THE EXPERIENCE PRS EVENT LAST SEPTEMBER FEATURED a weekend’s worth of great music, factory tours, clinics, and hands-on demonstrations of the processes that go into making these fine guitars. The event also focused on new product releases, which included six electrics: the DC3, JA-15, McCarty 58, NF3, SC 58, and ME Quatro. The triple-pickup DC3 and NF3, and the archtop JA-15 are truly new designs, while the other three models are essentially upgraded versions of preexisting PRS guitars.
The term “upgraded” is used loosely here, however, as PRS has put a huge amount of effort into creating the best vintagestyle humbuckers possible for these new guitars. To underscore the obsessive nature of this pursuit, PRS even obtained the original machine used to produce coil-winding wire for guitar companies in the 1950s to make the thin copper wire now used for its 53/10, 57/08, 59/09, and 57/08 Narrowfield pickups.
Other new details found on these guitars include the “Pattern” neck shape, which PRS describes as an updated Wide/Fat neck with the “pre factory” profile that Paul Smith used on guitars that he made for Carlos Santana, Howard Leese, and Peter Frampton from the late ’70s to the early ’80s. Then there’s the V12 finish, a formulation developed by PRS that provides the feel and sonic properties of nitrocellulose lacquer, but doesn’t chip or crack when banged into objects or subjected to sudden changes in temperature.
The SC 58 and JA-15 models also feature the new Two Piece adjustable bridge— a machined aluminum answer to the diecast Tune-o-Matic bridge/stop tailpiece setup—that features brass saddles, brass thumbwheels, and brass studs (for the bridge and tailpiece). It’s designed to improve sustain by more efficiently transferring the strings’ vibrational energy to the body.
We tested these guitars in a variety of settings with amplifiers that included a Dr. Z EZG-50 combo, a Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier with matching 4x12 cabinet, and one of the new models introduced at Experience PRS—the Recording Amp—that we alternately ran though a PRS 2x12 cab and a 1x12 Hermit Cab.