McCarty Review

manufacturer: Paul Reed Smith date: 01/13/2010 category: Electric Guitars
Paul Reed Smith: McCarty
The McCarty's wide-fat neck, thicker than standard mahogany body, maple top and nickel silver covered pickups give it a rich, singing sustain and vintage tone. It's thinner headstock, light vintage style tuners and one-piece stoptail bridge all pay homage to the tradition of classic electric guitars.
 Sound: 9.5
 Overall Impression: 9.8
 Reliability & Durability: 9.8
 Action, Fit & Finish: 9.5
 Features: 9
 Overall rating:
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 Users rating:
reviews (4) 25 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9.8
McCarty Reviewed by: doverdog, on june 11, 2007
5 of 5 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Features: I bought this guitar new in early 2001 and the little birth certificate that came with the guitar gave me a born on final assembly date of October 31st, 2000. Scary, huh? The McCarty has 22 frets on a wide fat neck that, for me at least, felt instantly comfortable in my hands. The guitar is has a mahogany body and neck with a solid maple top and rosewood fingerboard. I went with the honeyburst finish but I'm not sure they still offer that color. It has two humbucking pickups with a coil-tap options which splits the coils and essentially gives you two single-coil pickups. There is a single volume and tone control with the tone being the coil tap pot and a three-way selector. The volume knob is in a great position to access for quick volume adjustments and to roll the edge off your overdrive. You can crank the overdrive on your amp and roll off the volume on your guitar and you will clean up your sound with remarkably little tone loss. This lets you cheat a little with the Santana/Buddy Guy method of rolling off the volume and gradually increasing the volume to draw out sustain. The guitar came with a hardshell case made specifically for this model of guitar. If I have to find a fault it would be that the strap buttons are larger than most other guitars so no all straps will fit around the buttons, but really, that's a minor problem that has no effect on the sound or playability of this beast. // 9

Sound: The sound on this baby is like a dream. I have been playing guitar for almost fifteen years and I've owned many, many guitars but this is without a doubt the best of them. I have a simple setup with my McCarty feeding a Rivera Chubster 40 amp via a tube screamer and an old Vox wah pedal. This guitar will go from Tom Petty clean to SRV dirty to screaming leads and overdriven tones. I currently play in a gigging cover band and I've found that while I will always have my Telecaster with me as a backup if I break a string during the set I rarely play anything but my PRS. While it's true the coil-tapped single coil doesn't sound exactly like a Tele/Strat if I wanted that sound, I would play one of those guitars! With this guitar I can go from clean and jangling single coil sounds to a screaming lead tone with the push or pull of the tone dial. It's true the pickups are as hot as perhaps a Les Paul and you don't necessarily get as much crunch as the LP the midrange response and lead tone on this guitar is out of this world. Most people compare this to a Les Paul Standard because it's an easy comparison with price and materials used but I don't think this sounds anything like the LP. That's knocking the Les Paul which is a fantastic instrument but I think this guitar sounds like a PRS! If you can only have one guitar on stage with you I can't think of any other guitar that gives me the richness of tone and versatility of sounds the McCarty allows. This guitar also stays in tune forever! // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: This guitar was the best guitar I've ever played out of the box. Like all my guitars I took the McCarty to my guitar tech for a professional setup. He told me that he adjusted the intonation to match the.10 gauge strings I play but other than that I was told this was the best factory setup he had seen in twenty years of tweaking guitars. There was almost no break-in period with this guitar. I felt almost instantly familiar. The neck is wider than the Tele that had been my primary guitar but it was an easy adjustment to this one. This is a PRS guitar so the worksmanship is without comparison. My guitar is now almost seven years old and the honeyburst finish looks as rich today as it did the day I brought her home. Strap on this guitar on a dark stage and it really jumps out! // 10

Reliability & Durability: As I stated before, I bought this guitar new over six years ago and it still plays like it's Brand New. I play Live 2-3 times per month and I've never had any problems. I wouldn't hesitate to gig with no backup. In fact, my Telecaster rarely sees the (spot)light of day on stage anymore. // 10

