying to fill in my gaps of understanding.
 
I think they messed up when they lost the heavy humbucker sound the they went to the 509 from the 513.
Seems PRS just stopped developing that pickup in favor of the narrow 408 and the Narrowfield, and once they made the Silver Sky and the Fiore there was not a ton of room for the 305 / 513 / 509 pickups
 
Personal perception, but dumbing down the 513 was the first step to the whole “black pickup” breed dying out. It would be like taking the middle pickup from the NF3. Oh… wait a sec… :oops:

PRS isn’t known for sentimental attachment. They wouldn’t have made it in the first place if it wasn’t a great guitar. But they’ve deep-sixed a lot of great guitars and amps over the years because they didn’t sell well enough. And that’s the answer, in a nutshell. If it doesn’t sell well enough, it’s history, regardless of how great it is.
 
Personal perception, but dumbing down the 513 was the first step to the whole “black pickup” breed dying out. It would be like taking the middle pickup from the NF3. Oh… wait a sec… :oops:

PRS isn’t known for sentimental attachment. They wouldn’t have made it in the first place if it wasn’t a great guitar. But they’ve deep-sixed a lot of great guitars and amps over the years because they didn’t sell well enough. And that’s the answer, in a nutshell. If it doesn’t sell well enough, it’s history, regardless of how great it is.
Which is a sensible business decision. After all I doubt Paul is just making guitars for fun.
 
Another way to look at it is from the way it is designed - 5 single coils arranged in that way - was the best way to create a guitar that could do a 'proper' Single coil sound without sounding weak or like a Split Humbucker. Since these guitars were created, PRS has continued to work on understanding Pick-ups and improve their 'split' sounds. On top of the fact that guitars like the 509 may not 'sell' if it has bespoke Pick-ups that can't easily be swapped, so only those that 'like' the 509 would buy - it maybe somewhat of a 'marmite' guitar for PRS.

The NF3 too was somewhat of a Marmite guitar for many because they couldn't change Pup's if they got 'bored' of or didn't like the Pups. It didn't sell well despite it winning Guitar of the Year. So maybe the 509 isn't 'selling' despite its versatility.

It's been around since 2017 and the 513 for around a decade before that so I'm sure that if you wanted one specifically, you'll still be able to find one - at least for a while...
 
It's the customer who decides whether a product remains in a production or is been discontiued.
I'm fan of the 513 from first sight in 2011 - at that time it was already a seven years old model with a few obvious and aswell 'secret' revisions.
The 513 is the only guitar which has been awarded as best electric guitar twice in subsequent years by an international jury.
Neither it fostered selling nor preventing it from being discontiued at the end of 2016.
I asume, the majority of guitarists don't prefer tonal Swiss army knives, but actual Strat-, Tele-, it's LP-style guitars with their respective scale and pickup specs.
The customer's tonal comfort zone.

If you're a customer who demands versality, then MEV, 509, 513, Fiores are very trustful horses.
 
Which is a sensible business decision. After all I doubt Paul is just making guitars for fun.
No doubt. They have their own “Les Paul/Strat/Tele” types that have been around for decades. Like the other makers, they’ve had ideas that didn’t connect with their intended audience. Sometimes, like with the NF3, discontinued guitars can suddenly become more popular when players find out they have a piece of Unobtainium hidden inside somewhere.

I’m quite sure that, like any businessman, Paul has both kept guitars in the roster too long, and cut the cord too early. But he’s succeeded like few in the past, so his offwiththeheadometer must be pretty well calibrated.
 
Last edited:
It's the customer who decides whether a product remains in a production or is been discontiued.
I'm fan of the 513 from first sight in 2011 - at that time it was already a seven years old model with a few obvious and aswell 'secret' revisions.
The 513 is the only guitar which has been awarded as best electric guitar twice in subsequent years by an international jury.
Neither it fostered selling nor preventing it from being discontiued at the end of 2016.
I asume, the majority of guitarists don't prefer tonal Swiss army knives, but actual Strat-, Tele-, it's LP-style guitars with their respective scale and pickup specs.
The customer's tonal comfort zone.

If you're a customer who demands versality, then MEV, 509, 513, Fiores are very trustful horses.
Well my tonal comfortzone is a certain 25" DC type of guitar, but with electronics that do one thing well. Say, a great P90 or a teriffic set of HBs. Things that make my eyes mist. I do not overly care about the "classic types" or tones. There are some great sounds to be had for sure, but none of those speak some magic soundwaves.

A guitar tone to me is judged by what it is, not how far it resembles something else. Nor how versatile it is. That is why I never use the split sounds in my otherwise great HBs. I prefer them 2 conductor. For a SC sound I get a SC guitar or SCs in my beloved DC shape. That being said: I prefer HBs or P90s ;-)
 
Well my tonal comfortzone is a certain 25" DC type of guitar, but with electronics that do one thing well. Say, a great P90 or a teriffic set of HBs. Things that make my eyes mist. I do not overly care about the "classic types" or tones. There are some great sounds to be had for sure, but none of those speak some magic soundwaves.

A guitar tone to me is judged by what it is, not how far it resembles something else. Nor how versatile it is. That is why I never use the split sounds in my otherwise great HBs. I prefer them 2 conductor. For a SC sound I get a SC guitar or SCs in my beloved DC shape. That being said: I prefer HBs or P90s ;-)
Give the Paul’s or 24-08 a try. Great unique sounds. Not quite humbucker. Near p90. Very musical pickups.
 
Well, looks like I'm back to where I was before I got distracted by other models. A ME-V it is. Or will be. The problem is selling guitars after they start feeling like close a friend who's had your back. Thanks for the perspectives everyone it really helped me figure out the "why".
You have me looking at ME-Vs now, though that price is on the steep side for me these days. I’ll wait and see how yours works out. :)
 
I had a 509 and the single coil sounds were extremely disappointing to me. The bridge single coil must have been the closest to the bridge but also just had this nasally honky thin sound. Some people described it more telecaster, but it wasnt like that to me.

I found the neck single coil to sound too similar to the neck hb tone. I ultimately got rid of it and it was pretty disheartening after years of wanting one.

Ive got a MEV on order since march and im looking forward to hearing basically the new iteration of the idea with more of a traditional approach.
 
The reasons for the 509 being retired are, as noted above, pretty simple--it wasn't selling enough. The fascinating thing is the inherent market limits of Swiss Army Knife guitars. On paper they are great, and PRS has always prized versatility in guitars, but they have never dethroned the classic designs. Indeed, PRS' biggest recent hits (594, Silver Sky) are its own versions of old designs. The fundamental limitation of the Swiss Army Knife guitar is that players have to love it for itself. My 513 is my number 1, but that is because I love its inherent tone across its many variations, not because it is a dead-on replacement for a Strat and an LP.
 
Well, I bit the bullet as they say and made a deal for reasonably priced ME-V on Reverb today. It might mean I'll have to sell my 594 but I'll wait to hear tones before I put it on the market. Hate to let a guitar go that I really enjoy to play but I've been blessed. No complaints, just gratitude.
The MEV is almost like unexplored territory, and the 594 is kinda safe and nostalgic. I think it’s cool to trade safety for an adventure.
 
Back
Top