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Thread: PRS tremolo-good or bad sounding?

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    Senior Member swede71's Avatar
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    PRS tremolo-good or bad sounding?

    Hi everyone,im from Sweden and a owner of a custom 22 soapbar.To me PRS guitar is a great built guitar with a fantastic feel.A real workhorse guitar with volume and tonecontrols that really works.A concern of mine is actually the way it sound plugged in.Unplugged its the best guitar i“ve ever tried.Plugged in though it sounds kinda flat to me.Hard to describe it,like the midrange doesnt sing .Listening to żoutube vids i actually think SE models sings better.This is really frustrating to me,i love the way the guitar plays.Changing to a Mannmade tremolo opened up the guitar a bit but im not still 100% satisfied .I have add im not a teenager with no conception of tone,been playing for 25 years.Tinkering with strats for many years have really made me understand the difference in tone between an original strat bridge with a steelblock and the american standard with a cast block.Perhaps a PRS tremolo with a steelblock would be something considering.

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    408 Sig Club President Twinfan's Avatar
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    Re: PRS tremolo-good or bad sounding?

    All pieces of wood are different, therefore all guitars are different. If it's not working for you, sell it on and buy another!

    I have never completely 'fixed' a guitar I wasn't happy with as standard.

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    Senior Member swede71's Avatar
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    Re: PRS tremolo-good or bad sounding?

    I totally agree with you Twinfan.Im a believer in buying a guitar and keep it stock.I have been fixing guitar for a long time and do all my setups on my own except fretworks.The thing with this guitar is that it sounds great unplugged and that should be a good sign right?I kinda dont want to give up on this guitar .As a last thing just for the sake of trying i will have a steelblock made by callaham to see what it does to the guitar.My fav sounding tremolo is the Fender įmerican vintage.Im just talking tone here,not functionality,the PRS is superior to the Fender.The Fender american standard is my fav the way it feels and perform.The PRS trem feels great and performs as we all know great.Hearing what a steelblock did to my Fender American standard strat(just the block) was amazing.I need to know if replacing the brassblock to a steelblock can transform the guitar .

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    408 Sig Club President Twinfan's Avatar
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    Re: PRS tremolo-good or bad sounding?

    I don't think swapping the block will "transform" the guitar, it will just make it sound a little different. A variation on the original tone.

    If it sounds that great unplugged, maybe try new pickups? They are the microphone after all!

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    10 o'Clubs OsirisProtocol's Avatar
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    Re: PRS tremolo-good or bad sounding?

    I don't see how you prefer to keep a guitar stock but are willing to change the tremolo system and block so easily but not think to change the pickups that in this case it seems clear to me that you simply are just not digging. Try another set of pickups that are better suited to your taste.
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    Re: PRS tremolo-good or bad sounding?

    I'll echo what others have said - change out the pickups. You'll get more resultant change in tone than changing out the bridge or other metal components.

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    Senior Member swede71's Avatar
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    Re: PRS tremolo-good or bad sounding?

    The pickups are ok-i know,i know it sounds crazy ....seymour duncans with PRS specs.Im having this mania now about tremolos .Im just checking if someone else feel the same.Great guitars,feels fantastic and then you plug in and its sounds flat.I guess im searching for more attack or presence in the sound.Maybe the wrong guitar for me but i will try because i love the playability.I hear this-and i know it not the best forum for audio-on youtube alot.PRS guitar reviews,beautiful guitars but the sound is everything but good.Actually i hear more SEs that sounds good on YT.Perhaps it is the pickups but i have this set of Van Zandt True vintage pickups,had them in a jap strat copy(zincblock) and they sounded good but when i put them in a Clapton strat body with vintage fender trem they sound fantastic.Well for me at least i have discovered how much the inertiablock influence the sound of a guitar with a tremolo.Thats why i have to try out if a steelblock will give the guitar more attack.

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    Recovering Bass Player ]-[ @ n $ 0 |v| a T ! ©'s Avatar
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    Re: PRS tremolo-good or bad sounding?

    Quote Originally Posted by swede71
    Hard to describe it,like the mid-range doesn't sing .
    If the guitar plays well acoustically, I think its pretty safe to suggest you can get this guitar to accomodate your personal preferences (as long as you know what they are) quite easily. I lot of people take the "I'll know what I want when I hear it" approach and expect fast results. I get the impression you know what you're after.

