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THIS IS A LONG PAGE, IF YOU READ IT YOU WILL LEARN ALOT

This Is A Must Read If You Own A PRS Or You Are Considering Buying A PRS

I Ed Roman, truly believe, that PRS builds a good guitar, it probably is the absolute best guitar BY          FAR,  that you can or will find in a corporate type store like Guitar Center.

This includes all the other big box, chain stores which are too numerous to mention.  Sam Ash, Hermes Music,  Best  Buy,  Music 123,  American Music,  Musicians Friend, AKA Guitar Center, Manny's, AKA Sam Ash, Sweetwater Sound, and hundreds of other independent midsize stores worldwide.

I make these comparisons, & statements on my website, using PRS as the whipping boy, primarily because they are by far the best of the American made, mass produced guitars ever to be made. I personally own a 1986 PRS and a 1992 PRS.  When I set out to make a hand made guitar, I decided that I wanted to be better, than the current recognized best guitar in the world.

Today I recommend looking at the Baker Guitars !!  And The Quicksilver Guitars !!!

There have been people that call me a PRS hater, (That could not be farther from the truth) and there are people who own PRS guitars that may hate me for showing my comparisons.  I want to make it very clear that I never hated PRS, In fact I learned more about guitar manufacturing from my long time involvement with them than from any other source. 

Over the last 16 years my website has used the comparative method of selling to sell our guitars. Textbook Sales 101 will always tell you "Never denigrate a competitors product !!"   But Ed Roman say's  "Don't tell me what to do!!". 
I may be politically incorrect, I may even be a little over the top sometimes,  I probably will continue to use the comparative method.  I apologize for saying what some people just don't want to hear.  But I don't know any other way to get a point across better than to compare.

My Selling Style Is Different Than Most.

Slick salesmanship & phony reviews is how business is done these days. With the Ed Roman method, I simply present the facts and let the customer make up their own mind.  Sometimes you have to shock the monkey, if you will forgive the expression. Otherwise people would simply go on day to day buying into the hype that the corporate spin doctors try to run on you.

 


Some years ago, 1996 or so I posed a number of questions on my website directed at PRS guitars. They refused to answer them, based on the fact that they did not want to give me any credibility by actually answering my questions.

In fact, they fully realized that my posing these questions was a self serving action, designed to call attention to the fact that my own Quicksilver guitars were indeed superior. In any case they ignored me and pretended I didn't exist.

Several years later an individual was reading the questions. He wondered why PRS refused to answer, and he himself wrote to them , he asked them a number of questions from my list.

Even though I wrote this a few years ago.  Several of my customers have asked me to include this in my rant section because the text is based on a rant in the first place.

1. When and WHY did PRS go to that VERY LARGE BULKY uncomfortable neck heel?
2. What year did PRS stop using real abalone in their inlays?
3. What year did PRS stop using the one piece construction original tremolo & how can I spot the difference?
4. Why did the older ones have nicer tops?
5. What exactly is a sweet switch, and can I remove it or can I put one in?
6. Why does the McCarty model cost more, when it does not include a 5 position switch it does not have locking tuners, it doesn't come with a tremolo and the wood doesn't look as nice?
7. Why did PRS name a guitar "The McCarty Model" after an ex Gibson employee?
8. What is the difference between a Custom 24 and a Custom 22?
9. Why does PRS charge so much more for gold hardware?  $450.00
10. Why does the Original Classic model sound more versatile than the ones available today?
12. Why does PRS on their newer stop tailpiece models use a design that makes it hard to intonate the guitar?
13. What year did PRS stop using Brazilian Rosewood on their fingerboards?
14. I want to buy a PRS Guitar but I'm not sure which one will be the best investment?
15. Just what the Hell is a "10 top" !  & why is it stamped on the guitar over the finish?
16. Why do some 10 tops look better than others and why have I seen super nice tops that weren't stamped "10"?
17. What different woods are available on different PRS models?
18. What is Michigan Maple ?  What is Corinthian Leather?
19. Just what does the 5 position switch actually control?
20. How do the PRS locking tuners work? and are they any better than all the others on the market today?
21. All the PRS Guitars look basically the same, why is one more expensive than another?
22. When did PRS switch from Duplicarver machinery and go to computer controlled CNC machines?
23. How many different neck sizes are available and how can I tell them apart if I don't have another PRS next to it to use as a point of reference?
24. Why does the PRS guitar have such a small headstock?
25. How come on the red Custom's and royal blue Custom's there is no strip of raw wood around the body that simulates a binding?
26. What is better a 22 fret guitar or a 24 fret guitar? And what other differences are there besides 2 frets?
27. Why is a Dragon guitar so much more money than a regular PRS when the only real difference is the inlay?
28. How come PRS doesn't offer a Maple or Ebony fingerboard?
29. Why did PRS stop using Alder on their 1995 and up Classic models?
30. What were Paul's "private stash" woods?
31. When did Paul change the brand of the 5 position switch?
32. When did PRS switch to Japanese made Gotoh brand tuners?
33. What  happened to the old "Central Labs"  potentiometers and where can I get them?
34. I have seen many colors that don't show up on PRS's Color Charts,  How do I find out about them?
35. How come on a premium guitar like PRS there is no neck binding, and how come it's not an option?
36. I want an Ebony fretboard. How come PRS won't accommodate me?
37. Why did the Swamp Ash model cost more than a Classic?

