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What's been going on in the shop - next chapter

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I've NEVER heard anybody diss the "14 coat" process - never.

It is(was) an extremely thin finish, as Arnie said, and was likely thinner than many 50s-60s "classic" guitar finishes.

It always cracked me up when people would talk about a finish choking off the natural resonance or not allowing a guitar to "breathe".   Guitars don't breathe, and the finish isn't what kills tone - crap wood and/or lousy construction does that.  A good finish is not porous, and there's no discernible difference between the Hamer finishes, the thin poly PRS finishes or a vintage nitro finish as far as impact on tone.

 

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1 hour ago, cmatthes said:

I've NEVER heard anybody diss the "14 coat" process - never.

It is(was) an extremely thin finish, as Arnie said, and was likely thinner than many 50s-60s "classic" guitar finishes.

It always cracked me up when people would talk about a finish choking off the natural resonance or not allowing a guitar to "breathe".   Guitars don't breathe, and the finish isn't what kills tone - crap wood and/or lousy construction does that.  A good finish is not porous, and there's no discernible difference between the Hamer finishes, the thin poly PRS finishes or a vintage nitro finish as far as impact on tone.

 

That's not what TGP sez!

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I've owned tons of guitars (literally) and the one factor that makes the most difference in tone is weight and type of wood.  Generally, thinner lacquer finishes age cooler than other types of finishes.  Mike's finishes will maintain their luster (for the lack of a better word) and never age like a nitro guitar will.  I've never noticed tone being a function of finish.  I can hear a chambered guitar though.   

 

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Hey The Shark, can you tell me what you think about weight and chambering? That's fascinating to me and I don't know enough to really put an opinion together.

 

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15 hours ago, cmatthes said:

I've NEVER heard anybody diss the "14 coat" process - never.

It is(was) an extremely thin finish, as Arnie said, and was likely thinner than many 50s-60s "classic" guitar finishes.

It always cracked me up when people would talk about a finish choking off the natural resonance or not allowing a guitar to "breathe".   Guitars don't breathe, and the finish isn't what kills tone - crap wood and/or lousy construction does that.  A good finish is not porous, and there's no discernible difference between the Hamer finishes, the thin poly PRS finishes or a vintage nitro finish as far as impact on tone.

 

Yeah, you never hear people saying "If only that 10 top PRS didn't have that crap finish"  :lol:

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11 hours ago, 0054 said:

Hey The Shark, can you tell me what you think about weight and chambering? That's fascinating to me and I don't know enough to really put an opinion together.

 

Chambering, for the most part, seems to shift the mid-range frequencies of the guitar a bit.  I think it increases the "hump" (for lack of a better term) in the low mids.  I don't prefer that and have noticed it in many guitars I've owned and played.  There was a big knock down drag out about Gustavsson guitars that were chambered vs. not.  I think anyone who has played a semi hollow knows the difference.  Solid body guitars with chambering/fluting seem to move in that direction away from what I'm used to hearing. 

As for weight, lighter guitars sound better acoustically for the most part.  They ring longer which definitely translates into how it sounds electrified.  Heavy guitars and ebony boards move away from the tone I like.  I think an electric guitar that sounds good acoustically will sound good electrified.  Guitars that ring about two seconds and die suck IMHO.

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1 hour ago, scottcald said:

Yeah, you never hear people saying "If only that 10 top PRS didn't have that crap finish"  :lol:

I could direct you to pages and pages of whining and hand wringing over their super thin "V-12" finish... 

;)

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16 hours ago, cmatthes said:

I've NEVER heard anybody diss the "14 coat" process - never.

It is(was) an extremely thin finish, as Arnie said, and was likely thinner than many 50s-60s "classic" guitar finishes.

It always cracked me up when people would talk about a finish choking off the natural resonance or not allowing a guitar to "breathe".   Guitars don't breathe, and the finish isn't what kills tone - crap wood and/or lousy construction does that.  A good finish is not porous, and there's no discernible difference between the Hamer finishes, the thin poly PRS finishes or a vintage nitro finish as far as impact on tone.

 

FWIW, one of the reasons I shifted away from PRSi to Hamers (we are talking in the 90s) is that I thought the tone was better. Something happened beginning about 9 years ago that raised my appreciation for PRS (after getting a chance to play a few that belonged to a friend). Aside from whatever evolutionary improvements they made in quality, it appears (and they certainly tout) better pickups and better finishes. A matter of taste, no doubt, but the IMPRESSION at least was that the older finishes, which really brought out the figure in the wood, were extra thick.

