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I can probably start and conclude my evaluation of this used PRS Fiore Mark Lettieri Signature model with a couple of easy statements – In the world of HSS Strats I’d say this is one of the finest and well balanced guitars I’ve ever played – When I say it is well balanced, I don’t mean in the way that it hangs on a strap – I’m talking about its tonal character, ease of playability and feel, plus its ability to function as your main guitar in so many different genres of music  – It blends the best of vintage/traditional qualities with modern attributes, that ensures it can comfortably cross the boundaries between SRV and Larry Carlton/Steely Dan, or Hank Marvin and Mark Knopfler (MOR rock) – It is not an HSS Supa Strat in the style of ESP, Jackson, Charvel, that are generally designed for shred metal – Further below I’ll list a host of details and my evaluation report, but for now I suggest you click here and click here to read to great reviews, courtesy of Guitarist Magazine and Guitar World – Look at the foot of the page of the Guitarist Review and you should come across a video clip review/demo by Rich Barry (again courtesy of Guitarist) – Then click here  and scan down the page to see a video clip of Mark Lettieri talking about his signature model, along with a video clip of Bryan Ewald (PRS product specialist) putting the Fiore through its places

Host of details regarding the PRS Fiore, in no particular order :- 

Feel/playability :-  Whereas the Silver Sky is very much ‘Pre-CBS’ vintage orientated with small frets and a 7.25″ radius, the Fiore is far more ‘modern’ and to a degree more akin to what you’d expect from PRS – The neck profile itself is akin to what the Fender Custom Shop team tag as a Large 65C profile -So  fatter than the classic 60’s oval C, but not chunky – To a degree it has characteristics that are akin to the PRS Pattern profile – Bottom line is that the palm of your left hand feels like it is holding a nice Strat – Yet the fingerboard is totally PRS modern – 10″ radius with medium/jumbo 6150-esq frets – As such that slick and easy action that is part ‘n’ parcel of many PRS Guitars is present and correct – Currently set up with a slick action that responds to a soft/light touch, that suits more intricate licks and chord passages etc – A vintage style SRV blues based player might want a ‘tougher’ feel with the action taken up a touch – Of course I can edit as required – As an overview the neck feels like a great Strat, but plays like many other PRS Guitars

Tonal character :-  Again the video clips (links listed above) will provide you with some indication of tonal character – Maybe I can’t sell all the guitars attributes here, in a few chosen sentences, but as an overview it is musically warm and loaded with soul and character – The single coil pick-ups are warm and lush – Funky and crisp  but not thin – On clean amp settings you can easily dial in those Hank Marvin style melodic tones, or the Knopfler Sultans of Swing voice – Some clean voices can be a touch ‘sterile’ or somehow too perfect – That is not the case here – In fact you could easily get sucked into the clean voice and stay there for many happy hours – Add a touch of gain for additional character, then dial in/out the volume pot to clean up as required – Probably my favourite voice, that takes you through the classic chilled out tones of JJ Cale, Little Wing or The Thrill is gone etc – Then add more gain, again as required, as you move towards the Texas Blues voice that many desire from a single coil pick-up – The ash body and bolt on maple neck ensure such a guitar is always responsive, with clarity and instant attack/dynamics

The humbucker, in its regular series mode is fat, warm and smooth with clear crisp clarity – Obviously you get that ‘boost/kick’ as you move from the single coil mode to humbucker,  that is so essential to the many MOR styles of classic rock – Think Bryan Adams, Toto, Bon Jovi etc etc etc – From crunchy riffs with bite and attack, to fat scorching’ solos with sustain, the humbucker delivers – Depending on your playing styles, the HSS is probably the answer – Yet at times the ‘boost/kick’ that you acquire as you move from SS mode, to H, might be to much – In say a SRV blues style mode, you might require the bridge pick-up to be less Humbucker and maybe more hot Single coil – As such, a simple, yet effective, mod can be found when you lift up the bottom tone pot – The humbucker now switches from fat series mode, to more of a single coil voice, as it now operates in parallel mode  – It is still humbucking noise/cancelling but far more single coil sounding, with less fat mids – As such as you move from neck or middle single coil to bridge, the overall character is Strat orientated across all 5 switch settings – As such a very versatile guitar and as I mentioned in my opening paragraph a well balanced variation of tones

Again, in my opening paragraph I mentioned SRV and Larry Carlton/Steely Dan, or Hank Marvin and Mark Knopfler (MOR rock) as a tonal reference – I only used such examples as they are so well known to many guitar players – Previously PRS have made various bolt on neck models, like the DC3, NF3, the Swamp Ash model, as well as a few years earlier the EG models – Whilst they had some Strat-esq tonal characteristics, they never quite delivered enough Strat qualities – That might be a good or bad thing depending on your needs – To a large degree, both regarding feel, playability and tonal character, that if Paul Reed Smith himself, sat down with the Fender team and built a brand new Fender, the Fiori would be the end result – It blends attributes of both, again both in a modern and vintage way – As I mentioned above, this is one of the finest guitars I’ve played – Maybe no one guitar does it all, but the Fiore does a lot – In a covers band from The Killers to Madonna, from Chic to Maroon 5, From Bon Jovi to Blondie, then such a guitar will be your friend

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