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Older McCarties

Pseudohobbit

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
849
Anybody playing an older McCarty from before the 594 era? Do you like them? Do you have the same kind of old Gibson-esque vibe?
 
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paulbearer

Member
Messages
5,447
Not exactly sure what Gibson-sequel vibe means, but I have a '95 since new and like it enough to have added an '07 from the Emp recently. Fantastic guitars. They're not "worn in" or anything but have some good miles on them.
As you will hear and read, they aren't a direct "LP" substitute, but most of what I would have used an LP for in the past is now heard on a McCarty. Increasingly, and this might sound weird, I feel like it's an LP crossed with a great sports car.
 

Benz2112

Memba?
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,597
Was playing mine tonight. I have a 98' in McCarty burst. 25 years on from its inception, it is kind of a classic guitar of its own at this point. Sure, it does do the throaty LP type thing, but feel wise it is distinctively PRS, pickups split nicely, and i have gotten on with it better than I have with Pauls.

 

KoskineN

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,216
Was playing mine tonight. I have a 98' in McCarty burst. 25 years on from its inception, it is kind of a classic guitar of its own at this point. Sure, it does do the throaty LP type thing, but feel wise it is distinctively PRS, pickups split nicely, and i have gotten on with it better than I have with Pauls.
I agree with this 100%. Mine is a 2004 with a rosewood neck, and it feels nothing like a Les Paul, especially not mine which is a R7. Still feel old school in a way, but it's a faster and easier guitar to play IMO.
 

Pseudohobbit

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
849
Not exactly sure what Gibson-sequel vibe means, but I have a '95 since new and like it enough to have added an '07 from the Emp recently. Fantastic guitars. They're not "worn in" or anything but have some good miles on them.
As you will hear and read, they aren't a direct "LP" substitute, but most of what I would have used an LP for in the past is now heard on a McCarty. Increasingly, and this might sound weird, I feel like it's an LP crossed with a great sports car.
Meant to say esque. Sorry, fat thumbs. I don’t want a Gibson substitute for sure, just something throaty. I have an LP style guitar (Eastman SB59) that I like more than my 09 LP Standard Plus. Also have a Cu22. I just don’t know if I want to spring for a 594 when several older McCarties can be had for less and are classic PRS. Just thinking out loud I guess. Plus I’m bored during the SIP.
 

A440

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,721
Great guitars but they are still the longer 25 scale in comparison to a 594 or 245.

I still have my McTrem. Love that guitar and it’s versatility.
 

ant_riv

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,592
I have a ‘94 and a ‘98 McRosie.

They are excellent guitars, definitely have a Gibson-esque tonality to them.
Remember, they are named after Ted McCarty, as homage to him for his mentorship of PRSh.
 

58flame

Member
Messages
615
I had a 94 I got in a trade. I played it for a while. It ended up not being for me, and down the road it went. That guitar was probably the darkest sounding guitar I’ve ever owned. All the Les Pauls I’ve owned were considerably brighter and sounded as expected. The McCarty was a bit of a shocker in how much treble that guitar lacked. It played well, though, like all the other PRS guitars I’ve owned.
 

F.H. Bradley

Member
Messages
50
Warning: I haven't played or heard a 594 in person so no comparison

All in my opinion/experience of course.

The older mccarty's are not a substitute for an lp. Sure, they do the double humbucker thing and can obviously cover the same ground but they don't have the same "eq" as a les paul. The mccarty is much more mid-focussed and when playing it the sound feels rounder to me. The lp seems to have more treble and more bass. This can be tailored with pickups but the mccarty won't sound exactly like an lp.

As stated above, the feel is way different too. The mccarty is super comfortable standing, sitting, lying, etc... while lp's always feel slightly uncomfortable to me. I also really like the way PRS does their fretboards and the neck profile is super comfortable.

I play everything from classic rock to jazz to pretty extreme metal and the mccarty is well capable of it all stock. I've changed out the pickups a couple of times out of curiosity/GAS and always put the stock pups back in because they always fit the guitar better. It has been my main guitar for about 10 years now and its the only piece of gear that I wouldn't sell at this point (other than my Moog delay).
 

Bill Lumberg

I Drink and I Know Things.
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
993
I have a 1999 McCarty with a rosewood neck as well as a PRS Graveyard II Limited(2018) which is a McCarty 594 based guitar.
The '99 McCarty plays like a dream. The only mod I made was swapping out the wraparound fixed bridge for an adjustable PRS model.
The 2018 McCarty Graveyard has the PRS tune-o-matic two piece bridge and I really don't like it. The neck is perfect, the pickups sound great but I just don't like the two piece bridge's placement. Were it not a Private Stock guitar, I would modify it to a wraparound bridge. I'm also not a fan of having separate volume and tone controls for each pickup. I think that I've gotten so used to playing PRS and Fender guitars exclusively for so long that it just feels weird to me. Kind of how I have to get acclimated for a few minutes when I pick up one of my Les Pauls. My issues all boil down to personal preference. None of it has to do with changes in build quality over time like "They were better in the old days..." kind of stuff. Any McCarty will be a stellar instrument. The thicker body alone benefits them over other core PRS guitars. In fact, older McCartys are some of the best deals going in 20+ year old guitars.
 

