Totally Underwhelmed by the PRS 513

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by shoe, Jan 12, 2005.


  1. shoe

    shoe Member

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    I've always been a bit of an "early-adopter" when it comes to new technology. Case in point, when the new PRS 513 was introduced last year, I was very, very interested in it. However, I refused to place an order for it. Fast forward to December of 2004 when they finally became available at retail. Add the fact that two were sitting in a shop a few miles from my house and I began to loose sleep over how badly I wanted to check one out!

    So, low and behold I finally have to prove to myself whether or not I need this guitar (my wallett and my wife appreciate it when I can convince myself otherwise) and I take my trusty Suhr koa standard with pau ferro neck and H-S-H configuration along to a/b the 513.

    Plugged the 513 into a Bogner 1x12 Shiva combo. Had the room to myself and put her through her paces. The neck was the largest PRS I've ever felt (totally dug it) and the fret work was great......but nothing you wouldn't expect for a 5k guitar. As for the tones.......I coulnd't believe how mediocre they were! The interesting part was playing away through all the wiring combos (the "hot" humucker setting was all but useless in my opinion), I coulnd't help but just feel like "you mean that's it?"

    The real nail in the coffin was when I plugged my Suhr in and it just kicked the crap out of the PRS (in tone and playability). I was just stunned. The PRS is easily double the price of my Suhr that I had custom made to my specs. I just coulnd't belive my ears!

    Anyway.....I really wanted to like this guitar.....I was already planning on what I would have to sell so that I could get it. I still really want to check out a Modern Eagle based on all the talk around here, but I have to say that I was really, really shocked.

    Just my $.02

    SIDE NOTE - one little ironic point here was that I conducted the test at Rudy's......the former home of Pensa-Suhr guitars. It's always a bit interesting when you see the looks of the sales guys' faces when I pull out a Suhr out of my gig bag......:D
     
  2. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    I feel the non-standard pickups are a major mistake. I know it's cool for each maker to follow their own vision, and to make the pickups an integral part of that if they want... but it strikes me as daft in today's world to deliberately make it impossible to fit aftermarket pickups.

    I have Duncans in both my PRSs, BTW. I love the guitars, but I just didn't think the stock pickups were quite as good. Maybe Paul has decided he doesn't like this kind of thing, and intends to stamp it out.

    I also thought "you mean that's it?" when I found out what the switching system actually did... I was expecting somthing more radical - I'm not quite sure what exactly, but standard H-S-H switching with different voicings for the humbuckers didn't seem enough to justify the fanfare with which it was announced. With that switch arrangement, you could have a far wider and more useful range of sounds - how about both humbuckers, or neck & bridge single coils together, for a start?

    On the good side, at least it doesn't have a rotary switch ;).
     
  3. shoe

    shoe Member

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    Agreed.....I was really surprised at the lack of ability to have the two outside humbuckers on simultaneoulsy. Since I never use the middle single coil pickup EVER on a strat, my Suhr are wired to give me outside buckers in the middle position.

    Well, at least the neck was cool.....:rolleyes:
     
  4. Joe

    Joe Senior Member

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    :confused: :confused: :confused: :confused: :confused:
     
  5. fullerplast

    fullerplast Senior Member

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    Agreed. My first thought when I saw the prototype. What were they thinking......? At least use the same form factor as some existing pickups!
     
  6. fullerplast

    fullerplast Senior Member

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    Always liked that word....we can't really get away with using it over here.:D It needs an accent to make it work I think....
     
  7. Unburst

    Unburst Member

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    There is always a trade off with versatility imo, and in the case of the 513 having two SC pups wired in series will never sound as good as a regular HB pup.
     
  8. Jon Silberman

    Jon Silberman 10Q Jerry & Dickey Gold Supporting Member

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    Disagree.

    I tried one in December. Went carefully through all the combinations. I liked virtually all of them just fine and many a real lot.

    At the time, I was at Chiba's switching off between many PRSi, a real vintage Strat, my Reverend, a Chapin, a few Teles, and more so I had plenty of solid reference points close at hand.

    Maybe I just like different tones than the admittedly very small sample size of posters so far in this thread, of course I could also have zero taste in guitars (though I have reason to doubt the latter ;) ).
     
  9. Scott Peterson

    Scott Peterson Staff Member

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    I am with Lotus.

    I have not seen or tried a 513 yet. Have no urge or need to do so either.

    But to in essence force your pickups on folks is IMHO not the best idea.

    Just my opinion.
     