Overall Impression: Overall, this is definitely a desert island guitar. I play everything from Beatle-style jangle rock to screaming hot rock. With the combination of these great pickups and the coil-tap option I can't imagine needing anything else. I now the price is steep but it is so worth it. With this guitar I truly feel you get what you pay for. I don't always feel that way about other guitars that are similarly priced. I compared this guitar primarily against the Gibson Les Paul Standard and for me there simply wasn't any comparison. Nothing against the fine Les Paul but this guitar felt so much more natural hanging from my shoulder and in my hands. The price is comparable and the features are awfully similar but the LP lacked the wow factor I still get from this guitar years later. If something happened to this guitar, after I stopped crying, I wouldn't hesitate to buy another one. // 10

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overall: 10
McCarty Reviewed by: rocketj911, on november 28, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Features: If your reading this, your probably a player just as I am, I have been playing and gigging for 44 years and will not bore you with everything I have done in my Quest for sound and I gotta tell you guys this McCarty is the real deal, mine is all gold with birds and looks like a violin finish... it is perfect. // 10

Sound: I played with danny gatton and roy buchannon but I do not have thier skills on fenders and have always preferd a humbuckers sound, which ranges from tony matolla and george benson jazz to raunchy country to everything in between, my main axe for the last 30 years has been a Les Paul Custom, a custom shop Strat, a prs Standard 24 all running thru an echoplex going into an Ampeg piggybacked thru a Marshall (gary moore trick) with an mrx distortion + also about 30 years old, I bought the McCarty because I could not control the wammy bar on the Standard 24 and could not stop breaking strings, so I wanted the stop tailpiece, but would not compromise my sound... // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: This guitar is the holy grail of electric's, it is right in between my old Gibson SG and the les paul I have retired, I think the Gibson distorts and rocks a rats-ass better, but the prs plays jazz better, with the echo set right I kinda get the sound of a 175 or a thick jazz axe, and can get gary moores sound any time and can even Switch over to single coils for a little chicken-pickin country if the song calls for that... it's still not as comfortable as my les paul but I've used that for 30 years so any replacement is going to take time to get used to, but this guitar is the best I have ever played except for the les paul, great action, good controls all in the right place, good tuners, it's a pretty simple set up. // 10

Reliability & Durability: Prs builds great stuff, try this McCarty and then try a new les paul and I'll bet you the prs wins and I'm a die-hard Gibson man, it is now my go-to guitar unless I'm trying to impress young players at mall gigs, then I'll take the les paul to rip off some page stuff and tell the kids gatton set my les paul up better than his. I wish I had this prs when I was doing studio work 30 years ago, it's more versital than anything I have ever played. // 10

Overall Impression: I read a ton of stuff at Harmony central before I bought the McCarty, I suggest you do the same. I have tons of equipment, my biggest problem is hiding all of it from the little lady Who just cannot understand why we need all this stuff, but you guys know. I paid 1, 800 smackers for the guitar and it was perfect out of the case, a 2002 model that had been a case Queen... you can find them much cheaper with Dot inlays and silver hardware, but you guys know they all play the same and sound the same... if you don't have 50 to 100, 000 dollars to spend on a 57 or 58 les paul, this is the guitar for you, it's that f--king good, leave the pickups alone and get a better amp, the pickups are great. I still have the recipt for my les paul, it was 400 bucks with the case in 1978, a new one is 3 grand and I think the prs is better built, and blows away my custom shop Strat. // 10

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overall: 8.6
McCarty Reviewed by: DGrey, on december 18, 2009
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 2200

Features: 1999 Brazilian Rosewood McCarty Doublecut, Flame 10 top. 22 fret PRS wide fat neck, medium frets, Brazilian Rosewood fretboard. Mahogany body, Flame Maple cap. Poly finish. PRS wraparound bridge. Volume, Tone, Three way selector, Coil tap pickups. Came with McCarty pickups. Replaced with Dragon I pickups. Then replaced the Neck with a Bare Knuckles Stormy Monday pickup. Came with Vintage tulip tuners. Replaced with Vintage tulip locking tuners. Hard shell case, spare strings, adjustment Tool. It has a single volume and tone knob, which on this guitar limits your ability to adjust the tone. I also prefer the "modern" PRS locking tuners to the Vintage non locking. Even after replacing them with locking tuners, I am not as enamored of the Vintage tuners. // 8

