Your Feelings: Core or Imported?

LSchefman

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Bob,

If I can step in for a second, I think Les was saying that PRS has several separate kinds of tuners that they put on their instruments, at various price points. The "cheaper" tuners go on the entry level guitars. The locking tuners typically are designed to hold their tune better than the cheaper tuners.

What we each may prefer is a tuner that works properly, and one that doesn't work well might need swapping out. I think Les was saying that core or PS guitars that typically have higher quality components to HIM, sound and feel better.

We each may have our own levels of comfort, but truthfully, neither touting core nor imported is right or wrong. Some of us are just stating we prefer higher quality part and build quality.

This is exactly what I've been saying, only you put it better, CP.

As to the USA models' tuning machines, folks might be surprised that the PRS Core tuners are made for them by Gotoh (if memory serves). They're not US parts. They're just very good parts. The tuners that came on my PS acoustic were sourced from Robson in the UK. They're also very good parts.

I want to talk about tiny details and parts for a moment.

I've had a series of McCartys going back to around 2001 or so (I was mostly a CU22 buyer before that). One problem I occasionally had with each of them was a certain amount of what I call 'plink' with certain notes, whether plugged or unplugged. These guitars also had the older Vintage tuners. It wasn't a deal-breaker, I loved them, and they did well for me on lots of projects.

In 2017, I had two WL McCartys that had the Paul's Guitar bridge, with brass inserts in the aluminum stop tail and Phase III lockers. One had a mahogany neck, the other maple. For whatever reason - this may just have been sheer luck, of course - the 'plink' was gone and the tone was extremely solid from the fundamental through the harmonic series on both guitars.

Coincidence? Maybe. It was a small sample size. Nonetheless it was audible. My feeling was that a few tiny changes added up to making them sound better.
 

Mozzi

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I highly doubt that. It’d be like somebody saying they can tell (by the sound) whether the ferrules in the back of a tele are made of brass or steel.

Good post though.

According to Paul and the team, when they switched the McCarty's back from Phase 3 locking tuners to Vintage tuners, they could hear a difference. I am NOT going to say that they are mistaken, even if I couldn't hear a difference myself. There are people with exceptional hearing and can hear tiny differences that even when you A/B yourself, you can't hear. However, ask them to pick out which has Vintage and which has phase 3's and they get it right every time...

People swap the blocks on trems - either same size/weight, different material or add weight and can tell the difference, change the saddles from steel to brass and hear a difference, change from a bridge made from molten metal in a mould to one milled from a solid block and can hear the difference, change the nut from Bone to Graphite and hear a difference, change from EB 10-46 strings to D'Addario 10-46 and hear a difference. There are people who can hear the difference between a maple neck and Mahogany - even tell the difference between a maple neck with either a rosewood or maple board.

I can understand why it may affect the tone - after all, everything is connected and vibrating/resonating. Different materials, density etc all have their own frequencies. If you know anything about 'sound', then you know its created by the sound waves vibrating the air and when waves meet, they can add or subtract to the wave Peaks add to peaks, troughs add to troughs but troughs take away from peaks so all these materials vibrating around the string, moving the air, must also impact on the way the string moves, amplifying some frequencies, taking others away etc to create the unique sound. Therefore the Physics of it tells me everything must have some impact - even if my ear is not experienced or capable or detecting it. That doesn't mean someone with far more experience or a better ear can't hear it either.

If you use youtube, check out Rick Beato's son who can hear each individual note in a chord and tell his father exactly what notes he played. My ear is nowhere near that good!
 

LSchefman

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According to Paul and the team, when they switched the McCarty's back from Phase 3 locking tuners to Vintage tuners, they could hear a difference. I am NOT going to say that they are mistaken, even if I couldn't hear a difference myself. There are people with exceptional hearing and can hear tiny differences that even when you A/B yourself, you can't hear. However, ask them to pick out which has Vintage and which has phase 3's and they get it right every time...

People swap the blocks on trems - either same size/weight, different material or add weight and can tell the difference, change the saddles from steel to brass and hear a difference, change from a bridge made from molten metal in a mould to one milled from a solid block and can hear the difference, change the nut from Bone to Graphite and hear a difference, change from EB 10-46 strings to D'Addario 10-46 and hear a difference. There are people who can hear the difference between a maple neck and Mahogany - even tell the difference between a maple neck with either a rosewood or maple board.

I can understand why it may affect the tone - after all, everything is connected and vibrating/resonating. Different materials, density etc all have their own frequencies. If you know anything about 'sound', then you know its created by the sound waves vibrating the air and when waves meet, they can add or subtract to the wave Peaks add to peaks, troughs add to troughs but troughs take away from peaks so all these materials vibrating around the string, moving the air, must also impact on the way the string moves, amplifying some frequencies, taking others away etc to create the unique sound. Therefore the Physics of it tells me everything must have some impact - even if my ear is not experienced or capable or detecting it. That doesn't mean someone with far more experience or a better ear can't hear it either.

