Anyone into carve tops, why? (PRS, ESP Horizon or Warmoth carved top soloist)

Discussion in 'Non-Fender S-Type Guitar Forum' started by diogoguitar, Nov 27, 2020.

  1. diogoguitar

    diogoguitar Senior Stratmaster

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    I started to realize the 40 year old LP issue: Love the Les Paul sound but find hard to move around a 11 pound mahogany guitar with a 60mm thick body.

    I was never into the PRS-style guitar, but slowly I realized its original purpose was to somehow address this issue: a mahogany with maple cap guitar that isn't too heavy and not too thick.
    In my search for a triple crown of guitars (a strat, a shredder and a LP-sound guitar), I think I'm pretty well served with strats and shredders, but I still think I lack a more practical LP-style guitar.

    I was thinking about building a "budget" Warmoth/Musikraft combo with the following goals:
    • Have that low end PAF style sound
    • Not weigh like 10-11 lbs
    I'm curious if anyone had GAS for something similar I'm having right now... and how you addressed it... thoughts?
     
  2. Tone Deaf

    Tone Deaf Most Honored Senior Member

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    I have all the bases covered. :D
    but that includes my ‘75 Lester at about 11 lbs
     
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  3. Mjh36

    Mjh36 Strat-Talk Member

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    +1 for Warmoth, I'm trying to nail down specs for a guitar from them too. I have a mahogany strat that's not Les Paul heavy, but I'd like something lighter.
     
  4. Chuck8436

    Chuck8436 Senior Stratmaster

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    I really only started (kind of) liking them after I saw Page Hamilton playing one. But I probably wont ever buy one. 471aa919474f8556251e3c6167fbc57e.jpg
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2020
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  5. LTigh

    LTigh Strat-Talk Member

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    I managed to score the aforementioned "Triple Crown" (albeit with threw separate guitars) after a number of years. Full disclosure, wasn't because "Triple Crown," but because Ash (I seem to have developed a bit of a... thing for Ash guitars over the past few years), "Triple Crown" was just a fortunate side-effect.

    So from top-to-bottom: 2014 Fender American Standard HSS in Sienna Burst over Ash, 1996 ESP Original Series Horizon II TOM in Swamp Ash over Honduras Mahogany, and 2009 Gibson Les Paul Studio Swamp Ash with the "Smartwood" logo on the back of the headstock (even though it's not "officially" part of the Smartwood series).
    [​IMG]

    Another pic just because ASH (well, you can't see it too well on the Horizon II when photographed next to the other two because potato phone camera contrast:
    [​IMG]

    Here's the Horizon II by itself, still on potato phone camera, but ASH more visible:
    [​IMG]

    Anyway, I will say that the Les Paul Studio Swamp Ash is by far the lightest of all three (at 6.4lbs), since it's weigh-relieved like many Gibbys of the early aughts, my other two mid-weight LPs are boat-anchors by comparison (they clock in at around 9.2lbs or so). So that may be an option, if you can find a Smartwood or weight-relieved Les Paul for a decent price. You'd think it would be neck-heavy with all the "chambers," but it balances just fine (probably because the hog neck and Kluson tuners are pretty light as well).

    Edit: If you're looking at a combo of all three in one guitar, they DID make a Horizon II Custom with 22 frets quite a while ago (discontinued now). Not quite budget thanks to the conditions what prevail, but still, got a bit more Les Paul in there than you would think:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2020
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  6. systolsys

    systolsys Strat-Talker

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    My Warmoth body is a solid (non-chambered), non contoured, slab of Ash that is cut into the shape of a Telecaster body. It's not a lightweight instrument... but it's a lot of fun to play.

    I got into a PRS by accident when somebody was selling a Fender Deluxe ABS case that happened to have a PRS SE in it. I figured I could flip the guitar for only slightly less than the package deal and get the case for a bargain... but in the end kept it because it's a solid, made in Korea model, and plays very nicely, and it's my only guitar with a Floyd Rose... so it's there for those moments when I feel like playing whammy games.

    This clearly isn't a full carve top - The pickup rings are flat - but between this and the Strats, the most important shaping aspects to a guitar body in order of importance are:

    1. The fore-arm cut
    2. The contoured neck joint found on my Mexican deluxe strat for upper fret access
    3. The belly cut.

    0-PRS_SE.png 0-Tele.png
     
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  7. diogoguitar

    diogoguitar Senior Stratmaster

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    I dig all 3 of your ash guitars!

    I actually am gunning a strat copy by Fujigen guitars. It's basically a Fender Japan strat made by the makers of Ibanez Prestige.
    They have a black friday deal today if you're interested

    https://fgnguitarsusa.com/collections/odyssey/products/eos-ash-m
    Code: FGN15 for 15% off.

    Not cheap at $1499 but IMO if they are as good as my other Japanese Ibanez, $1499 is well worth the price.


    Side question: how do you like the ESP Horizon's forearm rest? I used to have an ESP Original Eclipse, but sold it 2 years after owning it because I couldn't rest my forearm (the edge was too sharp for me).





    [​IMG]







     
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  8. myredstrat

    myredstrat Senior Stratmaster

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    keep the les paul
    5d70bc37-3221-4a84-89db-2fdd71c6492b.23deecb5b34f9fd84aee5f5604a28487.jpeg
     
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  9. LTigh

    LTigh Strat-Talk Member

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    Oh, them FGNs are ridiculously good. Fujigen does superb work, be it for Ibanez or themselves.

