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Thread: Talk me out of a Cutlass...

  1. #1

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    Talk me out of a Cutlass...

    Hey guys,

    I have a Valentine that I'm beyond happy with, replaced the bridge pickup with a proper humbucker and it's the closest I've ever gotten to the Les Paul tone without the weight and bulkiness - and with a lot more versatility with the coil split. It can somehow sound both Fendery and Gibsony depending on how it's dialed in.

    Although the Valentine is really versatile, my belief is that nothing is more versatile than a HSS Strat. I also have a Fender Classic 50s Strat (Mexican) that is a very good guitar, but it has one pretty serious flaw: with a humbucker in the bridge it possesses a strange loose low end that can't be dialed out. It's the exact same pickup as in the Valentine with the proper loading (500k), so I know it's the guitar.

    What slightly worries me is that I also have a Suhr Rasmus M100 with a similar issue, and what do they have in common? Alder body... It's been too long since I owned another alder body guitar to remember exactly, but I can't recall that being a consistent issue with alder. If anyone who owns a Cutlass (primarily HSS RS) could chime in on this that would be great. I don't play metal, but fairly heavy rock that is sometimes borderline (never heavier than 80s hair metal-ish) so I don't need "chugga chugga tight", but it can't be loose.

    Now on to the slightly clickbaity headline - I don't really NEED a Cutlass, the Valentine has more than good enough cleans for live use and the Fender sounds great for the classic Strat thing. But I've always seen the Cutlass HSS RS as the ultimate HSS Strat, provided that the humbucker sounds good (I know the singlecoils do). It's a lot of money, I will have to buy new, so if I get it, it will be the most money I have ever spent on a guitar (got the Valentine used). If it matches the Valentine in playability, look and sound it is worth the price, but still a lot of money.

    Sorry for the novel, if you made it this far thanks for reading and let me know what you think!

  2. #2

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    Hmm.... this stuff is quite individual ears specific imo, and I don’t think my ears are quite as good as others at some of the finer detail. Have checked Cooper carters HSS Cutlass review video?

    Ernie Ball Cutlass HSS Guitar Demo by Cooper Carter - YouTube
    Host of The Pop Society Presents... "Nashville Skies" - Live on Radio Free Matlock - Every 4th Thursday of the Month at 8pm UK Time, or Catch up on Mixcloud



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  3. #3

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    I can't help you. I'm currently busy trying to talk myself out of a Cutlass.

  4. #4

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    None of us NEED a Cutlass, but once you own one you’ll never look back. Sorry, I’m bad. Not doing a great job of talking you out of it.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by TripHazard View Post
    Hmm.... this stuff is quite individual ears specific imo, and I don’t think my ears are quite as good as others at some of the finer detail. Have checked Cooper carters HSS Cutlass review video? Ernie Ball Cutlass HSS Guitar Demo by Cooper Carter - YouTube
    Cheers man, I hadn't seen that demo actually. Sounds good, but the rig is also such a big part of the tone that it's nearly impossible to say what it will sound like on mine. Which I guess is the case with every demo video of every piece of gear.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill S View Post
    None of us NEED a Cutlass, but once you own one you’ll never look back. Sorry, I’m bad. Not doing a great job of talking you out of it.
    Haha that's fine, today was my lucky day it seems as a turquoise Cutlass RS HSS turned up on the local used market at a pretty decent price... So of course I had to get it, should be here by the weekend hopefully. The ad had pretty bad pics so I'll take better ones and post them here once I get it!

  6. #6

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    Oooh nice. I look forward to your NGD thread
    Host of The Pop Society Presents... "Nashville Skies" - Live on Radio Free Matlock - Every 4th Thursday of the Month at 8pm UK Time, or Catch up on Mixcloud



    https://www.mixcloud.com/radiofreema...tober-22-2020/

    https://radiofreematlock.co.uk

    Follow us on Twitter @NashvilleSkies

  7. #7

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    Also trying to talk myself out of a Cutlass after buying a Valentine.

    My PRS DC3 has an alder body and there is no weird low end thing going on with it. I wonder if the different bridge pickup in the Cutlass would fix this?

    What bridge pickup did you put into your Valentine?
    --
    2013 Luke 3 HH in Bali Blue Burst
    2018 Valentine Tremolo in Satin Natural

  8. #8

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    Just don't, buy an AL!
    AL SSS BFR Pinkburst
    AL SSS Neptune Blue
    AL HH Starry Night
    AL HH Sparkle Pink
    AL MM90 Sparkle Turquoise
    L3 HSS Olive Gold

  9. #9

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    Maybe you could look at your current collection and consider whether there are any you don't need, i.e. use regularly, to come up with a possible trade in against a cutlass.

    As for whether you actually need it, well, man cannot live by bread alone and you can always sell it in an emergency, and you can't take it with you and you deserve it etc etc

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by msquared View Post
    Also trying to talk myself out of a Cutlass after buying a Valentine.

    My PRS DC3 has an alder body and there is no weird low end thing going on with it. I wonder if the different bridge pickup in the Cutlass would fix this?

    What bridge pickup did you put into your Valentine?
    Isn't the PRS DC3 a korina body? At any rate they have oddball pickups so that could be the issue with it.

