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Thread: Studio Artist w/ maple neck?

  1. #1

    Studio Artist w/ maple neck?

    I've just gotten smitten with PRS guitars and have been lurking here for a few weeks and this is my first post. I'm really impressed but also overwhelmed with all the options PRS has developed over the years. I'm a full time pro bassist (upright and electric about equally) and picky about gear, and sound and always notice how much I like (or don't) the sounds of the many fine guitarists I get to perform with. I've played guitar casually on the side for 10 years and use it to teach bass students (we jam!) and to write and understand harmony better.

    I've become a little dissatisfied with my current solid body electric, a brand I won't mention but it shares many design similarities with a custom 24; hum buckers with a coil tap, hog body and neck, carved flame maple top, ebony board. Gibson scale length. It's done a respectable job getting me some single coil tones and is pretty clear sounding and ergonomic as well. I won't get into why it's time to move on from it, but I think it was a pretty good in betweener (strat and LP) for me as guy who only wants one guitar for any pop/rock tones I want. (I also have a nice Semi Hollow for jazz that I just got and absolutely love.)

    The PRS aesthetics and ergonomics definitely speak to me, so Im trying to find my dream axe within the brand and could use help.

    I picked up a PRS Signature Limited that's a few years old and has 408's in it; got it for a great price and love the charcoal burst finish and wood figuring. It's got a very nice and dark RW board as well.

    Problem is, I've really been chasing after the fabled "all in one" guitar, and am missing the "quack" strat type sounds of the pos 2 and 4 on a 3 pup guitar. I tried out a Studio after listening to it online and thinking it was going to be perfect. In a local shop (Wildwood guitars) I was more impressed with the 408s then the studio that day and so I went and found this Sig Limited used. (I just recently tried out being a straight ahead strat guy with a very nice James Tyler guitar, but not my style, either).

    I also have come to realize that I would prefer a 3 pup guitar and want to go back and try the Studio, and check out the 513 as well, which I did not know about when I bought the Sig Lim. Maybe my ears will hear it different after having gotten comfortable with the 408.

    The other thing is that I find the Sig Limited a little to mid rangy or something to my ear, even unplugged, and was starting to suspect I would prefer a maple neck. I by chance stumbled on a used CE 22 (maple Bolt on neck with RW board on hog/Maple top body) at Guitar Center and playing it without even plugging it in I realized that was about right for me as far as wood combos go; it definitely gave me more Fender like clean tones and I like both the extra attack and clarity from the neck, without it being as bright a Strat. I'm aware the bolt on neck might have had a lot to do with it, though, and I've not yet had a chance to play a PRS with a set maple neck on the hog bandy with quilt top. I also got to play a DC3 with Korina body (sounds like hog as far as i know) and maple neck/RW board and again about right for me unplugged. One of the best pop/rock guitarists I worked with both in terms of playing and tone used a Strat with a maple neck, RW board, hog body and maple top with SSH config and it sounded great to my ears, so I wonder if there's something to that combo.

    I also chatted with some dealer and one pointed out that as a bassist I might be used to the sound and feel of maple necks with RW boards since thats such as classic combo in bass land, whereas hog necks are rare, perhaps due to less stiffness; which was true, and what i prefer. I actually have two such necks on my main electrics, both with Brazilian RW which is even better for me as it seems to have less stuffiness and more clarity then the usual East Indian Stuff.

    Anyways, I've not had any luck finding a sound example on line of a Studio with a maple neck, Brazilian RW board (which Im sure will add some clarity I've found lacking on the East Indian RW/hog neck). Closest I got was a 513 AP:

    Not a great demo ( he doesn't seem to realize the tone select switch does nothing in pos 3 with only middle single coil selected(!), also brief and not really a great player IMHO, but I think that's the right direction. Theres a nearly identical demo of hog neck stock 513 and you can easily here its got more midrange and is darker then the maple neck AP version.

    Anyway, anyone here actually have experience with the Studio with a Maple neck and BRW board and if so, do you have any clips? What do you think of my theories in terms of tonal goals?

