Zeroing in on PS

Discussion in 'Electric Instruments' started by rugerpc, Jan 31, 2016.

  1. CatStrangler

    CatStrangler PRS Enthusiast

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    I mostly agree with this; most of the energy of the string is dissipated by the neck, and that process is colored by the the neck construction. In my experience the neck and fretboard are about equal factors here. I have done some BOTE calculations that show the fretboard makes up ~ 30% of the mass of the wood in a neck, i.e it matters, and there are certainly characteristics on the average the player can hear and feel from the different materials used in neck construction. Forget this nonsense some peddle that "no one could tell in a recording". Who cares? The player can certainly tell how the instrument responds and since in this case the player is the purchaser and is the one inspired or not inspired from the instrument, neck materials are a significant decision.
     
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  2. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    While I would go with the 'hog neck, I think a cocobolo neck would be beautiful sounding, too. In a different way. Based on my experience with the cocobolo Tonare I had, it should be warm and thick-sounding. You might like that a real lot!

    The thing I like about the African ribbon mahogany is that it sounds to me like the South American stuff, but it's a little bit lighter weight. Which for me, being old, is nice! Also it looks great!

    I have no idea how a maple cap on the back would sound. Might be great, might be a little bright. Then again, that might be a good thing, too.

    And a lot depends on thicknesses of all these woods, and blah blah blah.

    This is why it's all speculation until you're really ready to pony up to the bar and place that order, get into the wood library, and talk to the real experts.

    EDIT: I'll leave you with one final and maybe strange-for-this-forum thought:

    If you were to start out with a very good idea of the type of tone you want - I mean somewhat specific - it'd be a lot easier to find out how to get that type of tone.
     
    #102 LSchefman, Feb 4, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2016
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  3. rugerpc

    rugerpc A♥ hoards guitars ♥A
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    Yup. Remember I'm working on the baseline here. It could significantly change in the vault with a builder's input.

    So, I'm updating post 1 with wood selection and fallback.

    Fore scale length, I have some local homework to do.
     
    #103 rugerpc, Feb 4, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2016
  4. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    I read your Post 1 edits, and you've got some nice ideas going on there.

    I'm looking for a monogamous Peruvian to back up my #1 choice, too. ;)

    Your semi-hollow spec reminds me a lot of the CU22 Semi-Hollow Ltd, I had in 2011-2. It was a truly superb guitar, no doubt now being enjoyed by someone who is still thanking the idiot (me) who sold it!

    I've had several hollow and semi-hollow guitars, and have often thought of a hollow or semi-hollow guitar as - well in synth terms - a guitar with a resonant filter. It isn't that it's more open, but it is resonant with the resonance peaking just where the top end starts to roll off.

    Just like turning up the resonance control on a synth's lowpass filter!

    While I have a preference for a solid body based on the work I do with guitar, I still think about how nice a semi-hollow can be.
     
    #104 LSchefman, Feb 4, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2016
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  5. veinbuster

    veinbuster Freeze zone

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    Your post 1 edits look good.
    Peruvian mahogany with a Madagascar rosewood fingerboard will be very sweet indeed. It won't look as seductive as cocobolo with a cocobolo board, but it will sound excellent.

    You might be converging on your specs too fast though. At this rate it isn't going to take nearly a year.
     
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  6. Dusty Chalk

    Dusty Chalk alberngruppenführer

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    Is that what it is?

    Regarding the piezo bridge -- there are even some PRS guitars that have the piezo bridge that don't have it set up for piezo. So it should be fine.

    I'm staying out of the tonewoods recommendation, since I have zero problem with ice pickiness. I'll definitely be going with a maple neck and something like a swamp ash body, myself.
     
    #106 Dusty Chalk, Feb 4, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2016
  7. rugerpc

    rugerpc A♥ hoards guitars ♥A
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    lol

    gotta love autocorrect!
     
  8. markintime

    markintime Wood Grain Devotee

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    Just curious... what would you expect from a cocobolo neck and an ebony fingerboard sound-wise? Not that I'd ever be in a position... but a guy can dream, right?
     
  9. veinbuster

    veinbuster Freeze zone

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    Sound wise, I would expect it to be much the same as a cocobolo neck with a cocobolo fingerboard. I like the feel of ebony a bit better - it is so silky. And I like the look of cocobolo more. Sound differences between the boards on any neck wood I've tried are hard to detect. Ebony might have a bit more ring to it, but it is subtle and I have no chance of hearing it with any gain.

    I can't hear a difference between a rosewood board and a cocobolo board.
     
  10. Drew

    Drew New Member

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    I said they CAN be detrimental. I'm not a fan of Koa. I cite this as an example of an uber expensive wood that, IMO, takes a guitars tone down a notch. Yet, people pay huge sums of money for it, especially the highly figured stuff. As for Korina, there is nothing special about it. It was always touted as this magical mythical wood Gibson made old explorers and flying Vs out of. Yet, when I got my KL33, I didn't find it any better than African Mahogany. It was a let down for me.
     
