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Thread: Are The Acoustics Still Available With A Carbon Neck?

  1. #1
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    Are The Acoustics Still Available With A Carbon Neck?

    I played the roadshow Angelus and loved it. Since that the only one I've played, I have to have the carbon and nothing else will do. No carbon, no Angelus for me.

    P.S. A little about me. I've wanted a PRS since '86. Didn't like them at first, but they grew on me. I didn't get my first till three years ago(20th Anni Std w/Birds/59/09's/"210" mod). The second(Std 22 w/Birds/58/08's/Sweet Switch). I'm trying to find an R'Wood to place my set of 53/10's.

    I have the first MKIIC Boogie made w/original tubes still installed that I bought new on 1 Oct '83(for some reason, I sold my original two-piece 60w MK1 to fund it).
    Last edited by tabl10s; 09-08-2012 at 12:35 AM.

  2. #2
    chief Shawn@PRS's Avatar
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    Hi Tabl10s

    The Private Stock acoustics are still available with the graphite rod insert in the neck. Production models have now moved to 100% steel truss rods, but PS models still have the graphite option.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn@PRS View Post
    Hi Tabl10s

    The Private Stock acoustics are still available with the graphite rod insert in the neck. Production models have now moved to 100% steel truss rods, but PS models still have the graphite option.
    Any difference in tone?

  4. #4
    Senior Member Daniel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tabl10s View Post
    Any difference in tone?
    I had a great talk with Mike Byle on Thursday and this question came up. The short answer is "no".

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel View Post
    I had a great talk with Mike Byle on Thursday and this question came up. The short answer is "no".
    I thought about this when ordering my maple body Tonare. Ultimately, I decided on the graphite. My experience with this formula has been so positive that I wouldn't change it.

    I've heard that Paul feels there is a sonic difference; but it wouldn't surprise me if the difference is very small indeed.

    Still, with a standard truss rod, you have essentially a long rectangular metal box with a long metal bolt in it to do the adjusting, going the length of the neck. This is not one piece, the bolt has to be able to move in order to function.

    And with the graphite, you have a single, solid material along the length of the neck. Playing a guitar, you can feel the neck vibrating, so these materials are going to vibrate along with the neck, and thereby contribute something, however small, to the resulting tone of the guitar.

    Every acoustic guitar sounds different; no two wooden guitars are identical, so it's obviously difficult to compare. Mike makes them, so lots of guitars pass through his hands, and if he says there's really not a difference, I believe him to the extent that the differences are probably so small that it's more like the kind of variety you get with two different pieces of wood. To my ear, however, those small differences can be important.

    So I'm hedging my bet and going with graphite.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel View Post
    I had a great talk with Mike Byle on Thursday and this question came up. The short answer is "no".
    I'm curious what the "long" answer is?!? I mean.....there simply must have been a sonic reason PRS decided to use the carbon neck in the first place yes?. All things being sonically equal there would then be absolutely no logical reason to incorporate a non adjustable neck if an adjustable neck was it's equal in sound. What possibly would have then been the reason if not sonics?

    I sense some marketing back peddling. That's cool I guess but uncomfortable for those of us who genuinely believed Paul when he said the carbon necks are indeed sonically superior.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Hanna View Post
    I'm curious what the "long" answer is?!? I mean.....there simply must have been a sonic reason PRS decided to use the carbon neck in the first place yes?. All things being sonically equal there would then be absolutely no logical reason to incorporate a non adjustable neck if an adjustable neck was it's equal in sound. What possibly would have then been the reason if not sonics?

    I sense some marketing back peddling. That's cool I guess but uncomfortable for those of us who genuinely believed Paul when he said the carbon necks are indeed sonically superior.
    I believe Paul still thinks they are superior, but other people have said they couldn't hear a difference. I remember Shawn reiterating that Paul still thinks the graphite is better, in an earlier thread, but stating that he couldn't hear a difference.

    I do remember a video where Paul was demonstrating the nice tones he got tapping the raw wood pieces and the graphite as well. I honestly love the graphite.

    But I don't really see it as back-pedaling; PRS made it clear that they were answering to player demand for the adjustable rod.

    To my way of thinking, there's a reason graphite remains the standard on the signature models. I'm glad they kept it an option on PS models as well. I guess ultimately, they're about making the customers happy, so more power to them for that. If I could have had my way, maple bodies and graphite would be optional on standard US models, but oh well...

  8. #8
    Senior Member Daniel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Hanna View Post
    I'm curious what the "long" answer is?!? I mean.....there simply must have been a sonic reason PRS decided to use the carbon neck in the first place yes?. All things being sonically equal there would then be absolutely no logical reason to incorporate a non adjustable neck if an adjustable neck was it's equal in sound. What possibly would have then been the reason if not sonics?

