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Any reasons NOT to buy a 90's PRS CE?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by GuitarDoc View Post
    I'm not a big fan of rotaries because they are a bit cumbersome to use. But I did have a Gibson 345 a long time ago and I must have gotten used to the rotary. I don't remember ever being bothered by it then.
    I find the chickenhead VariTone a bit clumsy. But, like you with PRSs, I never spent enough time with one to get comfy with it.
    I remember getting used to the PRS rotary quite quickly back in '87.
    Of course, I loved that first PRS so much that I didn't play anything else for awhile.

    One thing is, a pickup switch is something one uses pretty frequently.
    I see Varitone rather differently - you leave it through a whole song, or you just drop it on once in a while.
    But you aren't going back & forth on it as often.

    One of my best friends just got a '68 ES-345; he'd wanted for years to snag one from the 60s.
    He had a few troublesome frets taken care of and put new nylon saddles on its ABS-1.
    I drove to Woodstock yesterday to play, and had a chance to check it out briefly.
    The guitar plays really nicely despite action set lower than I prefer.
    Beautiful warm sound, kinda surprising from T-tops.
    And I have to say the VariTone is kind of a blast.
    I think it'd be more useful in than I imagined.

    The only time I ever owned a VariTone guitar was in the 70s, and back then I hardly ever used the VariTone on it.
    .
    "Brains have been washed. Fear has been mongered. Now we prepare for the final stage of our conspiracy theory." - Isle Of Dogs

    .

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    • #17
      Originally posted by GuitarDoc View Post

      That IS gorgeous!


      Srats are quite lively too despite their bolt-on, maple necks. Actually, I think maple is quite livelier than mahogany generally speaking.
      Thanks; I've been happy with that one. And with all my PRSs, actually.
      I've been told that even PRS bolt-ons use a long tenon.
      Not quite sure how that works but I'm a believer in long tenons, not necessarily in terms of tone but for the feel.

      I've found maple normally to be a bit stiffer feeling than mahog. Often takes slightly higher volume for it to come alive too.
      That's speaking of set-necks and especially neck-throughs.
      Haven't owned a mahogany bolt-on so I can't speak to that situation.

      Absolutely agree that Strats can be quite lively. Not all of them are, though.
      IME that has varied quite a bit from one to another; I think it's often due in large part to the maple in their necks.
      My best Strat is more vibrant and alive than many of my Gibsons.
      Also have a set-neck Showmaster and a set-neck Tele that are nearly as lively.
      A couple of my other Fenders are bouncier than the rest, too.
      Maple necks all.

      Not all maple feels rigid, and not all is bright sounding either.
      There are general tendencies, but the reality often can defy stereotypes.

      Sometimes I've found the difference between individual pieces of the same kind of wood downright astonishing.
      Last edited by eclecticsynergy; 10-04-2021, 06:34 PM.
      .
      "Brains have been washed. Fear has been mongered. Now we prepare for the final stage of our conspiracy theory." - Isle Of Dogs

      .

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      • #18
        Originally posted by devastone View Post
        Didn't the 90s ones have alder bodies instead of mahogany? Double check me, I could be wrong. That wouldn't be a detriment to me, just asking, I know some of the early ones were alder, just not sure which years.
        I think they went to mahogany backs in the mid-late 90's. Personally, I don't really mind alder.
        Ain't nothin' but a G thang, baby.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by eclecticsynergy View Post

          I find the chickenhead VariTone a bit clumsy. But, like you with PRSs, I never spent enough time with one to get comfy with it.
          I remember getting used to the PRS rotary quite quickly back in '87.
          Of course, I loved that first PRS so much that I didn't play anything else for awhile.

          One thing is, a pickup switch is something one uses pretty frequently.
          I see Varitone rather differently - you leave it through a whole song, or you just drop it on once in a while.
          But you aren't going back & forth on it as often.

          One of my best friends just got a '68 ES-345; he'd wanted for years to snag one from the 60s.
          He had a few troublesome frets taken care of and put new nylon saddles on its ABS-1.
          I drove to Woodstock yesterday to play, and had a chance to check it out briefly.
          The guitar plays really nicely despite action set lower than I prefer.
          Beautiful warm sound, kinda surprising from T-tops.
          And I have to say the VariTone is kind of a blast.
          I think it'd be more useful in than I imagined.

          The only time I ever owned a VariTone guitar was in the 70s, and back then I hardly ever used the VariTone on it.
          My 345 TDC was a '68 too, cherry red. Beautiful guitar. Man, I loved that guitar. Bought it new, but I can't for the life of me remember what happened to it. I must have sold it, but can't remember. Possibly because it was such a traumatic experience my mind has blocked it all out.
          Originally Posted by IanBallard
          Rule of thumb... the more pot you have, the better your tone.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by eclecticsynergy View Post

            Thanks; I've been happy with that one. And with all my PRSs, actually.
            I've been told that even PRS bolt-ons use a long tenon.
            Not quite sure how that works but I'm a believer in long tenons, not necessarily in terms of tone but for the feel.