ProfRhino

Member
Messages
7,680
just great guitars, a modern classic ... :aok
why does everything have to be an LP or a Deluxe Reverb ?
the original PUs are fine, but if you can find a later model with 57/08s, it will be very much worth it.
imho, ymmv,
Rhino

you might also want to check out the DGT, in many ways it can be seen as an upgraded McCarty with trem (that's how it started).
 
Messages
12,054
I have a 2000 model I got for an excellent price. I did have to adjust the pickups extensively as it started out on the darker side. I managed to get it bright enough to work on the same EQ as my Gibson. I love the way it plays.
 

GV Quinn

Senior Member
Messages
161
I have a McCarty and a 594.

The McCarty is more of an LP vibe than a PRS Custom, I guess but I don't really view it that way. It's more of a traditional PRS; 25" scale, stoptail, etc, but it's a deeper, less midrangey tone than something like a Custom 22 and certainly a Custom 24.

Compared to a PRS Custom: Deeper bottom end, softer high end attack. Still has the PRS mid range, but it's not as 'forward' sounding in the mids, not as bright.

The 594 is different though, It's got more depth again than the regular McCarty. It's very like a Les Paul, but it's got more control in the lows and low mids, not as deep as a Les Paul, which is why I like it. If you think a Les Paul can be too boomy, the DC594 sorts that out.

The 594 Single Cut has that deeper bottom end again than the Double Cut, so it's pretty much bang on a Les Paul.

I got my 594 instead of a 58 Les Paul reissue. The Les Paul had a giant lump of a neck and small frets, it wasn't great to play. To be honest though, the 594 was just so much more versatile and felt really special, rather than being another Les Paul.

To be honest, I've had difficulties with Les Pauls - They're great for the blasting bridge pickup rock tone, but the rest is too tubby to me. Plus they very often don't stay in tune, which drives me nuts.

The older McCarties are lovely guitars. I borrowed a black McCarty at a studio session in 2007, I wanted something like a Gibson, I only had a strat, it was solid black, no birds, I used it for the whole day, it was great. Brighter than something like a LP, but in the same vein. Stayed in tune so solid. I fell in love with PRS then, it took me years to get on board with the birds though.
 
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SleepingSG

Senior Member
Messages
437
I went to the shop to buy a Strat after playing an SG for years. When I blindly reached down for the tone and volume knobs I found they were gone. You get one tone knob. So I bought a new SG.

McCarty is simply fixing this issue since I assume half of their buyers come from Gibson and half from Fender.
 

Bankston

Member
Messages
16,142
My wife has an '01 McRosie that she picked out at GC last year. It was super clean and she takes awesome care of it.

She lets me play it from time to time. It doesn't feel, sound or play like an LP but it's a killer guitar in its own right.
 

jiml

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
11,014
I've owned a bunch over the years, I love twin humbuckers with wraptails. I've had one with the RW neck, I've had one from the first run, they were all beautiful instruments that played great.

Just couldn't dig the tones. Too dark, too mid focused. Tried adjusting pickups, fiddled too much with no improvements, got frustrated and sold them off..

Many swap the pickups, which is something I didn't try..

I'm sure I'll own another down the road.
 

GV Quinn

Senior Member
Messages
161
Just couldn't dig the tones. Too dark, too mid focused. Tried adjusting pickups, fiddled too much with no improvements, got frustrated and sold them off..

Many swap the pickups, which is something I didn't try..

I'm sure I'll own another down the road.
Just to chime in here; the older PRS guitars have hot pickups, even the old McCarty pickups are hot. It was the thing back then. It's only recently that everyone is PAF mad.

I swapped the pickups in my McCarty out for unpotted, uncovered Bare Knuckle Mules, it was night and day difference. One sounded good, the other just sounded searing. They opened up the whole guitar, a whole new wave of openness and range of EQ - much more open high end, even bridge pickup snap and twang through the right amp.

Less mids is something that they're realising now. I heard a Custom 22 with the 58/15 LT pickups recently, they're like 7.7k - it sounded amazing, that was a factory guitar.

So I can vouch; if you get one and think it's too boomy, too dark, too hot - pickup changes will help. The Mule was such an improvement.
 




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