The above are questions that I compiled back in 1996


 Get Ready for Some Heavy Reading !

Recently a consumer named John Klein read the above list.
He E-mailed PRS a list of some of these questions.
The person who answered was supposedly someone named  "Jim Cullen"

Here are some of the answers to the questions posed.

PRS Finally Responds

Several years ago PRS told me they would not respond to my questions!!!!
The exact words used were
"We don't want to give you any credibility"

Customers Name :

John Klein

Address :

313 Hibbs Ave.

City :

Glenolden

State :

Pa

Zip :

19036

 

 Dear Ed,

  I sent a couple of the questions you had about PRS guitars to the company and here is the B.S. they said.

  Questions:

1. When and WHY did PRS go to that VERY LARGE BULKY uncomfortable neck heel?

2. What year did PRS stop using real abalone in their inlays?

3. Why does the McCarty model cost more, when it does not include a 5  position switch it does not have locking tuners, it doesn't come with a tremolo and the wood doesn't look as nice?

4. Why did PRS name a guitar "The McCarty Model" after an ex Gibson employee?

5. What is the difference between a Custom 24 and a Custom 22?

6. Why does PRS charge so much more for gold hardware?

7. Why is a Dragon guitar so much more money than a regular PRS when the only real difference is the inlay?

8. When did PRS switch to Japanese made Gotoh brand tuners?

9. How come on a premium guitar like PRS there is no neck binding, and how  come it's not an option?

10. I want an Ebony fretboard. How come PRS won't accommodate me?

11. Why did the Swamp Ash model cost more than a Classic?


Read the Bull$hit Below!

 

Answers: From Jim Cullen at PRS

Q.   When and WHY did PRS go to that VERY LARGE BULKY uncomfortable neck heel?

A. 1995 -- PRS went to the new longer neck heel to improve the strength and tone of the guitar.  When you  reduce the length of the neck you increase the strength by its cube (x3).  When you increase the thickness you  increase the strength by its square (x2).  The playability of the guitar is opinion based since we have found no problems with this design in reaching notes at the upper register.

Comments from Ed Roman on Answer #1
I believe that answer to be ridiculous, the neck was already plenty strong, I have only seen one PRS neck break anywhere near the heel and it was a later model one.  I suppose if you needlessly overbuild something just so you can say it's better than the original because the old ones were in demand and the new ones weren't.  I suspect that the new automated plant required some type of flat spot on the neck so that a machine could easily grip the neck while it was being carved robotically.
Paul told me while driving to a restaurant for lunch that the reason for the large heel was to add mass to the neck to eliminate any so called dead spots on the neck. I suggested a number of other options.
1. Insert 2 brass weights into the heel of the neck before inserting the neck into the guitar. This would add sufficient mass and still retain the original playability.
2. Attach the pickup directly to the tongue of the neck. This would not only easily add the required mass to the neck but it would make the guitar sound better because the spring dampening would be eliminated and the pickup would resonate in time with the actual neck.    See Quicksilver

I laugh directly in your face when you make a statement like "we have found no problems with this design in reaching notes at the upper register."  I have had no less than 3000 people tell me directly that they out and out hate the new neck. Puhleeeeeease !!!!!


