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Thread: Do PS Guitars Sound Better Than Production Models?

  1. #1

    Do PS Guitars Sound Better Than Production Models?

    I have never owned a private stock PRS electric. I've played a couple, but only in a store (I have a PS acoustic on order, but that was to get a type of wood I wanted and the carbon fiber truss rod).

    Private Stocks have custom stuff. The wood is lovely. The finishes are gorgeous. The build quality is off the charts.

    But do they sound better? I'd honestly like to know. I've had great luck with the production models, and I've been perfectly happy, but naturally I'm curious.

    What say you, Private Stock electric guitar owners?
    I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken...

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  2. #2
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    My PS DGT sounds better than the production DGT I had. It's not some massive difference but it rang clearer and had better sustain. My PS Sig vs my old Sig LTD was pretty close - one is a vibrato bridge and the other is a stop tail so it's hard to compare them - my PS swamp ash maple neck Custom 24 with Sig electronics definitely sounds different than both of those. Other than those I don't have any guitars that compare that evenly.
    You're never too old for tater tots.

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    Canuck moyboy's Avatar
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    I don't own one either. I would assume aside from being of the highest production quality and materials the sound would be incrementally better.

    Like a car that goes 0-60 in 6 sec is ~25k vs. 0-60 in 4 sec. for ~50k vs. 0-60 in sub 3 sec. for ~200k.
    The benefits of sound aren't linear. Twice and much in cost doesn't get twice as much in sound quality.

    Not sure if that made sense or not.

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    Shoegazing Member Serious Poo's Avatar
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    No.

    Production models sound just as good. There are different wood choices available on PS, so there could be different sounds available but I wouldn't call any of them better sounding.
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    Quote Originally Posted by moyboy View Post
    I don't own one either. I would assume aside from being of the highest production quality and materials the sound would be incrementally better.

    Like a car that goes 0-60 in 6 sec is ~25k vs. 0-60 in 4 sec. for ~50k vs. 0-60 in sub 3 sec. for ~200k.
    The benefits of sound aren't linear. Twice and much in cost doesn't get twice as much in sound quality.

    Not sure if that made sense or not.
    So if I buy a more expensive guitar I will be able to play faster?
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    Still a Junior Member Albrecht Smuten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hippietim View Post
    So if I buy a more expensive guitar I will be able to play faster?
    You'll have more motivation to play faster
    Love for all human beings is like listening to any kind of music. You just don't care.
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    I've had Private Stocks in every model PRS offers (except the Mira and Starla) and I guess I've owned almost every production model as well at some time or the other.

    the answer is "no". They can be customized anyway you like. They can be created with almost any wood combination, elaborate specifciations and electronic layout. There is an almost infinite variety of variables you can utilize to make your own "custom designed masterpiece".

    That being said....with your eyes closed...I doubt if anyone could tell the difference between the same model in a private stock vs. a production example, as long as the pickups were identical and they were played through the same rig, and your name isn't Eric Johnson.

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    Depends.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Serious Poo View Post
    No.

    Production models sound just as good. There are different wood choices available on PS, so there could be different sounds available but I wouldn't call any of them better sounding.

    I agree with this for the most part. You can go a step farther and say some production guitars sound better than some private stocks, and some private stocks sound better than some production guitars. I would say that even as good as PRS production guitars are however, there is less chance of getting a stinker from the PS department. Then again you can say with a production guitar, you can try many until getting a killer one. I guess I am trying to say there are good reasons for both! One other thing. I DO think that a nitro finish gives tonal advantages to the V12 or poly finishes. When playing my PS acoustically, you CAN hear a differece. The production guitars just have more of a plastic like sound. They (nitro) also seem to vibrate a bit better, but surprisingly, I really can not hear this when plugged in, or at least not enough where it jumps out at you. I wish PRS would go nitro on ALL of their guitars.

    Last edited by Tag; 03-05-2013 at 11:51 AM.

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    Senior Member sergiodeblanc's Avatar
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    They better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sergiodeblanc View Post
    They better.
    And if they're not, what will you do?

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    Senior Member sergiodeblanc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patentcad View Post
    And if they're not, what will you do?
    Well.. um... I'd write a letter!; "Dear Mr. Smith, I am a white woman....."

    Last edited by sergiodeblanc; 03-05-2013 at 01:11 PM.

  13. #13
    My killer quilt DGT from Eric Martin sounds better and plays better than my other DGTs. It's a private stock top. I don't know if that's the reason, but it is my story.

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    Senior Member yankeebulldog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patentcad View Post
    And if they're not, what will you do?
    It's best to just sell all your production guitars and only buy private stock. That way, you'll never know.
    PRS Guitars - PS #4344 SC245, PS #4343 DC245, PS #4858 McCarty Singlecut, Floyd Custom 24
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  15. #15
    They sound and feel different. "Better" is in the ears and eyes of the beholder
    (513 / P22 / McShootout / DC 245 Ted / DGT / DC22 / Santana / Cu22 Rosewood / 408 Rosewood / SAS / Cu22 Semi hollow / Sig LTD / Mira korina / HBII / SE Angelus Custom / SE Mushok) >> {Archon, C, H, Dallas, Original Sewell}

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    Plank Spanker justmund's Avatar
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    "Better"... are you baiting us Mr. Schefman?

