Bought first PRS USA model - Jemsite
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 04:12 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Florida
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Bought first PRS USA model

I owned a PRS SE Bernie and loved that guitar. Sold it as I was really after an SC58 and they're above my skills budget (I try to keep it at a sane skill/$$$ ratio) and ended up with an early 2000's LP instead.

I bought an inexpensive used semi-hollow from GC online and returned it on Saturday due to two high frets. And I looked up at the top rack while returning it. Big mistake. Saw a PRS 305 hanging there with a decent price on it in powder blue with a nice dark rosewood board. I actually walked out of there as quickly as I could but alas it didn't work. I returned the next day and asked for their best deal. And they gave me an offer I could not refuse.

This is one killer guitar and my first triple single coil (I have a P90 Telecaster) and honestly, it's exactly what I was looking for sound wise. This is the first guitar where I felt like it needed nothing, no mods, nothing replaced. I'm usually plotting within a day of owning a new guitar but not this time. She's perfect.

It was used but there's not a mark on it and it came with the case and all the original documentation and parts. I'm surprised more people aren't into these guitars as they're really really good. Meaty enough I might not need a Les Paul.





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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 04:46 PM
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
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Re: Bought first PRS USA model

For the longest time i never liked the way paul reeds played. I dont know if my taste changed or they changed neck profiles they offered. I know they have several shapes but around a couple of years i really started to dig the way they played.

I like the se bernie a lot, and a lot of the other se stuff. I also really dig the jonny hiland model. The 513s are nice too. I still dont like the swamp ash paul reeds but that is simply because i hate swamp ash... lol

prs makes an extermly high quality guitar and i have yet to find one that had any defect or factory imperfection. All of them have been oustanding in quality and finish.

congrats on the guitar.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 04:52 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Bought first PRS USA model

Thanks j. I have to agree, I didn't like them at first either. I had a Torero last year that I did not bond with but the Bernie I liked, especially with a good set of aftermarket pickups. It was a far more complex sounding guitar than the LP but didn't have the bottom end growl of the LP.

The 305 plays very well and I'm going to let it be for a few weeks before really delving into the setup. My initial thought is the action could be a hair lower but it's plays very well as is and the frets have a nice size and shape to them. I always thought the Bernie frets were too small. But I get along with with an FGM400 and an S1520 which also have very small frets. I guess I adapt.

I've not been a fan of the Santana or many of their double cut models. Nor the ones that are just visually way over the top. I appreciate a good piece of wood just like the next guy (ha!) but sometimes I feel like their guitars are over the top. This one is very tasteful and I like the contrast in colors and textures between the painted surface and the natural wood finishes. Everything seems just right on it. And the volume/tone knobs really work and add to the guitar's flexibility. I haven't opened up the back yet to check out the electronics, will probably do that tonight.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-05-2013, 11:23 AM
 
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Re: Bought first PRS USA model

Congrats on the PRS. I have never played one i have to admit. Enjoy it.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-05-2013, 11:59 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Bought first PRS USA model

Thanks! Played for quite a few hours after work last night and really enjoy the sounds I get out of it. Was my first chance to spend some quality time with the guitar. Strings need changing, not sure what they are, but they're pretty rough feeling (wound strings) and the action needs to come down about 1/32nd. This trem is a completely new beast so I really have to read up on adjusting before diving into it. But it plays so evenly and just oozes quality. It can get downright twangy, really grind or clean up and get jazzy/glassy cleans. Pickups are very responsive to picking dynamics and they're not overly compressed.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-05-2013, 01:21 PM
 
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Re: Bought first PRS USA model

my buddy bought a PRS,, then shortly after,, sold both his Les Pauls . I'm almost scared of them : )
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-05-2013, 02:18 PM
 
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Re: Bought first PRS USA model

Quote:
Originally Posted by MichelIV View Post
I owned a PRS SE Bernie and loved that guitar. Sold it as I was really after an SC58 and they're above my skills budget (I try to keep it at a sane skill/$$$ ratio) and ended up with an early 2000's LP instead.