As looks and feel, they were excellent. Somehow, I never connected too well with the SOUND. So,they tended not to get played too much and,  out of more than a dozen back when, only one remains from that era. No point to keep them if I wanted to "play with my ears, not my eyes".

Maybe one of their first guitars that really stood out, from around 9-10 years ago was the Modern Eagle 1. Among other things ("solid Brazilian neck!") it had a different, less glossy finish. IT seemed to "open up" better than those that came before. And, in many folks' POV, got even better when they also upgraded the pickups to the 57/08s.

Count me in the group that thinks a superb instrument is the sum of a lot of things. To my ears, finish CAN be a factor, even if not THE factor that makes a guitar stand out. Never had any sense of disappointment in that respect re Hamer finishes. And look forward to my first Shishkov.

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4 hours ago, The Shark said:

Chambering, for the most part, seems to shift the mid-range frequencies of the guitar a bit.  I think it increases the "hump" (for lack of a better term) in the low mids.  I don't prefer that and have noticed it in many guitars I've owned and played.  There was a big knock down drag out about Gustavsson guitars that were chambered vs. not.  I think anyone who has played a semi hollow knows the difference.  Solid body guitars with chambering/fluting seem to move in that direction away from what I'm used to hearing. 
I do notice especially with my Hog 90 Artist, that it reminds me of an old jr / special.... but it has an airiness to it, less grunt (not a bunch, but still less, audible to my cro mag ears!), since this is now my reference point to where a guitar should sound, My Newport I really notice what you say, but I'm very inclined to say the pickups have something to say about that sound as well.....
I'm gonna have some fun when my Shishkov comes in! IF it (and I'm sure it is going to) is like a punch in the nose, there may be a quick liquidaton sale on my current inventory...

As for weight, lighter guitars sound better acoustically for the most part.  They ring longer which definitely translates into how it sounds electrified.  Heavy guitars and ebony boards move away from the tone I like.  I think an electric guitar that sounds good acoustically will sound good electrified.  Guitars that ring about two seconds and die suck IMHO.
my T-51 is not super heavy, but I had read that Hamer picked out the most resonant wood, regardless of weight. I tend to agree with you, I had a mid 8o's 52 gold top reissue with 90's and it was dark as molasses, and not resonant at all... but I recently played a Hamer gold top studio and it was heavy as a mofo, but very resonant.... It's all too much! 

Thank You, Mr. The Shark!

 

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3 hours ago, django49 said:

And look forward to my first Shishkov.

That is gonna be a beast!

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4 hours ago, django49 said:

FWIW, one of the reasons I shifted away from PRSi to Hamers (we are talking in the 90s) is that I thought the tone was better. Something happened beginning about 9 years ago that raised my appreciation for PRS (after getting a chance to play a few that belonged to a friend). Aside from whatever evolutionary improvements they made in quality, it appears (and they certainly tout) better pickups and better finishes. A matter of taste, no doubt, but the IMPRESSION at least was that the older finishes, which really brought out the figure in the wood, were extra thick.

As looks and feel, they were excellent. Somehow, I never connected too well with the SOUND. So,they tended not to get played too much and,  out of more than a dozen back when, only one remains from that era. No point to keep them if I wanted to "play with my ears, not my eyes".

Maybe one of their first guitars that really stood out, from around 9-10 years ago was the Modern Eagle 1. Among other things ("solid Brazilian neck!") it had a different, less glossy finish. IT seemed to "open up" better than those that came before. And, in many folks' POV, got even better when they also upgraded the pickups to the 57/08s.

Count me in the group that thinks a superb instrument is the sum of a lot of things. To my ears, finish CAN be a factor, even if not THE factor that makes a guitar stand out. Never had any sense of disappointment in that respect re Hamer finishes. And look forward to my first Shishkov.

I still have the PRS 10-Top Custom that I bought in the '80s - that finish is super thin like most '80s PRS guitars I've encountered over the decades - the pores in the mahogany back started showing some "sinking" by the mid-90s, which I always thought was cool because it looked like a '50s Les Paul.  The finish on top also seems to track the grain, which, again, isn't a problem for me, as it just makes it look like 50's vintage piece more than an almost 30 year old "modern" guitar.

I think that PRS guitars have always suffered in the tone department for a few reasons.  First, they were really born in the era of rackmounted gear and had more of a "hi-fi" sound (my description, yours may vary!).  I don't think mine has ever been something I'd plug into a Marshall, an old Bassman or a Deluxe Reverb and love the sound.  It always sounded great with my Boogie, but more stratty than LPish.  I think the pickups are the culprit there maybe more than anything.