    The other question I have is if anyone knows if the AP allows for a HSH configuration instead of the SSH (or actually NF NF H, I guess) . I suspect a tappable 5708 Humbucker in the the neck might be more style for some overdriven rock tones and I could still get a nice single coil tones. I haven't seen this combo much on any PRS guitars except this odd instrument that Wildwood has, which I will also try to play in person.
    Nice video here.

    BTW, the CE22 I played was kind of beat up and I would prefer a better top, birds, and a a 3 pickup configuration, so those are probably out.

    As you can tell, it seems possible that all of this might be possible to find, but probably only on AP order. It would be a lot more cash then my Sig Limited 408 (which I could return still), so I'm trying to decide if these tweaks would be worth it. I know I'm probably taking about subtleties here but i think that makes a huge difference as an artist trying to dial in the sound just right. Also I wouldn't mind being able to pick the finish and hardware color; I don't like the hybrid I got on the Sig Limited and would swap it out if I keep it.

    One other question on the Studio is if I were to get the AP if changing the bridge 5708 for something else might be wise since I've heard they can be a little weak compared to the NFs. I also thought it would look good to at least get i uncovered so it matches the NFs; I don't love the look of the metal covers. Im not sure what if anything this would do to the sound, so comments welcome here. Another nice things about getting a HSH setup is I could play around more with pickups aftermarket if necessary.

    Finally, could anyone comment on the impact of the bridges on these guitars? I've wondered if the fact that I tried a stop tail 408 against the studio w/ trem could have been a factor. The 408 just sound much clearer then the studio that day, so thats why I went that direction. I got the the wrap stop tail on the Sig limited as well.

    Thanks and any comments welcome! I will post back when I get to play some of these in person soon! Looks like i want to try the CE22 again, a Stock studio, a SAS studio, and a 513 before I make any decisions.
    Last edited by Denverbass79; 12-22-2013 at 06:36 PM.

  2. #2
    Plank Spanker justmund's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Down under, down under
    Have you checked out a Brent Mason Sig? Could be just what the Doctor ordered...

  3. #3
    Happy Egads's Avatar
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    Oct 2012
    Boulder, CO
    Or, look for an old Swamp Ash Studio. It's a swamp ash body with a bolt on maple neck, with HSH. No maple top, though. Awesome guitars. is the Brent Mason!

    I love my 513. It covers so much range that I find I do have to either run an eq pedal or compromise on the amp settings. There is quite a tonal range between the singles and the full humbuckers. You can find 513s with hog, maple, EIRW and Brazzy necks.

  4. #4
    I've looked at the old swamp ash and want to try to play one. Not as pretty as the maple top. I kind of want mahogany body though; might be too bright. I don't care for the vintage styling the Brent mason.

  5. #5
    Plank Spanker justmund's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Down under, down under
    Fair enough, I don't mind the styling, and also had fairly similar tonal goals to you which is why I ended up getting the PTC to put 408s into a DC3 (Alder bodied).

    I'll try and address your questions:

    I don't think there are many examples of that particular Maple/BRW combo out there. Your ideas seem sound, but until you put them all together you never know for sure. Another option would be an Ebony board, this may give you even more attack over the BRW.

    You definetaly can't get a H-S-H config in a Studio AP. This would be the realm of Private Stock only. It would involve a completely new top route and wiring config.

    I'm with you on the aesthetics of the covered 57/08 vs. the NFs, and think a squabbin PU is a much better match aesthetically (there's been a couple of AP Studios like this and they look great). As for the tone, it's all down to what sort of music you play. There are some people out there that think the 57/08 is "underpowered" (OK it's mainly one guy, and he'll let you know, many, many times what he thinks ), but there's also a bunch of people with no issues. I put a couple of NFs and a 59/09 in a SE EG and loved the combo, the 59/09 is more suited to the heavier/hard rock kind of stuff when compared to the 57/08 (vintage rock/blues).

    The bridge definitely has an effect, I think crgtr did a demo of a Sig Ltd Stoptail vs. a Sig Ltd Trem. (Norma vs. Abby???). Recommend tracking that vid down (on YouTube) and checking it out.

