Single cut question
At the moment I have two guitars (I'm not a collector so two is enough for me), a Jackson SL3 Soloist and a PRS SE Custom 24 25th Anniversary. The Jackson is set up as a Metal guitar with Bare Knuckle Miracle Man and Sinner pickups while the PRS is more of a Rock/Metal guitar with Bare Knuckle Holydiver/Emerald pickups. I find that I'm playing the Jackson less and less so I think I might as well sell it and buy something different to set up as more of a Blues/Rock guitar. As I love the Custom 24 so much, my first thought was to buy another Custom 24 and load it with Bare Knuckle Abraxas pickups for a different feel but I've been wondering if having different pickups in essentially the same guitar would really give me that much difference. Although I hate the upper fret access on a Les Paul style guitar, I love the tone you get; so thick, rich and warm. Gary Moore is certainly my favourite player, especially when he uses a Les Paul. This got me wondering about getting a Les Paul style guitar with a nice slim neck and decent upper fret access. The only one in the PRS range that leaps to mind is the new Mark Tremonti Custom so that gives me a few key questions I'd like your help with:
1) Will the Tremonti give me more of the Les Paul tone than the Custom 24?
2) Just how bad or good is the upper fret access (nobody here seems to have one in stock)?
3) For what I want, will it be a noticeably better option than another Custom 24?
4) Are there any other alternatives you can think of, even if they're not PRS? So far I've also been looking at a LTD EC-401; Epiphone Les Paul Prophecy and Epiphone Les Paul Matt Heafy model (hate the guitarist but it has much better upper fret access)
Owning a Tremonti SE Custom, I find no issues with fret access, so that's a win, (but then I really never had any sort of problems with fret access because I'm a 6'4 monster with long fingers! Ha)
The Tremonti Custom sports SE245 pickups, very warm neck pickup, with the bridge pickup sounding brighter then my Navarro (Navarro and SE Custom 24 both sporting the Treble HFS stock). In my opinion, I would go with the Heafy model, might be the best fret access for any LP styled guitar with the deep set neck joint, plus, it's not too shabby to look at, lol. Good Luck.
Mmmmm, well I didn't expect to be on a PRS forum and the first response to tell me to buy an Epiphone, lol!
In terms of the sound of the guitar, I'm more interested in how it sounds acoustically as the stock pickups will definitely be changed for Bare Knuckle items. If the Tremonti Custom doesn't have the warm characteristics of a Les Paul and it's not massively different to a Custom 24, I might as well just get another Custom 24 and have the better upper fret access. If you don't get that lovely Gibsonesque tone out of a single cut, what's the point in buying one over a Custom 24? I certainly wasn't expecting a Les Paul styled guitar to be brighter than a Custom 24!
I had assumed that to get a Les Paul type of tone I'd need a single cut guitar with a thick bit of mahogany and a maple cap but it seems it may be more complicated than that. Just when I thought I might have found what I wanted in the Tremonti! Back to square one I suppose :(
Haha, yes, I just joined today and Im off to a bad start, might've made some enemies by saying Epiphone.. But I do love my PRS Guitars and always will, just sounds to me you're after, a Gibson, doesnt get any closer to that than an Epiphone, A Heafy Epiphone with great fret access, and, Im sure you know this, but not all LP styled guitars sound alike, I'm sure someone will chime in to give you a better response, I can only tell you from what I hear, from what I plug into.
I would go for the Tremonti custom SE dude...an epiphone isn't even on the same level of a SE...seriously. fret access is awesome, total rock machine and just a sweet guitar. I have a usa Tremonti and the Tremonti custom SE with upgrades...I play them both all the time!
A PRS would be my first choice simply because I like my Custom 24 so much. For the money I just don't think you can beat the SE range. However, there's more to this than brand loyalty. Although I can't afford a Gibson, I do want a guitar that will give me as close to that tone as I can get acoustically while still having a slim neck and good fret access. I know the PRS is better built than an Epiphone but does it have the tone? If it's brighter than a Custom 24 it's going to sound nothing like a Les Paul and therefore it simply won't suit me. The Epiphone is the obvious choice but it's not really a brand I've ever really been drawn to and if the necks are anything like Gibsons, I'm likely to find them rather chunky. The description of the Prophecy says it has a 'speed taper' neck and the Heafy one is a '1960s Slim Taper' but how that relates to a PRS wide slim I have no idea at all. At least with the EC-401 I know I like the neck as it feels similar to my Jackson.