If you use youtube, check out Rick Beato's son who can hear each individual note in a chord and tell his father exactly what notes he played. My ear is nowhere near that good!

As usual, Mozzi, I agree,.
 

CandidPicker

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This is exactly what I've been saying, only you put it better, CP.

As to the USA models' tuning machines, folks might be surprised that the PRS Core tuners are made for them by Gotoh (if memory serves). They're not US parts. They're just very good parts. The tuners that came on my PS acoustic were sourced from Robson in the UK. They're also very good parts.

I want to talk about tiny details and parts for a moment.

I've had a series of McCartys going back to around 2001 or so (I was mostly a CU22 buyer before that). One problem I occasionally had with each of them was a certain amount of what I call 'plink' with certain notes, whether plugged or unplugged. These guitars also had the older Vintage tuners. It wasn't a deal-breaker, I loved them, and they did well for me on lots of projects.

In 2017, I had two WL McCartys that had the Paul's Guitar bridge, with brass inserts in the aluminum stop tail and Phase III lockers. One had a mahogany neck, the other maple. For whatever reason - this may just have been sheer luck, of course - the 'plink' was gone and the tone was extremely solid from the fundamental through the harmonic series on both guitars.

Coincidence? Maybe. It was a small sample size. Nonetheless it was audible. My feeling was that a few tiny changes added up to making them sound better.

I think that the difference between both you and @Uncle Bob is that you produce music for a living and have...wait for it...engineers. You can hear the tiny differences in EQ and tone because you do this for a living, and not all can say that they have the training or expertise as you.

If it were me, I *might* possibly be able to hear the difference between a wrap-around stop tail and a MannMade adjustable wrap-around, but I'm currently happy with what I own and don't see an immediate need for investing in a MannMade, because of justifying the cost for a small improvement. It'd have to be a relatively large improvement in tone and sound for me to justify purchasing a MannMade bridge over my current PRS stop tail.
 

LSchefman

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I think that the difference between both you and @Uncle Bob is that you produce music for a living and have...wait for it...engineers. You can hear the tiny differences in EQ and tone because you do this for a living, and not all can say that they have the training or expertise as you.

If it were me, I *might* possibly be able to hear the difference between a wrap-around stop tail and a MannMade adjustable wrap-around, but I'm currently happy with what I own and don't see an immediate need for investing in a MannMade, because of justifying the cost for a small improvement. It'd have to be a relatively large improvement in tone and sound for me to justify purchasing a MannMade bridge over my current PRS stop tail.

Really the most important thing is to get what's right for you.

Mine are all stock. I have no need of tweaks any more than what comes from the factory. I'm not saying tweaks are somehow wrong. It's all personal priority.
 

Aahzz

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I hate when the ball end of the string gets stuck in the block! Never an issue with MannMade or cores.

Happened at the B string every time I changed strings on my 2017 CE. I still hold that the current CEs are great guitars, and for a few reasons I prefer them to the older Core CEs which I've also owned, but that trem is the biggest weak spot IMO.
 

Aahzz

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But anyway, tuners not working properly is a reason to change them out on any guitar, even one made in America. But even when they do hold tune people still change them out. Do you see?

If I buy an SE with non-locking tuners, I guarantee you that I'm going to change them for locking. The non-lockers may or may not hold tune, but that's irrelevant to me. I prefer the convenience of locking tuners during string changes. And yes, I may even order the locking tuners before I have the guitar in hand, because my preference for them is strong, and I know it from experience before the guitar arrives.
 

dogrocketp

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Maybe “lots” is an overstatement. ‘Some’ is more likely. What was the model/version featured in the 2021 launch that he didn’t know anything about again?

Having been a guitarist for 30 years I’m certainly not going to get into some kind of passive\aggressive ‘I work in the recording business so I’m right and you’re wrong’ BS with you. I’m disappointed that you went there tbh.

Anyhow, yes the differences are there for sure, and I’ve never said they are the same instrument. Re-read what I’ve said without your PRS tinted glasses on and you might get it (or don’t, that’s absolutely fine too!).
It's not unusual for Paul to stick his head in the middle of something when he's at the factory. While he hasn't trained all the employees personally, he has set up the rules and procedures. By the way, he's at the factory a lot. Can you say workaholic? He's certainly not a figurehead. I'm a Maryland man who has met both he and Jack more than once and had several conversations. The factory is really a marvel, and all the employees take pride in what they do. They know something special is going on there.
I'm lucky enough to have SE, S2 and Core. I flipped instruments to get to the point where I actually don't want anything I don't have, and made some money doing it. I have an SE Singlecut that is amazing. It stays. I have an S2 Custom 24 that is amazing. It stays. And I have a 509 that is literally perfectly made. The goal is always to have instruments that inspire, as others have said. My other guitars are because I can no longer sell a great PRS. That being said, there's a difference if you see or hear one, whether or not I agree. We're all different, as we should be.
 
