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PRS basses- old v. new

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The older PRS Bass 5 posted by JeremyC in "Show What You Got" reminded me of a question I was going to post to the forum.


Does anyone here know why PRS quit making the basses they were making before, only to reintroduce yet another bolt-on four string to the market? I played one of the new PRS basses recently, and was VERY impressed with the tone and feel of the instrument. The aesthetics, however, leave much to be desired when compared to their older models.


Before I get flamed, let me say that I am a fan of the Fender tradition. But I have always associated PRS with the Gibson level of aesthetics/construction/hand labor, what with the set neck, carved top, flamed maple/mahogany/rosewood or ebony board, etc. This connection is evident in their guitars, but they seemed to want for some reason not to continue to put the same emphasis on high-end craftsmanship with their basses. Why did they give us basically the same thing that Fender and their disciples in Sadowsky, Lull, Lakland, etc. have been doing for years, with only a change in the body shape and headstock angle? In short, why'd they quit building their basses as well as they build their guitars?

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I have no idea why PRS might market certain basses, but we could guess. It's tough to bring a quality product to the middle of the market. Low end sells by price, high end by quality. But the middle requires you to be willing to put up some cash, so it's better if your name is known. And PRS has never been a big name in basses.


Also, the Santana endorsement has gotten them plenty of high end guitar work. I know people that have bought (or would like to buy) a custom PRS. Why mess with basses?


The preceeding has been the uninformed ramblings of a late-night musician listening to too much MrsGrundy. Corrections welcome.




Acoustic Color


Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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PRS (Paul himself) told me years ago that they discontinued making basses because they didn't sell enough and were going to concentrate on guitars only.


When the new ones came out, an employee of the company seemed to imply that he thought the old basses were a "mistake". I don't know what he was talking about. I've played mine and another almost identical one that a friend has and they are fantastic basses.


The new ones are ok, too. I just don't think they are as special as the old ones. I also don't know why PRS isn't going after the high end market that their guitars go after.


We all have to admit that there are a lot of great basses on the market these days and it's pretty hard to come up with something that stands out.

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