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Maybe I can’t say this used, 2011, PRS Swamp Ash Special Narrowfield is mint, as new, or in showroom condition, but it is very very clean – As such you’ll have to search that black V12 finish very carefully to find any hint of a  graze or blemish – You’ll find many ‘new’ guitars on dealers walls that are not in as good as condition  as this PRS, so please don’t get hung up about the merest hint of a blemish, if you indeed can find one – Complete with the deluxe PRS case + relevant tag – It has spent a short time on my bench to receive a new set of 10 gauge strings and to check the set-up – Weight watchers will love the fact that it sits on my scales at only 6lbs and 14oz – Play it unplugged and you’ll hear a natural vibrant acoustic voice

Click here and check out Dave Burrluck’s review of the Swamp Ash narrowfield, courtesy of Guitarist Magazine

As a simple overview, many guitars fall into 2 categories – On one hand you have the glued in mahogany neck and body format, as favoured by Gibson and indeed most PRS Guitars, which will deliver warm  fat tones, with great sustain – On the other hand, you have the bolt-on maple neck format, favoured by Fender and now used by the likes of Anderson, Ibanez and Suhr, to deliver a far more lively and crisp tone with less mids – Therefore when PRS launched a guitar, with a carved swamp ash body, married to a bolt-on maple neck, you know that before you even plug it in, you have an instrument that is going to possess a lively vibe that reminds you of a Fender Strat – The original PRS Swamp Ash started to take us down this Fender-esq corridor, yet whilst it was, or still is, a very versatile instrument, it never quite had enough of those single coil classic Strat based tones – So has the Swamp Ash Special with Narrow Field 57/08 pick-ups taken us a big step closer ? – A resounding Yes !!!! is the answer – However a Strat Killer it ain’t, but I’ll give you a very good reason why and that is because I don’t know what a Strat killer is – What Strat are you trying to kill – The lively crisp nature of a Strat achieved by blending a light weight swamp ash body, with a maple neck/fingerboard, or the darker voice found from a Strat that utilises an alder body, along with a chunky slab of rosewood for the fingerboard, hence increased mids – Do you see what I mean, in that there is not a definitive Strat tone to kill when you get down to the finer detail, but what you do have is a guitar with a very strong Strat vibe – That Strat vibe now encapsulates so many variations and so many different guitar players have differing opinions as to which they prefer, so different, is the key word, not better or worse – Again let me give you my comment, in that Hank Marvin, Dave Gilmour and Jimi Hendrix all play Strats, yet all sound so different, so getting back to my first comment regarding the Swamp Ash Special not being a Strat Killer, still holds

To discover the first tonal evaluation of this new updated Swamp Ash Special then click here and watch a demo of this guitar, courtesy of  Davy Knowles – At least you’ll now start to get an understanding of the tonal qualities that are available to you from the Narrow Field Pick-ups – I tend to feel that on this particular demo, that the tone is a touch bright or sharp, so for a softer texture, simply roll off the tone pot just a touch, until you find that sweet spot – This is good, as you can’t add that spanky crisp vibe if it ain’t there, but if it is there, then you can always reduce it a touch as required

The Narrow Field Pick-ups are effectively ‘squashed’ humbuckers, based on the 57/08 humbuckers, that can now be found on so many other PRS models, yet by placing the 2 coils of the humbucker much closer together and playing around with different magnets, you now have a set of noise cancelling pick-ups, that sound like a Strat on steroids – A bright crisp sounding humbucker, or a big and fat sounding Strat pick-up, with hints of a P90 are all characteristics of the Narrow Field Pick-up – More body and depth, yet clear lows, plenty of crisp poppin highs, loads of that classic snap and attack coupled with incredible dynamics – All in a package that is very musical sounding and via the Strat-esq 5 way switch, you’ll get to hear those 2 classic ‘out of phase’ voices – Add to this a master volume plus tone pot, that both work effectively across the whole 1-10 spectrum – As such you are now left with a very versatile package – Set the amp up with a sensible level of overdrive, so that as you roll of the volume pot, it will clean up for those chilled out jazz/blues passages – I think it is fair to say, that many Strat based guitars are capable of producing a good tone from the neck pick-up, yet I find many Strats produce a tone from the bridge pick-up, that is to thin (Yes I know Jeff Beck and SRV, to name 2, produce great tones from that pick-up, but a) I’m not them and b) I don’t play with heavy strings and a high action) yet on the new Swamp Ash Special the bridge pick-up is instantly fatter, yet still retains those ‘poppin’ sparkling highs – I know we’ve spent a long time on the tone and nothing else, but this is what sets the Swamp Ash Special a part – It is a guitar that has enough about it to work in a Chilli Peppers cover band, a SRV blues based trio, a Cliff and Hank 60’s combo, or indeed to caress the soft tones required for Shine Like A Crazy Diamond

Yes you’ll find a carved swamp ash body, a maple neck with a 22 fret maple fingerboard, that features a set of bird inlays – Regular hardware includes the PRS  locking tuners, which in-conjunction with the PRS modern fulcrum tremelo package, ensures trouble free tuning for all but the most extremes of use – The trem it self has a nice, smooth and positive feel about it, whilst the saddles and trem block are milled from solid brass to enhance tone and sustain – A fluid playing action on a PRS guitar is now taken as granted and this Swamp Ash Special ensures that this well deserved reputation continues – Supplied and set-up with a set of 10’s – If you want to stiffen up the playability, then move the string gauge up one notch and even a slight adjustment on the saddles will give you what you want – Otherwise it is as slick and effortless as they come – The neck has the pattern regular profile, which will be very familiar to many Fender based players – Measures .820″ around the top nut end and gently fills out to .920″ around the 12th fret – Not fat or chunky, but enough meat to feel comfortable yet add sustain and tone

All in all a great work horse from PRS that plays great and delivers a versatile tone that is loaded with soul and emotion

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Guitars4You Offers Reliability, Integrity and Expertise

Every guitar in stock at Guitars4You has been personally selected, inspected and approved by me, with particular attention paid to the set-up and playing performance – Every sale, phone call, mail order transaction or e-mail is handled my me – Mark Hopkin, the owner, Managing Director, cleaner and coffee maker (Jo, my wife helps with the coffee) – A journey, now in excess of 40 years, has fuelled my knowledge, experience, love, devotion and passion for exceptionally fine guitars – This reflects in every aspect of our business.

I have no desire to run an Amazon style 'click to buy' guitar shop, that lacks any soul or passion, or indeed to fill a showroom with a selection of dirty, shop soiled or dusty guitars that are in need of a set-up.

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