Saturday, March 28, 2009

Guitar Next Door: 2008 PRS Mira

Paul Reed Smith (PRS) one of the top three guitar makers is known for its exacting attention to detail. The new Mira is a variant on the Custom 24, the core of the PRS line. This 2008 black Mira with bird inlays is today’s Guitar Next Door.

This example has the abalone bird inlay option, locking tuners, mahogony body and neck, stoptail bridge, and volume and tone control with a three way blade switch & a coil splitter. Initial try out of this guitar was through a Marshall DSL 401.

First impressions are light weight and a great fit. The stoptail bridge along with the glued neck produces great tone and sustain. I've played several different PRS guitars and they never feel quite right. Something about this body style variant works for me. Great reach to the high frets like an SG and it can create the same humbucker crunch through its pickup arrangement.

Here are the various settings:

Mini Toggle Switch Up
Three-Way Up - Base Single Coil
Three-Way Middle - Both Single Coils
Three-Way Down - Treble Singlecoil

Mini Toggle Switch Down
Three-Way Up - Bass Mumbucker
Three-Way Middle - Both Humbuckers
Three-Way Down - Treble Humbucker

The pickups have a classic tone and you can produce any sound you want between these switch settings and tweaking your amp. Guitar hobbyists of a certain generation may automatically gravitate to the classic body styles that have been around since the 50s and may not give one of these a second glance on the rack. Pick one up and give a try anyway and you'll be surprised!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Technology Keeps You Current on the Future and the Past

Social stereotypes say that people in my age bracket need a simple “help, I’ve fallen and can’t get up” phone with big buttons. I bucked stereotype and upgraded to an iPhone courtesy of accumulated travel award points. A few minutes with the music features and I was immediately transported back to fond memories of the “Sound Lab” I enjoyed aboard ship during my stint in the Navy.

The sound lab was a small compartment aboard ship where you could make a reservation, bring some blank cassettes (this was the 70s), and record what you wanted from a large selection of current and classic music. How great is that? This was on the up and up though as each recording made was logged by an on duty attendant for royalty purposes.

Why use of iTunes and a standard iPod never made me think of the sound lab is curious. I can only attribute it to the complete freedom afforded by high bandwidth for mobile devices; basically you see a song and download it wherever you are. Although the sound lab was a much lengthier analog process it seemed equally liberating at the time.

I celebrated the flashback by downloading Nazareth “Close Enough for Rock and Roll” and Thin Lizzy “Jailbreak”; the first two Sound Lab recordings I made aboard ship. This was not all about dwelling in the past though. I found an app called Shazam that “listens” to a track, figures out the song, and provides links so you can download it right then and there; they are still making great music out there.

Technology has no age limit and it will keep you moving forward while reconnecting to the past.