February 25, 2011

If you’ve reveled in the great feel of a worn-in old Strat, you’ll dig where the DC3 is coming from. Though its offset doublecutaway shape is a break with standard PRS designs, the DC3 has both the familiar excellent playing feel and the sense of being very in-tune as you move around on the bolt-on neck. Beautifully finished in all areas, the DC3 is an easy guitar to get accustomed to. The inviting neck with its rolled over fretboard edges (and scale that’s 1/4" shorter than a Strat’s) is inspiring to play. For a cool visual touch, the black fretboard dots are ringed with a white inlay.

The PRS trem is adjusted to float, and its action is butter smooth. It also stays in tune very well once the strings are stretched. For the DC3 and the NF3, the saddles and other components are made of steel, which improves sustain and contributes to a brighter and more resonant sound.

Sonically, the DC3 takes full advantage of its trio of single-coils. You get the clucky in-between tones in switch positions 2 and 4, and the neck setting has a deep, round voice that sounds great played clean or with a little amp grind. There’s a warm twanginess to the middle pickup, which is cool for blues and R&B rhythm playing, and the bridge setting delivers a gutsy lead tone when pushing a gained-up channel. For browner overdrive textures, a little downward twist of the Tone control answers the call.

There’s much to like about this singlecoil guitar that doesn’t leave humbucker players going, “where’s the beef?” While the DC3 is the closest alternative to a Strat that PRS has made to date, it also has the inherent warmth, tunefulness, and playability that will endear it to a wide variety of players who have always appreciated the attributes of classic PRS humbucker guitars.

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