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
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
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
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 :
313 Hibbs Ave.
I sent a couple of the questions you had about PRS guitars to the
company and here is the B.S. they said.
1. When and WHY did PRS go to that VERY LARGE BULKY uncomfortable neck
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
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
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 !!!!!
year did PRS stop using real abalone in their inlays?
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
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.
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?
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.
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).
What is the difference between a Custom 24 and a Custom 22?
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
The Question Was ....What is the difference between a Custom 24 and a
He left out the most important part,
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
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
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)
PRS switch to Japanese made Gotoh brand tuners?
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
Q. How come on a
premium guitar like PRS there is no neck binding, and how come it's not an
A. Because itís not!
Comments from Ed Roman on Answer #9
And People say I'm Arrogant? (Give me a break)
Q. I want an Ebony
fretboard. How come PRS won't accommodate me?
A. We do not
Comments from Ed Roman on Answer #10
Yeah, I already know that, The question was a simple basic why
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
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!!!.
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
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.
July 5th 2001
Do Yourself A Big Favor & Check Out Quicksilver Guitars or JET Guitars