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View Full Version : Do PS Guitars Sound Better Than Production Models?



LSchefman
03-05-2013, 09:58 AM
I have never owned a private stock PRS electric. I've played a couple, but only in a store (I have a PS acoustic on order, but that was to get a type of wood I wanted and the carbon fiber truss rod).

Private Stocks have custom stuff. The wood is lovely. The finishes are gorgeous. The build quality is off the charts.

But do they sound better? I'd honestly like to know. I've had great luck with the production models, and I've been perfectly happy, but naturally I'm curious.

What say you, Private Stock electric guitar owners?

hippietim
03-05-2013, 10:14 AM
My PS DGT sounds better than the production DGT I had. It's not some massive difference but it rang clearer and had better sustain. My PS Sig vs my old Sig LTD was pretty close - one is a vibrato bridge and the other is a stop tail so it's hard to compare them - my PS swamp ash maple neck Custom 24 with Sig electronics definitely sounds different than both of those. Other than those I don't have any guitars that compare that evenly.

moyboy
03-05-2013, 10:16 AM
I don't own one either. I would assume aside from being of the highest production quality and materials the sound would be incrementally better.

Like a car that goes 0-60 in 6 sec is ~25k vs. 0-60 in 4 sec. for ~50k vs. 0-60 in sub 3 sec. for ~200k.
The benefits of sound aren't linear. Twice and much in cost doesn't get twice as much in sound quality.

Not sure if that made sense or not.

Serious Poo
03-05-2013, 10:22 AM
No.

Production models sound just as good. There are different wood choices available on PS, so there could be different sounds available but I wouldn't call any of them better sounding.

hippietim
03-05-2013, 10:27 AM
I don't own one either. I would assume aside from being of the highest production quality and materials the sound would be incrementally better.

Like a car that goes 0-60 in 6 sec is ~25k vs. 0-60 in 4 sec. for ~50k vs. 0-60 in sub 3 sec. for ~200k.
The benefits of sound aren't linear. Twice and much in cost doesn't get twice as much in sound quality.

Not sure if that made sense or not.

So if I buy a more expensive guitar I will be able to play faster?

Albrecht Smuten
03-05-2013, 10:35 AM
So if I buy a more expensive guitar I will be able to play faster?

You'll have more motivation to play faster ;)

docbennett
03-05-2013, 11:33 AM
I've had Private Stocks in every model PRS offers (except the Mira and Starla) and I guess I've owned almost every production model as well at some time or the other.

the answer is "no". They can be customized anyway you like. They can be created with almost any wood combination, elaborate specifciations and electronic layout. There is an almost infinite variety of variables you can utilize to make your own "custom designed masterpiece".

That being said....with your eyes closed...I doubt if anyone could tell the difference between the same model in a private stock vs. a production example, as long as the pickups were identical and they were played through the same rig, and your name isn't Eric Johnson.

patentcad
03-05-2013, 11:44 AM
Depends.

Tag
03-05-2013, 11:47 AM
No.

Production models sound just as good. There are different wood choices available on PS, so there could be different sounds available but I wouldn't call any of them better sounding.


I agree with this for the most part. You can go a step farther and say some production guitars sound better than some private stocks, and some private stocks sound better than some production guitars. I would say that even as good as PRS production guitars are however, there is less chance of getting a stinker from the PS department. Then again you can say with a production guitar, you can try many until getting a killer one. I guess I am trying to say there are good reasons for both! One other thing. I DO think that a nitro finish gives tonal advantages to the V12 or poly finishes. When playing my PS acoustically, you CAN hear a differece. The production guitars just have more of a plastic like sound. They (nitro) also seem to vibrate a bit better, but surprisingly, I really can not hear this when plugged in, or at least not enough where it jumps out at you. I wish PRS would go nitro on ALL of their guitars.

:p22:

sergiodeblanc
03-05-2013, 12:09 PM
They better.

patentcad
03-05-2013, 12:42 PM
They better.

And if they're not, what will you do?

sergiodeblanc
03-05-2013, 01:08 PM
And if they're not, what will you do?

Well.. um... I'd write a letter!; "Dear Mr. Smith, I am a white woman....."


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkmN75krOBk

David Eaton
03-05-2013, 01:36 PM
My killer quilt DGT from Eric Martin sounds better and plays better than my other DGTs. It's a private stock top. I don't know if that's the reason, but it is my story.

yankeebulldog
03-05-2013, 02:22 PM
And if they're not, what will you do?

It's best to just sell all your production guitars and only buy private stock. That way, you'll never know.

watelessness
03-05-2013, 02:50 PM
They sound and feel different. "Better" is in the ears and eyes of the beholder

justmund
03-05-2013, 04:08 PM
"Better"... are you baiting us Mr. Schefman?

