#1
I play mostly blues rock and classic rock and am ready to upgrade my guitar. I use a MIM Strat that I have had for 5 years or so, and want something that sounds and feels better. The new PRS S2's have me interested. Anyone played one? I've also looked at Gibson nighthawks, Carvins, and USA Strats. I could just upgrade my current strat with some new pickups. Do you guys think that a MIM strat with aftermarket pickups would sound as good as an American made one in this price range?
#2
Your amp defines your sound more than pickups- what are you playing through right now?
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#3
I have a digitech rp500 going through a fender superchamp xd. I know that the pedal doesn't quite sound as good as just through a real tube amp, but I like the diversity it gives.
#4
I wouldn't waste money on a new guitar. With fender it's the quality control the you need to look at certain american made guitar's will having shockingly basic factory issues like fret's sprouting and the neck being misaligned while certain mim guitars will be perfect and feel great & vice versa.
#5
So do you think my best bet is just to upgrade my pickups? I still have the stock ones in.
#6
Quote by ahappysloth
I wouldn't waste money on a new guitar. With fender it's the quality control the you need to look at certain american made guitar's will having shockingly basic factory issues like fret's sprouting and the neck being misaligned while certain mim guitars will be perfect and feel great & vice versa.

I don’t know about that, I have had 3 MIM Stratocasters and they were all fine guitars but the neck feel can’t compare to my US made highway one Stratocaster. I guess all the fender necks are made in California, yes even the ones that they ship to Mexico for final assembly. They do put extra labor into finishing the necks that will go on US Stratocasters and I can really feel the rolled edges on the US necks.

I am no US guitar snob and I think the Mexican Strats are great guitars for the money. My go to guitar right now is a Mexican Stratocaster that I have put US noiseless pickups in and worked the rough edges out of the neck so that I am happy with it.

With the US Stratocasters (at least the budget ones) you are paying about $100 because the guitar is made in the USA and about $250 because it has more finishing and set up time put into it.
#7
To answer your original question..."Maybe." Changing pickups can change a guitar's sound quite a bit. However, MiM Strats are actually pretty decent guitars, especially when you consider their price.

What kind of budget are you working with, and what are your sonic goals?
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Aug 30, 2013,
#8
I like the feel of my MIM, but it is nothing compared to some American ones I've tried. However, I have a strat, so I was looking for something a little different if I upgrade.
#9
Do you want another Strat-style guitar, but better? A different tone? Both? A different body style? New or used? Where do you live (it can affect availability & price)?

The more you tell us, the more we can help!
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#10
Alright thank you guys! I live in Chattanooga Tennessee, and I do love the convenience of the strat-style double cuts. I want something that has the playability of a strat but with a warmer, chunkier tone. Something that can cut through the mix, but still has that thick sound. It seems like a prs or an sg would be right up my ally, however I don't like the thick sg neck. I would like to keep it between $1000-$1500, which limits my prs options to the new S2's or used. New or used doesn't really matter, but if used I would definitely love to play it first. I might would have already bout an S2, but my local GC has not gotten any in stock. 24 frets would be nice, but its not a requirement. Oh, and I like humbuckers.
#11
Also, some of my favorite artists include Queen, Aerosmith, And Van Halen.
And I'm fairly indifferent about a trem system/stop tail. I've heard good things and bad things about both.
#12
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Aug 31, 2013,
#13
The sensai, dragonfly, and the carvins have me interested. The features, especially the sustainer, on the dragonfly are cool, but they seem like they might be a bit much honestly. The sensai looks pretty sweet, but I have never seen a reverend, much less played one. Same goes for carvin. I have looked on their website pretty extensively, and I can custom build one with all the bells and whistles right in my price range. The only problem with carvin is that a lot of the reviews say they have bad electronics, and I would prefer to not have to change everything out. Have you played many/any of these?
#14
In fairness, it isn't that Carvins have bad electronics. They don't. What they have is vanilla, mid-level, average output pickups, and a lot of people dogging them on that front are expecting high-end pickups...often high-output passives. While I don't own a Carvin myself, I know a lot of people who do, and are blissfully happy with them. Stock Note: none of them are playing metal- they're all blues/classic rock/jazz guys.

In all honesty, were I to buy a Carvin, such as the SH550, I probably would change the pickups. Not because I'd have to, but because I think a SH550 would be a KILLER with some TV Jones pickups in it.

As for Reverends, you're pretty much NOT going to see one in person. They're a small company. I live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and I only know of one dealer selling new Reverends. Those who live in Detroit- where they are based- may have a different perspective...but then, they live in Detroit.

I own a Reverend Flatroc myself, and am expecting a Roundhouse (discontinued model) I won on eBay to arrive sometime next week. I'm also eyeing a couple more online. for the most part, they're solid, solid rock & roll guitars, voiced for everything short of heavier metal genres. However, some of the ones equipped with the new Railhammer Chisel or Anvil pickups can do that stuff as well.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Aug 31, 2013,
#15
I'm glad to hear that about the carvins. Although I do enjoy the occasional shredding, I would much prefer a bluesier tone. I assume you like reverends, considering that you have/are getting a few. Do you think that either company has any big advantages over the other? I had never heard of reverends until a few days ago, so my knowledge is extremely limited on them.
#17
Carvin, like Agile and US Masters, deliver customizability at a very good price. Agile rules the US market for customizable guitars under $800, Carvin and US Masters take it from there to about $2250.

I'm not saying they're the best guitars in those price ranges. What I'm saying is that all of those companies give you more quality per dollar spent than other manufacturers factoring in that they're delivering you a customized product. They give you options + quality for a price you simply don't see from the big makers's custom shops.

(In fact, you can do just as well- in the USA, at least- buying from some one-man/small luthierie companies...but you have to find them, first.)

As for Reverends, they popped up on my radar a couple years ago, but I never saw one in person until December 2012. They impressed me so much because they do a lot of things right...for the business AND the consumer.

They use a good Korean manufacturer, and then do final setup in the USA. Every Reverend passes through the hands of just a few key people in the USA- as I recall, one or 2 testers and the company owner, Joe Naylor.

Looking at their specs, many of their guitars have similar or identical features, np meaning there is less that can go wrong in the manufacturing and QC stages. For example, the bolt-ons all have essentially the same neck profile & radius, and the set-necks are likewise identical to each other. That keeps costs down and quality up, and if you like the way one Rev's neck feels, you're probably going to like them all.

Also common to all Reverends are korina body wood and the bass contour control. The wood delivers a good tone and by using only that wood, they can closely monitor its quality. The bass contour gives tonal flexibility beyond what you'd normally expect. Coupled with the traditional Tone control, it is almost like having an "analog" coil split as you can gently alter the full range of your pickups' output.

They have a few unique pickup designs, and they spread them out over most of their body shapes.

For the most part, their guitars don't look like anyone else's. They have a V, of course. And they had an LP and SG design in the past- the discontinued Roundhouse and the Daredevil, respectively- and they have some sig models that look like Teles or singlecut hollowbodies. But the rest of the lineup is distinctive enough that, even if it echoes some other design, they remain identifiable as Revs.

Long story short: I won't say they're the best Korean made guitars in the world, but Reverends are at least as good as any other I've tried, and better than most.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Sep 1, 2013,
#18
Well thank you very much Mr. Alcatraz! I think I'm going to go with Carvin. You have been a huge help and I greatly appreciate it.
#19
And DO make sure that you check their guitars in stock (that second Carvin link)- sometimes they have stuff that is really cool and without all the bells & whistles you'd be tempted to get if you went through the whole custom order process...and thus, a slightly better deal.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!