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Thread: Adjustable stoptail

  1. #1
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    Adjustable stoptail

    I recently looked at a 2008 SC250 and noticed that it had an adjustable stoptail. I don't see it on any of the new models, were there problems with it? Because it allows more flexibility with tuning, I would think that it would be easier to get a more precise tuning with it compared to current stop-tail. Any thoughts?

  2. #2
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    That's a great question. I also have wondered from time to time why the non-adjustable stoptail was even used, and why not all stoptails be the adjustable type. Many customers I've spoke with have wondered the same.

    I can simply give my 0.02$, because I don't really know why. My first guess is cost. To purchase the adjustable on its own is not cheap, and would leave me to believe they're expensive to make. Another guess is simply that Paul feels the standard stop sounds or operates better. He's always known to use the non-adjustable style. He also isn't known for down-tuning much, if at all.

    Here's another thought, and again, a very subjective one on my part. Intonation adjustments seem to be an attempt to "fix" or "correct" inefficiencies in design or construction with regards to bridge, nut, and fret placement. To "compensate" for a lack of solid construction and reliability to keep the guitar from shifting parts around just slightly.If PRS can construct a guitar with such a low level of these inefficiencies, and be so consistent and reliable from guitar to guitar, then compensation no longer becomes a necessity!

    When I started with my first CST22 stoptail, I spent the money and replaced the bridge with an adjustable version. I do different tunings and gauges from time to time, but mostly live in standard. I also replaced it because many guitarists I look up to (Tim Mahoney, Mike Einziger, Pete Loeffler) had their custom PRS's with adjustable bridges. Over a period of about 2 years, from being constantly used and sweated on, I completey disintegrated the bridge from dirt build up in between the saddles. They wouldn't even budge if I wanted to move them. So I went back to the regular bridge. I would say I actually perfer the regular one now. It doesn't build up dirt at all, it's super easy to work with, and it sounds and works great.

    BTW, I happened to notice recently Tim Mahoney replaced his adjustable on "Ol' Blue" back to a regular stoptail. Why? Who the hell knows. He probably encountered the same problem I had from playing a billion shows a year.

  3. #3
    I had a couple PRS's with stop tails. I switched to adjustables only to find that they intonated no better than the stock bridge and that the stock one piece wrap tail sounded better.

    The stock PRS wrap tail really is a well designed piece. PRSh prefers it to anything else.

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    Both answers address my question and I feel much better about the stock bridge.
    Thank you.

  5. #5
    Sparty On hoofarted's Avatar
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    Take it on a guitar-by-guitar basis, as the two bridge models are not made from the same materials.

    My Mira (original Core-line, not S2) came from the factory with the non-adjustable unit. Since this model is machined aluminum, it's very lightweight, but didn't sound that great on the Mira (to my ears). I changed pickups three times and was still unsatisfied with the sound. It was thin, shrill, and very piercing on the high-end. I replaced the bridge with the heavier adjustable bridge, and voila!, it finally had a great sound. However, I played a few Miras in the past at guitar shops and never noticed the sound problems.

    That being said, my two stoptail PRS's both have the adjustable unit. I know the fixed bridge can sound good, I just haven't found it to be the best fit on my two. I prefer it, but I'm also not playing out constantly or a heavy sweater.

    Also, the adjustable stoptail is in production. It's an option on Artist Pack Custom 22s and Studios.

  6. #6
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    Adding my two cents relative to the guitar you were looking at: I think the SC250, weigh its hotter pups, was marketed towards heavier players, who tend to run heavier strings and drop their tunings. The adjustable bridge allows for intonation adjustments in those situations.

    I personally love the non-adjustable bridge, but I mainly play 10s in standard, with the occasional drop D.

    BTW, if you don't pick it up, let me know where that '08 SC250 is. I miss mine a ton!

  7. #7
    Senior Member jfb's Avatar
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    I use the non-adjustable on 3 of my 4. Only reason it's not on the 4th is because of the piezo. It's beautifully simple and works well in all the tunings I have tried. I should note one of my guitars was ordered in Drop C.
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    Bobble Head Moderator JMintzer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfb View Post
    I use the non-adjustable on 3 of my 4. Only reason it's not on the 4th is because of the piezo. It's beautifully simple and works well in all the tunings I have tried.
    Same here. I've never felt the need for an adjustable bridge. I used 9's, 9.5, and 10's. The intonation is scary good. The only adjustable bridge is on my PS HB that has a Piezo…


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    Senior Member Sage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisCst22 View Post
    Another guess is simply that Paul feels the standard stop sounds or operates better.
    This is the official reason, yes. The non-adjustable stoptail bridge, by eliminating the floating saddles, provides greater transfer of vibration from the string to the body of the guitar. And as you noted, the level of precision that PRS is operating with allows them not to require an adjustable saddle.