    One would assume that woods used in the PS program have gone through additional "testing" (tap tests, density etc) before construction, but I would say this would contribute more to "achieving customer goals" than being "better". One would hope when someone is spec'ing a PS, they have particular tonal goals in mind, they are communicated to the dealer->PS team, and then those goals are worked towards. Being able to customise the woods for each build (as opposed to just blanket quality checks prior to construction), with the knowledge/experience of the PS team, should help achieve those goals.

    So maybe my take is "PS guitars are better at achieving customer specific requirements"

    Having said that, there's gotta be some risk here. Who knows that the sum of all the parts will turn out exactly as the customer/PS team wanted? Obviously the PS team is VERY good at what they do, but I would be just a little bit worried that the guitar won't turn out exactly as I wanted. Having said that, I've ordered 2 new PRSes, so I had no idea what they would sound/play like before I got them. The good thing about PRSes is you can do this and not be worried you'll end up with a dog. Both guitars were stellar, no dead spots, quality issues etc. Is this risk minimised with PS? I'd say the likelihood is lower, but the consequence is higher ($!)

    I'm still going to order a PS when I can afford it, and I can't wait!

  17. #17
    Senior Member VHTStark's Avatar
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    Sound better? That is very subjective, but in my opinion, no. My PS was spec'd purely for tonal and playability reasons; it is pretty austere as far as private stocks are concerned. That said, it has a combo of woods that were at that time unavailable in the production instruments (you currently can get that combo via Artist package) and was made to capture a certain sound. Does it deliver? Absolutely! It is a fantastic sounding guitar with impeccable build quality and wood selection. That said, my 20th anny SC artist pack sounds every bit its equal, albeit different. I really think the big one up you get when going private stock isn't tone; it is exclusivity. The most exotic and finely figured woods are at your finger tips when you commission a private stock order, so you end up with a one of a kind instrument. As for sounding better.....depends. Just like all guitars made from any type of wood. I think to some degree we "hear with our eyes" so to speak. We see Pernambuco this and Brazilian that and automatically equate it to being a tone monster. As I posted in the CE thread, one of the best guitars I have EVER heard/played is a lowly old alder CE with a maple neck and board. 2pc body, no crazy top and nothing exotic or rare about it....absolute tone monster though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by justmund View Post
    "Better"... are you baiting us Mr. Schefman?

    One would assume that woods used in the PS program have gone through additional "testing" (tap tests, density etc) before construction, but I would say this would contribute more to "achieving customer goals" than being "better". One would hope when someone is spec'ing a PS, they have particular tonal goals in mind, they are communicated to the dealer->PS team, and then those goals are worked towards. Being able to customise the woods for each build (as opposed to just blanket quality checks prior to construction), with the knowledge/experience of the PS team, should help achieve those goals.

    So maybe my take is "PS guitars are better at achieving customer specific requirements"

    Having said that, there's gotta be some risk here. Who knows that the sum of all the parts will turn out exactly as the customer/PS team wanted? Obviously the PS team is VERY good at what they do, but I would be just a little bit worried that the guitar won't turn out exactly as I wanted. Having said that, I've ordered 2 new PRSes, so I had no idea what they would sound/play like before I got them. The good thing about PRSes is you can do this and not be worried you'll end up with a dog. Both guitars were stellar, no dead spots, quality issues etc. Is this risk minimised with PS? I'd say the likelihood is lower, but the consequence is higher ($!)

    I'm still going to order a PS when I can afford it, and I can't wait!

    That was a very well thought out reply...I found it to be a very detailed and in-depth description of my own private stock build process in the past. Very much an interactive approach designed to achieve your specific custom goals, both aesthetically and "tonally".

    That being said....Les would never bait anyone. He abhors an argument and eschews a debate!

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by docbennett View Post
    That being said....Les would never bait anyone. He abhors an argument and eschews a debate!
    Haha! Actually, I have absolutely nothing to argue over. Which is unusual for me.

    Lots of great replies, and interesting points of view.

    My interest was getting the perspective of the folks that have them. We see the wonderful NGDs, and they are all so drool-worthy, that I was wondering if people were equally happy with their investments in terms of how they sound, in light of what they expected on that front.

    Clearly, a more expensive axe isn't going to be "twice as good;" you do reach a point of diminishing returns, where maybe you get 95% with a standard model, and maybe only another 5% with the PS model. If that! But that 5% can be completely, totally worth it to the right player.

    Since I have a PS acoustic on order, I'm obviously not tied to the idea of "try it first." In fact, I don't mind taking a flyer and seeing what will happen. I've special ordered all but one of my recent PRSes, and I've been absolutely thrilled, whether they've been standard models or limited production runs. Gotta say as well that I've found that the Artist and limited runs have been worth it in every way, both in terms of being happy with the tone, and being happy with the look.

    So I was just hoping this would be a good platform for further discussion about these guit-fiddles.
    I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken...

    Website: http://www.elfxi.com

  20. #20
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    I recently bought a PS piece. It's built to an incredible standard, looks like a museum piece, and sounds stupid great. BUT....I bought it from a dealer's stock where it was spec'd out by the dealer and PRS PS team, as I felt that their collective experience would probably yield a superior result, which it did. As it happened (and a key reason I chose this one), the choices were damn close to the ideas I had in my head, and although some of the wood selections were different, it's my perception that those educated selections ended up being key variables. I also liked the idea of being able to return such an expensive piece if it didn't floor me.

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