Sound: It's a good guitar, but I didn't care for the McCarty pickups that well. I tried the Dragon pickups, but the Neck just was not cutting it for lead, so I tried the Bare Knuckles Stormy Monday which seemed much better. It still has a dark tone, even when I split the coils for a more "Strat" like sound. I have a Modern Eagle (see my other review) and I might not be as ambivalant if I didn't have that to compare it to. It does well in low voiced, but can't seem to reach all the bright notes of "Strat voiced" songs. Maybe I could play with more pickups, but from the factory I was not as pleased with what it came with. Amps are a Blonde Fender Tremolux, Rivera M-60, and a heavily modified Peavey Delta Blues. Effects are a Route 66 Overdrive/Compressor, DigiTech Hardwire Chorus and Delay pedals, and a Jimi Hendrix Wah. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: The neck and frets are to die for. I have to take away for the wraparound bridge that doesn't allow you to intonate properly, and makes it difficult to adjust the action on a per string basis. Your only choice is to raise or lower one side of the bridge. This particular guitar has a fret buzz on the low E string, and I think only a new nut is going to fix it. A tune-o-matic style wrap around bridge can resolve the intonation complaint, but still not the ability to raise or lower an individual string action. The body is beautiful. With a 10 top, you should expect this, and it is. After comparing this with the PRS Modern Eagle I have, as well as a Gibson walnut Studio with a satin nitro finish, I think the polyurathane finish definitely takes away from the tone of the guitar (see sound above). // 8

Reliability & Durability: This guitar could withstand a 380 city whirlwind world tour. The hardware is more durable than a ginsu knife and will give a cockroaches a run for they're staying power. Strap buttons are extra large, and I would bet a lot on it. I wouldn't gig without a backup if I could help it, but this is one you'd be willing to take that chance. The finish is tough and would take a lot of work to wear off. Probably more than one lifetime if you're counting normal playing wear. As I have said, it's possibly a downside, but I can't fault the durability. // 9

Overall Impression: Blues, Jazz, Classic Rock. It can do all of that. Not quite so much into the southern rock and strat/tele territory. I gave up on guitar after high school and took a 27 year hiatus, but I've been playing 3 years since picking it back up. The amps and effects already mentioned, Fender M-60, Gibson LP Walnut Studio with burstbuckers, National Resolectric, PRS Modern Eagle, and a Peavey Raptor Strat with Tex-Mex pickups. The rosewood neck is the best feature, it makes it a joy to play. If it were lost or stolen, I'd buy another in a heartbeat, but I'd be more careful about testing it first, and would like one with a Tremelo (even to block it) because I don't much like the fixed wraparound bridges. I think it's much better than Gibson standards, customs, or supremes. It could just be me though. // 9

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overall: 9.6
McCarty Reviewed by: T.O., on january 13, 2010
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 2219

Purchased from: Dallasusedguitar Ebay

Features: The guitar is a PRS McCarty Korina, which of course means that it is a guitar made of solid korina, so is the neck. Korina is a wood that is known both for it light weight and tonal qualities. The guitar is also very well balanced. As said the neck is korina with a Brazilian rosewood fretboard, the inlays are PRS' half moon pearl inlays. The necks profile is wide-fat which feels like eating bacon, with other words fantastic. And the necks finish is stunning. The alternative finishes the guitar comes with are tobacco sunburst, Vintage natural, and Vintage sunburst. The bridge is a easy adjustable stoptail. Overall the guitar is a PRS and what more can I say? It's a brand with quality. The guitar was made in 09, as it said on it's little "birth certificate". Body - Korina Neck - Korina Fret - 22 frets, half moon inlays (abalone birds optional) Fret Wood - Brazilian Rosewood (one of five hundred made on this guitar) Scale Length - 25" Finish - McCarty Tobacco Sunburst (optional (Vintage natural & sunburst) Hardware: Bridge - Stoptail Tuners - Vintage Style-tuners Truss Rod Cover - McCarty Hardware type - - Nickel (optional: Gold) Treble Pickup - McCarty Treble - Passive(covered) Bass Pickup - McCarty Bass - Passive(covered) Pickup Switching - 3-Way Toggle, One Volume and Tone Control (with Coiltap - push/pull) Accessories: Case + All original PRS' "give out papers". The only thing I felt missing, was a strap and cables. Plus that the guitar cases "extra room" had a broken button so that the strap couldn't hold the lid too well. But it still works. // 9

