05 November 2012

Guitars: PRS 513 Rosewood

Introduction

This entry was already published during September 2009 in my old Spanish version of this blog. I am just revisiting it here.


Presentation

The guitar comes in a hardcase, well designed with a lot of storage space. All the typical goodies are inside (manual, tools, stickers, certificates...).
You open the hardcase and the guitar smells to quality by all sides. I've had Fenders' and Gibson's but, this PRS seems to be one or two steps higher in finish.

The luthiery work is impressive. Frets are well leveled and sanded, nothing messing you were walking the fretboard.
The Rosewood neck and fretboard are gorgeous, really beautiful.
The locking tuning keys are very easy to use. You lock and unlock them with the help of a coin.
The tuning stability is impressive. This guitar stays in tune for long long time.
It has a fat neck profile, some kind of "baseball" one but, it's easier to play than any LP or Strato, to my taste.
The golden hardware is something I usually don't like on guitars, because it usually make them to look like toy guitars but, at least, this gold plated hardware is of quality.
Neck and fretboard aren't covered with any kind of paint or clear lack, they need a bit of oil from time to time to restore their gorgeus look.

Controls are the tricky side of this guitar. It loads 5 single-coil pickups, in some kind of HSH layout.
Each "virtual" humbucker can be arranged in 3 different ways: full humbucker, half humbucker and single coil split. To do that, the 513 loads two blade switches, the typical 5-way that any strato has and one more 3-way switch to select the humbucker modes.
One master volume and tone knobs complete the electronics layout.

Currently, this guitar is out of production. PRS is offering the PRS 513 Mahogany where every wooden part is made of Mahogany. The PRS 513 Rosewood is the model with neck and fretboard made of Brazilian Rosewood. A wood that Brazil forbidden to export to USA and, that PRS is currently using just from their own stock only for their high end guitars (Private Stock).
This model was produced only during the years 2004 to 2006 (were it was discontinued) and, I bought her second hand.


Playing it

I would say that this guitar has the faster fretboard of all my guitars. The first month was a bit hard to play, since I had all my guitars loaded with strings of 0.09" gauge, while the 513 comes stock with 0.10". Some pain on my left hand, after hard bending the strings but, where I was familiar and comfortable with 0.10" strings, I have changed the strings in the rest of my guitars to 0.10" (except for the Floyd Rose one, where I still have 0.09").

So, first warning for you is strings gauge. If you aren't used to 0.10" you will probably suffer a bit at the beginning, since strings seem to maintain a big tension, making hard extreme bendings (currently, it's easier than in my 0.10" loaded strato!).

Second thing that worried me at the beginning was the profile of the neck, that seemed to me really fat. But, while to be used to 0.10" strings took a while, to comfortably play this fretboard was instantly easy.
I was surprised to feel how nice the fretboard can be walked up and down, taking into account the fat profile of the neck. After the Ibanez JEM7VWH and the Red Special, this is probably the fastest fretboard I ever played. Probably, the fretboard radius, together with the neck profile and nice fretting work do the trick.

Third thing that called my attention was that additional 3-way blade switch to select the humbucker mode, until I went familiar with it.
Up, you are selecting full humbucker mode for neck or bridge pickup, depending on which position is involved in the classic 5-way switch. Full humbucker mode is some kind of high gain humbucker, delivering a creamy, thick, compressed and high gain sound.
Middle, you are selecting half humbucker. I think, both single pickups are tapered so, you are putting both pickups in series but, using their tappers. The resulting sound is more PAF-alike, very useful for classic rock and hard rock tones.
Single mode is selecting just one of those pickups (and probably tapered) and, delivers real "Strato" tones, because we are having here a real single coil pickup, with their vertical magnetic rods. Despite of the warmer coloration that the woods give, the sound as close as you can imagine to an Strato sound.

Unplugged, the wood resonates with warm, gorgeous and round (perfect?) sound, full of harmonics content, full body and silky warm.

Plugged and paired with a good amp, the guitar is so versatile that can cover practically any territory. You can deal with high gain stuff, classic rock and even the chime and bells of an strato, just switching the coils selector. Probably, the most versatile guitar I know and, the most versatile I have.

The tremolo bridge is vintage alike so, don't expect to be able to do extreme bombings or high pitches. It's more close to an strato bridge than to a floyd rose bridge. But, for what is was designed to do, it's doing it well, with good stability and without detuning the guitar (the locking keys help to achieve it, as well).


Video

I really never did an in depth video around this guitar but, the one I did more close to a review / demo is the next one:



And, this one was a recording (with Amplitube) for a contest (just for fun):




Conclusion

Probably the most versatile guitar I know and, the most versatile I have. A pleasure to play and, delivering good tones in each mode, from strato-like chime bells to high gain thick and compressed stuff.
If it had a Floyd Rose tremolo (while delivering same tones) would be simply perfect.
The drawback is the price. PRS stuff is always expensive and, a model loading Rosewood neck and fretboard is even more expensive. I broke my credit card for this one and took me two years to balance it but, I am now poor and happy.

I would not recommend it to everyone. Honestly, I think this guitar can be of great help to an Studio Professional Player (not my case). I went crazy with her. What else can I say!.

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