  11. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    Well, I think people who go in for Koa or Korina are looking for something different, not necessarily "better." I've always felt there is no "better," there's just what works for you, or doesn't work for you.

    I've always found Koa to be a little too warm for my tastes, but lots of people love it.

    For me (YMMV) the beauty of Private Stock isn't the bling, and it isn't even the many exotic wood choices - those are great for those that wan't 'em, but I think the real beauty is that the extra time, effort, selection of materials, finish, and so on, make for a phenomenal instrument - as opposed to a showpiece.

    The fact that so many of them are, indeed, also showpieces is kind of the bonus part.

    One can't help but notice that the major artists who endorse PRS and/or buy PS guitars from PRS often seem to get their PS guitars with the wood formula PRS uses on so many of its guitars - mahogany backs and necks, maple tops, rosewood fingerboards. Bernie Marsden and Warren Haynes have McCarty Singlecuts with the usual woods; John McLaughlin's beautifully inlaid PS is 'hog back and neck, maple top, RW fretboard. Same with Grissom's PS DGT. Same with Santana's PS guitars.

    I think there's a reason for this, and it isn't because they're too lazy or unwilling to try something different. It's because the "usual suspects" work so well in a musical context, to help them do what they do.

    When Paul Smith chose a guitar to put in the Metropolitan Museum of Art as his artistic legacy piece that will be curated long after we're all dead and gone, it was a Paul's Guitar with - yes - rosewood fretboard, mahogany neck, mahogany back, and maple top. He could have done any interesting and unusual wood choice, but that wasn't what he chose to select.

    Anyway, it's such an interesting topic. As for me, I gravitate towards the tried and true, because I have tones in my head that I want to get, and there's only so much "different" I want to mess around with. Everyone's mileage varies on this, though, and that's what makes life interesting.
     
  12. Tag

    Tag New Member

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    I saw your note in my thread so I am responding here. This is my opinion from years of playing and owning many differnt PRS guitars, and what works for my style. I like your thinking on tone, and especially on improving as a player. Regardless of anyones existing abilities, that should always remain top priority, and I believe with the right practice disciplines and teacher, almost everyone can become excellent players.

    PRS body style and tone. For some reason, PRS really hit on something special with the original artist series semi hollow design. I now have two other players sold on it, and its there go to guitar over many, many of the best vintage guitars they own. If you have to have an F hole, its not possible, but IMO, the old build style sounds more hollow once you plug in anyway. At very low volumes, you can hear the acoustic sound coming out of the F hole, so it overides the build type. That is at talking levels or below, so its not worth it IMO. I have had cu 22 semi hollows, and a McCarty depth PS with F hole for comparison. Its also important to have a trem whether you use it or not, because the additional routing and springs adds to the additional resonance. I never use the trem, and you can always block it off. I have had two identical artist 3 semi hollows, one with trm, one without, and the trem makes a big difference. What the semi hollow does compared to solid is fattens and mellows the tone. It takes the bite off of the high E string, and reduces "plinky" ness. It also adds a certain midrange "howl" that I cant live without anymore. All of these things are not night and day differences, but they all add up to making a great guitar extra ordinary and unique. Glad you have decided on 22 frets. MO only, but 24 is the kiss of death in comparison. 22 does everything better unless you HAVE to have those extra frets for the music you play. I also like a Braz fingerboard if possible. I love the look and feel of ebony on other guitars, but not so much on PRS or this build. I had two of them. It does add a bit of articulation, but adds some harshness and brittleness as well. I love the pitch black look of ebony and they way it makes the birds pop out, but I was able to find a brazzy board at PRS that looked almot like ebony. Black with no figure which is what I like. Lots of figure or inlays on the board confuses my eye when I need to find my position as fast as possible. I cant say enough about the build type, but it seems they want quite a bit more $$ to do it that way now, as they have a different method now. I was going to have another one made, but I could not afford it. I was told part of it was demanding that old build method. I have had 3 with newer way, and 4 with the original way. For me, the original method sounds fatter and wamer. Just more of everything. Its McCarty depth, hollowed like the original Artist 3 semi hollow trems were done. It has a Mahogany back that is glued on to what may be seperate sides. Not exactly sure, but the new method just scoops the back, and sound quite different. If you would like to discuss further, feel free to PM me and we can talk on the phone. To much writing!! Good luck with the PS in any case, and most important, keep practicing!!! Oh yea, one ofher thing. I like the traditional tone woods, with the possible exception of RW neck. (Indian or Brazzy) pick a killer Maple top and color for looks, but go for a lightweight resonant back and neck over figure. They had some unreal figured backs when I was there, but they were heavy and dead sounding when tapping. Not that they could not sound great in the end, but i knew the lighter one would. Thats always the way to go!
     