That's a really nice one. I also like the idea of single coils as the PRS is slightly more of a strat like guitar than the Les Paul or SG. I wonder why PRS didn't have more single coil models when the first ones came out. Part of it is that it was the height of putting actual humbuckers into strats of all stripes. But I am glad they laid off the double locking Floyd thing. The fatness of all PRS pickups, even the single coil ones, leads many a player to simply dump their traditional Les Pauls and SGs. You can pretty much live with what you have and not ever need to have a Gibson or Fender. Of course, it won't do the stuff that is in the territory of JEMs, Satches, RGs, or S models as you probably know but PRS flows over both Gibson and Fender well enough to then let amp and effects dial in the basic tones for just about everything non-Floyd era shred.

As for skills and budget, that concept usually takes to beginners and sometimes only first few years of being intermediate. For my students, they start out on something like an GRG or Squier and when the want to move up, then it's to RG or Premium RG and Fenders as it will help a little more with playing better. Sometimes, it's the Epiphone at first and then move up to Gibson.

But at a certain skill set, it's all in the fingers and it doesn't matter much what you use as Squier master Jeff Healey points out. There are also tons of players with low end RGs and various Epis who are absolute masters on guitar. Sometimes the nicest guitar one owns is the first non-beginner guitar they purchase like the pre-CBS tele I got after I learned the barre chord F and my first pentatonic scale. I got a few vintage Gibsons to live along with my prized Fender only because I was young and impressionable and "they" said only Gibsons from the golden era of Gibson in the 50s and 60s would do.

After I got rid of those and became more competent on guitar, I chose for so-called lesser stuff like ordinary American Standard strats, MIM strats, and teles and just run of the mill Norlin era Gibsons and if I couldn't sound good on those, then a pre-CBS Fenders or vintage collectible Gibsons wouldn't make me any better. You will probably find that your PRS is as good as you need it and if you get a chance, a $10,000-$15,000 dollar PRS Dragon or Anniversary won't play any better or sound any different. They are for those who want a rare and expensive guitar first, with playability really only making up about $2,000 dollars of that purchase and the rest rarity and expert inlay work. Those highly flamed maple tops are the best in the industry but won't sound any different than a plain maple top. Though many don't know it, the most distinctive part of the PRS vibe are their original pickups. It's nice that they offer some of them ala carte and on some SE models.

Last edited by 63Blazer; 03-05-2013 at 02:31 PM.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-05-2013, 03:14 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Bought first PRS USA model

That's great feedback! I'm completely self taught as there a distinct lack of good teachers where I live (SW Florida). Want to move out here?

I unfortunately have champagne tastes sometimes and I'm a total tech head. Bad combo. I honestly would never consider purchasing a $10K PRS but a $3.5K PRS could happen (nice SC58!). But again it's just that I don't deserve that nice of guitar at my current playing level. Keeping myself honest. I definitely don't need as many guitars as I have either but part of it is just finding my way and finding what I do and don't like. I have a good career and can afford it but I'd rather have a few less expensive guitars than one really expensive guitar. A variety thing. But man do I get GAS sometimes. I swore a month ago I was done. Once the AS153 comes in, I'm definitely done. I swear. I'm going to sell one more guitar so I stay at six. And that'll be painful enough to end any future acquisition syndromes for some time.

I do hear you about the more run of the mill stuff. That's why I purchased the Gibson I did. Could have gotten an R9 or an SC58 but saved a car-full of money getting a players condition 2004 Standard and working on it myself to get it where I'm happy. I see the 305 as more of a working man's PRS too. No fancy top and no over the top price tag. But it's definitely a quality instrument and plays/sounds as such. And it doesn't do the Ibanez thing but I have a few of those to cover that territory! Luckily, I'm not the biggest JEM or RG fan in the world although I keep eyeing some of the neck through models.....
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-05-2013, 04:17 PM
 
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Re: Bought first PRS USA model

Quote:
Originally Posted by MichelIV View Post
That's great feedback! I'm completely self taught as there a distinct lack of good teachers where I live (SW Florida). Want to move out here?

