PRS''s Modern Eagle II, though pretty, is more than a pretty face when plugged in
|Download Example 1|
Bridge pickup being rolled up to show taper and gain as it goes to 10.
|Download Example 2|
The typical rolled off tone and neck pickup.
|Download Example 3|
Some single note stuff on the bridge pickup showcasing the gorgeous bloom and color of those killer 1957/2008 pickups.
|The clips were all played through a '65 Marshall JTM 45 into an early seventies Orange 4x12 with blackback 25s. Mic'd up with a 57 and a Neumann M149 in omni.|
Knowing that the Modern Eagle II was going to be showing up to review, I wanted to do some research and get a feel for what to expect. What started as a quick trip to the PRS website, several discussion forums and YouTube turned into a multi-day, in-depth lesson on all things PRS. This included watching and reading interviews with Paul, following discussions on the history of PRS guitars, checking out video of the 2008 Experience PRS event and a lot more. It became apparent that for all these years I was missing out on something very special. The heart, commitment and dedication to pushing forward and creating an instrument that exceeds the sum of the parts was both humbling and exhilarating to learn about. By the time the Modern Eagle II arrived, I was ready and excited to check it out.
The reviewed MEII features a highly figured curly maple top with mahogany back and a high gloss nitro finish in what PRS calls “Faded Blue Jean.” It sports a 25” scale length (right in between Gibson and Fender) with a black rosewood 22-fret neck and fingerboard that is decorated with green abalone bird inlays and iridescent paua heart centers. The neck profile is both wide and fat, giving the neck substance and comfort with easy access all the way up to the 22nd fret. The bridge is PRS’s own stoptail that allows for individual string intonation adjustments, as well as two screws for overall adjustment. Tuners are 14:1 Phase II low mass locking grommet style, and the pickups are the newly introduced 1957/2008 treble and bass pickups, which are wound at PRS with original pickup wire used in 1957 on our favorite humbucker from that era. Finally, there is a volume and tone control with 3-way toggle pickup selector and nickel hardware. This is a nicely appointed guitar.
If first impressions count, PRS made sure they hit a home run. Right out of the shipping box, I was blown away when an ultra-sexy, tan suede guitar case revealed itself. There are guitar cases and there is art, and this case is a work of art. I mean, it could be the perfect companion to a nice tan suede jacket I have in my closet! The inside was no less impressive with a crushed red velvet interior and snug fit for the MEII. Pulling the guitar out of the case I was struck by the impeccable quality and beauty, right down to the last detail. Everything was tight and balanced. Though the MEII has a rosewood neck and fingerboard (yes, a rosewood neck!), the balance is dead-on. Usually with a wood as heavy as rosewood I’d expect a neck-heavy instrument that didn’t hang properly on a strap or continuously dropped when sitting down to play. That was certainly not the case on this one.
The build quality of the MEII was the highest I’ve ever encountered in a guitar—there wasn’t a flaw to be found anywhere. From the perfectly cut nut to the fret installation and dressing to the design of the bridge, everything has a feeling of solid quality. It’s clear that every part of this guitar was planned and tested to create the ultimate instrument. With a rosewood neck, rather than the typical mahogany or maple, I expected a neck-heavy and dark sounding guitar. Nothing could be further from the truth, but I’ll get to that in just a minute. The finish was impeccable and revealed all the beautiful figuring in the curly maple top just like I’d seen before in other PRS guitars. The only thing that was different this time around is that I had time to hang out with the guitar and admire the workmanship and killer finishing.
I had a chance to run the MEII through its paces in a variety of settings, including the studio I’ve used for the past several years on all of the Guitar Hero sessions (Crush Recording). At this point, I know that room, the cabs and the amps and how they respond to guitars very well. It was evident from the first note that the MEII is a winner. The first amp I plugged into was a 1965 Marshall JTM 45 with EL34s and a late-sixties Marshall 4x12 cab with original GH12-30 speakers. This is my starting point for all my tests these days because I can always get a reliable and killer tone out of it. Compared to the more pronounced midrange bite of a Les Paul, the MEII has a very evenly voiced sound that can swing widely in tone just by working with the three basic components (volume, tone and pickup selection). I actually found myself rolling back the volume and tone to settings I’d never dream of normally choosing because they were so reactive. The classic “woman tone,” achieved by rolling the tone off and using the neck pickup, still had a clarity on the lowest notes (that seemed impossible), and with the tone and volume on full in the bridge position, even the highest notes on the neck didn’t bite my head off.
