Suhr Pro Series questions

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by sixty-four, May 5, 2008.

  1. sixty-four

    sixty-four Member

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    I posted this over at the Suhr forums but I guess folks are a little shy there...plenty of views but only one response.

    I'm considering taking the plunge and getting my first "boutique" guitar and thought Suhr's Pro Series might be a great way to get my feet wet. I have a few questions that I'm hoping to get some feedback on.

    I'm currently leaning towards the S6 because of the Floyd and maple fingerboard. I'm also considering the S2 or S4 but am concerned about the trem's stability (see my question below). The Modern has also caught my attention so I've been reading about...but I don't know enough about that model yet and they seem few and far between.

    I have a couple of questions about the S6 and the Pro Series in general.


    - How is the S5/S6 wired? What does each switch position give you?

    - Are all Pro Series routed the same? I saw a S1 with the pickguard off and it had an HSH route. I'm wondering if converting a Pro Series to an HSH would be a matter of a pickguard swap. Routing it myself would be out of the question.

    - How stable are the non-locking trems on the S1/S2 and S3/S4? I've got a a pretty bad track record with my non-locking trems on a number of Fenders, G&Ls and Ernie Balls. I have one G&L that's solid as a rock but the others vary when it comes to tuning stability - from marginal to completely useless. Because of this, I'm leaning to a Floyd despite the fact that I don't really like locking trems.

    - Do minor wiring mods or pickguard changes void the warranty of these guitars?

    One of the things that might sway me from the Pro Series to a Standard, Classic or Modern would be the SS frets. I'm pretty heavy-handed and my guitars (nickel frets on all of 'em) show moderate to heavy wear. Even my newest, which is only 7 months old shows obvious wear under the G and B strings along most of the fingerboard.
     
  2. Redrum

    Redrum Member

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    I recently purchased a Pro S3 after playing my friend's S1. They are both beautiful instruments, and in my opinion, worth the money.

    Both Pro's I played had fairly stable trems. The locking keys and the well cut nut certainly help, and the Pro's don't utilize any type of string T's either. I haven't experienced any tuning issues with my S3 and I use the trem bar quite a lot. The S3 is (almost) as stable as my American Deluxe Strat with locking keys and LSR roller nut.

    Be aware that the Alder bodied S1 and S2 sound different then the other Pro models with the basswood bodies and maple caps. To my ears, the S1 I tried had a very sweet, chimey top end, definitely more of a traditional single coil tone in the Fender camp. The S3 doesn't have the extended top end of the S1, but it has a very even tonal balance with a little more pop and punch, probably due to the Basswood/Maple wood combo. I've only had the chance to try the Rosewood versions of both, and going for a maple neck would likely result in a brighter tonality. Both models share a common trait though; very clear, strong, piano-like lows that have serious twang.

    The humbucker in the bridge of the S1 is different than that in the S3, which also changes the tonality as well, so even though the Pro's are "production" models, they differ quite a bit in tone.
     
  3. guitarplayaman

    guitarplayaman Member

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    I got an s3 and it's the best trem system I have had on a non locking guitar...I can go nuts with it and it's stays very much in tune....I used a floyd extensively in the late eighties and to me a vintage trem sounds better......
     
    vmann likes this.
  4. sixty-four

    sixty-four Member

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    Thanks for the replies so far guys.

    I'm still leaning towards the S5/S6 with the Gotoh Floyd.

    John Suhr replied to my question on his forum if anyone's interested in reading his answer. Based on his experience with vintage trems, my own and comments here, it seems that it's unrealistic to expect any non-locking trem to be as stable as a locking as long as it's setup right. I'm fortunate enough to have a single G&L that's extremely stable but I have 5 other guitars with trems (yep, one is a G&L too) that won't stay in tune nearly as well.
     
  5. FUSER

    FUSER Member

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    I have an s1 with Wilkinson VG300 and locking tuners.
    This thing WONT go out of tune. And sounds wonderful.
     
  6. nsriley

    nsriley Member

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    I have an S1 and an S5. Both superior machines. The S1 I have never goes out of tune and gets me sweet strat tones along with nice LP like growl from the bridge hummer. My S5 sounds a lot different. More low end and midrange growl, and the Gotoh Locking trem is smooth and of course can be abused bad and never skips a beat tuning wise.
     
  7. BluePowder

    BluePowder Member

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    I too have a Pro Series S1 with the Wilkinson VG300, I've set mine to float with about one and a half steps worth of pull up. Even with frequent whammy usage I've never ever had a problem with tuning...ever!

    Same goes for my friend who owns the S4 with the Gotoh bridge...never a problem with tuning.

    I've also read somewhere that John Suhr and gang modifies ever single little piece of kit which goes into their guitars, compare the Sperzel locking tuners on the Pro Series and other Sperzels and you'll notice there is some difference.

    However I'm with you on the SS frets. I'm like yourself, I wear frets out pretty quickly too; perhaps it's the fact that I'm a lefty playing righty.
    I've owned my Pro for about a year now and I can see some slight fretwear on the B and G strings already. I'm so paranoid, keep my supplied fretguard on whenever I'm not playing.

    I only wished they made it a standard feature to have SS frets on Pro Series guitars. But then again the Pro Series was made with the most frequently request Suhr Specs in mind.

    Hopefully I won't have to pay a bomb when refretting this guitar, I will most definitely send it back to Suhr to get a proper SS refret done!

    Having said that, the fretwork on the Pro Series as well as all the other craftsmanship is really NUMERO UNO.

    You can't go wrong with these guitars. :)
     
  8. sixty-four

    sixty-four Member

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    Thanks for all the feedback.

