NGD -- P22 Trem Artist -- lessons learned along the way
BEFORE I begin...I want to thank Brent Moss and Ryan Carruthers at The Guitar Shop in Mississauga....and also, Shawn in the PTC and Tim McClaeb at PRS. I know I'll forget someone as I type away....so...THANK YOU Gentlemen!!!
I love Alex Lifeson and I was quite happy when that guitar company out of Nashville released a signature model with a piezo trem. I REALLY thought this would be the "Swiss Army knife" of guitars---electric, acoustic, Floyd Rose....
I purchased one in red, kept it all of a few weeks and sold it off. The piezo was horrible. Given the company's reputation....I figured I got caught in the "You have to play 100 of em, before you find one that's good". That's nice and all, but that's hard to do at 4K a pop!!
I put it out of my mind....and about a year later...I tried again. Same guitar, but in a Burst finish. Sadly....same result. I'm not the best player in the world, but this Nashville-built guitar just felt..."slapped together" and it was a chore to play.
A friend of mine is a studio player in LA, and he played it and confirmed my feelings. I guess nothing has changed since 1959, eh? I felt vindicated, but now....I felt taken. The playability sucked...the piezo sucked. It sat in the closet. I didn't want to be reminded of the money I'd lost.
I had been out of the loop in what was going on in guitar-world. I visited the PRS website and saw the new P22 and thought "that's nice". I really wanted the trem. I was so far behind the times, that I didn't even know that the PTC had opened for business! I took a chance and emailed Shawn about retrofitting my CE24's trem. He said it could be done. So...I weighed my options and while I thought on it.....the good Lord answered my prayers. Well.....actually it was St. Paul of Maryland!
The P22 TREM had been released!
In July.....I contacted Brent and visited the shop. After a bit of discussion....I said goodbye to that horrible Nashville-made guitar....and spec'd out my new P22trem. McCarty burst, flame top, ebony fretboard and headstock face on a flame maple neck. DONE! My very own "Private Stock"!
While I waited....It still bothered me....the waste of money on that Nashville guitar. Simultaneously....I began reading up on the incoming P22trem.
I found two things that were seemingly related. All of the demo videos of the P22 sounded incredible! And this Nashville guitar piezo sounded great too...in the online video. So why did BOTH of mine sound like garbage??
Well.....a little more sleuthing and I found an interview online with Lifeson (or his tech)..I can't recall. Turns out....they sampled his original ACOUSTIC GUITAR, and then midi'ed it in, or something to that effect. So basically...the consumer would NEVER be able to achieve anything close to what he achieves onstage. It's all "under the hood" stuff.....stuff that a casual player like myself wouldn't know about...or how to do it...
I wrote to PRS and asked Tim what were they doing in their videos to make their piezos sound so good. He responded that the guitar was straight into a little AER Alpha acoustic amp. That's it. I found one the next week and bought it, to await it the P22trem
By now...I was SOOOOO infuriated at that Nashville company. I swore I would NEVER own a piece of gear produced by....anyway, you get the point.
I just finished playing my new prize!
It's beautiful! I played the opening chords of "Crazy on You", "Pinball Wizard" and lots of Pink Floyd to get an acoustic tone I liked. Took me all of FIVE MINUTES between the PRS and AER. That Nashville guitar? Worked at it for HOURS and achieved NOTHING usable.
During the summer....I had the great fortune of attending TWO seminars with PRSh. One in Detroit, and the other with Ryan at The Guitar Shop in Mississauga.
I had been a fan of PRS sure....but after seeing him in person...his drive...his passion...his humour...and his genuine care for the guitar that bears his name, and care for the people that BUY the guitars that bear his name....
Well...I'm a total convert now. PRSh said the BEST thing WE can do as players and fans...is to spread the word. And I have!!! Any time I talk guitars with friends or wherever, I fly the flag of PRS and talk em up. It's funny...I've pretty much memorized their entire catalog. When someone says "they're too much"...I shoot right back "Perhaps the new S2 line or the SE would be cool for you?" ..."Yeah, but I play nouveau Norwegian death country-bluegrass?".....And I counter "I bet ya the 513 would cover that!"....
My favourite is "they don't sound like anything" And my answer is..."They sound like YOU!" and explain that PRS' are built that whatever effort you put into it, it will find YOUR voice and give it back to you...easily....effortlessly....YOUR fingers, YOUR work...YOU!" I've even let my beloved CE24 out of my house for a few "can I try it?" sessions.....
