#1
I'm new to this forum. For 30+ years I played a Hagstrom Swede in my basement, then 2 years ago decided I wanted to get out and join a band. We do a pop/rock/country/blues cover mix. When I turned 50 in March I decided to get myself a present: a brand new PRS-513. I absolutely love the feel, tone and versatility of this instrument - it slam-dunks any cover of a Strat, Tele, LP, you name it, yet does it all with a uniquely bright, rich PRS character all its own.

Only one problem: With the factory installed 0.10 gauge strings, I found the high-E string lacked sustain, while the low-E and A strings were overly boomy such that the walls would vibrate when I was trying to blend in and I'd always have to adjust my attack to compensate depending on which strings I was working. I followed what seemed a logical solution: I mixed strings from 3 gauges, taking the high-E up to 0.11, and the low strings down to a 0.9, so my individual string sizes now are 0.11, 0.13, 0.17, 0.26, 0.32, 0.42. Now the whole fretboard plays with a beautiful dynamic consistency - lots of sustain on top, no boominess on the bottom . I'm a happy camper.

So what's my question? I'm wondering why a high-end PRS might have such an issue in the first place? Could it have something to do with the setup? - the guitar was perfectly tuned when I brought it home, and even after mixing the string gauges it has maintained its tuning (go figure).

Also, I was curious if anyone else has dealt with a similar problem in a similar fashion - after much Googling, I haven't found any mention of it. Is my solution the best approach to the underlying problem? Like I said the dynamic balance is just great now, but it's always good to get opinions from the broader community.

Thanks - Dave
#2
sounds more like a personal preference. lots of people like that heavy ended low end, especially for stuff like metal. therefore they wouldnt do a "custom" setup like you hae, becuase theyre happy withit.
Quote by AlanHB
As for the guitarist being a wanker - he's a guitarist. Get used to it.
#3
It's not necessarily an "issue".

Mahogany is a very dark sounding wood and i think that's what the 513 is made of, and if that's the case then that's what was responsible for the booming sound on the lower strings. Not sure about the top E string and sustain. Obviously, personal preference comes into play to a great extent here, too.

Did you try adjusting the pickup height? i managed to cure my booming sound on the lower strings of my gibson LP by lowing the bass side of the pickups.

But if you're happy with the way you have it now i guess i should say "if it aint broke don't fix it".
I like analogue Solid State amps that make no effort to be "tube-like", and I'm proud of it...

...A little too proud, to be honest.
#4
Yeah, this is pure preference. Just make sure after you change all these gauges, you check the bridge, intonation, all that good stuff and make sure the guitar is set up for this exact custom set up to get the fullest out of it.
ledzeppelin7510 wrote:

come on guys, this could be great for Portnoy; remember when Neil Peart left Rush to join My Chemical Romance? Oh...wait...
#7
So what's my question? I'm wondering why a high-end PRS might have such an issue in the first place? Could it have something to do with the setup? - the guitar was perfectly tuned when I brought it home, and even after mixing the string gauges it has maintained its tuning (go figure).

I’m going to assume you already checked the pickup height, but have you tried playing another PRS-513? If yours is so out of whack you need custom strings to balance the sound it could be a problem with the electronics.
#9
Thanks for the feedback guys - it may just be personal preference, as you say. The boomy bass could also be a factor of my practice room and the band's rehearsal space having similar acoustic bounce at the low end - we play fairly low volume, so it doesn't take much to throw the balance off. Having said that, I've used the custom gauge mix at a gig and didn't find the low-end lacking, so it seems to be a good compromise for different spaces.

Quote by Blompcube
Mahogany is a very dark sounding wood and i think that's what the 513 is made of, and if that's the case then that's what was responsible for the booming sound on the lower strings.
Mahogany back and neck, maple top. It would have been nice to play a couple of 513s to compare overall vs. individual characteristics, but this was the only unit I could find (Ottawa, Ontario). I might look around next time I'm in Toronto to find/play a few other 513s for comparison, just to educate myself some more.

Quote by Blompcube
Not sure about the top E string and sustain

It's most noticeable with the splitter blade in the single-coil position, where it really does a very nice throaty Strat impression. But I've noticed Strats tend to fall off pretty quick on the top-E too, compared with the B, G & D where the quack really cuts through. So the top-E sustain drop seems like it's maybe just a characteristic of single coils? (I've played HBs pretty much all my life.) So here I think for sure my gauge adjustment is a matter of preference - going up to the 0.11 gives the top sting more bite, especially on those full-tone bends above the 12th fret.

Quote by Blompcube
Did you try adjusting the pickup height? i managed to cure my booming sound on the lower strings of my gibson LP by lowing the bass side of the pickups.
I did, but there isn't nearly as much height range on the 513 pickups compared with, say, my Hagstrom; I found it didn't make nearly as much difference as dropping down a gauge.

Quote by Magnificoamar
Just make sure after you change all these gauges, you check the bridge, intonation, all that good stuff and make sure the guitar is set up for this exact custom set up to get the fullest out of it.
I've been trying out the new gauge mix for a couple of weeks just to make sure I like it - and I do - so I'm planning to get it into the shop soon for a proper setup. I think I get at least one free setup in the 1st year with the purchase.

Thanks again for the insights, everyone - Dave