Now that I have a basic plan for my magazine and have agreed with a musician that they would write some content for my magazine I had a meeting with him to discuss what will be needed. The musician I met with is a local guitarist named Gavin Haigh who has studied music technology and has played electric guitar for 15 years and has owned a large variety of electric guitars and equipment so has a good knowledge on the subject. In the meeting we discussed him writing some reviews for equipment. We decided that he would write a review of a PRS custom 24, which is a popular American made guitar, and then would also write a review of a Patrick Eggle Berlin pro elite, which is a British made equivalent of the PRS. This will work well as a comparison piece. Gavin and I discussed that when looking at guitar reviews they are often divided into categories to discuss different aspects of a guitar individually. This works well as a format to compare individual aspects of two guitars so we decided that he would review both guitars for; looks, sound, feel, fit & finish and would then write a short conclusion summing up the overall opinion on the guitars as a whole and which guitar was the overall winner of the comparison. We also agreed that he would attend a live gig with me in order for him to write a review for one of the bands/musicians. I asked him to write a review discussing the overall quality of the music as well as how well it was performed.
Bellow are the reviews that he provided:
PRS have come along way in the 32 years since their founding, they managed to assert themsleves as a contender to the major guitar manufacturers (Fender,Gibson) despite being a latecomer to the market. The Custom 24 is their flagship model and It’s not hard to see why they the took the high end guitar market by storm when you hold one of their instruments in your hands, the striking attention to detail, the finish and the looks, the Custom 24 is a thing of beauty. Sitting in the market at an rrp of £2,595 they arent the cheapest guitar out there, and there is a lot of competition in this price range but if you’re a serious musician looking for a profesional quality, reliable guitar you wont be dissapointed.
The shape of the custom 24 fits somewhere nicely between a Fender stratocaster and a Gibson les paul, Infact when you look at the spec’s of the guitar, this is where it generaly sits. It takes the well known double cutaway shape of the strat, the longer scale length neck and the quality construction elements from the les paul (mahogany body and neck with a maple cap) but with a sleek, slimmed down twist.
With the wide range of colour options availabe for the maple top, you’d be hard pressed to not find a colour to your liking, If you’re willing to spend a little more cash and opt for the artist package upgrade-you can really customise your instrument further with the option of changing the finish on the back and neck of the guitar. The finest canadian maple is used on the core line of the custom 24, and the colour really brings out the grain in the wood, the natural binding on the top edge is a modern take on the cream binding used by gibson and other manufacturers.
PRS makes it’s own pickups in house, and Paul himself puts hours of time into the design of these pickups. There are a few different pickups you can opt for on the Custom 24, the most common being the Dragon 2 set of humbuckers and the HFS treble & Vintage Bass set. This model is loaded with the Dragon 2 set with chrome covers.
At high gain they sing, the note seperation is fantastic and the sustain is more than enough for anyone. The Bridge pickup is quite a Hot output indicating its more aimed at rock/metal players which they handle really well. If you’re looking for a more Bluesy deeper tone, you may be better opting for lower output pickups such as the 57/08 set. The tone fits nicely between the light snappy sound of a strat and the thick, dark tone of the les paul. The push/pull coil tapping facility really opens up your sound options and makes for a very versatile instrument.
The clean tones are nice and clear on the bridge pickup, maybe slightly lacking in character on the humbucker mode but it’s really easy to get that perfect sound with the coil tap switch. The neck pickup gives a smooth warm tone, not quite as warm as what you’d get from a singlecut, but still a nice thick tone.
The Custom 24 fits nicely between the stratocaster and the les paul in feel. With the scale length neck of the custom 24 is a nice middle ground. Although it may feel a little different to what a lot of guitarists feel used to, I didnt find it hindering to its playability, and instantly felt at home on the guitar.
The components are all of great quality, the tuners are made by schaller, a company renowned to be the best when it comes to tuning pegs. The bridge is machined to a high standard, sporting brass saddles and a brass block for increased sustain. The controll knobs are smooth and the recess in the body is a nice touch.
Fit & Finish
Being made in the USA you expect a good quality instrument and as mentioned already, The attention to detail is second to none. Paul Reed Smith has gotten the QC department down to a T, with very few instruments being sent back to the factory for repair, at least in comparison to their competition.
the finish is perfect, polished glass-like lacquer, no lacquer build up on the corners, no signs of overspill from the staining process, clean natural edged binding, well finished and polished frets, smooth fret ends and a well filed nut leaving no sharp edges. These are the things that normally let a guitar down.
There’s no doubt about it, the PRS Custom 24 is a fantastic guitar, but it’ll leave a dent in the wallet. Some would argue there’s better value to be had for the money and there’s a lot of competition at this price which is true, but i doubt you’ll find a guitar that inspires you to pick it up and play as much as this.
