Nice PRS upgrades...

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by G'OlPeachPhan, Jul 27, 2005.

  1. G'OlPeachPhan

    G'OlPeachPhan Member

    Messages:
    1,091
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2003
    Location:
    Winneconne, Wisconsin
    Some may argue PRS guitars are perfect right out of the case... I chose to upgrade and customize a little bit. Starting with a couple pics:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    (view the whole album HERE)

    Bill Nichols hand-carved tuner buttons and trussrod cover

    Well, it started out as a cosmetic modification to my PRS. I installed a bone nut and double creme Wagner Goodwoods which all matched the natural binding on my vintage yellow PRS really nicely, and I wanted to continue the look by adding more "vintage" looking tuner buttons that matched the 'creme theme' I started with this guitar. Rather than go for the cheap plastic type tuning buttons, I opted to seek out somebody that made hand carved wood ones, and found Bill Nichol's business:
    Link to Bill Nichol's website

    I went with the natural maple satin finished tuner buttons, as I thought the wood grain would match the maple top grain nicely, and the natural color would look great with the creme theme. I also ordered a rosewood trussrod cover to get rid of the black plastic one that PRS's come with.

    Cosmetically, everything worked out just as planned... What I didn't plan on was how much lighter the wood tuner buttons are compared to the metal ones. The guitar feels FAR more balanced now, as this took a pretty signifcant amount of weight off the headstock. It was always a fairly balanced guitar, but in comparison to how it feels now, it was head heavy before. It now slings perfectly on a strap, and sits well-balanced on my knee while seated. I don't know if there's any truth to it, but it's claimed that decreasing mass at the headstock also increases sustain, and this would certainly accomplish that goal as well (though this guitar sustains very well to begin with).

    Bill does top quality work, and I highly recommended if you want to customize your axe a bit (his prices don't break the bank either).

    Tonepros locking studs

    I'm going to keep it short and sweet, and just reiterate what everyone else has said. The locking studs are THE missing link on a PRS stoptail guitar. Nice sustain increase, and the overall resonance of the guitar has improved!

    I also put the full tonepros hardware kit on my ES-335 copy with similar, but even more drastic results as the t.o.m. bridge on that guitar was a POS, and the tonepros bridge is a top quality piece of craftsmanship.

    bone nut

    Not much to say here that hasn't already been said about bone, but the brilliance and overall tone of the guitar improved for my tastes compared to the stock graphite nut. No real reason to have a soft graphite nut on a guitar with a stoptail. A little gun oil, liquid graphite, or pencil lead in the slots is nice for preventing string binding when tuning, and that's really all you need (assuming the slots on your nut are cut correctly).

    Past Upgrades

    Past upgrades on this guitar include replacement of the Dragon I's the aforementioned WCR Goodwoods (highly recommened as always), McCarty wiring kit (this guitar started life as a Custom 22) and cap upgrade from RS Guitarworks (excellent improvement tonally and playability-wise, as I always hated that rotary switch and much prefer straight single coil sounds as opposed to the in-between positions).

    Finally, I can't recommend the Snake Oil Strings highly enough. Far and away the best strings I've ever used, and a huge improvement over the mass produced brands you buy at the local music store. The vintage strings give just that - a vintage tone.

    All in all the upgrades to my 1996 Custom 22 have given it a more vintage look, feel, and tone... Exactly what I set out to accomplish. :cool:
     
  2. big mike

    big mike Moderator - EL34 Emeritas Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,043
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2003
    Location:
    NorCal Bay Area
    Very cool! Pic us man!!
     
  3. G'OlPeachPhan

    G'OlPeachPhan Member

    Messages:
    1,091
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2003
    Location:
    Winneconne, Wisconsin
    ARGH! I can't yet. Wife and I are getting each other a digicam for our first anniversary in September. Well, actually, I DO have a $20 (yes, twenty) phillips mini digicam that I bought from Walgreens that I could snap a pic with, but I don't know how it'll turn out as it's more of a toy. I'll give it a whirl later today.