Something very special is going on with the 1957/2008 pickups. They offer the classic PAF tone with just a bit more beef and fullness while still retaining great clarity and string-to-string definition. It was scary to admit that these pickups sounded better than the real ’58 PAF that was in my Les Paul. Sure, they were in a different guitar, but it was clear that they offered every bit as much of that elusive silkiness and fire, but with just more of everything that is good. PRS actually has a machine that made wire for PAFs back in the day (note: the machine that made the wire is not the same machine that wound the pickups). They also have the same material and wire with enough to make these pickups for decades! No doubt when word gets out about the 1957/2008’s there will be a secret society of those who were able to find a loose one pulled from one of these guitars. One could only be so lucky.
The neck feel was perfect for me. It had the familiar thickness of a late-fifties Les Paul but with a flatter radius that felt very comfortable in just about every position. The intonation was also dead on—in fact, the guitar was in tune when it arrived! I particularly admired the stoptail bridge, another work of art that was functional and toneful. Most of the time with that style of bridge, I find there are areas that just aren’t in tune; no matter how you adjust them, they don’t work for everything. The one thing I noticed that was a little odd was that the volume pot seemed looser than the tone pot. It had an easiness to it that felt too slick, while the tone pot had just the right amount of resistance, making it feel solid. I wonder if that had anything to do with the type of pot they used for both, or if it was just an anomaly with this guitar. Either way, it had no effect on the sound or taper, so it’s not a big deal.
With a list price of $7000 this guitar does not come cheap. That said, you get what you pay for, and I think this may be the first time I’ve felt that a guitar was worthy of a price tag in that range. Because of the incredible attention to detail, flawless construction, killer tone and a case that should be on display, it’s hard for me to find anything but good in the MEII. For those who have been awaiting this updated Modern Eagle, start saving your money, because this will most certainly fulfill your expectations and desires.
you want beauty, top-notch construction and killer tone.
you need to start putting money away for a new car.
MSRP $7080 - PRS - prsguitars.com
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Looking for a compact, “noiseless” way to plug in and play guitar? Check out the brand-new Gibson Digital Amp, available only in the Gibson App.
The new Gibson App simplifies the learning process and brings guitar playing to life for the current and next generation of guitarists in a modern, comprehensive, and intuitive way. The Gibson App is the place to take your guitar playing to the next level. New to the Gibson App is the Gibson Digital Amp, the ultimate starting amplifier for beginners and a flexible amp on-the-go for intermediate players and pros to get their sound anywhere. The Gibson Digital Amp is an accessible amplifier for both acoustic and electric guitars, and is currently available for Apple/iOS users--an Android version will debut next year.
Use the Gibson Digital Amp’s jamming guide to get started and transform your sound with built-in effects and pedals, jam to backing tracks, or use it in lessons and songs. The Gibson Digital Amp only requires your phone, and wired headphones for the best playing experience, no cables are needed. The amp features 3 acoustic mic presets, 4 electric amp presets, and 6 effects pedals.
The Gibson Digital Amp is the ultimate starting amplifier for beginners and a flexible amp on-the-go for intermediates and pros.
The Gibson App uses a unique two-way, interactive platform to teach guitar students how to do everything from playing their first note to shredding loads of songs. The Gibson App features interactive lessons with thousands of lessons and songs. Learn the songs step-by-step with video tutorials from superstar artists and pro guitarists in the “Gibson App Guide.” The Gibson App also includes the new Digital Amp, a built-in tuner, a metronome, Gibson TV, and new songs are added every week. New Gibson App Guides are added regularly and include Tommy “Spaceman” Thayer’s favorite iconic KISS guitar solos, Richie Faulkner’s (Judas Priest) “Guide to Metal,” Jared James Nichols’ “Guide to Blues,” CELISSE’s “Guide to Songwriting,” and more.
The Gibson App uses “audio augmented reality” to provide dynamic feedback to students as they learn and play. As you pluck a note or strum a chord, the Gibson App listens to your guitar and gives you real-time feedback on your playing. It also gives students a more contextual learning experience: Instead of learning chords and scales in a vacuum, you’re able to practice on a scrolling tablature that lets you hear how you sound with the backing of a virtual band. That means you can load up “Hurt” by Johnny Cash, “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison, “American Girl" by Tom Petty, “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica, “Where is My Mind" by Pixies, “Country Roads” by John Denver, “I Hate Myself For Loving You" by Joan Jett, “Heaven” by Kane Brown, “Shape Of You” by Ed Sheeran, “Killer Queen” by Queen,“ Sweet Child O’ Mine,” by Guns ‘N Roses, “Run to the Hills” by Iron Maiden, “Roxanne” by The Police, and “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “The Man Who Sold the World” by Nirvana, “Are You Gonna Go My Way” by Lenny Kravitz, and “Don't Look Back In Anger” by Oasis and hundreds more songs in a wide range of genres, to see how your play matches up with such seminal tracks.
