Maybe hard to equate that this PRS 408 10 Top, with a McCarty tobacco burst gloss finish, has never previously been sold – Despite it having a 2013 serial number – Some may recall that for many years Guitars 4You was a major stockist for new PRS Guitars – For a variety of reasons I decided to withdraw my dealership around 4/5 years ago, but I still have a very good relationship with the UK team – Every so often, following a stock check and/or spring clean, the UK team come across a few new models that have sat in one of the European/world warehouses – I’m offered the chance to pick up the odd suitable model from time to time – Some are ex-display, used for various trade or public shows – Some are ex magazine review models – Some are just new but even after a final factor QC check a finish blemish might have been discovered – Either way I acquire a few tasty pieces from time to time, at a more preferential price – As I mentioned a few sentences ago this 408 has never previously been sold – An initial quick tour of the gloss finish will reveal little, if any, signs of this 408 having ever left its case – But a closer examination will reveal a couple of nicks on the rim of the body, near the jack socket, with a couple of slight nicks on the symmetrical opposite side of the rim – As such, I suspect such blemishes have come via a guitar stand, for whatever reason – Complete with the deluxe PRS case, plus appropriate tag – Re-strung with a new set of 10’s and set up with a slick action that responds to a light touch – Make sure you check out a couple of good reviews of the PRS 408, courtesy of Music Radar (Guitarist/Dave Burrluck) and Premier Guitar.com – Then check out a couple to of PRS video clips of the 408 in action – click here, click here, click here and click here for details
Let me update you with a few key details regarding specification and features :-
- Highly figured maple 10 top
- McCarty tobacco burst gloss finish – The supplies invoice + tag indicate it is a ‘Custom Colour’ which could mean anything – But in reality this equates, I’m sure, to McCarty tobacco burst in this instance
- One piece light weight mahogany body – the whole guitar only weighs 8lbs and 2oz
- One piece mahogany neck
- 25″ scale length
- Pattern neck profile – measures .885″ around the top nut end, then gently fills out to .959″ around the 12th fret – Note pattern neck profile is effectively the old ‘wide/fat’ profile
- 22 fret rosewood fingerboard, gracefully embellished with bird inlays
- Nickel hardware
- PRS trem system with solid brass trem block and saddles
- PRS Phase 111 locking tuners
- PRS Proprietary Signature 408 pick-ups 3 way selector switch plus coil tap option for either pick-up
- Master volume pot + tone pot – treble by pass cap on the volume pot
The refinement, attention to detail, impeccable workmanship, playing performance and tonal quality of the 408 is simply part and parcel of any USA Core Series models – PRS take so much pride over such details – A fluid playing action allows you to burn of licks along the whole length of the 22 fret fingerboard – The pattern neck profile ensures a comfortable amount of depth can be felt in the palm of your hand, yet nothing that can be considered ‘chunky’ so as to impede the playing experience – It is certainly user friendly – Dig in and attack those big blues bends, so as to milk every ounce of expression out of those moody licks, or show of a few party tricks and licks, as required – You can look at a guitars aesthetic appeal all day long, but to me, how much you fall in love with a guitar starts and ends with how it feels, plays and performs – Enjoy the playing experience and you’ll enjoy that guitar for many years – In my opinion this 408 has magical qualities with regards to how it feels and plays
So let’s move along to the tone department and I hope you’ve checked out the two video clips that I listed above – The proprietary designed 408 pick-ups work well in many varied musical environments – Jazz, blues, rock, country etc, and your choice of clean, subtle or hi-gain overdriven amp settings – Excellent dynamic response, clear full lows, smooth mids that do not clutter up the tone, plus shimmering highs that are crisp, yet not harsh or sharp – Excellent articulation is instantly noticeable on both pick-ups – In conjunction with the volume and tone pots, the guitar possesses enough soul, expression and emotion, to let you and the guitar control the amp and as such the overall tone – It will respond to the dynamics and emotion that you require from clean, smooth and soft tones, through to hard and aggressive voices, as required – One big plus point of the 408 pick-up package is the coil tap option and I’ll try and make this info simple and effective – A humbucking pick-up that can be coil tapped is nothing new, yet by and large the tapped versions are generally thin and weedy – As such they don’t deliver a good quality Strat flavoured tone – In simple terms a humbucker is made up of two single coil pick-ups wired in series – Each coil is wound for around a 4k output – 4k x 2 coils equals 8k, which is the approx value of a vintage based humbucker – Yet a good vintage based Strat pick-up is around 6k (whilst a 4k reading can often be found on many cheap far Eastern Strat copies) – Traditionally, when you coil tap an 8k humbucker, you are left with one coil working, hence a 4k single coil pick-up, which is the equivalent to your cheap Far Eastern copy – For a more realistic single coil voice we need to coil tap the humbucker to 6k, so it matches our vintage voiced Strat pick-up – In simple terms this is what they have done with the 408 pick-ups – The PRS approach is to take the humbucking pick-up, switch off one coil and at the same time add an additional 1500 turns of winding to the remaining ‘slug’ coil – This provides you with a far more realistic single coil sounding pick-up – Many now refer to it as a ‘partial’ coil tap – Furthermore there is very little volume difference as you now switch from humbucker to single coil mode – 408 means 4 pick-ups and 8 switching options – Neck humbucker or single, bridge humbucker or single, then 4 additional voices when you select both pick-ups on together – The traditional 3 way toggle switch simply selects neck, both or bridge pick-up, whilst each pick-up has its own 2 way switch to determine humbucking or single coil option – This gives you one very versatile set of voices and very easy to use
The 408 Tonal character – On a clean amp setting you can clearly here every ounce of character that the 408 delivers – Maybe more akin to the articulation you’ll hear on a 335 semi – Plenty of dynamics and very responsive – You can stroke the strings, roll off the tone pot a touch and find some chilled out jazz/blues voices that will make comp chords sound lush – Or select the bridge pick-up, attack the strings for some big tones that are full and bright with plenty of zing about them, with tight lows – Select both pick-ups and play around with one pick-up on single coil mode and the other on humbucker, etc and you’ll find some excellent funky Nile Rodgers voices – Overall very clear voices that are not clinical or to pure, yet very focussed with full tight lows and sparkling highs, plus enough mids to add body, but not an ounce of mush – Now add some overdrive and things move up another level – Incredible articulation and dynamics – Roll off the tone and or volume pot a touch if you want a less wide open voice that has a softer texture – It is as though the guitar has just found a spot of clean pure mountain air in a smoke filled room and you can now hear each note so clearly, even with hi-gain amp settings – As with any guitar, as you saturate the amp with to much overdrive you’ll loose some of the finer nuances of tone and character that the 408 possesses, yet you’ll still retain a focussed sound with excellent articulation – The 408 works extremely well on clean amp settings and with subtle blues/rock overdriven amp settings, but I believe it comes into its own even more as you add more overdrive on the amp
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Guitars4You is not another corporate high street guitar store - My selection of premium grade guitars is about quality not quantity. Every guitar has been selected, inspected and approved by me, with particular attention to the set-up and playing performance. Every sale, phone call, email and mail order transaction is handled by me. A journey that is now over 40 years old, has fuelled my knowledge, experience, love, devotion and passion for exceptionally fine guitars.