Which PRS Won't Tune?
This article applies to the PRS 22 fret models made after April of 1995.
Personally, I do not approve of the stock bridge system that PRS in their
ultimate wisdom has decided to bestow upon the unsuspecting customers who purchase new PRS
PRS hardtail guitars have no intelligent way to set up intonation, there are
no adjustments excepting for the outside strings. It is hard to believe that a
company of PRS's stature could possibly make such an incredible blunder in
designing their guitar. The PRS hardtail is made from white pot metal and it is
of the wraparound style. Personally I like a solid brass bridge or at least cold
rolled steel, and I despise those wraparound bridges.
For you readers who don't know exactly what a wraparound bridge is, I will
explain (see photo below).
A wraparound bridge is the least expensive way to solve the cost problem
associated with a normal bridge. A wraparound bridge is usually a one piece
affair that does not employ adjustable saddles and does not employ a tailpiece.
Most guitarists prefer a tailpiece or strings through the body.
Several years after the PRS wraparound bridge was introduced, they (PRS) came
out with an improved version. The improved version had adjustable saddles but I
still prefer the 2 piece Tune-O-Matic for other obvious reasons. Incidentally,
this new improved version is an add on product. If you wanted it, you would
have to pay between $80.00 and $100.00 extra, sometimes more.
PRS w Wraparound Bridge
Cannot be Properly Intonated
looks nice but sound is important
PRS w Tremolo Bridge
Individual Saddles Enable Intonation
Ed Roman has original first year PRS Tremolos
PRS w Tune-O-Matic Bridge
Rare and Highly Desirable
Gibson w Wraparound Bridge
Run From this Bridge, Impossible to Intonate
How About the Tremolo PRS
If you own a PRS with a tremolo you may notice that (even on the new cheaper
imported tremolos) there are individual saddles (see photo below) that make
intonating your guitar easy and accurate. I prefer the tremolo on a PRS guitar
to the wraparound tailpiece for several other reasons. The problem with the
tremolo, of course, is that you lose any chance of direct coupling, and sustain
and tone suffer greatly. Of course staying in tune becomes a bigger issue with a
The Original Tremolo on the 1985 PRS was awesome.
It was the first vintage style tremolo that ever worked well. Click
the link above... We have a limited number left. Contact us if you want
Uncle Ed Has Several Ways to Fix
The Intonation Problem!!!
The absolute best way to deal with this problem is to sell your PRS and buy a
better guitar with a real Tune-O-Matic bridge already installed. In the early
days PRS used a Tune-O-Matic bridge on their higher end signature models. The
only problem is, those early guitars sell for a lot more money. (Because they
were much better guitars).
The next best way to solve this problem is to purchase an aftermarket body
from either myself or someone else who makes exact duplicate bodies to order.
This will solve your problem totally because you can order the body with an
adjustable saddle bridge. Some of the side benefits to this solution are that
you can order any kind of wood combination, you can place the electronics
anywhere you like for no extra charge, and of course you can choose any color
Tone Pros makes a wraparound bridge (AVT2: see below) with locking studs that
works much better than the stock PRS bridge. While it may not be the absolute
best solution this is by far your cheapest solution.
Another inexpensive way to fix the problem would be to simply yank off the stock
PRS bridge and fill the holes with a dowel. This appears a little sloppy because
the width of the holes does not match up and close inspection will reveal the
flaw. Simply drill the holes in the body and drop in the Tune-o-Matic. We had
Trent Reznor's PRS in the shop recently and this is what he had done. PRS could
have very easily have facilitated this if they had simply designed the bridge to
be the same spacing as the Tune-o-Matic. PRS in their ultimate wisdom used a
bolt pattern that was ever so slightly off. My opinion is this was done on
purpose and now the cost to fix it is astronomical. example of a redo. On
a retop it's absolutely free and highly recommended.
At long last a replacement for non-intonatable wraparound bridges! This
bridge will replace, without modification, bridges from PRS ®, Epiphone ®,
Gibson ®, etc. It comes complete with TonePros ™ patented locking studs, and
features extended intonation range for those hard to intonate guitars. This
bridge is a major breakthrough for this area of guitar technology.
Available in Chrome, Nickel, Black and Gold.