Eager to try out the exclusive electronics, I setup a rig consisting of a 20th Anniversary Bogner 2x12 cabinet and an original 1970 Orange Overdrive 80 head. Vintage Orange amps are commonly associated with Sabbath-esque grind, yet I’ve found that this one is capable of so much more, ranging from cutting cleans to a fuzzed-out drive, similar to that which made T-Rex’s Marc Bolan’s guitar tone famous (think “Baby Boomerang”).
With a light overdrive dialed in and a generous use of fast, jazzy chord work, the DC 245 rang, sang and snarled. Dialing up the drive for more biting tones helped me understand just why these pickups are restricted to only a handful of guitars: they’re utterly fantastic. The midrange response from the pickups is very soft, but each frequency is audible and discernable, making them rather difficult to muddy up. Combined with tight, blooming lows and a very unique, singing high end, the whole package is just extraordinary. I try to refrain from making huge blanket statements when writing a review, but I have to give credit where credit is due: these are some of the best humbuckers I’ve encountered on the market today.
The volume balance between the two was even, and bold tones could be coaxed while both pickups were active, but I longed, only slightly, for a little more bite from the neck pickup. While the pickup is unquestionably no slouch, I’m still searching for the tone that I got from the neck position from an old 1969 Gibson Les Paul Custom that I used to have. Even though it wasn’t a PAF, it was still rather low output (around 7.8k) and had a massive, piano-like quality to it.
While the 1957/2008 combo is obviously a winner in pretty much every sense of the word, the combination of the exceptional build quality and components of the guitar are truly what make it outstanding. The playability, smooth action, comfortable neck, perfect weight, just everything about this guitar was beyond reproach.
The Final Mojo
Before I conclude with this writeup, I’d like to point out that for years, I haven’t really been a PRS player. Sure, since the moment that I laid eyes on one years ago I was entranced by how beautiful they are, and some of the tones that I’ve heard from them have been otherworldly. Yet after sitting down with them several times over the years, I just kept going back to my old Les Paul or a Tele, which are much more familiar to me. Guitarists are a finicky bunch, and I’m indeed one of them. After playing this McCarty, however, I don’t know if I can go back. I completely clicked with this guitar. The unique, yet vintage tones of the pickups, spot on intonation and playability, and fantastic looks to boot just made it impossible to resist. It is, in my opinion, an extraordinary tribute from one visionary to another.
you want exceptionally warm, vintage tones with a unique voicing.
more modern tones are desired.