            I've found maple normally to be a bit stiffer feeling than mahog. Often takes slightly higher volume for it to come alive too.
            That's speaking of set-necks and especially neck-throughs.
            Haven't owned a mahogany bolt-on so I can't speak to that situation.

            Absolutely agree that Strats can be quite lively. Not all of them are, though.
            IME that has varied quite a bit from one to another; I think it's often due in large part to the maple in their necks.
            My best Strat is more vibrant and alive than many of my Gibsons.
            Also have a set-neck Showmaster and a set-neck Tele that are nearly as lively.
            A couple of my other Fenders are bouncier than the rest, too.
            Maple necks all.

            Not all maple feels rigid, and not all is bright sounding either.
            There are general tendencies, but the reality often can defy stereotypes.

            Sometimes I've found the difference between individual pieces of the same kind of wood downright astonishing.
            Yes, my experience building guitars has taught me that you can't really depend upon the generalities associated with different woods. Some woods sound exactly the opposite of how they are generally known to sound/respond. Picking woods to use for guitars is really an educated crap shoot.
            Originally Posted by IanBallard
            Rule of thumb... the more pot you have, the better your tone.

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by eclecticsynergy View Post
              I have a '97 that plays very well indeed. Seriously lively for a bolt-on, despite a maple neck instead of mahogany.
              Replaced its Dragon One pickups with the 1985 reissue set. It is now the stand-in for my beloved '87, which I no longer travel with.

              Has the 5-way rotary - 90s version, slightly different from the original 80s wiring:
              Position 2 is outer coils in series (rather than both full hums out-of-phase).
              Position 3 is inner coils in series (instead of both full hums).
              They kept the wonderful Stratty inner-coils-parallel wiring in Position 4.
              1 & 2 are the straight-up humbuckers of course.

              Not a 10-top but this one has a fairly pretty maple cap nonetheless. Nice rosewood too.
              I'm quite happy with it.

              It's touched the ground, I guess you're going to have to burn it now.
              “For me, when everything goes wrong – that’s when adventure starts.” Yvonne Chouinard

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              • #22
                Originally posted by eclecticsynergy View Post
                I have a '97 that plays very well indeed. Seriously lively for a bolt-on, despite a maple neck instead of mahogany.
                Replaced its Dragon One pickups with the 1985 reissue set. It is now the stand-in for my beloved '87, which I no longer travel with.

                Has the 5-way rotary - 90s version, slightly different from the original 80s wiring:
                Position 2 is outer coils in series (rather than both full hums out-of-phase).
                Position 3 is inner coils in series (instead of both full hums).
                They kept the wonderful Stratty inner-coils-parallel wiring in Position 4.
                1 & 2 are the straight-up humbuckers of course.

                Not a 10-top but this one has a fairly pretty maple cap nonetheless. Nice rosewood too.
                I'm quite happy with it.

                Looks almost dead on my 07 Custom 24. The only down side I know of is on some of the earlier guitars the darker colors if you leave them out in the light the dyes fade horribly. Other than that they are very very solid guitars.
                Mine also has the 5 way with the stock HFS and VB pickups and I have grown to really like using the 5 way rotary after I got used to it.
                Guitars
                Kiesel DC 135, Carvin AE 185, DC 400, DC 127 KOA, DC 127 Quilt Purple, X220C, PRS Custom 24, Washburn USA MG 122 proto , MG 102, MG 120.
                Amps PRS Archon 50 head, MT 15, Mesa Subway Rocket, DC-5, Carvin X50B Hot Rod Mod head, Zinky 25watt Blue Velvet combo.

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                • #23
                  I used to have a 97 CE-22. I recently sold it due to downsizing to a smaller place. It was a great guitar.



                  The pic above isn’t me but it’s my guitar (I’m the guy standing behind him in the background). In this band the 5 way rotary came in handy because we had a bunch of guitar parts that were originally recorded on acoustic and the electric was just too cutting/punchy. The 7 and 9 positions on the rotary scoop out a lot of mids and made the guitar sit back further in the mix, which really worked for those songs and meant that he didn’t need to switch guitars.

                  That said, I eventually swapped the original Dragon 1 pickups for a JB/Jazz and converted it to a three way switch, which took the guitar from “makes cool sounds but barely gets played” to “gets played every day”. The rotary is cool when you can leave it in one place, but it’s clunky if you switch pickups a lot and hard to turn when your hands are sweaty.
                  || Guitar | Wah | Vibe | Amp ||

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