Secondly, the bodies are really pretty thin.  Like SG thin almost.  Hard to get a thick, woody tone without some meat in there, I'd guess.  There's no doubt that my guitar has quality Honduras Mahogany, Brazilian RW board, and a great top, but if those exact pieces of wood had been made into a Les Paul instead, I'd probably have that one guitar only.

Like django49, I really wasn't moved to be interested in another PRS after mine until I played the first ME run.  THOSE are stellar guitars.  I'm also a fan of the DGTs, but other than that, as much as I dig my PRS and despite the fact that I've been to the factory at least 30 times and have friends there, I haven't run into a PRS that I just had to have.  In fact, I left a PRS event at the factory once after miles and miles of cool new guitars...I bought a Hamer on the way home.

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"Secondly, the bodies are really pretty thin.  Like SG thin almost.  Hard to get a thick, woody tone without some meat in there, I'd guess.  There's no doubt that my guitar has quality Honduras Mahogany, Brazilian RW board, and a great top, but if those exact pieces of wood had been made into a Les Paul instead, I'd probably have that one guitar only".

 

Good point. I did find a "deal" on a used one of the short run of PRS Private Stock McCarty "Singlecuts" a while back. It does have the thicker body, shorter scale and "traditional" 4 knob setups, as well as the added "stiffness" of the one cutaway vs two. Kinda became  the "Les Paul Killer" in the minds of  some of the fan boys, at least until the next "flavor of the month" came out. Def has a bit more "heft" than the typical PRS formula. It is one of the reasons I sold my last actual Gibson Les Paul. Really hard to choose between that and my other fave single cut.

Really do agree on the pickups. Hi-fi might be a good description. I just seemed to think they lacked "personality". NEVER felt that way once I picked up a Hamer Artist!

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I always had the same issue with PRSi-loved the look and feel (especially after factory visits), but that subsided as soon as I plugged them in.  Just didn't dig the sound, no matter what amp.

Then I picked a beater Custom 22 10top for $300 from a pawn shop (missing trem arm and two broken tuners).  Great guitar.

IMG_8366.JPG

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I tried hard to find a PRS I liked. To me, they were like "Carvins for people with more money than sense." Folks go on and on about about "tonewoods", "figured tops", and all of that fanboi BS. Fact is, I've yet to meet a PRS "collector" that could play their way out of a paper bag. That doesn't mean they don't exist, I know they're out there. 

Finally purchased a DGT goldtop...VERY high-quality guitar, but it was just, meh. They are just not a good fit with me. 

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2 hours ago, RobB said:

"Carvins for people with more money than sense."

That is a dead-on description. Bravo.

They are nice to look at.

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32 minutes ago, hamerhead said:

That is a dead-on description. Bravo.

They are nice to look at.

Dimples, Can't stand em!

 

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On 4/4/2017 at 6:35 PM, RobB said:

I tried hard to find a PRS I liked. To me, they were like "Carvins for people with more money than sense." Folks go on and on about about "tonewoods", "figured tops", and all of that fanboi BS. Fact is, I've yet to meet a PRS "collector" that could play their way out of a paper bag. That doesn't mean they don't exist, I know they're out there. 

Finally purchased a DGT goldtop...VERY high-quality guitar, but it was just, meh. They are just not a good fit with me. 

Aside from the collector part, my experience as well.  Great guitars that I just never seem to really dig in my hands. 

Oh, and I get "the email" last night.  My build is finally on deck! 

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4 minutes ago, LucSulla said:

Oh, and I get "the email" last night.  My build is finally on deck! 

Now it gets REE-yal!

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By "On Deck", do you mean, getting started, or ready to come back from buffing/assembly?

 

These are important things for us to you, you know...

 

;)

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52 minutes ago, cmatthes said:

By "On Deck", do you mean, getting started, or ready to come back from buffing/assembly?
These are important things for us to you, you know...
;)

Just to be in the mix is noteworthy.

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1 hour ago, cmatthes said:

By "On Deck", do you mean, getting started, or ready to come back from buffing/assembly?

 

These are important things for us to you, you know...

 

;)

Getting started.  I believe the glueing of the top is scheduled for the weekend. 

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Very cool!  I think I'm right around where you are in the process.  Exciting stuff, for sure...

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Shishkov%200066%20Top%20Join%20031217%20

Shishkov%200066%20Top%20Join%20031217%20

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Is yours the one with the quilt top and trem?

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1 hour ago, cmatthes said:

Is yours the one with the quilt top and trem?

YES!  B)

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