I used to have a Prophecy and it had a very fast neck. I actually sold it to fund one of my PRSi. I still have this one that I won't let go of for sentimental reasons plus I love the maple neck.
Have you considered the Bernie Marsden SE?
Have you considered the SC245 or a used Stripped 58 or SC58?
The Tremontis are great, but they have some really hot pickups and a trem, which might detract from what you are going for. However, I think they do have ghe thinner neck.
I would really go for one of these with the 5708s and try the guitar before making up your mind on the pickup swap. I think they do a great job of getting the "thick, rich, warm" tone...similar to what you are describing, but definitely a unique set of pups in their own right.
So, to answer your questions, here are my opinions...
1. The Tremonti will be too hot for those sounds, but PRS does have something that can get you your sounds.
2. I don't have a problem with upper fret access.
3. Saying one is better than another is subjective since they are both great, but I think one of the SC models will be better for your specified application.
4. Look into a SC245 or a SC58 or Stripped 58.
The Bernie's are fantastic. I felt the need to swap pickups but that was it. It was every bit as thick as my LP's sound.
The Bernie Marsden and indeed the 245 guitars appeal a great deal but the fat neck is a pain. Over the last X number of years I've owned a Fender Strat with a modern C shape neck, an Ibanez RGT42, Jackson SL3 and PRS SE Custom 24 - all thin necks and frankly I really don't feel comfortable with anything chunkier than the wide thin and in the PRS range, that's proving to be a real pain when looking at a single cut! I don't even know why I notice it so much as according to the PRS specs I found, there's less than 2mm between them but it sure feels more in my hand. However, I will give them another go and see if I can get used to it as that Bernie Marsden really does look fantastic. At first I thought the Tremonti Custom was ideal but the more I investigate it, the more it seems that it's only the neck that is perfect as I don't really need a trem and every report I've read says it sounds like quite a bright guitar so not like a Les Paul at all. The pickups don't matter as I'll change those anyway. In the Epiphone range, both the Prophecy and Matt Heafy models appeal (with different pickups) but despite some good reviews, I really struggle to think of any Epiphone as being as good as a PRS. That leaves the LTD, which I feel is still worthy of serious consideration.
I just looked at used prices on that Jackson, maybe I'm missing something but for the money you sell that for couldn't you buy a used USA PRS? Certainly an opaque Custom/Standard/McCarty with moons or a CE?
If that's the case..McCarty is where its at.
Originally Posted by John Beef
The Jackson cost about £900 new so I doubt I'd get more than £500 for it tops.
+1 on finding a used USA PRS. Always a good option.
If you are gonna be in the SE market, and you are set on a thin neck (and I believe you are), the Bernie may not be your guitar. I love mine and it will get you deep into LP territory, but it has that chunky neck. The SE Mark Tremonti Custom has a wide thin. You're gonna change the pups anyway, that may be what you are looking for. Not many of the SE's have a W/T neck.
Obviously there's only so much I can do online and eventually I have to play them but some do now seem more likely than others.
PRS - If the Tremonti is as bright or brighter than a Custom 24 I see absolutely no point in getting it as I might as well just get a second Custom 24 and change the tone with different pickups. That being the case, if I am to get a PRS that isn't a Custom 24 it would have to have the fat neck and the best option there seems to be the Bernie Marsden so I'll give that a try.
LTD - Everything I've heard suggests the EC-401 is a really good guitar and I know the neck is ideal for me. Upper fret access doesn't seem to be much better than any other Les Paul style guitar so it really depends on whether it has that deep and rich Les paul tone or not. If it doesn't, I won't be interested as again, I'd be better with a Custom 24 or one of the all mahogany LTD double cuts.
Epiphone - Due to my reservations about the quality of the Epiphones in comparison to PRS or LTD I'd say the Prophecy is out of the running as I can't see it giving me anything I can't get from PRS or LTD. The Matt Heafy model is a different story as the upper fret access on that is astonishing so I think I have to look at that.