    To that end... my first thought is to try some unplated brass saddles. I've heard some professional players (who play PRS guitars with tremolo) suggest they bring out some of that mid-range shimmer you're missing.

    And while I'd also agree that pickups are a good way to alter the tone of your guitar, I would do that last. Swapping out STRINGS are well worth your time before swapping pickups. Are you using nickel strings now? Even switching brands within the same size and metal composition can have a notable impact on tone.

    Pickup height. Have you experiment with it?

    Tubes in your amp going bad? What kind of amp are you using?
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    Senior Member swede71's Avatar
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    Re: PRS tremolo-good or bad sounding?

    Thank you Hans! ....i have tried everything but the pickups....stringgauge,saddles,Mannmade trem,springs,pickup height.Im serious about this,almost "Eric Johnson"-like these days .It is that midrange shimmer im talking about.
    I posted this just to see if others had the same experience as i feel.I know its a bit nerdy but i cant help it .
    I love the guitars and think they are beautiful.Im having this disease about details now.Take for example East wes by Eric Johnson.Play that part in the beginning where he does that hammer on d to e on the A-string.Thats how i discovered the difference between an American standard strat and a vintage reissue strat.Im not saying a PRS should sound like a strat.Im just after a bit more sizzle or shimmer as Hans said.Im experimenting
    Amp is a Marshall 1987x and at home Pod 500hd(the Marshall JTM45 model/no effects).

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    Recovering Bass Player ]-[ @ n $ 0 |v| a T ! ©'s Avatar
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    Re: PRS tremolo-good or bad sounding?

    Well... If you've heard SE's that sound better, PM me your mailing address. I'll send you an SE soapbar pup (bridge position) I have in my parts drawer at home. If tone is the goal, why not try something out of the box, right?

    Also, are your saddles raw brass now? Got pics?
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    Senior Member swede71's Avatar
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    Re: PRS tremolo-good or bad sounding?

    The tremolo is a Mannmade with ACC-4021 nickel saddles.The Mannmade saddles dont sound as good .As anote on this when speaking of steelblocks,i have seen some videos where guys have changed to a Callaham block and saddles,sounds awful to me .I tried the Callaham saddles on my strat,changed back to the old cast saddles.KTS i have tried,didnt like them.The best sounding PRS ive heard on Youtube is the Johnny Hiland model.Bolt-on necks helps i know for what im after but....i will keep on experimenting til i find the sound im after

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    A Top (and Heart) of Gold Goldtop's Avatar
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    Re: PRS tremolo-good or bad sounding?

    I understand your attitude about wanting to keep a guitar as stock as possible. But, if you keep it stock, and it just isn't making it for you, then what's the value in that?

    If I had one that I really wanted to keep, and it just wasn't quite 'right' yet but I felt it might could be made that way, I'd give it a try. If it didn't work out I could always return it to stock and sell it or trade it or whatever.

    Also, FWIW, I agree with what's been said in other posts. String types and brands and gauges, amp settings, signal path, (pedals? cords? batteries?), etc.. There are so many variables to consider. That's part of the fun, though... Finding what works for YOU.

    You mentioned Eric Johnson; I can't imagine how much time and effort he puts into his sound, but it's worth it IMO.

    Goldtop
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    Recovering Bass Player ]-[ @ n $ 0 |v| a T ! ©'s Avatar
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    Re: PRS tremolo-good or bad sounding?

    Quote Originally Posted by swede71
    The tremolo is a Mannmade with ACC-4021 nickel saddles.The Mannmade saddles dont sound as good .As anote on this when speaking of steelblocks,i have seen some videos where guys have changed to a Callaham block and saddles,sounds awful to me .I tried the Callaham saddles on my strat,changed back to the old cast saddles.KTS i have tried,didnt like them.The best sounding PRS ive heard on Youtube is the Johnny Hiland model.Bolt-on necks helps i know for what im after but....i will keep on experimenting til i find the sound im after
    Ok, so I'm going back to my first suggestion... try some raw brass (no plating) saddles.