One would assume that woods used in the PS program have gone through additional "testing" (tap tests, density etc) before construction, but I would say this would contribute more to "achieving customer goals" than being "better". One would hope when someone is spec'ing a PS, they have particular tonal goals in mind, they are communicated to the dealer->PS team, and then those goals are worked towards. Being able to customise the woods for each build (as opposed to just blanket quality checks prior to construction), with the knowledge/experience of the PS team, should help achieve those goals.

So maybe my take is "PS guitars are better at achieving customer specific requirements"

Having said that, there's gotta be some risk here. Who knows that the sum of all the parts will turn out exactly as the customer/PS team wanted? Obviously the PS team is VERY good at what they do, but I would be just a little bit worried that the guitar won't turn out exactly as I wanted. Having said that, I've ordered 2 new PRSes, so I had no idea what they would sound/play like before I got them. The good thing about PRSes is you can do this and not be worried you'll end up with a dog. Both guitars were stellar, no dead spots, quality issues etc. Is this risk minimised with PS? I'd say the likelihood is lower, but the consequence is higher ($!)

I'm still going to order a PS when I can afford it, and I can't wait!

VHTStark
03-05-2013, 04:36 PM
Sound better? That is very subjective, but in my opinion, no. My PS was spec'd purely for tonal and playability reasons; it is pretty austere as far as private stocks are concerned. That said, it has a combo of woods that were at that time unavailable in the production instruments (you currently can get that combo via Artist package) and was made to capture a certain sound. Does it deliver? Absolutely! It is a fantastic sounding guitar with impeccable build quality and wood selection. That said, my 20th anny SC artist pack sounds every bit its equal, albeit different. I really think the big one up you get when going private stock isn't tone; it is exclusivity. The most exotic and finely figured woods are at your finger tips when you commission a private stock order, so you end up with a one of a kind instrument. As for sounding better.....depends. Just like all guitars made from any type of wood. I think to some degree we "hear with our eyes" so to speak. We see Pernambuco this and Brazilian that and automatically equate it to being a tone monster. As I posted in the CE thread, one of the best guitars I have EVER heard/played is a lowly old alder CE with a maple neck and board. 2pc body, no crazy top and nothing exotic or rare about it....absolute tone monster though.

docbennett
03-05-2013, 04:43 PM
"Better"... are you baiting us Mr. Schefman?

One would assume that woods used in the PS program have gone through additional "testing" (tap tests, density etc) before construction, but I would say this would contribute more to "achieving customer goals" than being "better". One would hope when someone is spec'ing a PS, they have particular tonal goals in mind, they are communicated to the dealer->PS team, and then those goals are worked towards. Being able to customise the woods for each build (as opposed to just blanket quality checks prior to construction), with the knowledge/experience of the PS team, should help achieve those goals.

So maybe my take is "PS guitars are better at achieving customer specific requirements"

Having said that, there's gotta be some risk here. Who knows that the sum of all the parts will turn out exactly as the customer/PS team wanted? Obviously the PS team is VERY good at what they do, but I would be just a little bit worried that the guitar won't turn out exactly as I wanted. Having said that, I've ordered 2 new PRSes, so I had no idea what they would sound/play like before I got them. The good thing about PRSes is you can do this and not be worried you'll end up with a dog. Both guitars were stellar, no dead spots, quality issues etc. Is this risk minimised with PS? I'd say the likelihood is lower, but the consequence is higher ($!)

I'm still going to order a PS when I can afford it, and I can't wait!


That was a very well thought out reply...I found it to be a very detailed and in-depth description of my own private stock build process in the past. Very much an interactive approach designed to achieve your specific custom goals, both aesthetically and "tonally".

That being said....Les would never bait anyone. He abhors an argument and eschews a debate!

LSchefman
03-05-2013, 05:45 PM
That being said....Les would never bait anyone. He abhors an argument and eschews a debate!

Haha! Actually, I have absolutely nothing to argue over. Which is unusual for me.

Lots of great replies, and interesting points of view.

My interest was getting the perspective of the folks that have them. We see the wonderful NGDs, and they are all so drool-worthy, that I was wondering if people were equally happy with their investments in terms of how they sound, in light of what they expected on that front.

Clearly, a more expensive axe isn't going to be "twice as good;" you do reach a point of diminishing returns, where maybe you get 95% with a standard model, and maybe only another 5% with the PS model. If that! But that 5% can be completely, totally worth it to the right player.

Since I have a PS acoustic on order, I'm obviously not tied to the idea of "try it first." In fact, I don't mind taking a flyer and seeing what will happen. I've special ordered all but one of my recent PRSes, and I've been absolutely thrilled, whether they've been standard models or limited production runs. Gotta say as well that I've found that the Artist and limited runs have been worth it in every way, both in terms of being happy with the tone, and being happy with the look.