Ibanez - A late consideration this but one that certainly seems to have some merits. Two models seem possible; the ART and ARZ. Both will have reasonably slim necks and both have fairly cheap models where the only difference with the more expensive ones are cheap Ibanez pickups but as I'd be changing the pickups anyway, that's not really an issue for me. The ART has the disadvantage of what looks like a conventional neck joint but other than that it seems fine, though again, it would depend on how close its core tone is to a Les Paul. The ARZ has much better upper fret access so the only thing that obviously puts me off this is the lack of fret markers (the main reason I bought the Jackson instead of the Torero) and of course, it would still depend on how close it is to a Les Paul in core tone. Given that these guitars are approximately half the price of the LTD and PRS models I'm looking at, thanks mainly to cheap stock pickups, I'd be able to install my preferred Bare Knuckle pickups and change all of the electrical internals to Bare Knuckle and still have some change. I'm sure the EC-401 is superb but clearly I'd be partly paying for EMG pickups that I'd never actually use.
So there it is; I'm pretty sure that the Bernie Marsden will sound the closest to a Les Paul so that's my starting point and if I can live with the neck, I'll get that. With all of the others, it's really about which one is closest to that Les Paul tone I'm after and I'll probably buy whichever one is most deep, rich and resonating. If none of them are significantly closer than a Custom 24 and I don't like the wide fat neck, I'll just get another Custom 24. Simples :)
I've owned several singlecut guitars, from epiphone to gibson, through prs and ltd.
I actually have a LTD ec-330 right now and I have to tell you that has the worst access to the upper frets that I've ever seen, and the active pickups are brighter than you can think.
The Tremonti is probably the best but I want to suggest you another one. Have you ever heard of Chapman Guitars? search for Chapman ML-2! Mine is going to arrive in the next days :)
Oddly enough, I was just looking at those a little earlier so I'd be VERY interested to hear your impressions of how it compares to a proper Les Paul tone. The body looks a bit thinner in the pictures than a Les Paul and of course it has a maple neck so I imagined that, rather like the Tremonti, it would be to bright to give me the Les Paul tone. The other thing is that while I like the idea of putting rubbish pickups in it so I can install what I want, I could make the same argument in favour of an Ibanez ARX, which is close to £150 cheaper. Nevertheless, I really would appreciate it if you told me some more about the ML-2 once you've tried it, especially addressing these two key questions:
1) How does the build quality compare to the likes of Epiphone, LTD, Ibanez and PRS SE?
2) Acoustically, (pickups will change) how does it compare to a real Les Paul and the other models I've mentioned if you've tried them?
They're made in the same factory of the PRS SE, so it will be pretty similar in built quality!
About the other models I have to say that I hate epiphones, their standards it's lower than mine :)
But I have to say that you can buy some Gibson made in the USA with some more dollars, like the LPJ, I know that it looks poor, but believe me they sound really good.
The LTD are built pretty well and I love the thin-u neck contour. I find it very confortable and with XJ frets its faster than any Gibson style neck that i've tried.
the Tremonti SEs are great guitars, and the custom it's awesome, surely darker sounding than the standard one, and the neck it's really thin and fast!
Acoustically speaking I have always found the epiphone really deaf, they do not resonate as they should, my LTD however has a great resonance and great stability.
But I still think that acoustically speaking the best one is the Tremonti without any doubt.
As soon as I got my ml-2 im going to give you my impressions.
I just acquired an SE Singlecut with a maple veneer, and I believe that a used one would be the answer for you. You're going to have a luthier change the pickups. so why not have the neck thinned out as well? I don't believe any other brand has the quality intonation of a PRS. I do think a mahogany neck would put you closer to Les Paul territory. I have 4 singlecut SE's and each one has a different personality. The real beauty of the SE line is that they're inexpensive enough so that you can modify them exactly as you want them , not go broke, and end up with a guitar that will be very personal to you. Add to that the fact that the quality is very high. I've sold my Les Paul, and several others because they simply don't sound as well, play as well or look as well as the PRS guitars. The koolaid for PRS must have been strong when I drank it. By the way, I play a lot of blues.