    EDIT: Sorry, I was thinking of it's cousin, the NF3 - that's the one with the korina body and the DC3 was alder. Still think it's those PRS pickups - they always struck me as kind of odd/different; sometimes when I would try one it would sound great, the next time I would try one it wouldn't grab me at all.

    I'm an SSS guy so I can't help you much other than saying the single coils in the Cutlass are really sweet mid-60s style pickups; the bridge single coil has a nice punch to it. I tend to not care for HSS configurations; give me all single coils, all humbuckers, or all P90s (the old MM90s were great pickups; hope they make a comeback someday).
    Last edited by John C; 10-19-2020 at 07:24 PM.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Jason View Post
    Just don't, buy an AL!
    Hahahahahaha, shhhh it's a secret!!!!!

    Glenn |B)
    Silhouette Special SSS in the first Fuschia Sparkle (Hardtail) [1/01/2002] [1 of a kind from CLB]
    Silhouette Special HSS in Gold Sparkle (Hardtail) [7/12/2002] [Made for Matchbox 20]
    Albert Lee 3 MM90's in White Sparkle (Hardtail) [8/14/2001] [NOS Just pure awesomeness]
    Albert Lee HH in Black Sugar (Hartail) [1/06/2011] [BFR with the 12th fret logo]


    Like BP said in the Chapman video "You've got a room full of guitars, and no money!! @ 6:00"

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by John C View Post
    Isn't the PRS DC3 a korina body? At any rate they have oddball pickups so that could be the issue with it.

    EDIT: Sorry, I was thinking of it's cousin, the NF3 - that's the one with the korina body and the DC3 was alder. Still think it's those PRS pickups - they always struck me as kind of odd/different; sometimes when I would try one it would sound great, the next time I would try one it wouldn't grab me at all.
    DC3 and NF3 are both alder body + bolt-on neck. NF3 has the narrowfield pickups and the DC3 had traditional (though odd sized) single coils. All PRS guitars that had korina bodies were limited runs. The only PRS single coils that I thought sounded really good were in the Mayer signature, but from memory the Cutlass I had sounded as good or better.

    As for the OP question about body wood, you can't blame alder wood on the sounds you're hearing with the humbucker in question - though you never mentioned the humbucker you're using. Pickups, body wood, neck wood, bridge, saddles, nut, pots - they all contribute to the signal coming out of the guitar. A combination of things may work great for one guitar/amp and sound like crap for another. Sounds like you need to experiment with pickups a bit more, figure out the natural tones of the guitar first then choose pickups and amp settings based on that (not what worked for another guitar).

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by RSG View Post
    DC3 and NF3 are both alder body + bolt-on neck. NF3 has the narrowfield pickups and the DC3 had traditional (though odd sized) single coils. All PRS guitars that had korina bodies were limited runs. The only PRS single coils that I thought sounded really good were in the Mayer signature, but from memory the Cutlass I had sounded as good or better.

    As for the OP question about body wood, you can't blame alder wood on the sounds you're hearing with the humbucker in question - though you never mentioned the humbucker you're using. Pickups, body wood, neck wood, bridge, saddles, nut, pots - they all contribute to the signal coming out of the guitar. A combination of things may work great for one guitar/amp and sound like crap for another. Sounds like you need to experiment with pickups a bit more, figure out the natural tones of the guitar first then choose pickups and amp settings based on that (not what worked for another guitar).
    Actually the NF3s were korina; they came out after those limited edition Korina models (I had one of the KL1812s - the Korina Standard 24 with Mira pickups; should have kept it) - per this press release still on the PRS website (the only place where the specs still live):

    The NF3’s redesigned flat, korina body and its three proprietary PRS Narrowfield® pickups are standout features for this new model, lending to a very classic look and sound that sets it apart from the PRS pack. With the best traits of a humbucker, P90, singlecoil, and mini-humbucker, the Narrowfield® pickups give this guitar a distinctively familiar yet completely new sound and feature the same wire as PRS’s coveted 57/08® pickups – the width of the Narrowfield®, however, is squeezed from pole to pole and goes deeper. Steel tremolo bridge system components also contribute to its clear and expansive tone, and additional innovative updates include a retro “V12” finish and a “Pattern Regular” neck shape.

    I played probably 3 NF3s and 2 DC3s one afternoon at Willcutt's in Lexington KY not long after they got a good-sized shipment of them back in 2011. I just didn't care for the DC3 pickups at all (and didn't like them in the 305 either); I liked the NF3's Narrowfields, but admittedly did like them a bit better in that short-lived 2011-12 3 NF version of the Swamp Ash Special.

    PRS NF3 Wins MIPA for Best Electric Guitar 2010/2011.

  14. #14

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    I'm not sure there was ever a SSS guitar with PRS nearfields and an alder body. The only guitars I know of that got those were the NF3 and the 25th anniversary swamp ash special. Otherwise they've gone into Modern Eagles and the like.

    Back to the actual topic at hand: I wonder if the original poster's strats could benefit from a separate tone knob that rolls off the bass if their alder body and whatever humbucker it is is making too much looseness?
    --
    2013 Luke 3 HH in Bali Blue Burst
    2018 Valentine Tremolo in Satin Natural

  15. #15

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    The Cutlass and Valentine are worlds apart tonally, IMO, in the same way (if not more) than a Tele and Strat.

    Get one!



    The artist formerly known as "radrock"
    Axis Hardtail TransPurple #89749 (3/28/97)
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