So I was just hoping this would be a good platform for further discussion about these guit-fiddles. :)

AaeCee
03-05-2013, 05:59 PM
I recently bought a PS piece. It's built to an incredible standard, looks like a museum piece, and sounds stupid great. BUT....I bought it from a dealer's stock where it was spec'd out by the dealer and PRS PS team, as I felt that their collective experience would probably yield a superior result, which it did. As it happened (and a key reason I chose this one), the choices were damn close to the ideas I had in my head, and although some of the wood selections were different, it's my perception that those educated selections ended up being key variables. I also liked the idea of being able to return such an expensive piece if it didn't floor me.

LSchefman
03-05-2013, 06:13 PM
I recently bought a PS piece. It's built to an incredible standard, looks like a museum piece, and sounds stupid great.

That kinda covers all the bases right there...

swede71
03-05-2013, 06:36 PM
What about Artist package?Better looking or better sounding guitar?Personally i love maplenecks with maple fretboard.Have seen some really cool customs here at the forum with a maple/maple neck and i wish PRS could offer that as an option on the standard models.

AP515
03-05-2013, 07:57 PM
I don't think I'll ever have a PS, but I think I can still make the comparison as I have two AP's and other stock PRSi. The first PRS I ever bought was my 2006 Cu24 AP. Got it new at GC. That guitar continues to be the best sounding PRS I have ever played. So with only that guitar to go by it is simply no contest. AP's have better tone than any stock PRSi. But last year I picked up a 20th Anni AP. It is a 2006 SC and I happen to have one of the old SC's to compare it too. Guess what, the 2000 SC kicks it's butt in tone.

So the answer is, not all guitars are equal, and it doesn't matter if it was a PS, or AP, or stock, if the woods and the hardware and the stars all align, you get one of the great ones. Now I do think that with the best quality woods, and the best build methods, you have a better chance of getting one of those great ones. That is why PRS guitars are more consistent than other companies, but within the PRS family of guitars, you can get a great one out of stock just as you can out of AP or PS offerings.

LSchefman
03-05-2013, 08:24 PM
What about Artist package?Better looking or better sounding guitar?Personally i love maplenecks with maple fretboard.Have seen some really cool customs here at the forum with a maple/maple neck and i wish PRS could offer that as an option on the standard models.

I've had a few of the older and now one of the newer AP guitars. As to the older ones, it was mainly about the look and amenities. The newer ones let you substitute various parts of the build. In my case, I went with an ebony fingerboard and 53/10s on an SC58. So that guitar has some tone attributes that weren't available on the stock model. I think the new AP has a lot to do with things you might want to change over a stock model.

And since that CAN affect the tone, it's basically a "made to measure" guitar. Maybe not "bespoke" like a PS, but a very cool thing nonetheless.

Tag
03-05-2013, 08:58 PM
One other thought. Most of (not all) the absolute best sounding guitars I have ever played in my life have had totally plain woods on them. Is that because more guitars are made with plain woods, or does less figured wood actually sound better most of the time? I know several builders who feel that way.


EDIT: I just spent an hour and a half with these three, and I cant say the PSs sound any better than the production CU22 SH LTD. Each sounds fantastic, with slight variations on the CU22 semi hollow/trem sound.

http://pic20.picturetrail.com/VOL1427/12601833/23505382/405878875.jpg

butterfly
03-05-2013, 09:16 PM
Interesting thread. I would guess that it's a matter of difference mostly. There are so many variables with an electric guitar especially once it's plugged in. That said, I also believe if the woods are selected by persons knowledgeable and with experience in picking woods and seeing them through to the final product (like a PRSh) I would have to think the highest quality possible is the result. Is that "better" than something else? Subjective. But the highest quality possible? Yes I would think so. And that has its own value IMO.

veinbuster
03-05-2013, 10:37 PM
This is a surprisingly difficult question to answer.
I have a hard time separating the impact of how the guitar feels and the impact that has on how I play and how I feel about the result when it finds its way back to my ear.
I can say the PS guitars get much more play. The others get used mostly for something specific. If I am using the guitar as a meditation and just want to play, I pick up a private stock and I know I am going to like what I hear.
I think it sound better.
I know the acoustic sounds like nothing else.

Boogie
03-06-2013, 05:20 AM
He abhors an argument and eschews a debate!
This reminded me of something my mother told me, as a youngster, at the dinner table, "eschew what you have in your mouth before taking another bite".:vroam:



I know the acoustic sounds like nothing else.
+1
This has been my experience as well.