Q.   What year did PRS stop using real abalone in their inlays?

A.  1991,  PRS stopped using real abalone because of the world shortage of shells large enough to cut one piece inlays.  For a short period of time we went to the mother of pearl inlays, but returned to laminated abalone when a Korean company developed a cutter that could cut on the curve of the shell.  This process uses 80% less shell and therefore not only allows us to offer the beauty of abalone once again, but puts less of a strain on  this natural resource.

Comments from Ed Roman on Answer #2
I think it puts a lot less strain on the cost of the guitar also. I love the way PRS is trying to turn this into a GREEN issue. If PRS is really a Green, company.  Why did they build the Archtop II & Hollow Body II models by hogging out the mahogany & wasting 90% of the wood it takes to make the body. Notice also they are buying it from a Korean company.

By the way, the PRS inlays aren't that big at all. Jackson & Rickenbacker are probably the only mainstream company I can think of that may have a problem getting large enough shells.


Q.   Why does the McCarty model cost more, when it does not include a 5 position switch, it does not have locking tuners, it doesn't come with a tremolo and the wood doesn't look as nice?

A.  There is more wood on the McCarty model, due to its thicker back.  If you break it down by options, it does not cost you any more than a Custom 22 model.

Comments from Ed Roman on Answer #3
That is total Bull. Lets break it down according to PRS's price sheet.
The list price for the PRS Custom is $2,650.00  as of 2001  Today it's gone way way up
The list price for the PRS McCarty is $2,840.00 as of 2001
That means that the McCarty is $240.00 more and it doesn't come with locking tuners, In fact it doesn't even come with high quality Schaller tuners. PRS has opted to use Korean made vintage style Kluson tuners. It doesn't come with a 5 way switch, and you can't order a 24 fret version !!!
The top-wood is less expensive Midwest maple instead of the more expensive west coast big leaf maple.  (BS to that)

All the options cost the same on all the guitars so the statement about break it down by options is total doubletalk.


Q.  Why did PRS name a guitar "The McCarty Model" after an ex Gibson employee?

A. Ted worked very closely with Paul for a number of years with Paul, and assisted in the design changes on the McCarty model.

Comments from Ed Roman on Answer #4
I simply don't believe it, I have spoken to Ted McCarty myself at least 3 or 4 times. It is my opinion that just because he was the CEO of Gibson is why his name actually got on some of the patents. In my experience I would say that the whole thing is nothing more than total hype.  I will clarify again and say that is my opinion. Yes it is possible that Paul consulted with Ted McCarty but what for?   Paul Reed Smith is 3 times the designer than Ted McCarty,  Paul came up with many original ideas himself, extremely good ideas.

My opinion is Ted McCarty's name was used to simply add credibility to the PRS name. In fact I personally don't like any of the supposed McCarty designs except for the Archtop II. That they discontinued 3 years ago. I think that the board of directors or whatever at PRS wanted to do was to gain credibility with all the Gibson Geeks by using Ted McCarty as a figurehead. (Hey it worked) (Good marketing but bad designing).


Q.  What is the difference between a Custom 24 and a Custom 22?

A.  2 frets, and different pickups.

Comments from Ed Roman on Answer #5
I think PRS better train their people a little better. This answer is a total half truth.

The Question Was ....What is the difference between a Custom 24 and a Custom 22?

He left out the most important part, pickup location!!!!
The Custom 22 pickup is situated in a location where the 24th fret harmonic falls. There is a node or phase cancellation at that location. This simply means that a lot of the midrange frequencies are gonna go bye bye because they are cancelled out.  You will get a muddy sound just like a Les Paul on a 22 fret model whereas the 24 fret version pickup falls off axis or away from the node. You will get a more clear lively rhythm sound.  The 22 fret sounds good for lead but at what sacrifice.  The 24 sounds good for lead also but on the 24 you don't have to sacrifice your midrange frequencies.

He also left out that the 22 fret neck chokes your hand when you play it sitting down.  At least it does for me but I've got a big belly so that may also contribute to the problem. However the 24 fret model doesn't bother me a bit.