    What's the best place to have pics hosted?
     
  4. big mike

    big mike Moderator - EL34 Emeritas Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,043
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2003
    Location:
    NorCal Bay Area
    Photobucket is said to be good.
     
  5. G'OlPeachPhan

    G'OlPeachPhan Member

    Messages:
    1,091
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2003
    Location:
    Winneconne, Wisconsin
    Pics added... sorry about the low resolution/quality. It's the best I can do with this camera. They're sort of dark, but any more light and this cheapo digital camera can't take the glare. This at least gives the overall look of the guitar after the modifications... Unfortunately none of the pics really captured the really nice subtle grain of the maple tuner buttons, nor the rosewood trussrod cover.

    Another note on the maple buttons - this guitar seems easier to tune now.... It's much easier to get a good grip on the satin-finish maple buttons as opposed to the far more slippery nickel buttons... It sounds trivial, but with the too-fast gear action of the PRS tuning machines, the wood buttons really did make a difference.

    I still might switch to standard schaller tuning machines for more gradual string adjustment at some point - that's my one remaining dislike about this guitar.

    Finally, photobucket is great! It took a little while to register and get through the opt out spam messages to complete registration, but it's worth it since it's free.
     
  6. big mike

    big mike Moderator - EL34 Emeritas Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,043
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2003
    Location:
    NorCal Bay Area
    Cool bro!! Really classy looking that way.
     
  7. G'OlPeachPhan

    G'OlPeachPhan Member

    Messages:
    1,091
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2003
    Location:
    Winneconne, Wisconsin
    Thanks man! I probably spent too much time thinking about all the details, but it was fun anyways. I lay in bed at night before falling asleep and think about this stuff... sick and hopeless, I know. :(
     
  8. MusicGearGuys

    MusicGearGuys Member

    Messages:
    1,250
    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2002
    Location:
    Denver, Colorado
  9. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

    Messages:
    13,449
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
  10. dash_doc

    dash_doc Member

    Messages:
    554
    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2002
    Location:
    San Pedro CA
    Cool mods, the guitar looks great. Bill is a fantastic guy, I had him make a TRC for my Custom 22, excellent workmanship, it looks great on the guitar. I just asked him to do another one for my new ME.


    [​IMG]
     
  11. G'OlPeachPhan

    G'OlPeachPhan Member

    Messages:
    1,091
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2003
    Location:
    Winneconne, Wisconsin
    Thanks for the comments/compliments guys. dash_doc, your headstock is too sweet... wish my prs's headstock/neck/back had a natural finish instead of the classic red mahog, but then I couldn't call her the 'redhead' anymore; a nickname chosen to remind me of my wife ;)

    I like the low-mass tuners too... I'm gonna order up a set of the Schaller M6's. I'm tired of the too-drastic adjustment of the old PRS locking tuners. Hope the Nichol's maple buttons fit the M6's!
     
  12. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

    Messages:
    13,080
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2002
    Location:
    Scotland
    My upgrades on my Standard 22 and Custom 22:

    McCarty switching instead of rotary
    Seymour Duncan pickups ('59/Custom Custom on the Std, Pearly Gates/Custom Custom on the Cu)
    Ebony tuner buttons on the Cu instead of chrome (Std already has black plastic)
    Trem-Setters with custom-made spring claw and all four springs
    Snake Oil Strings (11-50)

    I think that's me done now... they seem perfect.
     
  13. G'OlPeachPhan

    G'OlPeachPhan Member

    Messages:
    1,091
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2003
    Location:
    Winneconne, Wisconsin
    Very nice mods list John. There's just something about making a guitar your own from a playability, tone, and looks standpoint... you make the instrument 'yours' and I think your playing reflects that.

    By the way John, I'm going to send you a PM on your band. I really dig it!
     
  14. Jon Silberman

    Jon Silberman 10Q Jerry & Dickey Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    36,614
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2002
    Location:
    Northern VA

Share This Page