I unfortunately have champagne tastes sometimes and I'm a total tech head. Bad combo. I honestly would never consider purchasing a $10K PRS but a $3.5K PRS could happen (nice SC58!). But again it's just that I don't deserve that nice of guitar at my current playing level. Keeping myself honest. I definitely don't need as many guitars as I have either but part of it is just finding my way and finding what I do and don't like. I have a good career and can afford it but I'd rather have a few less expensive guitars than one really expensive guitar. A variety thing. But man do I get GAS sometimes. I swore a month ago I was done. Once the AS153 comes in, I'm definitely done. I swear. I'm going to sell one more guitar so I stay at six. And that'll be painful enough to end any future acquisition syndromes for some time.

I do hear you about the more run of the mill stuff. That's why I purchased the Gibson I did. Could have gotten an R9 or an SC58 but saved a car-full of money getting a players condition 2004 Standard and working on it myself to get it where I'm happy. I see the 305 as more of a working man's PRS too. No fancy top and no over the top price tag. But it's definitely a quality instrument and plays/sounds as such. And it doesn't do the Ibanez thing but I have a few of those to cover that territory! Luckily, I'm not the biggest JEM or RG fan in the world although I keep eyeing some of the neck through models.....
I assume you have been playing for a year to several. It's normal for many to go through lots of guitars, even expensive ones. For most players who have been through that, when you reach a level of a hired studio musician or live player, then what happens is that it's all about if the guitar works for those situations. Before I got serious enough to spend good money on studio time or have to play paid gigs, I collected so much stuff I went through literally sixty guitars in less than a decade. The differences between let's say a Squier tele, to a MIM tele, to a used Am. Std. tele, to a vintage one was really not all that much. They all basically sounded the same, of course with the older ones having a more refined tone, and there was never a big justification for the extra cost.

Once I had a lead I had to put down on a CD before the first 1000 were pressed and I was kind of stressed and my old Gibbys and vintage Fenders didn't get the sound for the song. The band kept on shooting down my solos and even non-musicians didn't like what was coming out of that guitar. After many takes and rehearsals leading up to the final take, I finally put it down with a used $150 dollar Yamaha superstrat and a 10 watt transistor amp. All the expensive stuff just sounded lifeless with that one tune. Keep at least one garage sale type of guitar in your arsenal if you do any serious recording and you will surprised how indispensable that can be.

It's easy for me to say this since I spent way too much time with music and acquiring guitars and I may have little credibility having been a sufferer of severe gear acquisition syndrome. But anyway get in a situation where the pressure is on, like a recording where a lot of other people are depending on you, or a gig where you have to be heard but not blow out the local winos who keep the place going, and little things like flamed maple tops, custom wound pickups, and one of a kind asymetrical neck carves simply give way to, "Does it work for the situation?" I say get by the with least amount of gear, and least expensive options for effects and amps that will work for a situation. Be as mobile as possible and devote energy to getting better literally each day over acquiring the next big thing in cool gear.

The whole experience will either pull you towards being a serious musician or serious collector and there are very, very few who do both well. In a way, you can't serve two masters and the few who do you can count on your hand (Joe Bonamassa, Keith Richards, Kirk Hammett, Nancy Wilson, and a few others). But if you don't plan on remotely getting good, or being useful, and getting the best and most gear is what makes you happy, then by all means do that. My drummer kicks ass on drums but also has close to 30 guitars and that's OK by everybody. You don't want to use him on guitar though, but if collecting guitars is a part of his appreciation for music, and music makes his already great drum playing fun for him, then it's a good thing. While I could use his guitars, I rarely ever do. The best of our limited time is practicing and doing gigs when we do get together.

Your 2004 Standard should suffice with your PRS and there are plenty of advanced players with that, or even something less expensive, and it will get the sounds they want for the work they put it through outside of the bedroom/livingroom.

If you do actually want the pricey stuff like the JEM Evo or a vintage Les Paul, it's worth it to get one and enjoy the collector's side of it, too. Some of the most prolific collectors don't even play, but that would be more common with investment grade pieces kept in vaults.

