Windy City 2020 594Fest!

Discussion in 'Electric Instruments' started by MA Pete, Feb 16, 2020.

  1. MA Pete

    MA Pete 594 Addict

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    We finally had our Windy City 594Fest today!

    We had a great time. Sergio couldn't make it, we missed having him there. It was BrianC, yankeebulldog, Bodia and Mike/Rider1260. My tech Mario was going to come as well, but he didn't make it either. Bodia had to leave early for something that came up, but it was great to have him there for a bit.

    We had a lot of stuff to go through, I had a long list of everything we wanted to compare and discuss. We got through about 2/3 of the list, and even that was a lot, it was a bit overwhelming, the brain and the ears can only take so much in one session! ;)

    The two main objectives from my perspective were to (1) compare the many amps and cabs, and in the process show off the power of the Ox Boxes; and (2) compare the many guitars assembled, centered around the 594s, particularly the 2020s. That we accomplished pretty well.

    Here is the wall of amps:

    [​IMG]

    For amps we had my HXDA 30W, DG 30, Bogner Helios 50, Two Rock Bloomfield Drive and Carr Mercury V. Plus a few guest Friedmans.

    [​IMG]

    We had 12 594s there, 8 from me, and 2 each from Bodia and yankeebulldog. 6 were 2020s. 3 were Hollow or Semi-Hollow, and 1 was a Soapbar, so we focused in on the remaining 8 Solidbodies with Humbuckers to get a good comparison, and discuss.

    First and foremost we A/B'ed the Holy Grail 2016 SC 594 Prototype against the 2020 Prototype. We started with the 2020 Prototype, and that was terrific. Then we plugged in the 2016 Prototype, and it didn't take long for everyone to unanimously state that the 2016 still rules the roost! I had a 5909 in the bridge on that for a couple of years, which I didn't love. It sounded awesome for the higher gain stuff, but not nearly as good as the LTs for clean or lower gain tones. I didn't have an extra set of LTs handy, so I put some other boutique low output PAFs in there, it sounds terrific and comparable to a 5815 LT equipped SC 594.

    The 2016 has a low-end growl that is unique, it is a beast. Yet never muddy or woofy, super clear and crisp. When you play it and you feel it resonating along with what you are playing, it is a pretty cool feeling. I liken it to trying to pick up Mjölnir - it decides you are worthy and it lets you pick it up, and then you feel the power it brings to you! :) It also is capable of being quite mellow and beautiful at lower gain and clean. It is very dynamic, as many/most of the 594s are.

    Then we moved on to the rest of the 594s, and as we did that we compared the amps and cabs. More on that in a subsequent post...

    (Thanks guys! It was great to see you, I really enjoyed that, and learned a lot from it.)
     
  2. dmatthews

    dmatthews Dave's not here...

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    Way too much fun! Glad you guys enjoyed.
    What other boutique low output PAFs did you put in the 2016?
     
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  3. andy474x

    andy474x Knows the Drill

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    That sounds like a blast!!!
     
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  4. MA Pete

    MA Pete 594 Addict

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    One of the things I enjoyed most about the comparisons was that the HXDA 30 was a surprise hit with everyone. So many people have said in the past (including me) was "great amp, but it has to be really loud to get the great tones, so I sold it". Well, the Ox Box totally changes that. With the MV almost dimed and the HX Gain dimed, it is an incredible Hot-Rodded Marshally amp, and then you back off the guitar volume as needed to take off gain. We used that for a good portion of the 594 comparison and never touched the amp, just used the guitar volume and occasionally kicked on the EP Booster or the Mini Tumnus for an OD. Everyone said that was their favorite amp, and that that was a pleasant surprise. Great amp, and the Ox Box is a game changer!

    For fun, we also did a mystery guitar unboxing - I had ordered a guitar earlier in the week, and I let it sit and acclimate to the inside temperature until the crew got here, and we opened it together.

    [​IMG]

    That was pretty fun, to have a group NGD unboxing! We took it out of the case and it was 100% in tune. I handed it to Mike and he played it for a while, it sounded amazing! I was very pleased with it. I commented that it was my very first NGD ever that I opened a guitar and I wasn't the first one to play it. :) I was totally fine with that - in fact it was cool to just HEAR it first, and not feel it as well or be thinking about what you are playing, just hearing it was surprisingly cool.
     
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  5. MA Pete

    MA Pete 594 Addict

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    Throbak Koss-301 MXV Repros - A reproduction of the Paul Kossoff "All Right Now" guitar's pickups, from the actual pickups from the Paul Kossoff guitar. They are pretty darn good. Long A2 magnets, 7.7K Bridge and 8.6K Neck.