    [​IMG]
    (So this is a lower-tier one than the one you're after (2019 JOS-FM-R, Flame maple over basswood) They've got that quasi-Suhr vibe going on-- kind-of what the 22-fret Ibby AZ sort-of goes for except without the roasted maple neck and recessed trem and SD "Hyperion" pickups )

    [​IMG]
    (Another Strat-type I got because I wanted one of the older Fujigen-made Fender ST62 Reissues, but this one was newer, cheaper, and had better ergonomics)

    Right now both are in rotation with my RG655 and an older 1990 RG560 in Grape Ice I recently picked up out of nostalgia and mid-life crisis.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    But yeah, I seem to be on an Ibby/FGN kick right now.

    I don't find it that noticeable-- well, if anything it's less noticeable than the Eclipse (thanks to the Eclipse's "Deep Dish" '59-style body carve). It's probably around that or maybe less than a modern Gibby's body edge. So yeah, less uncomfortable than an Eclipse, but not sure how much "less uncomfortable" would still be acceptable. Then again, I rocked out with this and an LTD MH-style without issues.
     
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  10. jbylake

    jbylake Regular Dude Silver Member

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    My LP's and a PRS. Don't have a postal scale for an accurate weight, but wish I did. Anyway, I'm mostly sitting and playing these days so weight isn't a deal breaker for me anymore.:)
     
  11. Ebidis

    Ebidis Providing the world with flat bends since 1985

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    I don't really give a flip about carved tops. I can take them or leave them. But I play a Tele, so what do I know? :rolleyes:
     
  12. Believer7713

    Believer7713 The Pink Bunnyman Frankenstein Silver Member

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    My Charvel Desolation has an all mahogany body with a mahogany set neck. Flame maple top with a rosewood fretboard and is fully single bound. Has a carved top, belly cut and a 25.5 inch neck scale. Still resembles a Lester but still only weighs under 8 pounds. Though it does have a shredders neck it is really versatile.
    20190205_191938.jpg
     
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  13. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon

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    My FujiGens are nice guitars.

    fujigenstrats.png

    FujiGen made the Japanese Fenders for the first 15 years or so.
     
  14. joe_cpwe

    joe_cpwe Senior Stratmaster

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  15. space

    space Strat-O-Master

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    My idea of the "Triple Crown"
    HB's
    Coil split
    24 fret
    24.75
    Built in eq
    Master vol
    Master tone
    ebony fb
    021.JPG
     
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  16. Estibi

    Estibi Strat-Talker

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    I started playing on SGs in the '80s and brought strats into my life in the '90s. So it's always been flat guitars for me. I did own a couple of Les Pauls along the way but didn't love them due to weight and my having a bad shoulder and they didn't last long. About a year ago a 1990 PRS fell into my lap on a great deal and I figured I had nothing to lose. It's on the heavier side for a PRS, maybe the heaviest I've been able to find doing google searches. But it's incredibly balanced and doesn't feel heavy on a strap at all. I can't say I'm a convert to carved to guitars, but I am to this particular carved top guitar. It's been my daily player now since I brought it home.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Tone Deaf

    Tone Deaf Most Honored Senior Member

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    2CF4B017-1720-484B-A60B-FDD1536101F5.jpeg C6FC37F4-7682-4D50-A822-0D61BE3D0E33.jpeg

    There’s more to those instruments than just a carved top.
     
  18. LTigh

    LTigh Strat-Talk Member

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    Oh, @diogoguitar, another quick caveat: the FGNs use their own "exclusive" "Circle Fret System" where the frets are slightly curved in a large outward radius in order to help with intonation across the entire fretboard (allegedly). Yeah, sounds pretty gimmicky, though it seems to work out pretty well, I suppose, BUT.

    If you're one to use a capo at all, I'd say forget about it on an FGN-- even that slight radius is enough to throw everything off tuning-wise (outer strings may be in-tune while the D, G, and sometimes B will be sharp) when using a capo across an entire fret (oddly enough, it doesn't affect barring with your fingers, or maybe I'm just unconsciously compensating for the slight differences, or something). Maybe with one of those complicated capos where you can adjust individual strings would work, but I've found that the tuning is way off if you don't adjust things with your tuners beforehand, which means your tuning is way off when you remove the capo.

    In my case, I just wound up using an Ibby TM1730 for the capo stuff (another fine Fujigen product, sans "Circle Fret System").
    [​IMG]

    Other than that, they're pretty awesome.
     
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  19. scooteraz

    scooteraz Senior Stratmaster

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    Almost all of my guitars are Strats, Tele’s or PRS. Never really worried about whether the top was carved or not. The three things that drove my purchase were: tone, neck feel and overall feel.

    I have a couple of really nice looking carved top PRS, and that is nice as a bonus. However, never went looking for them; one could say they snuck up on me....LOL.
     
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  20. jvin248

    jvin248 Senior Stratmaster

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    .

    Beveled tops are good.

    The overly carved guitars can get to be too much just like inlays and crazy paint schemes.

    Carved tops are generally done to signify pricing stratification. Yes, extra time sanding those carvings and not burning through the finish so there is some more cost, but it's a pricing thing.

    cheap=flat
    mid=beveled
    high=carved contours.

    Mix those with bolt-on, set-neck, neck through

    colors/hardware/pickups/controls

    and your marketing team has a great way to price a buyer at any level from low to high.

    Top 'surface wrinkles' are purely a pricing game.


    .