It almost takes buying a very pricey one even once in one's life to realize there is not that much of a difference, or any real justification paying two or three times more with what "improvement" if any if you get it. If you do have extra funds, you can get the most mileage with two things to get pro:

1) lessons, even if jazz improv class at the local junior college

2) reasonable amp gear

It's pretty hard to think what you can't do if you have your PRS, Les Paul, and either Jem or RG and something like an ENGL, Boogie, Tech 21, Roland JC-120, Vox AC30, or nice Princeton reissue. People sometimes go overboard in that department, too and stack 100 watt Marshall heads all the way to the ceiling and cabs covering a whole wall, but that too won't improve sound where you can get it all with just one of those with a single 4x12" inch cabinet.

Last edited by 63Blazer; 03-05-2013 at 04:35 PM.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-06-2013, 12:51 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Bought first PRS USA model

I've been playing for about a year now. I've only become really serious about advancing my skills in the past few months. I can, and do devote about two hours a day right now to playing. I played years ago and gave it up in college for financial reasons but just could never get it out of my head. I have no illusions of grandeur although I would like to play with other musicians eventually. But you're right, I really need to find a competent teacher if I'm going to improve quickly and dramatically. The desire and dedication are definitely there.

I'm pretty much set up on the amp front. I have one three channel tube amp that does a lot of stuff well and scales up to a full 100W and I also have an Eleven Rack for anything else and all the above. I did have a 4x12 powered by a Matrix GM50 but sold it locally. Replaced it with a smaller 2x12 I built myself. So if need be, I'm pretty mobile. But I'm not at a place where I'll be gigging any time soon!

Seriously, thanks for the advice. It's made me think.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-06-2013, 10:48 AM
 
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Re: Bought first PRS USA model

Quote:
Originally Posted by MichelIV View Post
I've been playing for about a year now. I've only become really serious about advancing my skills in the past few months. I can, and do devote about two hours a day right now to playing. I played years ago and gave it up in college for financial reasons but just could never get it out of my head. I have no illusions of grandeur although I would like to play with other musicians eventually. But you're right, I really need to find a competent teacher if I'm going to improve quickly and dramatically. The desire and dedication are definitely there.

I'm pretty much set up on the amp front. I have one three channel tube amp that does a lot of stuff well and scales up to a full 100W and I also have an Eleven Rack for anything else and all the above. I did have a 4x12 powered by a Matrix GM50 but sold it locally. Replaced it with a smaller 2x12 I built myself. So if need be, I'm pretty mobile. But I'm not at a place where I'll be gigging any time soon!

Seriously, thanks for the advice. It's made me think.
It sounds like you have a great setup and two hours a day, if you venture into stuff outside of your comfort zone, could make you a working musician sooner than you think.

This site, and others devoted to guitar, are usually not the best advice for knowing what to do to advance as a player, singer, and/or songwriter. It's the best for the techie stuff and being into gear. All the musicians I know who are professional or part time professionals don't belong to gear sites. Oddly, but maybe not, the very best and most devoted musicians I know either don't have a computer or don't go on the internet other than e-mail. It's an all consuming way to work really, really hard and get paid very, very little but the ones I know wouldn't have it any other way. My neighbor is a pro and makes it the only way most do and give lessons. Some work in music stores, but none outside of LA or NY, do so with just gigging and recording.

A guitarist friend of mine, with Grammy in hand, still has to scrape from all other venues to make a living. My former teacher was Miles' guitarist in his orchestra but still had to give lessons. In any other field if you reach the peak (teacher, doctor, lawyer, roofer, technician, etc) you will probably make a lot of money or at the very least not have to moonlight. With music it's still a struggle even with some of the most talented and dedicated ones. The worst case scenario was a former rockstar I knew, was in a band in and worked for, who blew through all his money even though he had yearly visits to Ed Sullivan and major studios in New York and LA cranking out Billboard hits.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-06-2013, 10:54 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Bought first PRS USA model

....and this is why I have a "regular" career, LOL. I'm not going to be the next greatest guitarist you've never heard of. If I can get to the point where people just like to hear me play and I'm able to compose, I'll be satisfied!
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-06-2013, 11:40 AM
 
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Re: Bought first PRS USA model

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....and this is why I have a "regular" career, LOL. I'm not going to be the next greatest guitarist you've never heard of. If I can get to the point where people just like to hear me play and I'm able to compose, I'll be satisfied!
With music, I was among the legions that went 100% percent in and never made it. I had a lot of fun but lost regular job hours, perhaps thousands, and took 12 years to finish college.

