After getting through a really awfull year last year my wife decided to treat me to a PRS Core model so I couldn't really say no could I? This was my first PRS CORE guitar and I'm over the moon with it. It's a brand new NOS 2015 McCarty model. It weighs just under 8 lbs. Wide fat neck carve that's very nice but neither really wide or fat.
I know a lot of people out there rave over PRS's “10” Tops or Gibson's super rich “Flame” tops but to me if a guitars top looks to perfect then it can end up looking like a veneer or worse a photo flame decal. I like my tops to have a bit of personality to them.
On the McCarty the Black Gold Burst finish reveals stunning golden highlights in the figured maple top, while the ivoroid bound fretboard wears nine “birds in flight” inlays of pearl and abalone. The rosewood faced headstock sports “McCarty” on its trussrod cover and on the flip side are a set nickel-plated Phase III locking tuners with exposed brass gears and aluminium keys.
This machine is a real dream, she almost plays herself, the fit and finish is way beyond anything the other 2 major firms put out. I received it and have pretty much played it solid none stop for about 5 weeks - my fingers were actually bleeding cause of the lack of playing previous to getting this beauty. Playability is out of this world, the neck feels like it was shaped for my hand alone, and everything just feels "right"
She is the most acoustically lively guitar I've had my mits on, vibrates like crazy and has a very bright and airy tone, the 58/15's sound amazing, sweet to spanky clean, mean to scream...handles gain like nobody's business. and I really cannot find a fault with her. (her name is maria after the most beautifull and caring woman I have ever known)
The McCarty sparked not so much GAS as a raging fire to obtain more Core models. While I was visiting my tech he showed me his 2016 Core CE-24 Satin. while I sat there I realized that I had been strumming it for about 1 hour without a break, it played so well. The only thing I wasn't keen on was the satin finish.
So home I go - over the next few days I scearched the net for bargains (like we do[IMG]) when I stumbled upon a 2006 CE-24 Mahogany in what looked like virtually mint condition for £1000, well it took me all of about 10 seconds to make her mine (It's better to ask forgiveness than permission). The next day she arrives and I'm sorry to say she wasn't virtually mint - She was MINT, 11 years old and not a mark on her. It weighs just under 9 lbs. Wide thin neck carve that again is a misnomer as it's neither really wide or thin and feels like it was shaped for my hand alone, everything just feels "right"
The CE-24 features a 1 piece mahogany body (are you paying attention gibson?) the slight orange mahogany has a perfect finish. The Maple neck is one piece with 2 wings making up the unpainted headstock, On the flip side are a set nickel-plated Phase II locking tuners with exposed brass gears. while the unbound rosewood fretboard wears eleven MOP dot inlays.
Someone on another forum made a comment about the guitar being very midrange focused, tonally. I have to agree with the caveat that using the tone/volume controls and amp settings alleviates this. the HFS/VB Combination sound amazing, sweet to spanky clean, mean to scream...handles gain like nobody's business.. Twist up/down the tone/volume pots and the guitar can go from lead screamer to powerful rhythm in a second. I can get the guitar to go from dark and dirty to bright, smooth and silky depending on what I do with the vol/tone pots. The 5-way pickup selector gives some nice single-coil options, on top of the those excellent HBs, Lots of natural sustain on this beauty, which comes just as much from the quality of woods, design and finish, as from those tasty pickups.
I'd never call the CE a poor-man's anything - it's an excellent guitar in its own right, and for me, the CE is a steal of a guitar. It's been called a sleeper, a bargain, more bang for the buck and I agree.
That brings me to my latest acquisition, a 2001 Standard in Translucent Purple. This beauty is virtually mint (1 pinhead sized chip on the underside) and again weighs just under 9LBS. Wide fat neck carve that again feels like it was shaped for my hand alone, everything just feels "right"
The standard 22's 1 piece mahogany body is stained a extremely dark purple thats almost black until the light hits it and has a perfect finish. The Mahogany neck is fantastic to hold, On the flip side are a set nickel-plated Phase I locking winged tuners, these look really weird to me but once I tried a string swap it was amazing simple to get the string up to pitch quickly while the unbound rosewood fretboard wears eleven Abalone / MOP Moon inlays.
Some people don't like the dragon II pickups but I think they sound amazing, sweet to spanky clean, mean to scream...handles gain like nobody's business.. Twist up/down the tone/volume pots and the guitar can go from lead screamer to powerful rhythm in a second. I can get the guitar to go from dark and dirty to bright, smooth and silky depending on what I do with the vol/tone pots. The 5-way pickup selector gives some nice single-coil options, on top of the those excellent HBs, Lots of natural sustain on this beauty, which comes just as much from the quality of woods, design and finish, as from those tasty pickups.
As with the CE-24 I'd never call the Standard a poor-man's anything - it's an excellent guitar in its own right, and for me, this a steal of a guitar. It's been called a sleeper, a bargain, more bang for the buck and I agree.
Do I prefer one over the others? From a sentimental point of the view the McCarty wins because of the connection to my wife
From a playing point of view? The two guitars are different and yet the same - with only the electrics marking them apart.
I compare them to my Gibson's.
The McCarty sounds very vintage with its 58/15's, very similar to my 2014 Gibson Les Paul Traditional with 59 tributes in it.
The CE-24 doesn't sound quite as vintage with the HFS/VB pickups but it doesn't sound modern either, very similar to my 2012 Gibson Les Paul Classic Custom with 57 classics in it.
The Standard 22 I feel sounds mid way between the other two, not as vintage as the mcCarty, not as modern as the CE-24 I think it sound very similar to a proper all mahogany Les Paul Custom
my three beauties relaxing
Your enthusiasm comes across loud and clear and from what you say about how at one you feel with the guitars it is easy to understand that passion.
Your phrase "she almost plays herself" about the McCarty model tells us that it's a keeper! It's pretty rare to get that happening when trying a new guitar and it's really a signal to stop thinking about it and buy it! An acoustically lively electric guitar is so often an indication of great plugged in sound and this is obviously the case for you with this one.
It's great to read a forum post about a wife so supportive of the guitar hobby - such women are to be adored and treasured.
You've ended up with a very classy trio! Congratulations and ( hope you have many happy hours playing them all.