  10. angelo

    angelo Member

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    yeah, gotta at least have the option to swap out. Even though I usually don't, I still like to know there are choices.

    And, unlike the ASAT's, I doubt enough will ever be sold to make it worth a manufacturer's while to make some.
     
  11. Jon Silberman

    Jon Silberman 10Q Jerry & Dickey Gold Supporting Member

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    Hey, I'm digging this, I'm like the bad boy of this thread.

    :D
     
  12. JoeB63

    JoeB63 Supporting Member

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    I guess those that like it $5,000 worth should buy one, and those that don't, shouldn't.

    No reason to criticize PRS's thinking on this -- it's just another guitar you can choose not to buy if you don't like it. I'm sure enough people will love it.


    Also, since we spend so much time here talking about individual guitars that are much better than others of the same exact model, perhaps we can assume that Shoe played was a dud, and the one that Jon played was an excellent example of that model.
     
  13. klatuu

    klatuu Member

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    Tough to beat one of John's guitars, no matter what another cost. IMO one of the very best bangs for the buck there is. That's not knocking other guitars and builders, just noting that you get great value for $2500 or so.
     
  14. MOJO

    MOJO Member

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    I'll take it to my grave ..........but i "still" feel they made a mistake going with a mahogany/maple body combo for the 513..

    alder or ash body... maybe with a maple top and a maple neck would have worked better with that kinda of pickup system.

    but what do i know?
     
  15. big mike

    big mike Fixed Bias Moderator Staff Member

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    I can't believe it will not be too long before Seymour and others offer something.
     
  16. Clorenzo

    Clorenzo Member

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    Or even the other way round, but they just happen to have different tastes in guitar tone (not better or worse, just different) and/or the particular amp used in each case had better "synergy" with the guitar in one case than the other.
     
  17. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    Actually, now you mention it...

    Maybe they do. A lot of Seymour Duncan Strat pickups have the 'Jaguar type' parallel baseplate, not the normal 'triangular' Strat one. I haven't checked the measurements, but perhaps they would fit - since according to PRS, the pickups are five single coils, not two humbuckers and one single coil.

    Which makes the limited switching options even more baffling. If you're going to fit five distinct single coil pickups, you can do a hell of a lot more interesting and clever things with them than wiring them as 'full' or 'tapped' humbuckers. Like, making the two coils in each 'humbucker' different, and giving the option of either one, for a start...

    It still doesn't help those who want a 'real' humbucker in either the front or back positions though. The reverse is not true - you can get two Strat-size coils into a humbucker cavity... Duncan's Stag Mag is exactly like that.


    I really can't see any pickup maker going to a lot of trouble to make direct replacements for the 513 any other way though - how many do you think PRS will sell? Unless of course this is just an introductory model and they filter the pickups down into the lower price ranges too...
     
  18. eric102673

    eric102673 Member

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    That's exactly what I was thinking too. They didn't do so good with the CU22 soapbar. IMO the 513 is even more of a stretch and about twice as expensive. I'd be curious to know how well they do over the next year or so.

    -e.
     
  19. BIGGERSTAFF

    BIGGERSTAFF Member

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    I actually prefered the CU22 Soapbar to the regular CU22 tonally, as my tastes for HB tone were more McCarty/Singlecut. I would like to check the 513 out, but at that price, I'm not interested in buying one. I'll have a wazoo custom order guitar for that kind of coin, before a production model.
     
  20. Felipe

    Felipe Member

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    The PRS idea for the 513 is somewhat just like Anderson's Switcheroo. He places 5 single coils in a row, and wire them:
    1-Single coil, which are the outside coils only.
    2-Clear Humbucking, which are the the coils of the "humbucker" wired in parallel, which gives a crispier HB tone.
    3-Heavy Humbucking, which is simple the coils wired in series like a normal bucker.

    Using the 5 way you get the strat combinations, but is simply as that. The 3 way just changes the wiring on the "faux-buckers".
    Haven't played one, but the strategy, as I see, is really mistaken.

    He should have come with these pickups on an entry-level guitar, like a CE or a Std. To make sure the potential buyers of his expensive guitars could get to try the system on a lower budget instrument. If the system is good, you offer on your 5k guitar. The way he is doing he is limiting the system to the ones who:
    -Like PRS guitars a lot!
    -Have 5k laying around to throw on something new and not-replaceable!
    -Combine the 2 above...

    I doubt Duncan will develop something to a guitar that will probably sell 1% of what a Custom sells.
     

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