I really can't say enough about the PRS' I own. More importantly....I can't say enough great things about where they come from! The folks at PRS really DO care...and really DO make a guitar that is second to none. That enthusiasm continues right down down to the moment when some clerk at a music store says "I see you've noticed that 408? Nice, huh? Let me show you what it can do"
As I get older, that kind of integrity means more and more....
Thanks for reading...I'm going back to my new noise-maker!!!
Awesome. Congrats. I had a similar experience. I'm a Lifeson fan as well and looked at his signature model. I came close to buying one. Like you, I was so psyched when PRS launched the P22 trem. I bought one and a few weeks later the P24 trem limited was introduced during the Experience and was able to get one through my dealer.
Cool experience...at least on the PRS side. Sorry about the crappy Gib experience. I haven't played one of the Lifeson's, since the trem isn't that important to me (I've got two out of a dozen-ish). I love my P22 and SC HB II piezoelectric, though.
Also, congrats on your PS! got any pics?
Nice story, and... Pics! Pics! Pics!
The P22 is definitely near the top of my wish list.
It seems you have a happy ending to a long journey.
I am glad that you got what you wanted with the P22. I think the P22 has the best piezo acoustic tone that I have heard.
However, I do have some happy news. The acoustic sound that Alex gets is not out of reach for the player. For the price of one of those overpriced Axcesses, you could get a Axe FX II and an FRFR system. Then, it's a matter of Tone Matching the acoustic sound on Clockwork Angels. That is exactly what Alex's tech did. There is an interview on the Fractal Audio website where Alex mentions it.
I have a P22 and an Axe FX II. The primary patch I generally use is my P22 tone matched to my Taylor 614CE. The tone match is two button presses, recording the reference tone and the tone guitar that you want to use. What it does is create an EQ filter that represents the difference between the reference and the guitar. All you have to do is add a little warm reverb to account for the body cavity, and you got it. The reference can be anything, a snippet from a record album or a direct recording from a guitar.
Last edited by Dancing Frog; 11-19-2013 at 10:31 PM.
Great story!!! But as it goes here on the forum...without pics it never happened!
I have pics ready to go...and I want to show it off.......I just don't know how to add them to a post...help?
Oh...and thanks for the Fractal Audio mention...I'll go read up on it
408 Birds in the Sky
Very cool, I am glad P22 trem worked out for you.
I am a PRS convert too, although I still own and love few guitars that are from the nashville company.
Here's a post on posting pics:
Originally Posted by tonyvenn
I think the easiest method is to use photobucket or one of the other hosting sites, copy the IMG link associated with the pic, and paste that into the forum post. Good luck.
I stand by PRS guitars, too. I'm good with people preferring other guitars, and understand that it's a diverse world. But I can be honest with folks and speak my mind about how great I think PRSes are.
Enjoyed your story!
Congrats! Great story and enjoy your new guitar. I am a big Alex fan as well (I play in a Rush tribute band). His piezo/acoustic sound on this tour was excellent. I've got an Axe Fx and though I don't have any piezo guitars, I do have an acoustic preset. Even without the piezo it sounds great and I get compliments on that sound almost every time I play. The best place to research the Fractal gear is on their forum. Lots of very helpful converted evangelists on that site, just like on this forum.
[BTW, I think you may be the guy the drummer in my band bought his drum kit (red DWs) from last year. If so, thanks! I don't know drums from Shinola, but that kit looks and sounds amazing.]
Congrats! You will enjoy that! I'd spec the flame maple neck myself!
SO...I also looked HARD at THAT LP. I didn't need a term so I grabbed a P22. In a rig rundown somewhere I found out Alex ran the Piezo side though a Fishman Aura DI. I grabbed one and couldn't be happier! The Piezo does sound good on it's own but the Aura takes it to that next level for me.
Play it like you stole it! And get those pictures up!
Hopefully these two photos show up........
If so....here she is!
she's friggin' stunning
Originally Posted by tonyvenn
I love McBurst color ( my first CU22 had this awesome color)
but my incoming AP will be in FBJ,and thank you for asking about posting pics
now i'll be able to post my NGD in the coming days
Congrats enjoy this beauty to the max...
Really appreciate you sharing your story. As a fan of both PRS and The Moss-Man I completely understand where you are coming from here. Welcome to the fold. It's great to have you.