    I like them because they are similar to the 5815 LTs and the new 5815 LT+'s in the SCs, so it makes them make it more of an even comparison. The 2020 Prototype and the 2016 Prototype are probably my 2 best sounding guitars, and per the above, the 2016 still wins out, but not by much! ;)
     
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  6. dmatthews

    dmatthews Dave's not here...

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    Nice!
    Thank you.
     
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  7. MA Pete

    MA Pete 594 Addict

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    So now I should get into what I consider to be the star of the show today, for me - the comparison of the 2020 Doublecut guitars, 5 DC 594s, a McCarty and a DGT. (We didn't play the DGT until later though, so we played the 5 DC 594s plus the McCarty pretty much back to back.)

    But before I do that, I have to disclose two guitars. :)

    First, an NGD from earlier in the week that I didn't get a chance to post yet, a 2020 DC 594 in McCarty Sunburst. I love McCarty Sunburst! It reminds me of the 2016 Feb GOM 594 Private Stock guitar, that started this whole 594 adventure.

    [​IMG]

    And, the mystery unboxing guitar from today, a DC 594 in Yellow Tiger:

    [​IMG]

    I love my Yellow Tiger McCarty below so much, that I couldn't resist getting a matching 594!

    [​IMG]

    :)

    So we played the 5 2020 DC 594s and the McCarty, all in a row. It was really quite incredible how consistently amazing they were! Both the bridge and neck pickups were awesome, and very consistent. Each guitar had its own character, some were brighter, some were darker, but they were all similar and consistently great. Of the 594's three had 9s on there for strings, one had 8.5s (the McCarty Sunburst), and of course the Mystery NGD Guitar had PRS Stock 10s. The difference in string gauges provided for the biggest difference in feel.

    If I compare back to how I felt about the Core and WL guitars I owned in 2016-2017, they weren't this amazing relative to the Private Stocks, they weren't as consistently amazing across multiple guitars like this and the DCs weren't this close to the SCs in mojo and tone. These 2020 DC 594s are just off the charts awesome...

    Yankeebulldog's Orange Tiger:

    [​IMG]

    The DC 594s stole my heart this week and today! I formally resign as SC Club President. I am announcing the formation of the 2020 McCarty 594 Club, and proclaim myself president of that new club! :)

    [​IMG]
     
  8. dmatthews

    dmatthews Dave's not here...

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    Yellow Tiger RAWKS!
     
  9. MA Pete

    MA Pete 594 Addict

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    More tidbits:
    • Never once did I think "geez this Bridge pickup doesn't have enough output". Not across 6 2020 594s (1 SC, 5 DC). I love these 2020 TCI 5815 LTs.
    • The split tones on the TCI 5815 LTs are to die for.
    • The Cabinet comparison was fun and educational. The Open Back 2x12 sounded better to me than the closed back, for the medium gain tones from the HXDA, and the Friedman and Helios. Only for the really heavy gain tones did I prefer the Closed Back one, with more modern and higher gain tones from the BE-100 Deluxe or the Bogner Helios. Others agreed.
    • The Ox Box amazed us yet again (after first blowing us away on how it helped the HDXA sound so amazing at modest volumes), it allowed us to take the Plexi/Clean channels of the BE100 Deluxe and Bogner Helios and crank it way up, allow for some pretty killer vintage tone from those more modern voiced amps.
    • I was really impressed with Mike's Semi-Hollow Special - Interesting guitar! Different sort of thing going on with that one!
    I will post some more pics tomorrow...
     
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  10. toothace

    toothace Zombie Thirteen, DFZ

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    What a day!!!
     
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  11. clmazza

    clmazza Bullet the Blue Sky

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    What a cool night! Great perspective on the new 2020's.....
     
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  12. Boogie

    Boogie Zombie Two, DFZ

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    Your pictures support Mrs. B’s affectionate term for you people...invisible friends. :p

    People Pics or it was a Skype call!
     
  13. bodia

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

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    Great fun! Bummed I had to bail early :(

    I have to admit, I want an Ox Box now! That HX/DA slayed running through the Ox
     
  14. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    I would have loved to have been there! The gear looks great, Pete, both guitars and amps. I'm sure it sounds incredible. You must have had one heck of a great day!

    I kind of want an OX and don't even need one at all. Go figure!
     
