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Paul Reed Smith explains exactly what makes a great electric guitar – including the exact amount of time it should sustain
By Jackson Maxwell
)Contributions from Jamie Dickson
published about 13 hours ago
Tone, the master guitar builder says, "is a complicated equation"
As part of its new, tone-themed issue
, Guitarist sat down for a chat with someone who knows a couple of things about good guitar tone, Paul Reed Smith.
Last year, Smith made waves with his comments on tonewoods – he vehemently disagrees with the notion that they have little to no effect on a guitar's sound
– and expounded to Guitarist about how tonewood factors into a guitar's tonal equation.
Along the way, he offered his view about what makes for a great-sounding electric guitar
in general, what makes for a bad-sounding one, and the exact – and we do mean exact – amount of time an electric should sustain.
A great electric guitar is harmonically rich and bright on the low strings, thick-sounding on the high strings, and rings about 45 seconds," Smith told Guitarist
. "A very poor electric guitar is bassy on the low strings, tinny on the high strings, and rings for about 16 seconds. No pickup is going to fix that!"
The master guitar maker was responding to a question centered on the theory he'd previously gone on record disputing – that only pickups can alter a guitar's tone, with tonewoods factoring little into the final sound.
At the end of the day, Smith says, tone "is a complicated equation that tonewoods are a part of."
To read Guitarist's full interview with Smith – which features plenty more of the PRS head honcho's tonal wisdom – pick up a copy of the April issue of the mag at Magazines Direct