Sound: As said earlier it is a guitar made of korina, and in case you didn't know; korina has an airy mid range to its tone which makes it ideal for blues, jazz and some really nice clean tones and a noticeable difference for the usual mahogany. But then again, this does not mean that it can't play heavier things like hard rock and metal, because on this guitar you can hear every single note on a high distorted amp, with a really nice sound to it as well. The korina also gives a incredible sustain. The pickups compliments each other well, they are very warm and soft, but doesn't lack of brightness and has a really good punch. So I would pretty much say that it is a perfect balance to it. The coiltap also works really well and makes the guitar very versatile. If you want a Fender-like sound, just pull the coil then you got it. I myself play punk, rock, metal, blues and some classic. It covers all of my genres and some more. This guitar is probably the only thing I will ever need when it comes to playing without a tremolo. One thing considering the sound, I'm planning to get the Gibson Dirty Fingers pickup, only because I love them so much. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar came with a factory set up. The gauge on the strings was "tens" and came with the original strings that PRS factory put on. The finish was beautiful, smooth, shiny, no scratches at all and I also get that it compliments my personality. But this is PRS right, it is expected from them and a guitar of this price. The volume and tone knobs are really easy to turn, and the pickup switch is easy accessible with out being in the way as there are some complains about on the single cut PRS' when it comes to tapping. Some people also say that they have problems with their guitar knobs coming of, but this have not been a problem to me. One thing that I had to get used to though, is the coiltap. It was a little bit harder to get a good wrap around it in-the-go, as a "fast switch" between humbucker and singlecoil. If it is because I have small hands or if it is because it was a bit heavier I do not know, but it was something I had to get used to. When it comes to the Vintage style-tuners, I've never had something that stays better in tune. When it came in the mail through a three week travel from the US til Norway, it still was in tune, just some minor adjustments needed to be a standard E. To compare it to tuners people probably know, thinking about grover. I have had grover and I loved them, but those was honestly better. // 10

Reliability & Durability: The guitar is built like a tank, easy as a feather and feels as well as plays like a warm knife through butter. I mentioned earlier that is a instrument that oozes with quality, and it does. I would bet dropping it into the floor would not break it or anything on it. But that does not mean I will try to do it just to test. I have earlier had problems with the straps coming of other guitars and making the guitar fall into the ground *sigh*.. But the PRS' strap buttons are huge. Much larger than the usual strap buttons that comes with any other guitar and makes it hard for the strap to come off. The tuners would easily last a gig without going out of tune, and IF it did, it's very easy to "retune". The pickups are passive which means I do not need to have a extra battery on me. I would say that this guitar is very dependable and that the hardware will last a lifetime. On a gig I would not really need a backup. It is a lifetime warranty on this guitar so the finish is expected to last at least as long. // 10

Overall Impression: Before I bought this guitar I did VERY much research on it, and several other guitars before I decided for this beautiful beast. I feel like this is "THE" guitar. And I probably will have it throughout the warranty. And there is very likely that I will buy more PRS guitars, probably something with tremolo next time. So that I have it, and got EVERYTHING I need on my two guitars. I have been playing for three years, and my style of music is mostly punk, rock and metal, as long as there is some melody to it, but I also enjoy classic music. To mention bands Sum 41, Brown Brigade, Avenged Sevenfold, Orianthi, Red Hot Chili Peppers and more. This is one piece of quality wood that reaches into all of my genres without a problem, and sounds good while playing it. When it comes to play on it, it is pure pleasure doing it. It is as if I am adding extra notes to every single lick I play, because what I played before suddenly just became easier. And all of the frets are very easy accessible without any problems playing on the 12th fret and higher which you got on some guitars, lets say Les Paul for an example. I knew I would have a McCarty or a Double Cut model because I do have a PRS Santana SE, and even though it is a cheap version of the PRS', it is the best feeling I have had playing on a guitar. Things just suddenly became easier. Compared to the Single Cut PRS' with Wide-Thin neck I think is this even more easily played. The equipment I have when I'm in rehearsal is my beloved guitar plugged into a Marshall JCM 2000 DSL 50 with a Marshall 1960 BX cabinet with Celestion greenbacks (G12M) and it just sounds plain awesome! Raw horse power! And the same when I am home with my guitar plugged into my Boss GT-10. It blows my two other guitars PRS Santana SE, and LTD Viper 500s out of the way with ease. Short and well; I am satisfied. If it was lost or stolen, I would probably go into a fetus-position until I got my self together, then I would track down whatever maniac stole the guitar and write him a angry note. I would definitely get a new one of the same, even though it is not likely since its only 500 made. // 10

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