Patrick Eggle Review
Hailing from the U.K we have Patrick Eggle guitars, A relatively small company but used by a few big names such as Brian may, Tony Iomi and Rory Gallagher. Taking inspiration from traditional designs and adding his own personal touch makes his guitars feel familiar, always a good selling point. The company was founded in the early 90’s and remaining at the helm of the company till around 1994 was Patrick Eggle himself. The company is now run by Gordon Tilley and has been since Patrick left the company. The most recognisable model in their catalogue is the Berlin Pro, a traditionally constructed double cutaway guitar with great specs.
When you first look at the guitar you’re drawn to the beautiful grain in the Maple top. Taking heavy influence from the PRS Custom 24 with its shape but sporting a shorter cutaway on the treble side of the guitar. This accentuates the small body size making the guitar look a little like a toy. That is definately not the case when you look at the specs though, flaunting a Canadian Maple cap with natural edge binding, Mahogany back, Maple neck with an Ebony fretboard, wilkinson USA hardware and loaded with Seymour Duncan pickups.
There are a few colour options available but you are limited in comparison to the competition in the market, but you do have other options available, such as the type and number of pickups you want. Some also hardware options with a choice in the types of pickup switching you want and also bridge type, this is a handy choice for the ‘set in your ways’ les paul players, opening up the option of the tune-o-matic style bridge.
The Patrick Eggle Berlin Pro comes loaded with a Seymour Duncan humbucker in the bridge position and a DiMarzio Hot Rails mini humbucker in the neck position, this model also has a Kent Armstrong single coil pickup in the center position.
The Duncan has a fairly low output with a creamy thick tone, great for blues bending or jazz. Crank up the gain a bit and it seems to loose a bit of character almost turning a bit muddy/fuzzy. Tweaking the settings on your amp can remedy this somewhat. I would recommend that any Hard rock/Metal players considering buying one of these to consider swapping out the bridge pickup.
The Kent armstrong pickup in the center position is a weak pickup in comparison to the other two loaded in the guitar, but i found some nice sounds can be had when mixing with the other pickups, set the selector switch to position 4 and you get a nice wam clean tone with defined high’s. Switch to position 2 for a bit more of a brighter springy tone.
The DiMarzio has a nice articulated tone at high gain, not quite as much low end as a humbucker but it works well for rock/metal where fast playing is involved. With the gains rolled down it gives a clear soulfull tone.
The Patrick Eggle Berlin Pro has a similar neck profile to a les paul in width and thickness but with the same scale length as a PRS Custom 24 coming in at 25″. The Smaller body makes for great access to the fretboard on the higher frets, much more accesible than on a Les Paul. The Ebony fretboard is smooth and hindrance free and the frets are filed and polished to a high standard. The Sperzel locking tuners are smooth with a good gear ratio, holding tune exceptionally well.
The guitar does feel a little small in your hands, not something that bothers me personally, but i can see some players being put off by this.
Fit & Finish;
For the price the Berlin retails at (£1600) you expect a good quality of instrument, which is what you get, a well made solid guitar crafted out of the highest grade timber and hardware that is at the top of its game. Time is spent setting the guitars up before they leave the factory, giving you a great playing instrument out of the box.
The Patrick Eggle Berlin Pro is a brilliant guitar, although i think the pickup choices let it down. Which is a shame as the rest of the guitar is made to an amazing standard, but when you spend £1600 on a guitar you dont expect to be paying out extra money to perfect it. But if youre willing to put some extra cash into it, buy the pickups that are more focused to the sound you want, you’re onto a winner.
PRS Vs Eggle
This is a tricky one! Both are great guitars. If price was no issue, the PRS would win this one for me, you get a guitar thats great for every genre, straight out of the box. You get the brand name associated with quality and first rate customer care. But for many players price is an issue, and with the Eggle coming in just under £1000 cheaper i think it has to be the winner, you could upgrade the components on this guitar that arent to your taste and still be well under the price of the PRS. The build quality is of equal standards so i couldnt justify to myself spending the extra £1000.
Bobbie Peru, the fast paced trio hailing from Lancashire Opening their set with the lively energy expected of a punk band. Heavy Indie with a dark punk twist is how i’d define them. First impressions say you’ve gotta give these guy’s credit for their performance, frontman Bert screamed passion and they all put their heart into it, keeping the energetic atmosphere up until the last chord of the set. Thoroughly entertaining, juxtaposed with their actual content…. Maybe thats a bit harsh, a couple of tracks had potential, but by the fourth song i found myself waiting for the next track to come around, hoping it would be better than the last. They chose their strongest two songs to open and finish on, everything in between was a mixture of similar riffs and ideas that didnt quite grab you in the same way. Overall they’re a fun band to watch live, but not sure i would want them in my CD collection!
Before putting these into my magazine I will spellcheck and adjust titles so there is a better flow to the pieces.