View Full Version : What do you look for tonally in a PRS you play live?

Dirty Bob
12-15-2012, 09:29 PM
The more I play with my band the more I gravitate toward certain tonal qualities in my PRS. The pool these standouts are chosen from many times have the exact same model pickups and in many instances are the same specs overall...yet there are definitely tonal differences inherent to each instrument that has caused certain guitars to stand out. The standouts have a noticeable chimey higher upper sweetness to them that is discernible unplugged and seems to cut through the mix very well when playing live. It's odd because I have preferred more throaty deeper thicker sounding guitars when playing in private...or recording in the past...but the ones that I have gravitated toward when playing with my band are polar opposite...and they just work with my current mix.

any similar experiences? Observations?

12-15-2012, 10:11 PM
Great post! This is something I think about often. It's as relevant to creating a good recording as it is playing live. You want the instrument to be able to handle the parts and still add to the overall sound, yet have some "cut" and identity. In a recording context, of course, you can carve out some room for an instrument with EQ, but that's tougher to do in a reverberant live setting unless you have a major touring mixing rig.

Anyway, for me it comes down to whether there are other guitarists on the stage, what parts I'm playing, whether there are keys, and the style of music. My CU22s have always been my first choice as a general purpose guitar in most ensembles. But if I was the only guitar player, I'd probably pick an SC with 57/08s to cover a lot of ground. I find I can get a ton of chime with a few tricks I have up my sleeve in any case.

Honestly, when I am mostly playing parts with chime, I like a 12 string.

12-16-2012, 03:05 AM
I'm the only guitar player in my band and I do tend to gravitate to a thick, full sound. But the thing I look for most is a guitar that sustains and vibrates like a mofo. That's most important to me. I can usually tell within 5 minutes whether a guitar is "for me". I get that certain feeling when I play it pretty quick. A feeling of excitement.

12-16-2012, 04:20 AM
I prefer brighter to darker (I've lost some of my hearing so dark sounds muffled unfortunately). I also like something with a 3 way switch for fast pickup changes. I did a rotary-to-3 way mod on my PRS and it was huge. It's now my main guitar.

I also like something that is a bit of a do-it-all guitar that sounds good and covers a wide spectrum. I would normally bring 5-7 guitars to a gig, now I can take 2 and be happy.

12-16-2012, 06:02 AM
Like the folks above I want a brighter guitar that covers a wide spectrum of tones, and one that resonates really well and sings in the midrange under medium gain. This really inspires me to play better and helps me interact with my amp. I find that's rewarding place to be.

12-16-2012, 02:51 PM
I try to "dial the tone stack into a more musical place" but lately i've been playing with earplugs and i'm at a loss to know if i have made a decent mix or just survived the songs.

12-16-2012, 07:27 PM
I tune down and use a lot of open chords, so absolute clarity is a must. It has to be balanced between clean and dirty as well. That's about it as far as tonality I guess.

Dirty Bob
12-16-2012, 09:15 PM
I try to "dial the tone stack into a more musical place" but lately i've been playing with earplugs and i'm at a loss to know if i have made a decent mix or just survived the songs.

I hear you (or don't depending on my own ear plugs).....Crank it and Plug it...such a catch 22...you have to crank it to get the tone...and then plug it...to make sure you don't go deaf.

anybody know of really good earplugs i should be using as opposed to the cheap foam ones?

12-17-2012, 08:55 AM
The thing that sold me on PRS almost 20 years ago was the ability to play Solid Rock Humbucker tones and then switch to clear and snappy single coil tones on my Custom24. That remains my biggest reason I play PRS today...

12-18-2012, 10:30 AM
I totally agree with zebraprs. I had been gigging with a mccarty & a cu22 and was pretty happy with that. I purchased a used 2011 cu24 about 4 months ago and holy cow does that thing cover a lot of ground. That has become my main guitar.

12-18-2012, 10:34 AM
That no matter how much whammy bar I throw into the mix, they are always perfectly in tune and as solidly constructed as ever. In the studio tone is the main focus, live - its only part of the equation for me.