    Despite the endorsements for Suhr's vintage trems, I've been the victim of unreliable non-locking trems enough times that I'm a little leery of them all now. I'm still leaning towards the S6 but it's a pretty big chunk of money for me so I'm still sitting on it to make sure it's what I really want.
     
  9. Funky Monkey

    Funky Monkey Member

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    I have a feeling that if you got a Pro, you'd still yearn for the things you prefer and it would just be a stepping stone for a "better" guitar for you. Could be a waste of time, money and (perhaps most importantly,) inspiration.

    Even if not a Suhr, I'd spec something out or find something that already has what you really want on it. Have you checked out what Make'N, Eddie's, Tome Merchants, etc. have on hand or on order? I got an incredible deal on my custom Standard. Got lucky and found one that had some key appointments that were exactly what I wanted (chambered body, SS frets, P90's.) Spent only a couple bills more than the S3 that I was eyeing for what, on paper, was well over $1K in upgrades. So, as happy as I'm sure I would've been with the S3, I'm extremely glad I kept looking. It was even delivered the next day, too (though I would've waited a few months if I had it built.)

    I don't have any issues with my trem and vintage non-locking tuners. It really is all in the setup.
     
  10. Funky Monkey

    Funky Monkey Member

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    What is the street price of the S5 and S6?

    Sorry- as much of a Suhr advocate as I am, I don't visit their forum as often as I'd like, and I tend not to reply knowing that John/Ed/Mike or several other better qualified Suhr owners, will eventually answer. All I do is speculate in the meantime, so I usually just keep it to myself and save the OP some grief. ;)
     
  11. sixty-four

    sixty-four Member

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    The street price of a S5/S6 appears to be in the $2200-2400 range. And your earlier observation regarding a "stepping-stone" is spot-on. The S6 is pretty close but I really would like to have SS frets. It's just a matter of me deciding exactly what I want then hunting for something that fits the bill.
     
  12. jazzandmetal?

    jazzandmetal? Supporting Member

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    Go to mattsmusic.com They have a few floyded standards over there. I think one has ss frets as well. Also, check out suhrs just shipped page to see if there are any that just went out that fit what you want.

    I am with Funky Monkey on this one. Get what you want. If you get a s5/6 and still want the stainless frets it will cost you at least another $300 dollars to get them put on.
     
  13. Funky Monkey

    Funky Monkey Member

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    My Custom Standard was just under $2K shipped- not all that long ago (it was the beginning of this year) and not a blem, either. Even though The moons were alligned for my deal, this tells me it is possible to get what you want in a custom for around what the S5/6's cost. Sure, I don't have a fancy top, but chambered and capped still costs extra, flamed or not.


    Ah, yes, MattsMusic, too. They get some beautiful pieces in there! I truly didn't mean to single anybody out or disclude anybody.

    And even if Suhr did the refret, you're still losing some of the integrity that you wouldn't with a board fretted with SS bars right from the start. Then you're without it for a while, who knows how high UPS/FedEX will drop it from, etc. It's just not a risk that I think would be worth taking all around.
     
  14. jazzandmetal?

    jazzandmetal? Supporting Member

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    Yeah, I only said matts because that store seems to always have some nice guitars with floyds.
     
  15. calpa94

    calpa94 Member

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  16. Funky Monkey

    Funky Monkey Member

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    Make'n Music…some of the coolest guys in the planet there.

    !!!HOWEVER!!!

    A number of things contributed to the deal. Like I said, the moons were aligned and there is no doubt (and I don't take for granted) that I got lucky. But I think the single biggest factor was that it was old stock. Spec sheet print date is 12/13/04; I bought it 1/8/08. Even if it took 3 weeks in transit from Suhr to them, it was there for over 3 years. As I watched other pieces last less than a week, this one didn't want to leave. I'd been looking at it myself for well over a full year and, every time I went in there, it was like I was the only person who ever touched it.

    Not because it isn’t an exceptional piece by itself...but hanging on the wall among hundreds of way more striking tops and finishes? It probably simply got overlooked by just about everybody who walked through there. It may as well have been invisible. Hell, even I skipped over it several times. I mean, not that I wasn't aware that it was there, but it just did not stand out. But once it finally did grab my attention, I was all about it.

    When it looked like I was finally going to be able to swing the dough and I got in touch with Teddy, he was probably ecstatic to finally see it go. I know I'm speculating with that, but the dust on it (not that they didn't wipe it down for me, but under the bridge and in the tight spots between the pickups and the body) and the case certainly told no lies.

    If memory serves, Suhr has revised their prices three times that I'm aware of since this one was built (most recently just one week ago today.) So the retail on mine at the time was likely much, much lower than if it were built today. Using the current price list, I total up over $4,200. I don't know what "the rules" are, but it would seem to me that any dealer could easily adjust stock on hand to whatever/whenever the mfr made changes. In fact, I'm sure it has happened to me before. Teddy obviously didn't do that, so bonus kudos to him for going off of the original retail.

    There are other things that make it less "appealing" than other pieces out there but, short story long, that's mine. So don't go running in there expecting the same deal. Just make the best deal you can with people who you like to shop with. Oh, and maybe make ‘em sick of seeing you in there drooling over their stuff, too (that surely helped me a little bit.) ;)
     
  17. sixty-four

    sixty-four Member

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    Cool deal, and nice score.

    Yeah, it seems once you decide on a "boutique" guitar, the cheap seats start at $2000 and just go up. Everything's a compromise, but I'm tired of spending money in $1000 chunks multiple times and still find myself unsatisfied...
     
  18. calpa94

    calpa94 Member

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    Exactly my experience. Had I bought what I'm contemplating now four years ago I would have saved several thousand.
     
  19. dk123123dk

    dk123123dk Member

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    I must be lucky, because I live about 10 minutes from Matt's Music. Kind of stuffy in there though, but great quality guitars.

    dk
     

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