    #112 Tag, Feb 4, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2016
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  13. Tag

    Tag New Member

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    I have had some problems getting exactly what I wanted with my PS as most know, but each one has played and sounded exceptional. The quality and tones of each are as good as it gets.
     
  14. aristotle

    aristotle New Member

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    Just to add fuel to the confusion, the guitar I like best, hands down, when I'm playing alone through an amp at home is a PS with a redwood top, obeche back, cocobolo fretboard and mahogany neck. I can't speak as articulately as Les or Tag relative to things like "aggressive in the mids" or whatever. But I do attribute the character of the guitar to the (relatively) exotic / unusual combination of woods. The only reason I don't say it's my favorite hand-down for band applications is that in a band mix, it just doesn't matter that much to me.

    You might find, since it sounds like your PS will be primarily for home use, that some of the more "different" wood selections might make the guitar more special sounding.
     
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  15. Drew

    Drew New Member

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    Speaking of exotic woods... Does anyone know if PRS has used Paduak in a build? I had completely forgotten about that one. Many many moons ago I got my hands on a Paduak N4. Nice tones from that.
     
  16. Tag

    Tag New Member

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    Reading through some of these posts. I agree withe Veinbuster on body vs neck woods. I know its different with glued in necks, but with Strat necks, its all in the neck. I had several strats, and no matter which body I bolted this one particular neck to, IT was the best sounding, by far, of the 4 guitars. I would never have believed it. The difference was night and day. Very strange. I wore that neck right out. Never found another that sounded that good. Let science figure that one out.
     
  17. markintime

    markintime Wood Grain Devotee

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    Now you got me reading back through the comments, and got me thinking, which some would say is not necessarily a good thing. But here goes. As CatStrangler stated, about 30% of the mass goes with the neck wood and the sound is colored by neck construction and energy dissipation within the neck. What struck me is the physical conformation of a neck versus a guitar body. The neck is a long thin piece of wood and the body is wider and has more mass. It seems reasonable then that the neck would be more sympathetic to sound vibrations and resonate more. Another thought that I've not seen mentioned anywhere is the truss rod. Does the metal of the truss rod have an effect and to what degree? Would it be better to have a thinner or thicker truss rod? Which would transmit or absorb more energy?

    Man, this can lead to sympathetic headaches...
     
  18. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    OTOH, you might find that you can't get the tones you like best with unusual wood choices. Different can be a double-edged sword.

    My SC58 with ebony fretboard was a phenomenal guitar in every way. Except that there were tones I could get with a RW fretboard SC245 that I couldn't get with my ebony FB SC58. I missed those tones.

    And that's why I now have a McCarty Singlecut.

    Which was odd, because I had an ebony FB on my Artist V, and I loved that thing! Go figure!
     
  19. Tosca

    Tosca Death by a million mini-toggles...

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    Everything that goes into a guitar makes a difference...the question is how much, and is it "good" or "bad". I've been interested in the impact of a truss rod on guitar sound ever since I noticed the significant difference in the tone of my two PRS acoustics (both Angelus models with Adirondack tops and Peruvian mahogany necks, one with the carbon fiber reinforcement rod...no truss rod...the other with a regular steel adjustable truss rod). The release of the graphite Paul's Guitar PS models last year fueled my curiosity further, but I've yet to see anyone here or elsewhere post a comparison of these to a PG with a truss rod (anybody had the pleasure?). I heard from Brian that they compared a graphite PG to other PS guitars in his shop when PRSh was there for a workshop last year and the graphite PG was impressive...there must have been someone from this forum there (I wasn't). I can tell you there are differences to the sound of my two Angelii that are greater than I would expect from the minor variance in their construction...same dimensions, frets/bridge/saddle/nut, tuners top and neck...different back/sides and FB (With Truss-BRW/Ebony, Without-Cocobolo/RW). I expected a little difference in the frequency response between the two...but the non adjustable rod guitar is much "woodier" sounding, considerably louder and sustains easily twice as long...longer than any other acoustic, HB or SB electric I have compared it to...except one...my PS Santana which also has a graphite reinforced neck. I am trying to find a way to "objectively" measure this effect, or record it in a way that can be appreciated like it is "in person". My theory is that the adjustable truss rod, as it involves some compression of the neck wood (depending on how much it is tightened), could dampen some of the vibration of the neck wood. My understanding from reviewing some guitar making history and online luthier comments is that the truss rod was initially developed to "stabilize" necks so that more expensive woods and less efficient quarter sawn construction would not be necessary. Who knows. There are also those who suggest that the rod itself adds a certain "snap" or "bounce" to the sound that is lacking without it. FWIW...I like what I'm hearing without the adjustable/compression truss rod. When I get some "test results" and recordings of my own personal "experiments" together I'll start a thread on this topic.
     
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  20. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    I'd say it's not so much a matter of good or bad, but more a matter of "is this more of what you want, or less of what you want?"

    I know. You probably meant your comment in that way anyway.

    But you know me. I love clarifying things.

    Law School replaced my original brain with a very strange one.
     
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