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Quicksilver Guitars Architectural Requirements

1. Tonal Versatility
I wanted the Quicksilver to be able to reproduce as many type of sounds as technologically possible.
I wanted the guitar to be able to faithfully reproduce a Les Paul, ES335 or an SG Humbucker tone. I wanted the guitar to be able to sound like a Strat, Fat Strat and Telecaster without dropping out the unity gain. I wanted the sustain of a neck through body like a  USA made "BC Rich" or "Jackson".  I wanted that original signature Eddie Van Halen "Brown Sound" like an early Kramer or Ernie Ball and I wanted the jangly 60's Rickenbacker tone. Lastly I wanted the smooth creamy upper mid range tonality of an early PRS guitar with a sweet switch on it.

A tall order, keep reading it gets taller.

To further complicate matters I wanted it passive. (No batteries).  I believe that whatever you gain using active pickups you lose in consistency of sound later.  Batteries are never consistent, so tone will suffer from this. I wanted the sounds to be instantly attainable and immediately available without too many switches and controls.  After all, they won't sell if a salesman can't easily demonstrate the different tones and how easy it will be for the customer to achieve them. I actually wanted the guitar to be able to achieve a traditional jazz tone. My requirements were that the guitar be capable of attaining a super clean sound (Surf Music Clean) at loud volumes, and not go muddy when I turned the tone knob down to zero. I wanted an optional natural acoustic piezo electric system available that could be updated when new technology was introduced and would never go obsolete. I wanted an optional MIDI jack system that would actually work. Believe me that part was hard but the results were extremely good. (Call for more info) The guitar had to also be capable of getting that 80's upper midrange crunchy tone and not feed back at loud volumes. The guitar had to be capable of at least 90% performance when coupled with a medium cost, solid state amplifier. I required the MIDI Trigger system onboard. I would not accept using that Roland pickup. I also wanted the customer to be able to have the option to drop the MIDI System in at a later date. This meant that the guitar needed to be available with a MIDI jack plate preinstalled.  I found that many customers wanted MIDI but could not afford it when the purchase was actually made.  It is relatively inexpensive to pre-mount the MIDI jack plate & provide the room for the extra electronics as long as you do it before the guitar is painted.

Pickup Rings Available

I had several problems to overcome, To say the least:

  • The hardest one was reproducing the Les Paul's tonality without the inherent Les Paul  muddiness.

  • Reproducing a single coil Stratocaster and Telecaster sound without sacrificing the unity gain.

  • The Rickenbacker's jangly 60's sound was impossible to reproduce, believe me I tried and failed.  I was able to achieve a wimpy version  when the guitar was equipped with an older style piezo electric system.  For all intents and purposes though,  you would still need a Rickenbacker to achieve that tone.

  • Getting pickups that would not go muddy at high volume clean settings.

  • Pickup placement, height and spacing between themselves.

  • Mounting the pickups to the guitar so that the passive vibration of the pickup would match the passive vibration of the guitar body. (Spring loaded traditionally mounted pickups are the cause of muddiness)

  • Dead spots on the neck had to be dealt with. A real problem on a long thin neck.

2. Playability
I played with several different size neck tapers, different thickness and radiuses. I experimented with different finishes on the neck and fingerboard and I spent hundreds of hours on the heart of the guitar (The Neck Joint).  I concluded that there had to be a multitude of necks available. When a customer orders a Quicksilver, there will be a short consultation with myself and the customer regarding exactly what the customers requirements are. The customer will be advised on all the options and the neck will be constructed using the information from that conversation. The reach to the high frets had to be absolutely effortless.  The problem here was that PRS had a body cove trademarked on the lower bout.  I thought I was going to need that for comfort.  I was quite happy to discover that by coving out the back part of the lower bout it actually worked better.

3. Aesthetic Beauty
Obviously the guitar had to be beautiful, Otherwise it would never sell.
So I looked at 6 of the most beautiful body shapes on the market.  I wanted the guitar to fit into this level of beauty.  So I did my best to research any trademarks and I was able to come up with the design you see on this page.

4. Weight
Approximately 6 lbs average.  I built one that was 5.3 lbs it was made from Spalted Maple & Korina, I am offering an ultralight model that comes in under 4 lbs

5. Durability

The only inherent weak point on a PRS guitar is the neck joint. They don't break very often but when they do they always fracture on the back directly below and above the neck. The cracks are usually about 1 inch long and I have never seen them crack in one place. In every single instance it cracks evenly in two places (Directly at the lower edge and upper edge of the neck joint on the back of the body of the guitar.

I am using almost 1/4 more wood in those locations. This was not an easy trick because I wanted the neck to be interchangeable with a PRS and I wanted to keep the same slim body design as a PRS. I was able to do it with the neck angle placement. I got a bonus, the tension of the strings is slightly more than a PRS. This added tension coupled with the direct contact construction really added to the sustain and tone of this guitar.

6. Price
I wanted the Quicksilver to be affordable and useful to the everyday player. I wanted to come in below Gibson, PRS,  Abyss,  Moonstone, McNaught, JET, McInturff, Warrior, & Centurion.