    I sense some marketing back peddling. That's cool I guess but uncomfortable for those of us who genuinely believed Paul when he said the carbon necks are indeed sonically superior.
    The long answer is maybe. They said some people claim to hear a difference but it is so slight and subjective that it can not be attributed to the truss rod as opposed to the natural variation between two guitars built from different pieces of the same wood. I was told Paul still prefers the carbon rod and that's why it is standard on the Private Stock models.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel View Post
    The long answer is maybe. They said some people claim to hear a difference but it is so slight and subjective that it can not be attributed to the truss rod as opposed to the natural variation between two guitars built from different pieces of the same wood. I was told Paul still prefers the carbon rod and that's why it is standard on the Private Stock models.
    Makes complete sense. Here's my admittedly subjective and unscientific take on the whole acoustic guitar truss rod conundrum:

    I started playing acoustic guitar, and specifically Martins, in the days when they didn't have truss rods, though I suspect that mine may have had the old T-bar reinforcement (evidently during this era some did, some didn't). For whatever reason (maybe it was the truss rod, probably not, but who knows?), there was a characteristic sound to the envelope of each picked or plucked note that is hard to put into words. The guitars certainly sounded very "woody." I stuck with Martins for a long time, and never had one with an adjustable truss rod. I think that for whatever reason, later Martins sound different.

    At some point, I switched to Larrivee, Taylor, and later, Collings. All super-nice guitars with different sounds. All had truss rods. The Collings were on a different level from the Taylors and Larrivees, sonically, and I still think of them as very high end guitars.

    Something bothered me about the Taylors I had. They were easy to play, mostly sounded great. But there were overtones on certain notes I didn't really love. In my ignorance, I guessed that maybe the bolt on neck construction had something to do with this. My Collings guitars that replaced the Taylors did not have this particular set of overtones.

    Fast-forward to the PRS acoustic. With the carbon fiber reinforcement, I was reminded in a certain way of the note envelope I got with my old Martins. Of course, the guitars sound quite different from a Martin, I'm talking about a certain way that the note begins when picked or plucked with the fingers. Is that a result of not having a massive metal truss rod and the carbon fiber? I don't know for sure. I haven't played one with a truss rod! But I liked what was happening an awful lot.

    Is this subjective? Certainly. Is it a very tiny difference? Absolutely. Then again, in the studio I make my living discerning very tiny differences. Maybe that's something I'm decent at.

    So when it came time to order a guitar in maple to meet certain studio needs, I decided not to mess with that part of the prescription.

    Does it make sense that a long hunk of a few pieces of steel (or whatever other metals go into this thing) inset into a wooden neck that is vibrating and contributing to a guitar's tone is going to be audible? I think it does, though one can argue that its effect is subtle compared to everything else in the guitar's construction. Does it make sense that a long hunk of graphite is going to be audible, but perhaps in a somewhat different way? I think so. Again, this may be a very subtle thing.

    But we argue about shaving a brace here or there, and the effect of heavy tuning machines vs lighter ones, and on and on. Bone nuts vs composites. Clearly there are a lot of things that affect an instrument's tone.

    Graphite also offers something I like a lot, which is that it's extremely rigid, and the neck stays very stable. That's a good thing, too.
    Last edited by LSchefman; 09-26-2012 at 11:16 AM.

  10. #10
    Bobble Head Moderator JMintzer's Avatar
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    I don't know if it's the graphite neck, but my Tonare is the most stable guitar I've ever owned. I literally don't have to tune the guitar.


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  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by JMintzer View Post
    I don't know if it's the graphite neck, but my Tonare is the most stable guitar I've ever owned. I literally don't have to tune the guitar.


    Jamie
    +1

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    Senior Member 11top's Avatar
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    I ordered the first PS acoustic with the adjustible steel rod. Since then, I've ordered several more. The problem with a non-adjustible is that we don't all like the same set-up. I want to be able to change mine. PRS acoustics are amazing guitars (best acoustics I've ever owned).
    Sh*tter's full

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by 11top View Post
    I ordered the first PS acoustic with the adjustible steel rod. Since then, I've ordered several more. The problem with a non-adjustible is that we don't all like the same set-up. I want to be able to change mine. PRS acoustics are amazing guitars (best acoustics I've ever owned).
    So it's all your fault!

    To me, it should be optional, one way or the other.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LSchefman View Post
    But I don't really see it as back-pedaling; PRS made it clear that they were answering to player demand for the adjustable rod.
    Yes of course. If you follow most of the acoustic guitar forums and I believe you do Schef you'll agree that the PRS acoustics are collectively guitars that purists revel in hating. I've never seen a guitar raise the hackles of Martin and Collings guys like the Angelus. The dislike is an awkward and ridiculous rite of passage to the "good old boys' club who simply can't see past the romance or old guitars.

