PRS McCarty - Best Years?

xjojox

Tardis-dwelling wanker
Gold Supporting Member
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5,719
Never played a bad one when it came to the originals. There were some variations between different examples but all were pretty darn good (and certainly more consistent than LP’s of the era). Still a PRS but a little closer to the LP formula than the CU22 and 24.

I too scoff at folks who diss the original pickups. They were very well-received, and there was much angst because you couldn’t buy them aftermarket. Folks would consider it a real score if they found a set used. There are lots of great PAF style pickups out there nowadays, but none are necessarily “better”, just different. I lived thru the PAF era and anyone who was there can tell you they varied quite a bit because they were hand wound. Some were amazing and some just OK. McCarty pickups were consistently good and remain so.

+1 on the remark above about McTrems being special. They had a bit of extra sparkle. I’ve owned two (still have one) and played quite a few more. They were/are consistently great.
 

Serious Poo

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I've owned many McCartys and McCarty variants since I played my first one in '94. As said above there are no bad years, only differing features over time. Different variants have different pickups, scale lengths, wood types, electronics, hardware, colors, finishes and inlays. IMHO, just get one that floats yer boat.

FWIW my #1 has been a Modern Eagle I got back in '05.
 

naveed211

Member
Messages
2,021
I had a 2013 korina that was one of the best guitars I’ve owned. It was incredible. Pretty much everything in recent years has been very good and consistent from PRS.

I remember playing some back in the day (late 90s/early 00s?) and being underwhelmed. I’d be surprised if the pickups haven’t changed over the years, I feel like they’ve gotten more lively and toneful over the years, but I’m going off memory.
 

Phil M

Supporting Member
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11,523
I have an ‘18 and like pretty much everything about it. I like the adjustable stoptail and tuners compared to some of the older ones I’ve played, but I have played some great McCartys from all years.

I could see maybe swapping the 58/15 pickups down the road, not sure.

I’ve played Les Pauls for over 25 years and have some R7s and R8s. I guess a McCarty is in the same family but man they don’t sound or feel all that similar. At least mine don’t.

I’d love to find a deal on a McTrem someday. That goldtop that big mike posted reminded me how much I’ve wanted one of those for years.

Here’s the ‘18:

 

naveed211

Member
Messages
2,021
I have an ‘18 and like pretty much everything about it. I like the adjustable stoptail and tuners compared to some of the older ones I’ve played, but I have played some great McCartys from all years.

I could see maybe swapping the 58/15 pickups down the road, not sure.

I’ve played Les Pauls for over 25 years and have some R7s and R8s. I guess a McCarty is in the same family but man they don’t sound or feel all that similar. At least mine don’t.

I’d love to find a deal on a McTrem someday. That goldtop that big mike posted reminded me how much I’ve wanted one of those for years.

Here’s the ‘18:

That looks classy as hell!
 

pickdropper

I am Soldering Iron Man
Vendor
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7,175
I have an ‘18 and like pretty much everything about it. I like the adjustable stoptail and tuners compared to some of the older ones I’ve played, but I have played some great McCartys from all years.

I could see maybe swapping the 58/15 pickups down the road, not sure.

I’ve played Les Pauls for over 25 years and have some R7s and R8s. I guess a McCarty is in the same family but man they don’t sound or feel all that similar. At least mine don’t.

I’d love to find a deal on a McTrem someday. That goldtop that big mike posted reminded me how much I’ve wanted one of those for years.

Here’s the ‘18:

That looks fantastic.

I'd also like a recent year McCarty, but not the 594. I prefer the pattern neck on the regular McCarty to the asymmetrical pattern vintage on the 594. It seems most folks prefer the pattern vintage, but the regular pattern fits my hand better.
 

nichd

Supporting Member
Messages
379
I have an ‘18 and like pretty much everything about it. I like the adjustable stoptail and tuners compared to some of the older ones I’ve played, but I have played some great McCartys from all years.

I could see maybe swapping the 58/15 pickups down the road, not sure.

I’ve played Les Pauls for over 25 years and have some R7s and R8s. I guess a McCarty is in the same family but man they don’t sound or feel all that similar. At least mine don’t.

I’d love to find a deal on a McTrem someday. That goldtop that big mike posted reminded me how much I’ve wanted one of those for years.

Here’s the ‘18:

I have never owned a PRS... but wow that is one awesome looking guitar!
 

Bogner

Member
Messages
6,648
I had several in the early 2000s and 1 from '96. The '96 was the best sounding one.

I would put it in the "play before you buy" category. They're all well made, but they don't all sound great.
Nothing could be further from the truth.

Got a bad case of McCarty GAS. Any eras that are particularly well regarded?

General consensus seems to be that the newer versions with the numbered (57 or 58) pickups are great, but I've also read several times that the mid 90s models are very nice.

Any input appreciated!
Get the good wood years myth out of your head...it doesn't exist. Each guitar is unique in and of itself and I have yet to find a company that is more consistent from guitar to guitar than PRS. Of course, some may play or sound better than another but the difference isn't huge by any means and that is said of any guitar no matter the price point or builder. Pickups are personal preference.
 

Alpione

Supporting Member
Messages
769
Anyone with experience with the rosewood neck models? A TGP member just sent me pics of one for possible sale. Looks really nice.

Never had a fully rosewood neck guitar so not sure of feel/tone differences. Maybe slightly darker?
 


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