I've created a TONE MONSTER!!!
I bought my '02 McCarty back in '06. The previous owner had removed the McCarty pups and the push/pull pot. Over the years I have experimented with new pups and configurations. The current setup is how its been for the past 2 years, and how it's going to be forever. I put a push/pull pot in both the volume and tone pots so the pickups can be split independently. This adds two additional pickup combinations: 1. Bridge Humbucker + Neck Single Coil 2. Bridge Single Coil + Neck Humbucker. After doing this I realized that I wanted to blend the pickups, because the hums dominated the sound with their higher output. Without having two volume knobs to blend pups like a SC or a DGT, I decided to place a pan pot in the pickup selector position. A pan pot rolls the volume of the two pups up and down as it rolls from 0 to 10.
0 = Bridge FULL ON, Neck OFF
1 through 4 the volume of the Neck pup rises
5 = Bridge FULL ON, Neck FULL ON
6 through 9 Bridge volume drops
10 = Bridge OFF, Neck FULL ON
This IS THE BEST THING I HAVE DONE to this guitar. As complicated as it sounds, the guitar is very intuitive and natural to play. In live settings one can find the perfect tone to cut through the band by just tweaking the pan pot. I thought I was putting in another volume knob, but it plays more like another tone knob. Instead of cutting highs like a conventional tone knob, the pan pot works by adding and subtracting the natural highs of the bridge or the natural lows of the neck. One unintended plus is when the pan pot rolls over 5, from a single to a hum, the harmonics that are added give it a wonderful chorus/pan/tremolo effect. I don't really know how to describe it, but it works well with some jammy sounds.
I have been wanting to show PRS this configuration for some time. With the release of Paul's Guitar, and the mini toggle switches that split independently, I finally decided to come here and show my girl off. I know I'm not the first person to use a pan pot, or independently coil split the two pups, but I haven't found one yet that has this configuration. (I admit I haven't looked very hard) My one concern is that I often hear PRS brag (justifiably so) about how well the volume knob works and cleans up nicely with no tone loss. Well, with the push/pull in the volume knob I lose that quality. Its not bad tone loss, but does not compare to how well some of the newer PRSs work. Does anyone know a high quality push/pull pot that this tone loss would address? I plan on doing a video of this guitar, and will surely let you guys know when its up. Pics and Vid are on the way.
Reid: The Soulfeathers