    That said and on the serious side my guess is the switch to an adjustable truss rod was primarily a swing-center to appease those traditionalist who found too many reasons (based on utter non-sense) to dislike the brand. I'm sure there was some element of "users wanting to have an adjustable trust rod" in the decision but I'm guessing that wasn't the primary reason...no matter what PRS says. After all it's easier to look back and say "we abandoned this design we truly believed in based on popular demand" than it is to say "we have discovered acoustic guitar consumers are infatuated with tradition, no matter the sonic gains made by abandoning old world ideas"

  15. #15
    Administrator james's Avatar
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    To be honest, that's the first I've ever heard about "Martin and Collings" (who not make great acoustics, obviously) guys dissing the Angelus. Not to say it isn't true, but I'm sure you or I, as participants on an Internet forum, are way more aware of the "chatter" than is Paul or most guys building guitars.

    Some people *need* an adjustable truss rod in their guitar to consider it. I understand that. Having no knowledge of...or say... in that world of decision making, I don't know whether or not that's why adjustable truss rods are offered now. I get the impression Paul prefers a carbon rod. Paul is also a human being and musician with his preferences. He's also more tuned into that stuff than your average joe, as that's his world and his expertise.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Hanna View Post
    Yes of course. If you follow most of the acoustic guitar forums and I believe you do Schef you'll agree that the PRS acoustics are collectively guitars that purists revel in hating. I've never seen a guitar raise the hackles of Martin and Collings guys like the Angelus. The dislike is an awkward and ridiculous rite of passage to the "good old boys' club who simply can't see past the romance or old guitars.

    That said and on the serious side my guess is the switch to an adjustable truss rod was primarily a swing-center to appease those traditionalist who found too many reasons (based on utter non-sense) to dislike the brand. I'm sure there was some element of "users wanting to have an adjustable trust rod" in the decision but I'm guessing that wasn't the primary reason...no matter what PRS says. After all it's easier to look back and say "we abandoned this design we truly believed in based on popular demand" than it is to say "we have discovered acoustic guitar consumers are infatuated with tradition, no matter the sonic gains made by abandoning old world ideas"
    Though I'm truly not much of an acoustic guitar forum guy, you certainly bring up an excellent point! What's with the PRS-bashing? It sure doesn't bother me if someone likes another brand of guitar; I've always felt that there is no "best" anything, there's only what's best for a player to express his or her musical intention at any point in time. And that can change from time to time!

    I've never understood it. And we all know people who like to give PRS owners a hard time. For what - maybe to make themselves feel better about their own choices? I've never figured out the motivation.

    I can't really argue with your point about responding to demand v appeasing traditionalists. After all, in some ways they're both sides of the same coin. But I think 11 Top does reflect a significant part of the PRS community's thinking. Ultimately, I'd guess that several factors may have been involved. I can only speculate, unfortunately.

    The odd thing in any case is that the longest-standing, purest tradition is not to have an adjustable truss rod, going back to 19th century builds! So really, the truss rod on high end acoustics is a comparatively recent development! Imagine the debates that would have taken place if the internet forums had been up and running when Martin made the switch to adjustable rods in what, the 80s (?)!

  17. #17
    Junior Member francric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn@PRS View Post
    Hi Tabl10s

    The Private Stock acoustics are still available with the graphite rod insert in the neck. Production models have now moved to 100% steel truss rods, but PS models still have the graphite option.
    When did the move from graphite to adjustable on the production models happen?

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    there are two new Angelus Customs in the shop I go too and neither had a truss rod. They have only been in stock for a short time. I looked for adjustment and they told me at store the models that have truss rod wil have a truss rod cover at head stock. One I played had a pick up in it. TWO 9 volt batteries are attached to the neck block in the guitar. NO evidence of any truss rod on the guitar so I am assuming they still are making some with Carbon fiber in the necks.

  19. #19
    Member Rosewoodsteel's Avatar
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    I've had my Martin D35 for 37 years. It has no truss rod and has never given me any issues. Frankly, a well built neck doesn't need an adjustible truss rod, imo.
    On the other hand, I've heard of players ruining their guitars by making improper adjustments to their truss rods..
    From the People's Republic of Maryland (One beer away from the West Street Shop)

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    Quote Originally Posted by LSchefman View Post
    I believe Paul still thinks they are superior, but other people have said they couldn't hear a difference. I remember Shawn reiterating that Paul still thinks the graphite is better, in an earlier thread, but stating that he couldn't hear a difference.

    I do remember a video where Paul was demonstrating the nice tones he got tapping the raw wood pieces and the graphite as well. I honestly love the graphite.

    But I don't really see it as back-pedaling; PRS made it clear that they were answering to player demand for the adjustable rod.

    To my way of thinking, there's a reason graphite remains the standard on the signature models. I'm glad they kept it an option on PS models as well. I guess ultimately, they're about making the customers happy, so more power to them for that. If I could have had my way, maple bodies and graphite would be optional on standard US models, but oh well...
    I don't understand why they can't make both. Now I gotta pay extra for something that was the norm(shouldn't have played the "roadshow" guitar).

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