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GuitarJammin

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It makes sense that a higher quality guitar will not make you a better player; it only might inspire you to practice more which would improve your playing ability. Changing parts might improve the quality of the guitar, but still will not make you a better player. Inspiration and motivation to practice will.

IF your low quality instrument is holding you back a higher quality instrument will let you play better. I've see this over and over. If i play a lower quality instrument..I feel it and hear it...and when I miss at note or strum..everyone else does too. I play better and sound better on my good stuff.
 

CandidPicker

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IF your low quality instrument is holding you back a higher quality instrument will let you play better. I've see this over and over. If i play a lower quality instrument..I feel it and hear it...and when I miss at note or strum..everyone else does too. I play better and sound better on my good stuff.

Numerous times during my tonequest for more cost-effective & better tone, there were many times when I'd order a guitar sight unseen (basically, a pig-in-a-poke) solely on the merits of a YouTube video or because someone else suggested it. A couple days of research later, I might be up late at night trying to read reviews, comparing and rationalizing my ownership of my current guitars and what might be.

My problem is that I used to lose sleep about spending inordinate time online at night. There is nothing worse than bingeing on TV and not putting more important things first.

A lower quality instrument may not have the same tone, feel, or playability that a higher quality instrument might, and yes, a higher quality instrument might inspire you to practice more (so you can get better).

Folks who appreciate nice things realize that quality comes at a price. The mindset of "you get what you pay for" should theoretically show your understanding of the economy. A lower quality instrument may be enough for a gig and an undiscerning audience, but in my case, I'd know how I'd sound, and it wouldn't be what I might wish to present to musicians who have a trained ear.

If your good guitars help you play better, there's no shame in that. We'd all like to own high quality guitars if that were the case. There are a few of us that believe entry level guitars are good enough for them because that's what their ears and fingers tell them. Most older and experienced musicians have travelled that road years ago, and have made an informed decision about what they like or simply tolerate. They've also learned to listen carefully so as to improve their ear-training, not only for their ability to play music, but in normal conversation. Sometimes what we tolerate can be a simple conversational hook but the realization it's gonna cost us.

That's why I try to choose the most cost-effective guitar and not involve myself in too much idle chat that down the road might require explanation or worse. It used to be that I'd try to say the most things in the fewest words possible. That got way too complicated because no one could hear what was being said. Nowadays, I just try to speak and emphasize my major points without flapping my gums. ;)
 

John

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For the money, the SE's are nice. If playing shows becomes a thing again, I wouldn't mind having one as a beater guitar.

That being said, my core PRSi are special to me, even though the prices both new and used have been creeping up more and more, as of late.
 

CandidPicker

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For the money, the SE's are nice. If playing shows becomes a thing again, I wouldn't mind having one as a beater guitar.

That being said, my core PRSi are special to me, even though the prices both new and used have been creeping up more and more, as of late.

I guess that makes sense. I'd say it only deepens my appreciation for experience. For example, I don't think I'd trade a small bag of gold for my McCarty, there's just too much value in music, and what is gold but a soft, cold yellow metal that happens to be worth something. We don't see that every day.
 
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aphantomvaper

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I'd like to add another aspect. All have made great point and explanations of their opinion!

The great guitars make you play better because they don't hide mistakes. The clarity reveals any lacking technique, improper fretting or picking. That is part of the inspiration too. I don't think that is in relation to whether its an SE S2 or Core...if its clear its helping you hear yourself better.

I've had the S2 feel like an extension of my fingers, like I'm feeling down the neck through the string. Never had that happen before with any guitar. Its not an import, and its not a core...its the peanut butter cup of PRS :)
 

CandidPicker

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I'd like to add another aspect. All have made great point and explanations of their opinion!

The great guitars make you play better because they don't hide mistakes. The clarity reveals any lacking technique, improper fretting or picking. That is part of the inspiration too. I don't think that is in relation to whether its an SE S2 or Core...if its clear its helping you hear yourself better.

I've had the S2 feel like an extension of my fingers, like I'm feeling down the neck through the string. Never had that happen before with any guitar. Its not an import, and its not a core...its the peanut butter cup of PRS :)

With the peanut butter cup, you'll thank me later...

3v6PwHe.jpg
 

Broseph

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Happened at the B string every time I changed strings on my 2017 CE. I still hold that the current CEs are great guitars, and for a few reasons I prefer them to the older Core CEs which I've also owned, but that trem is the biggest weak spot IMO.
A newer CE with the trem upgraded to a John Mann bridge has me extremely pleased sonically and ability to stay in tune. I only wish the newer CEs came with abalone birds and not plastic. But that’s nitpicking.
 
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