Why the 513 is irreplaceable and thoughts on Heavy Humbucker/ Tone matching in a band


Ministry of guitar
Apr 13, 2017
Last week, we started jamming again as a band after a long time (you know why). While I usually used my trusty SC594 in the past and the Custom 24 for a short while after that, I decided it was time to bring out the 513.

I had not tried the 513 in the band all this time as my helix had been configured for live tones with my 594. You could get away with the same patches with the custom 24 (whose 85/15s are essentially uncovered 58/15s) but the 513 has a very specific sound. Over the course of the enforced break, I had the chance to set up tones in the helix for the 513

I also thought it would be interesting to see how it would gel with the other guitarist in the band who uses the 513 as well. The songs for the sessions were covers ranging from Pantera (Cemtery Gates) to RATM (Know your enemy) to Jamiroquai (Deeper Underground)

I brought (what I consider) the most beautiful and ergonomic of my 513s, the 2007 PS with a Swamp Ash body, Ebony fretboard and Regular maple neck. My bandmate has a 2017 (which I sold to him) in Faded Whale Blue with standard specs.

Key thoughts:
- The guitars gelled together like a dream. We had an incredible wall of sound in the tiny rehearsal space and the tones were so well matched that at times, it was difficult to tell who was playing. You can imagine how tight, matched up sounds would help if you are playing staccato riffs. It was almost like the stereo guitar recording trick where you play two almost identical parts to create a bigger overall sound

- The range on the 513 continues to be incredible. In neck single coil, you get that perfect bouncy Morello tone (for those who don't know, he breaks the norm and plays quite a few riffs on the neck pickup of his tele). Heavy humbucker bridge is perfect squealy metal territory, amazing for Dime. And neck Heavy humbucker is the sweetest woman tone on planet earth, perfect for delay leads.

- Speaking on Heavy Humbucker, both of us agreed no other guitar has the 'magic' of the 513 heavy humbucker. It's like having an extra dose of electricity under your finger tips like a good compressor or a Klon and there is no real compromise in dynamism and it just makes playing so much more fun. I think a lot of folks, when they have considered the 509 as the replacement for the 513, miss the heavy humbucker and there's nothing quite like it.

- Cleans are amazing. Position 4 in Single coil mode creates the perfect ambience or even 80s chorus sound. And the neck 'clear' humbucker is (you guessed it) incredibly clear without any flabbiness

- Side Note: The 513 into the Helix is the ultimate combination. Honestly, speaking functionally, there is nothing else you need.

Looks like we are going to turn our band into a 513 band permanently. Gear obsession apart, it just makes sense as it makes us sound tighter and better together. Also this particular PS 513 is incredible light and easy to play so just the ticket for long gigs. I'll probably string up the Blue matteo (my first) 513, which is currently sitting in drop B, as a backup. The two Braz Rosewoods however, I think, I may be a bit too scared to gig so those will stay at home for now.

A pic from the session for kicks

All my 513s together. Am so glad I discovered this guitar by accident when a wonderful older gentleman was selling one locally since it had gotten too heavy for him. The Blue Matteo came first. Then the Gold Braz three months later, when I had made it my life mission to get a 513 Rosewood. Then the nickel Braz popped up locally almost by accident. And finally the Purple Mist (yes it looks grey but it is not faded. I have checked under every nook and cranny that matters :) ) PS

Maybe it's different for heavy music, but in two guitar bands I prefer different but complementary guitar tones. I think that adds some depth to the overall sound. You mentioned that at some point you couldn't really tell which guitar player was playing what. I prefer that each guitar player is distinct. Live I'm mostly playing Blues, R&B, with some Classic Rock thrown in. You know the usual old guy, open mic kind of music.
Gigged a pair of 2007 Braz neck 513s through an Axe Fx for many years until the world stopped in 2020. Still have both and can attest:

1. The 513 is unique, and a real deal landmark among PRSi
2. The heavy humbucker kicks butt. Instant Santana tone.
3. The clear humbucker covers anything if you need it to, and,
4. 2007 was a very, very, very good year for PRS guitars!
nice write-up, sweet guitars. i gigged my 513 for a couple years and dug the versatility, but i could never get it to pair well with any backup.
I love my 513's. I have a swamp ash special and a (2006 I think) with the rosewood neck. It covers so many tones you don't really need a backup. Great guitars!!!