  15. MA Pete

    MA Pete 594 Addict

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    Once we got past the SC Prototype shootout and moved into the DC comparison, Mike got more active in the playing. That was pretty cool, because when I played, I would play a few songs/riffs, and then stop and then we would immediately talk about what we just heard. I was trying to play the same things each time, I settled on All Right Now, the Zeppelin Heartbreaker Riff, Alter Bridge Blackbird with more gain, and some lead noodling on the Bridge and on the Neck. That seemed pretty effective to get the feel the tones for each guitar. Also I usually tried to test rolling off the volume to clean it up and arpeggiate some chords and noodle some leads with less gain from the volume being rolled off. Once I got through that I immediately would stop so we could talk. That worked well for the initial comparisons.

    Mike on the other hand would happily just keep on playing, doing an extended jam of chord progressions and cool mellow classic rock songs with arpeggiated chords, and just keep on going. He would turn the volume down on the guitars and create a really great low gain mellow rock tone, which sounded amazing on the various amps - a testament to how well these 5815 LTs clean up with the volume rolled down. Brian, yankeebulldog and I would chat while Mike was playing. Mike is a humble guy, and a better player than he gives himself credit for. I really enjoyed hearing him play these extended jams on these great guitars, through the great amps, it was very cool.

    Mike is all his glory here below!

    Private Stock DC 594 Hollowbody - Amazing guitar!!
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Since we were so focused on the Solidbody SC and DC 594s, we didn't spend a lot of time with this one. But it is one of my most cherished guitars at this point! I also have a Private Stock SC 594 Semi-Hollow, which is a great guitar, but after getting the Hollowbody, I think I like the full-on Hollowbody better, that the two extremes are the best, either go Solidbody or if you want a hollow thing going on, go FULL Hollowbody, the result is glorious!!

    Also this one was a bit off-putting to play, as part of my String Gauge experiment it had 8-40s on there. They are too light IMO (an opinion shared by the 594Fest team). It is too easy to pull the strings out of tune while fretting an open chord, for instance. I like the 8.5-39, I will be restringing this one with those. I do think this guitar warrants lighter than normal strings, since it is sub 6 pounds, it doesn't give you the fight back on bends and vibratos. (Results on the experiment - I will stick with 9-42 on most guitars, and do 8.5-39 on a couple for the fun of easier big bends when desired.)

    2020 McCarty in Yellow Tiger
    [​IMG]

    Mike really dug this one! It has the Pattern neck, and he digs the Pattern Neck Carve. This one plays and sounds amazing!

    I haven't mentioned yet that while this one is a 2020 build date and has Nitro, it doesn't have the standard 5815 LT pickups, it has the regular 5815 pickups. At first I was disappointed to discover this, but now I am actually pleased. The 5815s are my favorite of all the PRS pickups beyond the LTs, when looking for just a little more output than the LTs. I like them better than 5708s (my third favorite behind the LTs and the 5815s), the 5310s and the 5909s. This guitar sounds glorious, a little more kick in the bridge than the DC 594s, appropriate for a McCarty IMO.

    McCarty Sunburst DC 594:

    [​IMG]

    This is an amazing guitar! Looks gorgeous with the McCarty Sunburst finish and Cherry back. Sounds and plays gloriously. All three of my 2020 DC 594s are equally awesome re tone. But if I had to pick a favorite, this would likely win out, just due the finish and vintage vibe, it pulls at the heartstrings a bit more than the other two.

    2020 DGT:

    [​IMG]

    We didn't get as much time or energy to compare the DGTs well (mine and Mike's white one), it was getting towards the end of the session and our brains and ears were starting to get fried. By that time we were on to the Two Rock Bloomfield drive, with pedals in front for dirt. Both DGTs sounded about the same, the 2020 sounding a little different to my ears, I preferred that one slightly - maybe the Placebo Effect of knowing that one had TCI pickups? ;) (The DGTs weren't as universally liked by the group as much as the 594s were, so we didn't have as much group discussion on those.)

    [​IMG]

    My Charcoal DC 594 makes an appearance off to the side. Also a killer one!!
     
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  16. RickP

    RickP Established 1960, Still Not Dead

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    It sounds like you guys had a great time! And what a lineup of guitars and amps. Wow! And that Ox Box... what a game changer! To be able to crank one of those amps, then listen to it on just headphones. Incredible.

    And congrats on the new additions! I use this forum to prove to my wife that I am but a babe in the woods when it comes to equipment inventory!
     
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  17. JustRob

    JustRob Zombie Six, DFZ

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    All of them look great, but man that HB! I'm in love!
     
