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View Full Version : What are the most important considerations when purchasing a guitar?



ExpatGirl
10-05-2012, 08:21 PM
Hi Guys,
Here's the situation. I live in New Zealand and there are not a lot of PRS guitars here. The big chain here has 61 PRS guitars spread around the country, compared to over 200 Fenders and 125 Gibsons. We're not exactly spoiled for choice. There's one P22 in the country, one Mira, one NF3, three Studios ... you get the idea.

There is a very nice Tremonti at my local shop. I've played it a few times and liked the feel of the neck and how it played but how it sounded left me a bit cold. That was through a digital transistor amp. Today I played the Tremonti through a valve amp. Wow. It was night and day. The pickups are still a bit too hot for my tastes (I play blues mostly, unlike the modern rock Mark plays) and I despise tremelos but otherwise it's an awesome guitar.

So here is my question; would you buy a guitar that is awesome but doesn't tick all the boxes, knowing that you can change the things you don't like with relative ease? Or would you wait until you found one that definitely ticked all the boxes right out of the gate?

I'm really interested to hear what you guys have to say about this one. Thanks in advance.

LSchefman
10-05-2012, 08:51 PM
I'd keep looking and try to find something that suited my needs better.

butterfly
10-05-2012, 09:28 PM
Money also comes into the equation. If this is your one guitar for a while then I would keep looking. You said you despise tremolos. And the pickups are too hot. Yes pickups can be changed but still. That is a lot of negatives. Are there any 408s coming to NZ? Maybe you would like a DGT or if you like the single cuts a stripped 58. Fish in the sea my friends. 61 is a fair amount. Keep fishing.

Aldwyn
10-05-2012, 09:31 PM
Ditto. Especially if you play blues... I'd wait for a Cu22/P22, McCarty or Ted Ltd comes into play! You can still get the Tramonti feel, but with a more classic sounding pickup.

CE-man
10-05-2012, 09:31 PM
I've got about a dozen PRS guitars and each one checks a box for me, just a different box. Is there one guitar that checks every box, I don't know? If you find one that is the alpha/omega of guitars for you then buy it. My experience has always gotten me close to the perfect guitar, but never THE perfect guitar.

Jet Whitey
10-05-2012, 09:40 PM
Tremonti's are an outstanding guitar and IMHO one of the PRS's that respond real well to tweaks! It's got a neck pickup that works really well with the extra body mass of the Singlecut and a bridge pickup that is really hot, but really really clear. Now that you have a real amp to demo thru, go back and bring a small phillips screwdriver. Play with or have the shop's tech play with pickup height. The bridge pickup will push an amps' frontend hard and you'll be amazed at what a couple 64ths will do. If the guitar feels good to play and will make you play more, it's passed my first consideration in my book!

Buildermike
10-05-2012, 09:41 PM
Expatgirl what kind of sound are you looking for? The next question is what kinda guitar format you prefer (i.e. single cut or double cut, single coil or humbucker)?

Dirty Bob
10-05-2012, 10:05 PM
Tremonti's are an outstanding guitar and IMHO one of the PRS's that respond real well to tweaks! It's got a neck pickup that works really well with the extra body mass of the Singlecut and a bridge pickup that is really hot, but really really clear. Now that you have a real amp to demo thru, go back and bring a small phillips screwdriver. Play with or have the shop's tech play with pickup height. The bridge pickup will push an amps' frontend hard and you'll be amazed at what a couple 64ths will do. If the guitar feels good to play and will make you play more, it's passed my first consideration in my book!

I agree with this big time...im all about sticking with a guitar if I bond with it quickly....in addition if you aren't a big trem fan...totally fine...don't put the bar in and have a go...you may actually like the additional ability to add a slight amount of vibrato by gently rocking your right hand on the bridge...it also adds a bit of a reverb tank effect which meshes really well with the blues...

Also don't forget...you can turn the gain down and adjust your tone and volume knobs to get the right sound...very flexible guitar IMHO.

AP515
10-05-2012, 10:14 PM
The things you like about the Tremonti you will also like about another PRS. The things you don't like about it (like the trem) are not changeable. I say find another one. PRS is the one brand you can buy without trying and have confidence it will be great. Look on the PRS website and find the miodel that has the things you want and then get that retailer to order it.

LindseyP
10-06-2012, 09:48 AM
I've never found the perfect guitar. I go for sound and feel first, will choose a lesser-know brand over a name brand if the tone and feel are right. And, as you noticed, the amp you use will have a lot to do with the sound. Be sure it's a guitar you can return or resell if you don't like it through your amp.

sergiodeblanc
10-06-2012, 01:38 PM
I would, and have bought guitars that don't check every box, but changing a bridge is not exactly like swapping pickups or tuners. I would have a look at the other sixty options before committing my hard earned money, but that's just me.

andy474x
10-06-2012, 02:16 PM
Are there any Stripped 58's there? If you liked the neck profile, that sounds like it would be pretty much perfect. It's a popular model right now, I would think there would be one... Good luck!

justmund
10-06-2012, 04:46 PM
I'm kinda in the same boat, living in Tasmania there's basically no choice for new PRSes, simply no-one stocks them! Of the 6 PRSes I have owned, I have only played 1 of them before buying them, which is purely out of "necessity" as I didn't have any other option. Luckily the internetz is a great way to work out what you want, read forums, watch videos, listen to sound clips and you can always buy with confidence with PRSes, you're just not going to get a dud one.