    Also, since you didn't mention anything about it, I'll assume you're not interested in the SE soapbar pickup I offered to give you.
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    Senior Member swede71's Avatar
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    Re: PRS tremolo-good or bad sounding?

    goldtop/The only mods on my guitar are the tuners that neede to be changed and the tremolo.If i want to sell or trade i put back the original one.When im talking about the sound i mean the character.Im just gettin to know a brand of guitar i feel lack something and thats why i want to see if for example a steelblock can enhance the character of the guitar.Whatever pickup you put in strat the character of the guitar will shine through if you know what i mean.Worth mentioning is that i dont use high gain.I use more of a semi-dirty sound that will distort more if you pick hard and cleans up when you turn down the volume on the guitar.If you have a Pod 500hd,try the JTM45 model with plate reverb,factory settings to get a perfect example of the sound i like.The upper mid and lower mid character of the other 2 big american guitar companies will shine through with a sound like this.
    Hans/I will try some raw brass saddles in the future.The pickup you can keep

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    Recovering Bass Player ]-[ @ n $ 0 |v| a T ! ©'s Avatar
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    Re: PRS tremolo-good or bad sounding?

    Quote Originally Posted by swede71
    Hans, thanks very much for your offer to give me a pickup and send it (at your expense) all the way to Sweden. That was very kind of you - especially since you don't know me. I'm going to pass.
    Fixed it for ya.

    And.. you're welcome.
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    Re: PRS tremolo-good or bad sounding?

    Quote Originally Posted by swede71
    The upper mid and lower mid character of the other 2 big american guitar companies will shine through with a sound like this.
    PRSes aren't Fenders or Gibsons. They sound different. I like PRSes better, but they're clearly not for everyone, nothing is.

    And neither Fender nor Gibson makes a guitar like the CU22 Soapbar. It may be a bit unrealistic to expect your guitar to become a Fender or Gibson.

    The strange thing (to me) is that you don't want to hear about a simple pickup swap. Compared to the pickups and the wood, the kind of tinkering you're doing with the metal parts is like spitting in the ocean.

    However, I'd ask if you've considered a 2-Tek bridge? A lot of PRS players seem to swear by them.
    I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken...

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    Member CatStrangler's Avatar
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    Re: PRS tremolo-good or bad sounding?

    I wouldn't underestimate the effect of saddles on overall tone. I actually like both the graphtech string-saver and Tusq saddles on PRS trems, but different guitars like different saddles. The guitar will tell you which ones are the best.

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    Senior Member swede71's Avatar
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    Re: PRS tremolo-good or bad sounding?

    The best saddles for both the original and the Mannmade bridge in my opinion is the Acc-4021 nickel.
    LSchefman/For me the PRS guitar is a tribute to both Fender and Gibson and thats the attraction.Im not looking for the guitar to sound like a Fender or a Gibson.I have 2 strats,1 Heritage Flying V and a Ephiphone Les Paul special japan.I just want to see if a steelblock can "unleash the fury" to qoute Yngwie.Bring out the character of the guitar if u will.Give it a little more attack and focused mids.The 2tek is a fixed bridge and i like the way PRS trem works but would be interesting to hear what it sounds like.

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    Senior Member swede71's Avatar
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    Re: PRS tremolo-good or bad sounding?


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    olslowhand John Mann's Avatar
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    Re: PRS tremolo-good or bad sounding?

    Quote Originally Posted by swede71
    The best saddles for both the original and the Mannmade bridge in my opinion is the Acc-4021 nickel.
    LSchefman/For me the PRS guitar is a tribute to both Fender and Gibson and thats the attraction.Im not looking for the guitar to sound like a Fender or a Gibson.I have 2 strats,1 Heritage Flying V and a Ephiphone Les Paul special japan.I just want to see if a steelblock can "unleash the fury" to qoute Yngwie.Bring out the character of the guitar if u will.Give it a little more attack and focused mids.The 2tek is a fixed bridge and i like the way PRS trem works but would be interesting to hear what it sounds like.
    I find this interesting, as both the PRS factory saddle and the MannMade saddles are the same... same material... same demensions...
    John Mann

    John Mann's Guitar Vault - www.GuitarVaultUSA.com
    MannMade USA - www.MannMadeUSA.com

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