Short and Sweet!! Great collection of pics!
Hi guys, first post here. I discovered this thread about a week ago, and have just finished looking through the entire 124 pages. I have never seen anything like whats this thread before, and I’ll never buy another Fender Custom Shop calendar again!
I was originally thinking of getting a P22 Artist Package, but this thread has got my mind swirling! I have a couple questions, please forgive me if this is not the proper place for them.
1. Im wondering how much more a PS is than an Artist Package. I realize that there must be a huge price range on PS, but Im just wondering about an average price. My guess is I might be able to buy 2 Artist Packages for one PS ($5k vs $10k roughly).
2. After viewing the thread, I have so many ideas I dont even know where to start. But generally, I am thinking P22 in Green Fade or Aqua Verde Fog quilt top. But I also love whats been done with Cocobolo, Burl, and Spalted Maple. But I dont really know what these types of wood would do to the tone, or where to use them. So Im looking for you guys to come up with suggestions for me (I don't need to use all those woods!) First and foremost its got to sound and play awesome, and then look awesome.
Any ideas, no matter how wild, are appreciated.
There are other perhaps more sagely forum members that can add more to your question. But having some experience myself with making my own guitars, I'll tell you what I think.
As for your first question, Private Stock is a virtually unlimited custom build experience. If you can dream it up, the PS department can build it. As for cost, it is purely dictated by your selections. The Private Stock guitars I've seen can range from $7500 on up past $25,000, or even more, all depending on what you're specifying in your build. You pick the exact piece of book matched whatever-you-want from the choicest of choice woods that Paul's wood vault keeps watch over, from the headstock veneer to the backplates, everything. Dragon inlays, custom electronics, microwave ovens…it's all on the table. It's a one-off Olympic level department. No two are the same. If that's what you're after, I can't see how you'd be disappointed.
As for your second question, I'll break it into two parts:
One, the reason why there are so many possibilities running through your head is why many PS owners own multiple instruments. You can't possibly capture every emotion in one instrument. That's why we have guitarS, not guitar. So esthetically, if I were to recommend anything, it would simply be to keep looking at all the guitars on this thread, search the web, see what you like, and when it's time for a PS build, settle on a well-thought-out design, one that's cohesive, well-balanced, and looks like your dream axe. And you'll love it.
Second, regarding the tonal effect of your wood selections, there is the statistically proven and observed characteristics of the various tone woods, and then there is the singular character of the tree whose wood you're asking to make sound. Then there's how the wood is cut. Then, how it is shaped. Then, how it is glued to all kinds of other stuff and it's character is alloyed to everything else. Then finished, and so on. I find that most luthiers who claim the ability to predict the tone of an unbuilt instrument beyond what is statistically known through observation are selling snake oil. What you can rely on, however, is what your ear tells you by playing various different instruments from the same manufacturer but that are made from the different woods you are interested in. Maybe hard to do, but that's the only way you would "know" anything, really, about how selecting a mahogany body would sound in a Custom 22 vs. an Alder body on a Custom 22, for example. What is true, however, is that the woods all "sound different", because they all do different things when you ask them to resonate and respond to string energy.
The way your guitar is built and shaped will have huge consequences on your tone as well. For example, I've never seen a bolt-on neck on a PRS, because bolt-on necks inherently absorb string energy through a relatively weak neck-to-body joint. Setting the neck into the body creates more of a "neck-through" joint, but one that doesn't invade the body wood like a true neck-through joint does (not really a joint, just a continuation of the same wood). Because neck-through and set neck joint designs have much higher rigidity, their absorption of string energy goes way down, and therefore their sustain goes way up. Furthermore, the denser the woods are that you build your guitar out of, and the thicker they are dimensioned, will add very effectively to the sustain of the guitar. You will note that McCarty bodies are thicker for that very reason. Any hollow chamber with or without an f-hole will also affect the body resonance, and affect tone. Big time. You'll lose something here and gain something there. Which is fine, because eventually, the guitar will have its own tonal identity.
I own a PRS SE Soapbar II made all of mahogany, and I love it for it's bell-like tones and the p90 style pickups. I also have an original SE Santana which is almost identical to the first but that it has humbuckers. And I just took delivery of my own Private Stock guitar, which is quite the beast. It's a semi-hollow mahogany bodied P22 with 408 Studio electronics, a Brazilian board and a maple neck. It sounds like I borrowed it from God. The LR Baggs piezo system is such a game-changer, I can't say enough about it. Very important to incorporate an acoustic amp if you're going to get the most out of it.
The last thing I'll say from my own experience is that I don't think anyone can touch PRS's wood quality when you get into the Artist package realm and beyond. Look at your average maple quilt or flame top upgrade on most other guitar companies' axes and they just don't compare IMHO. When I pop the case lid on my PS, the Aqua Violet Glow on that liquid quilted maple top takes me down fantasy lane every time, and I have to say the accompanying endorphin rush that kicks in just props up the steeple on my church, man. Just sayin'.
Good luck with your decision. But if you ask me what you're likely going to do is...you'll eventually do both.
PRS PS #4616…"The Burl-Headed Beast" * SE Santana * SE Soapbar II
Tyler Studio HD Elite Burning Water Custom
Mesa Boogie Mark V * Fishman Loudbox…bunch of other $hit.Ab Obice Saevior… Stronger When Opposed
hmmm...now I am thinking even more. perhaps an artist package now because I can get a beautiful quilt maple top and ebony fretboard with that. down the road...something more crazy like a spalted body and colobolo fretboard...or burl...or...both (Gulp!). i hope my wife never finds this thread!!!
Hi Mike and welcome,
The real question is what kind tone are you after? Can you describe it? If you can answer those questions, you can start moving in the direction that you wish.
In my case, I wanted a guitar with a really great acoustic tone in piezo. The best I heard was my P22 with a maple neck and rosewood fretboard, so I went with that wood combo. I also liked 513's a lot and found the DGT neck carve to most comfortable, and I had a guitar with a really comfortable satin nitro finish on the back of the neck. So, I combined all these features into one guitar and added a dash of spice.
Youre right. There is not a huge PRS selection in Vancouver so that is one issue.
Another question I have wondered about...with de-forestation and more restrictions on the import of exotic woods, will it become harder and harder over time to get what you are looking for? Will the PS vault gradually be diluted?
As far as the wood vault goes, it's not large, it's special. It's the premium wood. It's not going to be diluted to lower standards, the price will go up and be passed on to the consumer based on the rarity of the wood that the customer desires. It's not a mass production operation, but a premium quality one.
1. I like that first Koa acoustic!!
2. I love the new avatar!!! Hehehe
From what you are saying, I would go PS. the one major option you can get that IMO, REALLY helps tone is a nitro finsih. You are stuck with a poly type if you get a production guitar, and it really has an effect on tone to my ear. Go PS and add a few nice personal touches and a PS color with Nitro, and I think its money well spent.