Also I recommend importing over buying local, you will save heaps! I think Wilcutts have free international shipping on their eBay listings at the moment. Could be a mistake but check it out... Otherwise I have some contacts who might be able to help you out.

ExpatGirl
10-06-2012, 04:56 PM
Money also comes into the equation. If this is your one guitar for a while then I would keep looking. You said you despise tremolos. And the pickups are too hot. Yes pickups can be changed but still. That is a lot of negatives. Are there any 408s coming to NZ? Maybe you would like a DGT or if you like the single cuts a stripped 58. Fish in the sea my friends. 61 is a fair amount. Keep fishing.

The manager at the shop said the only way a 408 or Stripped 58 would get here is if I order it. I'm hesitant to ask them to go through all the rigamarole of importing a guitar if I might not like it.


Ditto. Especially if you play blues... I'd wait for a Cu22/P22, McCarty or Ted Ltd comes into play! You can still get the Tramonti feel, but with a more classic sounding pickup.

-- There is one P22 in the country and they're bringing it down so I can try it out. It should be here in about a week.


Expatgirl what kind of sound are you looking for? The next question is what kinda guitar format you prefer (i.e. single cut or double cut, single coil or humbucker)?

I'd like a nice, creamy tone, like Clapton with Cream or the Blues Breakers or Peter Green's early work. My Tele is clear and sharp and I'd like a nice humbucker to compliment it. I like the single cut on my Tele and the Tremonti felt good. I've got a SE Custom 24 and like that double cut. So I guess what I'm saying is single or double cut isn't that important a factor.


The things you like about the Tremonti you will also like about another PRS. The things you don't like about it (like the trem) are not changeable. I say find another one. PRS is the one brand you can buy without trying and have confidence it will be great. Look on the PRS website and find the model that has the things you want and then get that retailer to order it.

-- The Tremonti is the only PRS US-made single cut with a wide thin neck. I love PRS's wide thin neck. I can always block the tremelo if I decide to go with the Tremonti. I had the tremelo blocked on my SE Custom 24 and now I love it.


I would, and have bought guitars that don't check every box, but changing a bridge is not exactly like swapping pickups or tuners. I would have a look at the other sixty options before committing my hard earned money, but that's just me.


Are there any Stripped 58's there? If you liked the neck profile, that sounds like it would be pretty much perfect. It's a popular model right now, I would think there would be one... Good luck!

-- There are no Stripped 58s in NZ. If that model came with a wide thin neck, I'd probably have them order me one.

clcwarlock
10-06-2012, 05:15 PM
If you like blues stick with something with a 57/08 or 53/10 or 408 or go simglecoil. The 53/10 is the warmest and has the best split sounds in my opinion. You have many options and I would not settle for something that is not a better fit. You can easily go with a p22/24 and get a fixed bridge plus lower output pickups. I made a spreadsheet before I bought my P24 and added all the specs for each guitar I was interested in. Number of frets, scale, glue in neck or bolt on, pickups, fixed bridge or tremolo, neck shape, double cut or single cut. I chose my P24 this way and I couldn't be happier. I wouldn't worry about playing it first if you know what to expect from the neck shape.

ExpatGirl
10-06-2012, 11:04 PM
Thanks very much for your input, guys. I really appreciate it. I took clcwarlock's advice and made myself a spreadsheet of the different characteristics of PRS guitars. One thing that's clear is that if you want a single cut with a fixed bridge and a wide thin neck profile, you're pretty much out of luck. So I've got some thinking to do.

Thanks again. :)

justmund
10-07-2012, 03:14 AM
Did you try the NF3? I'm really digging the NF pickups, it would do the creamy tone with the volume rolled back a little, plus some extra P90 growl when you turn it to 10. Pattern regular neck so a little chunkier than the pattern thin but not to the extent of the pattern. Another option is a studio with fixed bridge and pattern thin...

vchizzle
10-07-2012, 10:33 AM
I would, and have bought guitars that don't check every box, but changing a bridge is not exactly like swapping pickups or tuners. I would have a look at the other sixty options before committing my hard earned money, but that's just me.
Yup.


Are there any Stripped 58's there? If you liked the neck profile, that sounds like it would be pretty much perfect. It's a popular model right now, I would think there would be one... Good luck!Mmmhmm - You will probably love this guitar. Love mine.
A P22 is probably another great option, if you like the idea of piezo...even better.

I will always look at the things I can't change, neck carve & trem vs. stoptail....anything that can be changed I don't worry about.

Look into a US dealer that offers international shipping just to see what it would cost you in the end, it's worth at least doing the research.