As you’re playing, the Gibson App gives you feedback on timing and tone, ensuring that students are getting active input on how their play is developing. The Gibson App appeals to players of all levels, it’s not just for beginners looking to learn a few chords; the app can assist seasoned guitarists who are working their way through difficult riffs, want to learn their favorite songs, or polish their advanced techniques.
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Learn Guitar With The Gibson App
The Gibson App is more than a pocket-sized guitar teacher, it’s loaded with an archive of exclusive content and original programming from its premium and accessible award-winning online network, Gibson TV, featuring music icons telling their best guitar stories, with more episodes and installments added regularly. Users can watch Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi share insights and tales from his decades-long career on the series “Icons,” dive into Joe Bonamassa’s assortment of legendary Les Paul guitars on “The Collection,” or see how Gibson’s iconic instruments are made in their Nashville factory from body to binding on “The Process.” There’s even a series called “The Scene” that focuses on backstage stories from hallowed music venues from coast to coast like The Troubadour and Grand Ole Opry.
The Gibson App free version features a few lessons a day; the premium version of the Gibson App offers full access and a 14-day free trial, then costs $19.99/£16.49 monthly or $119.99/£98.99 yearly.
For more information, please visit gibson.com.
This pickup captures the clear, bell-like single-coil chime of a classic P-90 when played clean and retains the tight mids and articulate low-end vintage growl and smooth sustain saturation when pushed into overdrive.
Belltone Guitars, as part of their Custom-Select System curated offering of pickups, has partnered McNelly pickups to create a one-of-a-kind retro-vibe P-90 pickup in the standard Filtertron size format. This pickup captures the clear, bell-like single-coil chime of a classic P-90 when played clean and retains the tight mids and articulate low-end vintage growl, and smooth sustain saturation when pushed into overdrive.
The McNelly P-90 Foil-Coil comes housed in a ‘raw’ nickel outer casing with a dull nickel foil face with metal mount screw gromets to complete the ‘new-vintage’ aesthetic, making it a perfect choice for your signature Belltone custom build. Available exclusively through Belltone Guitars.
Check out the Custom-Select System belltoneguitars.com to preview the McNelly P-90 Foil-Trons and all our standard and selectable components available to create your own signature Belltone. Then visit the Dream Lab on our website and select either model B-Classic ONE with its top binding or B-Classic TWO with its arm and body contours select your body color from our wide range of offerings, select your neck profile of either standard ‘C’ or thicker ’59 Round Back and either Maple or Rosewood fingerboard followed by your tuners, pickguard, and strings. Finally, review our curated custom-designed, and unique pickup selection to locate the McNelly P-90 Foil-Trons to complete your signature build.
Builds start at just over $2,300.00 with a custom case and shipping included.
For more information, please visit belltoneguitars.com.
McNelly P 90 Foil Tron video Sep27
Belltone P-90 Foil-Tron Pickup
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses.
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the release of the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses. The new Relentless P and Relentless J series pickups feature the Relentless cover designed in collaboration with Billy Sheehan.
As with the Relentless pickups, we removed all the hard edges from the standard P Bass and standard J Basspickups, and added an arch to the top of the pickups to bring the sensing coils and pole pieces closer to the strings. These improvements increase the dynamic range and make active circuitry unnecessary.
The Relentless P and Relentless J pickups incorporate Neodymium magnets and produce 70 percent more output than traditional passive pickups, and they’re dead quiet due to the incorporation of metal covers and foil-shielded cables. To dial in (or fine-tune) the individual string output, the Relentless P and Relentless J include eight adjustable pole pieces. These pickups also have a broad magnetic field so you can even bend notes without volume dropout.
DiMarzio’s extra shielding makes the Relentless P and Relentless J better for both recording and stage performances. We’ve mounted them onto robust .09375” thick circuit board base plates to eliminate the annoying protruding mounting screws — ultimately creating a more comfortable and consistent foundation to rest your fingers on.
The new Relentless P steps beyond the traditional P-Bass sound and can only be described as massive. It has more of everything: more volume, beefier lows, a growling midrange, and crispy highs with better individual string definition.
The Relentless J incorporates a new invention, (patent pending) parallelogram-shaped coils, offering an expanded mid-range punch, snappy highs, precise lows, and a new dimension to the sound of the Relentless series pickups.
Relentless P and Relentless J pickups will breathe new life into any bass, increase playability, and work well for any style of music from Motown to metal.
DiMarzio’s Relentless P, Relentless J Bridge, Relentless J Neck, and Relentless J pair are made in the U.S.A. and may now be ordered for immediate delivery.
Suggested List Price for the Relentless P is $169.00 (MAP $119.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Bridge and Relentless J neck is $155.00 (MAP $109.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Pair is $296.00 (MAP 209.99).
For more information, please visit our website at dimarzio.com.