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Thread: PRS 408 neck (Rosewood vs. Mahogany)

  1. #1
    Junior Member BlueSky's Avatar
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    PRS 408 neck (Rosewood vs. Mahogany)

    So I got my new PRS 408. It was described on the seller's site with a Mahogany neck but came with a Rosewood neck. Obviously a mistake on the seller's part. The neck feels great but I do wonder what tonal differences the guitar would have if the neck was mahogany. There's no way I can A/B it with another Mahogany neck 408 around here, so I have to rely on your opinions and experience.
    So in short, what tonal differences are there between a rosewood and mahogany neck in general and on a 408 specifically? I could return the guitar but that is always a headache and the neck does feel great, so I'd rather keep it. I just wonder what difference a mahogany neck would make and if this difference is marginal or not.

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    Member Whitecat's Avatar
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    Plugged in, nothing objectively measurable. Some people will disagree with me but I don't think anyone could pick out the difference in a blind test.

    There is HUGE difference in feel, of course (and this feel difference may change the way you play, affecting your "tone").

    PRS rosewood necks feel amazing!

    The rosewood is obviously an upcharge normally so if you didn't pay any "extra" for it (and felt you were paying a fair price for a 'hog neck) then I'd say you did OK... hang onto it!
    HBII (faded gray black 'double' 10-top), HB12 (black gold), NF3 (antique white/birds), 25th ann. Mira 245 (frost blue metallic), KL1812, Starla (vintage cherry, IRW neck, birds), 2 x 2011 'Stripped' 58 (blue crab blue & goldtop)

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    Many describe the RW neck as being mid scooped. Others describe it as high and low accented thus creating a sensation of being mid scooped. I find mahogany slightly better string separation when playing dirty. And yes I find the mahogany mids to be a bit less scooped dirty. But I don't like to fiddle with amp EQ every time I change guitars. No doubt many can EQ the RW mids back in. Having said that, I think RW necks are amazing in feel and playability. RW necks generally command a much higher price. So to steal a line from Fiddler on The Roof, you paid for a donkey, but got a horse.
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    Junior Member BlueSky's Avatar
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    I agree the playability of the neck is awesome. Tonewise, I might have preferred the donkey to the horse... So I'm still debating. Simon McBride, Davy Knowles etc. all seem to prefer a mahogany neck.

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    I can't tell you what the difference is on 408's exactly, but I have 513's with both rosewood and mahogany necks. Rosewood necks are indeed slightly mid-scooped with tighter lows. Mahogany with a mahogany body and maple top gives more of a warm mid range sounding guitar. The other thing that mahogany necks have is harmonic bloom which is where the note's harmonics feedback on themselves. That makes the mahogany neck guitars sound wilder under distortion.

  6. #6
    The RW neck will give you a bit more low end power, in my experience (I've had several).
    If something is too hard to do, then it's not worth doing. You just stick that guitar in the closet next to your short-wave radio, your karate outfit and your unicycle and we'll go inside and watch TV.
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    Defender of the Universe HANGAR18's Avatar
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    One of my PRS guitars has an all Rosewood neck and now I want Rosewood necks on all of my guitars!
    If you prefer Mahogany, maybe I can find one of mine to trade with you. Do you like heavy 10-Top PRS Singlecuts?
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    408 Birds in the Sky megaboogie's Avatar
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    We need pics!

    I own 2 408MT's, one with a hog neck and the other with a braz neck.
    Tonewise, my braz neck 408's notes seem to jump out bit more when playing, but they are not drastically different.
    I'd definitely hang onto it as rosewood neck is an upcharge option. Congrats!

  9. #9
    Junior Member BlueSky's Avatar
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    How do you post pics here?

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    408 Birds in the Sky megaboogie's Avatar
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    You need to register at photo host sites such as www.photobucket.com
    Upload your photos there and you can get an IMG code link for each photo.
    Just copy and paste the links here and they will show up.

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    Junior Member BlueSky's Avatar
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    I don't do photobucket but I uploaded a picture in my Avatar.

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    Hmmmm. That dealer wouldn't happen to be Thomann, would it??

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    Junior Member ViperDoc's Avatar
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    You can also create a Blogger site and host pics from there.

    Neck material has a huge affect on tone. HUGE. It all depends on what you're cramming it through (amps, effects, speakers...). More noticeable the more acoustic and clean you get. Feel is definitely different in the finish than mahogany. I'd say RW neck is a huge plus, but as always, it all depends on what you want to hear. Enjoy!
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    You can use Facebook/Twitter/Google+ also.

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    Senior Member LJD's Avatar
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    IMO the rosewood adds clarity and definition throughout the spectrum. It looks better, feels better. I've played 408's with both and would absolutely choose the rosewood neck. It adds life to the sound. Feels more solid and stable. I've played 408's with both along side a Paul's Guitar and would chose the 408 with rosewood. Incredible guitars.
    Last edited by LJD; 02-11-2014 at 05:21 PM.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Rider1260's Avatar
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    Here is a video from CRGTR this should give you an idea of the difference ( I now own that 408 standard )
    I have a CU22 with a Hog neck and a couple of rosewood necks ( MEII and the 408 ) love them all.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qmGOSWrk9E
    PRS Family - SCT, 408, 305, CU22, MEII
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  17. #17
    408 Sig Club President Twinfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueSky View Post
    Simon McBride, Davy Knowles etc. all seem to prefer a mahogany neck.
    Davy's #1 guitar has a rosewood neck, but he has mahohany necked guitars too. Simon tends to always use mahogany from what I've seen, but he does have an MEQ.

  18. #18
    Junior Member BlueSky's Avatar
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    Thanks guys for all your feedback. Much appreciated. I come from the Les Paul/Marshall territory, so I guess I would have preferred the additional mids of a Mahogany neck. However, this neck feels so perfect and sounds great through my rig, I'll keep it. Yes, it's from thomann. It cost a bit more than some other 408s they had on sale but I think that was due to the 10 Top, which the cheaper ones didn't have. The 10 top on mine is gorgeous, btw. Another reason to keep the guitar.
    I've just discovered the MODCAT sticky thread. So it appears I have an East Indian RW neck with Honduran RW fingerboard. Strange, thomann described it as a Mahogany neck. I'm not sure if that determined the price. On the other hand, I bought it expecting a Mahogany neck and now I have a more expensive RW that I didn't really want. Anyway, I'm bonding with it, as the feel is perfect.

  19. #19
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    I love the rosewood necks, they have a wonderful sound and feel. Different, better for some things - to me a smoother, jazzier, mellower sound clean and a somewhat less aggressive sound dirty, both of which I really like. Of course, the pickups and amp, etc, will also have a huge impact, and may overshadow the differences from the RW tonally. As mentioned, they are a bunch more $$, so you did well in that respect. If it were me I'd keep it, without any second thoughts.

  20. #20
    Junior Member BlueSky's Avatar
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    From a tonal perspective I'd prefer a Mahogany neck, i.e. more mids and a slightly more aggressive OD tone. As I said earlier, I'd rather have the donkey than the horse. But I suspect the differences in tone might be marginal, as you pointed out, amps, pedals etc. probably play a bigger role and I liked the way the guitar sounded through my rig. What won me over was the exceptional playability of the RW neck.

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