Paul Reed Smith – McCarty Soapbar

The Story:

The PRS McCarty Soapbar especially in this Gold Top finish is a guitar I swear I saw in damn near every issue of Guitar World when I first started playing with guitar.  The look, the vibe, everything about this screams vintage and class.  I picked this up off of Reverb.com in what I will call NOS condition.  This is a 2004 model and I purchased this in late 2016.  There is not a scratch on this thing and it appears as if it was never even played.  There is something alway eerie about that.  Who spent that kind of money on a instrument and maybe played it for a few hours.

The Sound

The vintage vibe of this guitar does carry straight into the sound.  However these P90s are much hotter than I was expecting.  This is not necessarily a bad thing, but I bought this trying to get rid of the desire to get another Stratocaster.  I have several Strats, but they are all in storage at the moment.  I played it in standard tuning for about a week and honestly got a bit bored with it.  Its a great guitar, but it basically has ONE sound … at least to me.  Its warm, a bit gritty, and much more suited to a blues or crunchy rock tone.  I decided I would string it up with a set of NYXL 13s and tune it to C Standard as I began a phase of listening to Queens of the Stone Age and “stoner rock”.  the PRS Soapbar did shine for this kind of sound.  It was able to maintain some clarity in a bass heavy tuning and did not get overly saturated or fall apart as standard single coil would have.

I have since put the guitar back to standard but still using heavy strings (49-11).  This is pretty important for these vintage type instruments to use a bit thicker string to bring out the acoustics in the guitar.  I use the same strings on my PRS Singlecut Hollowbody.

The PRS Soapbar is really unlike any of my other guitars, and a p90 guitar is a good thing to have in your arsenal.  However this one just isn’t MY sound, but the build quality and the ONE sound I have found with it is really fun for a few hours at a time.  I highly recommend this with a clean tube amp (I uses a champion 600) and a good tube screamer style overdrive in front.  Simple and effective.  With this guitar tone is all in the hands.

Images:

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