How to make a PRS McCarty Sound more like a Les Paul??

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by SimonR, Jan 11, 2008.


  1. SimonR

    SimonR Member

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    Hi

    I'm contemplating pulling the trigger on a McCarty. The one I have in mind looks/plays beautifully but I find it just lacks some of the balls I associate with a good Lester. Sounds a little too polite.

    Of course I realise a McCarty is NOT a Les Paul and many will shout "If you want a Les Paul just by a Les Paul!" (I already own a lovely R9, thank you). I'm just wondering if there are well known pickup/other hardware swaps that can get a McCarty closer to Les Paul territory tonewise?

    (I was all set to buy another Les Paul, but every time I pick up my R9 I wish it felt more like my CU22. I'm gas-ing for this McCarty...but I wish it sounded more like my R9!!!)

    Cheers,
    Simon
     
  2. Radagacuca

    Radagacuca Member

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    imho... the tone comes from the guitars construction/wood. no pickup will add the amount of "depth" to a mccartys tone that a good les paul has.

    i owned a mccarty as well as some les pauls at the same time. i found the mccarty to be an awesome playng & looking gutar crafted with outstanding workmanship but due to i was hoping it would sound closer to a les paul wich it in fact didn´t do i ended up selling it for the same reason you describe. it didn´t have the depth and balls of any of my les pauls.
    after numerous pickup-testing within the different les pauls i came to the conclusion that there are some tonal characteristics you won´t be able to get into a guitar that doen´t have them in the "woods" in the first place.

    better take the mccarty for what it is and not as a les paul substitute.
    they are both great, but different animals.
     
  3. JPF

    JPF Member

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    I sense you have your mind set on a McCarty, but you may find the Single-Cut is a better compromise for what you're seeking.
     
  4. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    I liked my McCarty up until I played a Historic LP next to it. I don't think a pickup swap or anything is going to give that big LP tone. Some of those LP styled PRS's look like they have the 2" thick mahogany bodies, maybe check those out like JPF suggested. The McCarty while a bit thicker than the regular PRS still isn't as thick as an LP. I think that's where a lot of that power and richness comes from.
     
  5. tone4days

    tone4days Member

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    i wonder if a set of seymour duncan seth lovers, or even antiquities would get you further down the road you are lookin at ...

    and i was pretty impressed by the tones of some of the clips on the WCR page - the fillmores floored me ...

    dunno exactly how dialed in your ears are to very subtle nuance, though ... it might be that you can't get there (LP tone) from here (a mccarty)

    good luck
    t4d
     
  6. billstets

    billstets Member

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    I had a McCarty for a while, and even WCR pickups made no difference. I think the scale length is a big factor, but I could be wrong. Even though they seem similar side by side, the LP is much darker and bigger sounding. I don't have the McCarty anymore. I'm sticking with LPs.
     
  7. JoeB63

    JoeB63 Supporting Member

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    Turn down the tone knob on the McCarty a little bit, add some gain on the amp. Done.
     
  8. onemind

    onemind Member

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    Mcinturff, approaches the feel of the PRS and the tone of the LP
     
  9. fjs1962

    fjs1962 Silver Supporting Member

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    I've owned several nice McCartys and even done some pickup swapping. A McCarty is a great guitar, but it has its own tone, which IMO sits somewhere between a Gibson and Fender.
     
  10. Jeffj

    Jeffj Supporting Member

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    agreed......I think thats why I like mine so much being a tele guy.
     
  11. DavidE

    DavidE Member

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    I think the scale length makes a big difference.
     
  12. Festus

    Festus Supporting Member

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    WCR Godwood/Darkburst combo set will help, but scale length is probably a big factor in the differences in tone. I think the different bridge designs are part of the deal, too.

    I really like the way a McCarty's neck pickup sounds, but dig an LP's bridge pickup more. Anyone know where I can get a McLP?
     
  13. Hammertone

    Hammertone Member

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    I'm not trying to be snarky, but if you want the get the McCarty closer to an LP, get your tech to glue a 1/2" slab of mahogany to the back of the McCarty.
     
  14. hardys

    hardys Supporting Member

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    I had a McCarty and tried a bunch of differnt pups in the bridge to achieve the growl and thickness off a lester...no go. It's a combination of body thickness and scale.
     
  15. SimonR

    SimonR Member

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    Thanks for the feedback everyone...not exactly what I wanted to hear but not entirely surprising...

    Cheers,
    Simon
     
  16. 1973Marshall

    1973Marshall Member

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    There used to be a product called a "Fat Finger" I think
    it's basically a brass piece that does NOT MOD the guitar but attaches at the head stock. I found it to darken the tone, add a little sustain, and girth. They cost next to nothing. I got one for $4

    That along with a good set iof Duncans or a decent custom wind might get you there. I am a fan of the Duncan Alnico Pro 2, though it might be a little too dark.
     
  17. BBQLS1

    BBQLS1 Member

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    It's not going to, they are just a different animal. Pup Swaps might help some, but it's just not going to be a LP.

    That being said, they are great instruments, they sound great, but you just have to know how to use them. They do sit in a band mix well.
     
  18. Tommy Tourbus

    Tommy Tourbus Senior Member

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    how about the mccarty soapbar? can it get in the proximatey of an lp jr?
     
  19. NatDeroxL7

    NatDeroxL7 Member

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    I replied to the same post over at BaM.

    Heres another hint. Instead of just going for "how can I make it sound more like ______?" Think about particular tonal traits you want, as you said "balls". You can find many ways to add balls to any guitar...it won't be exact LP balls, but they will be balls.

    I find that if you let a guitar be itself, and think about changing 1 or maybe 2 tonal characteristics, you will be happier in the end. Don't sit down and play through the McCarty, and then the LP, and say, I want it to sound more like this, because it wont. Play the LP, and try to parse down the exact part of the tone that you really like. Then put the LP in the closet, and figure out how to add that 1 tonal element to the McCarty.

    Besides, who wants all their guitars to sound alike :D Variety is good!

    You can have a ballsy LP, and a ballsy McCarty, maybe a ballsy strat and a Ballsy tele.....they will all sound differently but each will have that one tonal element that injects that part of your personality in to the guitar
     
  20. rawkguitarist

    rawkguitarist Member

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    Just my two pennies but I don't see how anyone could use a guitar that's thicker sounding than my PRS's. Anything thicker, you loose articulation and everything just runs together (in a band mix).

    IMO, you could even get the McCarty and realize the slightly leaner tone works even better for you and then start wishing your LP sounded more like your McCarty.

    I've found over the years that bigger isn't really better...:BEER
     

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