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  18. MA Pete

    MA Pete 594 Addict

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    And there is more! See various additional guitars here, and the story behind the ongoing fun and madness:

    [​IMG]

    First, yankeebulldog's pre-2020 WL SC 594. We did play that, but it was not an apples-to-apples to compare to the 2020s - it has an Ebony board, and some non-PRS Hottish PAFs (9-10K in the Bridge?). It played and sounded great. It also had an AMAZING quilt top, which went well with the dark and sinister Charcoal Burst finish, very appropriate for visually for stage presence for him for the higher gain tones he does in his band.

    Also we did do a quick comparison of yankeebulldog's Historic Makeover Les Paul, to the 2016 Prototype. I don't think I did a good job comparing apples-to-apples tones at first, as I did the SC 594 Bridge with the volume rolled down to 7-8, and the Les Paul at 10. The Les Paul did sound very good. It is probably the best sounding one that yankeebulldog has had (both he and I have owned some killer ones over the years). The HM finish is very thin, I think that helps a good Les Paul open up even more, my HM refin was probably my best Les Paul ever as well. (Now gone.)

    Once I dialed the tone in on the SC 594, I liked it better than the Les Paul. They were actually a lot different. The Les Paul was brighter, mine was darker and sweeter. I like dark, or at least a good balance between Bright and Dark.

    Honestly I think I am completely over the whole "how does it compare to a Les Paul" thing. I used to own Les Pauls and compare them all the time with the PRS Short Scale guitars, but in coming back from my Hiatus I have no desire anymore to spend any energy on that. These 594s can do the LP tone thing very well, but are MUCH more versatile, and ergonomically much better to play. As I returned from hiatus and wrote down what I wanted to accomplish in getting back into playing guitar and the gear adventures, I vowed to not waste any energy (or money) thinking about or working on that comparison. Game OVER in that regard.

    As I mentioned before, we played Mike's SH Special through the Two Rock, at various levels of clean and dirty. Darn you, Mike! Now I am GAS'ing for one of these. It is not really in my wheelhouse, I am more so fully dedicated to the formula of 594 into Plexi voiced amp, but this one has me thinking about having something very different like this to mix it up.

    We A/B'ed Mike's Silver Sky versus my favorite Strat I have ever owned, my Custom Shop Jimi Hendrix Voodoo Child Strat. The pickups on the Silver Sky are terrific. I tried the Silver Sky when it first came out, and loved the tones. But I just did not get along with the tiny frets and the 7.25" Radius, so I moved on. Ironically, I honed in on the Voodoo Child Strat because it was the most PRS-like feeling of all the Strats I tried. Most Custom Shop Strats have either too small of a neck, or too big. This one feels just like a wide fat. And with a 9.5 radius and 6105 frets, the guitar overall plays and feels like a PRS-like Strat. The Custom Shop 69 Pickups are great. I think I like the Silver Sky pickup tones better, but again I just couldn't bond with the Neck Radius and Frets. I do have GAS to try the new 2020 Silver Sky with the Maple Board. The Demos sound terrific! And the TCI SS Pickups also sound great in the Demos. Since I buy into the TCI process greatly improving the 594 LT pickups (I was skeptical, but I have proven it to myself with this 2020 adventure!), by proxy I think I buy into it for the Silver Sky's. I may give it another try. Maybe I will refret with 6105s and see how that changes the feel. I really wish John M would open up the Silver Sky for Private Stock program. It would be great to do one with a 9.5 or 10" Radius and different frets, and customize from there with some cool board inlays! :)

    BrianC on the Strat, during the Silver Sky comparison:

    [​IMG]

    We were getting some great tones from both 25.5" SSS guitars through the Two Rock!


    More commentary coming soon on the amps...
     
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  19. Boogie

    Boogie Zombie Two, DFZ

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    [​IMG]

    Really? That’s a big surprise to me since I know how much Mike and you like your DGTs.

    Dammit. This means I need to consider trying more 594s in a realistic shoot-out format.

    So, do you think a 59/09 in a 594 adequately voices harder, more articulate work? Not metal, per se, but something that can easily squeak-out pinch harmonics?
     
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  20. yankeebulldog

    yankeebulldog I don't like to get that specific

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    I’d say it would do fine. My WL SC594 referenced above had a Squabbin 59/09 stock, but I replaced it with a Wagner Godwood mainly because of cosmetics, I wanted matching nickel covers, but the output is almost the same. With either pickup you can get great pinch harmonics with my Friedman amps although I still like to use a Tumnus boost in front for metal tones, especially when using lower output pickups like these. My other guitars have a JB type output so the boost helps to even up the difference in output and tighten up the bottom end.
     

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