The Mysteries Of 'The Maple'
Every great instrument has mysteries to be unlocked, and my Tonare PS The Maple no doubt has several lifetimes' worth.
It is capable of tremendous subtlety, and yet the sound is so open and lively for a new guitar that I can't even imagine how great it will sound down the road. I've posted pictures and sound clips of the guitar on other threads in this section of the forum, so I'm going to address some of the random things I've been thinking about in connection with the gestalt of acquiring and owning this guitar.
Let's get the obvious out of the way: it sounds magnificent, it plays like buttah, and it looks amazing. The craftsmanship is unbelievable.
But I had random thoughts that had little to do with the sound, etc.
I wondered if I did the right thing in ordering maple, when the guitar was perhaps designed with mahogany and rosewood in mind.
I wondered what the differences between a production and PS model would be, and whether it'd be "worth it."
I wondered how I'd relate to an heirloom instrument. I don't mean sonically and professionally, I mean, would I be afraid to take it out of its case and play it like I would any other guitar?
I managed to put all of these thoughts out of my head while the guitar was being built. I put off thinking them. But when the guitar arrived, everything flooded into my head.
Time for another episode of As The Maple Turns...
So from the first strum, I knew I was ok on the maple choice. That worry was out of the way in about a second.
Is the guitar "worth it?"
Honestly, it's hard to put a price on art, and there is no doubt that this is a very high art piece when it comes to guitarmaking. But I think I got excellent value. I've had the guitar for more than a couple of weeks now, and I'm used to it, and I still marvel at how good it sounds and how well it plays. So, looks and custom touches aside, yes, it is worth it. And I have a hunch that I'll feel even happier about it as the guitar matures.
And can I actually use it without getting uneasy about putting a ding on it, etc.?
In truth, once I took it out of the case, I never gave it a second thought. It will be an heirloom, yes, but also a working man's guitar. As it should be. I wanted it to be my acoustic "voice" and I feel really comfortable with it. It's indeed my voice.
I will also confess that having the PTC around gives me a feeling of increased confidence, since I'm familiar with their work, and I know the guitar will always be in tip-top shape if it needs work down the road.
One thing I'm really happy about is that even in comparison with this level of guitar, PRS' standard offerings are absolutely top-notch.
Would I go for another PS? Absolutely, if something I felt I needed wasn't available on a standard model. I've had visions of an NS15 with a maple top and a 2 piece bridge, or maybe a standard PRS trem instead of the Floyd. But I'm not ready to take that idea beyond the dream stage at the moment, and I love what I already have.
Last edited by LSchefman; 07-09-2013 at 12:53 PM.
It will be interesting to see which, if any, answers change over time.
Originally Posted by LSchefman
I think you did right getting maple: you wanted maple and other companies have used maple in place of mahogany or rosewood with good results.
I still think PS is worth it: I wasn't that excited by the Tonare until I tried a private stock (and I'm choosing to ignore that they might have just got better at acoustics in the time that elapsed between trying a production model and a PS).
I have no problem taking out the heirloom instrument, though I am more likely to pull a different one out with certain guests in the house - so maybe there is a bit of fear there.
Your answers might be very different. The only answer of mine that I think might change over time is the playing the heirloom one - and I can't guess in which direction it might move.
We must have posted simultaneously.
Originally Posted by veinbuster
Yeah, I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't pull The Maple out with certain guests around, that's a good point. But that's probably true of my other guitars as well.
I do feel comfortable with it, so that's a good thing.
I had to write a little more about this guitar. It's so damned good.
One thing I really like is that while the upper mids and high frequencies are sparkly, they are also subtly woody sounding. Some guitars have a lot of sparkle, but all you hear is the metal strings against the pick. With this one, the gorgeous high end is all about the interaction of the strings, top and pick. It's almost as though the pick was made of suede or velvet in a way.
Hard to put into words, I really have to do some more recording of the guitar with a different mic to bring out the characteristics I'm describing, and it may take something with a very fast subtle response, like a Royer powered ribbon, to do it.
But what a guitar!
Yesterday I happened upon a rare opportunity to try a guitar with similar woods (and also one similar to Daniel's, which I've also lusted after).
I had shunned maple bodied acoustics based on a dissatisfying experience many years ago an have been watching for a do-over since you had yours built.
What a sweet sounding guitar. It was a joy to hear much of what you have described. I could see having one some day.