Hi, I own two custom 24 guitars, and find them to be the most comfortable instruments for me. I have in the past had 22 fret prs guitars - the 24 fret guitars seem to have less tension on the strings to me. Anyone else find this?
I might understand if this notion by Roman was reversed - that the pickups cannot possibly be placed in the right position on a 24 fret guitar - since there is less space between the end of the fretboard and the bridge. But on a 22 fret guitar you have more room, thus more options in placing the pups.
I don't pretend to know where the best possible positions for pups are, I'm not a luthier. But simple analysis shows that Roman got this wrong. With all that space, Roman could put the pups on a 22 exactly where he would have put them on a 24 with the only consequence being a bit of space between the end of the fretboard and the neck pup. Am I missing something??
The fretboard on a 24 is longer to accommodate the 2 extra frets. (yes, the length from the nut to the 22nd fret is the same since the scale is the same). Since the neck pickup is placed at the end of the fretboard, it is positioned further from the bridge on a 22 fretter, not because the bridge is in different position, but because the fretboard is shorter.
Measure from the nut to the neck pickup. The distance is less on a 22. Yes, there is more distance between the bridge and the neck pup. Consider if luthiers wanted the neck pup closer to the bridge on a 22, what would stop them from moving it closer if they wanted to? It seems the key to the neck pup position is the length of the fretboard, not the position of the bridge on the body because they want it as far from the bridge as they can get it.
Aside from neck joint strength issues, it doesn't matter where the pups are in relation to the guitar body, only in relation to their placement under the strings...
I see your aspirin and raise you 2 Advil...
Yes the fretboard is longer by two frets, but the bridges are in different spots also. Thats what gives the neck pickup on a 22 a less treble sound, because its further from the bridge. Somewhere in this thread there is an illustration where this difference can be seen visually.
Consider that for any given scale length, the distance between the nut and the bridge is constant. That is the very definition of scale length, is it not?
Now consider a guitar with a fretboard length of only 10 frets for illustration purposes. If you put the bridge in any reasonable position on the body with respect to the heel of the guitar, the body would need to be elongated on the neck end to make up the distance not covered by the missing 12 frets of length compared to a 22 fret neck. You could place a pickup anywhere from the end of the fretboard to the bridge and really get whatever tonal qualities you wanted. Think about how it would sound if the pickup was position under where the 12th fret would have been. The tone couldn't get any fuller, rounder, less treblely...
But what illustrates my point is that you could still position a pup on that very strange guitar where the end of a 22 fret fretboard would end and it would sound substantially the same as any other 22 fretter for open strings and those first 10 frets. If you put the pup where the end of a 24 fret fretboard would end, it would sound like a 24 fretter.
Yes the tone is dependent on the pup positioning, whether you think of it as distance from the nut or distance from the bridge is not important. It is not important from which end you measure.
The important thing is available space to position the pup and because a 24 fret fretboard is longer than a 22 fret fretboard, there is less space between the end of the fretboard and the bridge and thus fewer options.
You can move the bridge all around on the body, but to keep the same scale length, you have to move the fretboard and nut exactly the same distances to conserve the scale. That shows that moving the bridge is immaterial. It is the length of the fretboard impinging on the space next to the bridge which limits how far out you can put a neck pickup.
I did enjoy having those extra two frets sometimes. The CU24 was my first PRS and I loved it. But then I added a pair of 22 fret PRS and other brand guitars with 21 or 22 frets and started playing them more and more. The CU24 started to feel "wrong" and I found myself accidentally positioning my fingers a step higher than intended and the neck seemed so loooong.
Stretching out the neck to include those two extra frets has a significant impact on feel for me. The bridge, bridge pickup and controls are moved further into the body. It shifts everything an inch or so to the left from a playing perspective.
Take a ruler to your local guitar center if you dont believe me. The neck pickup is closer to the bridge on a 24 because bridge is in a different spot. The scale is still 25" because the neck is 2 frets longer. Look back in this thread to a post by EricT. There you will see the light.
See the illustration below. All three guitars have the exact same scale length as shown by the bridges and 12th frets and nuts aligning exactly.
All three have their neck pups at the end of their fretboards as PRS and almost everyone else does it. for comparison sakes, the bodies are all the same size. The fretboards are identical with the ONLY difference being that the 24 has 2 more frets.
The left is a 22 fretter. The neck joins the body at the upper bout at about the 20th fret.
The center is a 24 fretter, The neck joins the body at the upper bout at about the 22nd fret.
The right is a 24 fretter with the neck joining the body at about the 14th fret.
Yes, it is true that the bridge on the 24 falls closer to the neck end of the body. But that is not what is limiting the space available for the pups!
Have a look at the guitar on the right. Its bridge, pups, fretboard and scale is identical to the center guitar. You can see that I positioned the bridge really far down on the body away from the neck, but you can also see that the fretboard had to move the same amount into the body to conserve the scale length. I could just as easily done it the other way and put the bridge where the neck pickup is, but then I would have had to move the fretboard and nut the same distance. End result - the distance available between the bridge and the end of the fretboard remains the same. Move the bridge wherever you want, the length of the fretboard from nut to 24th fret will always be the same and always be what is limiting the space available for pups.
You could even have the neck joint for center guitar at the 20th fret (like the 22 fretter) and you would still only have the same diminished space between the fingerboard and the bridge for the pups. And in that case, the bridge would be in the same position on the 24 as it is on the 22 in relation to the body.
Position of bridge on body for a given scale's effect on pup placement - immaterial.
Length of fretboard for a given scale's effect on pup placement - the limiting factor.
So basically guitars 1 and 2 above, but I picture them with the butt ends sitting on a level surface. I had fun doing that sort of side by side back when I had the CU24 and my current 22 fretters.
Tuning down a whole step does not seem strange to me or probably to many other people. Quite common tunings if you listen to metal.
It occurs to me that I can show that the position of the bridge on the body is not the limiting factor quite easily,
remove the body from the equation since it is only a distraction.
The image speaks for itself.