I wouldn't change it for anything because had I gone the regular path of parents, got my business degree in a typical four years and took over family retail store, I would have had to endure the town drying up a few years later which put most out of business, including that family store. I would have spent the rest of my 20s and beyond wondering what would have been had I done music.

The first thing that hooked me was once I learned chords up the neck which opened up a lot of possibilities, then it was this whole area of "lead guitar" which got me to play with a lot of others. Then after that, it was fun to compose and write tunes, and sing, and I was hoping that would be it. But then I came into contact with a couple of guys fresh out of recording and broadcasting school and I learned of the hard but rewarding work that was recording. Finally, I had a chance to gig a lot (usually which comes before recording) and that was so worth it, even if for free. This was all before MySpace, YouTube, and digital home recording so you had to drive around a lot and buy expensive gear.

But today, wow don't get me started, kids have it so easy with great gear for recording at a reasonable price, and YouTube and other places to broadcast your music. We were stuck with a one track digital recording mixdown machine which was then the most amazing thing you could get for a thousand bucks. Even then it was miles away from even what you could do with Garage Band on a Mac. Every effect we had to buy separately and that led to a lot of background noise.

What is intimidating though is that many lesser musicians with few funds could still make a great recording with a laptop and cop great effects via iPhone. With the great accessibility of gear and technology, you do have a lot more potential competition. At one time if your band put out a CD, any CD, you were taken quite seriously. Today, you can mix down jams and tweak it and put one out in less than a week. The whole game has changed, but hopefully for the better.

It's actually possible for a working person who has a regular job to be a music hobbyist and actually get their music out on the internet and get some attention and some sort of viral accolades from the outside world, as where before you probably had to devote at least 20+ hours a week and be blessed with a band where everybody was extremely disciplined.
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-06-2013, 12:13 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Bought first PRS USA model

The technology really is crazy. I'm using several "apps" to learn in addition to online lessons through dangerousguitar.com. I'm not totally satisfied with them as they can't see any bad habits or bad technique and the "lessons" are often abrupt and incomplete. Looking at other online sources now but I just contacted a few local teachers and I'm going to try and find one that I like. Right now I'm into scales and what not but I don't have a good foundation or plan for when to learn what and how I should be practicing and what not. I just try to figure something out or learn something new each week and go from there, occasionally learning a new song. Playing a new song provides a lot of enjoyment in the moment but I seem to be more driven by music theory and understanding the mechanics of the guitar (music standpoint, not the actual physical mechanics of a guitar). I can practice scales for hours and not get bored. Go figure.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-06-2013, 02:04 PM
 
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Re: Bought first PRS USA model

Quote:
Originally Posted by MichelIV View Post
The technology really is crazy. I'm using several "apps" to learn in addition to online lessons through dangerousguitar.com. I'm not totally satisfied with them as they can't see any bad habits or bad technique and the "lessons" are often abrupt and incomplete. Looking at other online sources now but I just contacted a few local teachers and I'm going to try and find one that I like. Right now I'm into scales and what not but I don't have a good foundation or plan for when to learn what and how I should be practicing and what not. I just try to figure something out or learn something new each week and go from there, occasionally learning a new song. Playing a new song provides a lot of enjoyment in the moment but I seem to be more driven by music theory and understanding the mechanics of the guitar (music standpoint, not the actual physical mechanics of a guitar). I can practice scales for hours and not get bored. Go figure.
You can work on being competent guitarist and that's great with both improvisation and music theory.

To get that and music in general, if you also do a horn, or piano, or other instrument, then it all comes together in a nice puzzle. They can all work together and give you endless possibilities. Even the more common routes of a guitarist picking up bass and/or drums can help one understand theory and how it all fits together better. The trick is to get more understanding but still keep creative and able to improvise. They don't always work hand in hand but you can make them work together. I think this has been the biggest stumbling block for most. The classically trained musicians usually can't improvise their way out of a paper bag but those who have an ear for winging it as a good improvising musician rarely have the discipline it takes to learn theory correctly and sight read. I think Steve Vai is the best of both worlds.
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