  10. #10
    Senior Member garrett's Avatar
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    As I understand it, you'll need an adjustable bridge if you use a wound G.
    --Garrett--

  11. #11
    Senior Member jfb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMintzer View Post
    Same here. I've never felt the need for an adjustable bridge. I used 9's, 9.5, and 10's. The intonation is scary good. The only adjustable bridge is on my PS HB that has a Piezo…


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  12. #12
    Bobble Head Moderator JMintzer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfb View Post
    We are twins!
    Except I have something you don't have...
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    Senior Member jfb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMintzer View Post
    Except I have something you don't have...
    Rain tax?
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    Bobble Head Moderator JMintzer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfb View Post
    Rain tax?
    Bastid!

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    Senior Member jfb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMintzer View Post
    Bastid!

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    PEW PEW MONGOOSE ATTACK!!

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  16. #16
    Name Manglin' Putz alantig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMintzer View Post
    Except I have something you don't have...
    Less room in your pants?
    Alan

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  17. #17
    Just one more... HighGain510's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfb View Post
    I use the non-adjustable on 3 of my 4. Only reason it's not on the 4th is because of the piezo. It's beautifully simple and works well in all the tunings I have tried. I should note one of my guitars was ordered in Drop C.
    Not sure if you're still following this thread or not but I was curious, how does the non-adjustable stoptail handle intonation on Drop-C? I was advised long ago by the customer service folks @ PRS that if I was using 11's in Drop-C (which can still feel a bit slinky, I've tried 10's and there is just way too much warble without stepping up the lower strings quite a bit and then it feels off balance) that I would run into issues with intonation without moving over to the adjustable stoptail. Is this not the case? I would think with the thicker gauge strings and need for intonation adjustment since it's a full step lower than stock (and even lower on the low C string) would almost NEED the adjustable version to handle that, no? Curious how that worked out for you with the non-adjustable one in Drop-C since I often play in that tuning myself.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HighGain510 View Post
    Not sure if you're still following this thread or not but I was curious, how does the non-adjustable stoptail handle intonation on Drop-C? I was advised long ago by the customer service folks @ PRS that if I was using 11's in Drop-C (which can still feel a bit slinky, I've tried 10's and there is just way too much warble without stepping up the lower strings quite a bit and then it feels off balance) that I would run into issues with intonation without moving over to the adjustable stoptail. Is this not the case? I would think with the thicker gauge strings and need for intonation adjustment since it's a full step lower than stock (and even lower on the low C string) would almost NEED the adjustable version to handle that, no? Curious how that worked out for you with the non-adjustable one in Drop-C since I often play in that tuning myself.
    I use Elixir 11-49's and have gone as low as Drop-B and it still sounds great. It defintely is a little slinky and takes some getting used to, but more than playable.

    I wonder if it would make sense to have a "drop-tuning" version of the standard stop that compensates for a wound G and much heavier gauges overall. Probably won't happen.

  19. #19
    Senior Member jfb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HighGain510 View Post
    Not sure if you're still following this thread or not but I was curious, how does the non-adjustable stoptail handle intonation on Drop-C? I was advised long ago by the customer service folks @ PRS that if I was using 11's in Drop-C (which can still feel a bit slinky, I've tried 10's and there is just way too much warble without stepping up the lower strings quite a bit and then it feels off balance) that I would run into issues with intonation without moving over to the adjustable stoptail. Is this not the case? I would think with the thicker gauge strings and need for intonation adjustment since it's a full step lower than stock (and even lower on the low C string) would almost NEED the adjustable version to handle that, no? Curious how that worked out for you with the non-adjustable one in Drop-C since I often play in that tuning myself.
    My guitars are coming from PRS this way and are kept in good shape by catching PTC at travel dates or seeing someone when I visit the factory. I couldn't say what they do, but I run non-adjustable, Elixir 11's, Drop C with no issues. Neck has a bit of relief and higher action is my guess. I play the devil out of my Drop C Charcoal Cherry Burst and I lay into it pretty heavy and it's solid to me.
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  20. #20
    DEEPER STRIATIONS markie's Avatar
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    Paul Smith is a wrap tail kind a guy.............
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