    Hope this helps!

  6. #6
    Plank Spanker justmund's Avatar
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    Apr 2012
    Down under, down under
    I think these are the vids:

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Odenton, Md
    The all in one guitar doesn't exist, but the closest thing I have to that realm is a 513 with a maple neck and fretboard, a Private Stock 515 with a maple neck and a rosewood fretboard, and a 513 with a Swamp Ash body, maple neck, and rosewood. I don't want to say that the Swamp Ash was sterile, but it was less warm. I found the 305 Prototype with an Alder Body, maple neck and fretboard that I have has the more quack of them all, but with a touch more warmth than the Swamp Ash. The 513 with the maple neck and fretboard was warmest of the bunch.

    If you throw in virtual guitar simulators, I can get all the sounds on the 515, but that's through a midi system. If those would count, it's the only 515 that can get both LP and Strat. Although those sounds are really good, they don't hold a candle to the best examples of those instruments.

    I think you are headed to Private Stock land. I know my next build in the quintessential search for the all in one will be a 408 with either a 513 single or a Narrowfield in the middle.

  8. #8
    Senior Member yankeebulldog's Avatar
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    Apr 2012
    I've owned the SAS Studio, stock Studio and AP Studio with a maple/maple neck. As far as stratty tones, the SAS Studio was the best for that. I put in an uncovered 59/09 bridge pickup or similar in all of those due to aesthetics and wanting something slightly hotter. The AP studio was better than the stock one for strat tones and versatility but I didn't like the regular sized frets. In the end, I got the Brent Mason and haven't looked back. The maple neck, Korina body give it a slightly brighter snappy tone vs hog. The split 408s also do single coil better than the NFs for me anyway. The 2 and 4 positions are very good as well. My only gripe with the BM is the dirt birds and the slightly longer scale length but I assume that also gets you slightly closer to those F tones that all the 25 inch scale guitars.
    PRS Guitars - PS #4344 SC245, PS #4343 DC245, PS #4858 McCarty Singlecut, Floyd Custom 24
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  9. #9
    I got out this week and played a Swamp Ash Studio, a Custom 24, the DGT, a PRS Special, and Studio. My favorite was the SAS, but I didnt love the look and it was a touch bright. I found a Custom 24 with maple/ebony and was tempted by that, but I think I'm gonna have to hold out and get an AP studio with that wood combo.

  10. #10
    Well, having played a few more PRS since last post and returned the Sig Limited, I'm close to pulling trigger on the AP studio. Got a quote on it from Willcutt that was very good! I also met the PRS rep in the area and had a nice chat with him. Sounds like this model is the best for me.

    I'm going to go with trem bridge.

  11. #11
    I'm having a hard time selecting between ebony and BRW boards, both good choices and I have owned both on various instruments. I want to make sure it's clear but ebony can get a little plunky- I don't like it on basses much. Im assuming the BRW will sound clear and have more attack then the East Indian Stuff I've played, but will it be enough? Can I get close to BRW sound with ebony by rolling back the tone knob, or is there just more resonance in the BRW and richness there that can't be duplicated. Hard call.
    Last edited by Denverbass79; 05-19-2014 at 11:57 AM.

  12. #12
    Well, I ended up ordering a Studio w/Maple neck and Ebony board, trem bridge, and it came out great! Everything I was hoping for. Really great super fat strat type sounds. It's most versatile guitar I've ever played; maybe just best guitar for me I've ever played.

    Glad I went with this combo. It made all the difference compared to 408 I owned and all the other PRS I played. Just right for me. The Artist birds and headstock look great as well!

  13. #13
    Senior Member shinksma's Avatar
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    Mar 2014
    Congrats! Sounds like a really nice combo of Artist Pkg upgrades. I need to look a bit more at the Studio, but I must admit I am very curious about the various SAS models that have been mentioned (older HSH, triple NFs, or double NFs+HB on SAStudio).

    I joined this forum just a couple of months ago, so I feel a little bad about your various posts not being responded to over the new year...hopefully this thread will get more active when you post pics!

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