The Dreaded Heel from Hell  is even longer on the 22 and the neck angle seems much different to me also.

Resale Value on 22 fret models  $700.00  Resale Value on 24 Fret Models over $2,000.00    Hmmmmmm


Q.   Why does PRS charge so much more for gold hardware?

A Gold plating is not cheap.

Comments from Ed Roman on Answer #6
Yeah nothing is cheap,  I have never heard of any other company charging more than a $150.00 for Gold,  PRS charges $440.00 extra. as of 2008
That is insanity!


Q.   Why is a Dragon guitar so much more money than a regular PRS when the only real difference is the inlay?

A.   Right

Comments from Ed Roman on Answer #7
I guess there was no answer for that one!!  I know it costs me about $1,200.00 to have a dragon done. All the ones I have are totally hand made. The one on the PRS is totally a machine made copy of each other and they aren't even done at PRS.  They are done at an outside automated shop for approximately $700.00 each (That is an educated guess and I guessed high)
Remember these dragons cost a dealer about $8,500.00 more than a Standard guitar and they sell upwards of  $22,000.00 (More insanity)


Q. When did PRS switch to Japanese made Gotoh brand tuners?

A .    We did?

Comments from Ed Roman on Answer #8
That question mark almost makes that sound like a denial.  Hey Jim you better check your facts!!!! Obviously PRS is not too keen on advertising that their hardware is coming from overseas.


Q.   How come on a premium guitar like PRS there is no neck binding, and how  come it's not an option?

A.  Because itís not!

Comments from Ed Roman on Answer #9
And People say I'm Arrogant?  (Give me a break)


QI want an Ebony fretboard. How come PRS won't accommodate me?

A.   We do not offer ebony!

Comments from Ed Roman on Answer #10
Yeah, I already know that,  The question was a simple basic why question.  

Could it be that ebony costs 20 times what rosewood costs, Or perhaps, your automated fret presses will crack an ebony neck, when it slams down on the neck to mount all the frets at once. Could it be that PRS doesn't want to expend the extra money to hand install the frets.  If PRS hand installed the frets then the ebony would probably not crack unless the installer was a monkey !!!


Q. Why did the Swamp Ash model cost more than a Classic?

A. More labor involved.

Comments from Ed Roman on Answer #11
I definitely don't believe that! In fact that's quite a load of BS!   The body is solid Swamp Ash, There is no laminating a top to a mahogany back and there is no cost of maple for the top itself.  These are primary reasons why PRS is a high priced guitar in the first place and they are simply not on the Swamp Ash Special.  This guy simply skirted the question by trying to say there is more labor involved.    NOT!!!!


I noticed the answers became shorter and snippier as the questions were read!!!.   

Summation

I had a customer come up from South America recently,  He came up intent on buying a PRS. Usually  foreigners are the least informed customers I get and the hardest to sell anything too because they basically don't trust gringos. I guess I can't blame them for that.  After all many of them are used to superstores etc etc.

I showed the customer my selection of about 90 PRS guitars. He picked up an amber one and proceeded to play it.

He was completely pre sold on PRS guitars. He thought they were about the best he could buy.  Probably the only reason he was coming to me were my prices and my huge selection.  He told me he wanted to buy the guitar and he was all ready to pay for it and leave.  Usually I show all my customers some other brands that I prefer. Sometimes they buy them and sometimes they don't.  In any case it was late in the day and we were getting ready to close.  Just for the Hell of it I asked him if he would like to see something better?  He responded that he had an open mind so I showed him several other brands and a JET.

I showed him the superior bridge design,  I showed him the superior electronics layout,  the deep set neck tenon construction, and several other things and to my complete surprise he was totally converted within 5 minutes. Usually it takes me up to an hour to deprogram someone.  In any case he purchased a JET Guitar and was quite happy about it.

I asked him what he did for a living and he replied that he was an engineer.  Well the smoke cleared for me instantly.  I realized that because he was an engineer, it was a simple matter for him to determine the better guitar from an engineering standpoint.  The fact that the JET sounded about 20% better to him was a bonus.

Ed Roman
July 5th 2001

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