Pete's PRS Pair
We talk with Pete of Acolyte about his pair of PRS guitars.
WHEN DID YOU START GUITAR?Some of my earliest memories are of my Mum and Dad singing duets together, so music has been my lifeblood since I was born. My dad taught me the basics and fundamentals as I was growing up, however it wasn’t until I was 15 that I really started taking guitar seriously. My music tastes were changing and with that came my drive to play guitar. It was bands like Tool, Faith No More, Sepultura, Nirvana and Metallica that really put the guitar in my hands.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO PLAY GUITAR? CAN YOU PLAY ANY OTHER INSTRUMENTS?I just loved the sound of heavy, brooding guitars when I was growing up. I also distinctly remember being blown away by my cousin playing along to Nirvana songs when I was younger. She showed me a few riffs and that was the beginning of the end!
The guitar is definitely my primary instrument but in recent years I’ve also studied world percussion at Uni. I’m fascinated by different approaches to rhythms and the syncopation found in Latin, Brazilian and other music from around the world. It’s definitely something that’s influenced how I write these days.
While not strictly an instrument, I’m also a qualified sound engineer/sound designer. I completed a Bachelor of Sound Production at Uni last year and it has opened up a whole new world of writing and mixing ideas. It’s definitely a great skill to have when you want to translate the idea in your head into tangible music.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST DECENT GUITAR?Well my first ever electric guitar was a 1997 B.C. Rich Warlock! However, the first guitar that I really felt a lot of pride in was my cherry sunburst Epiphone Les Paul Custom. It was my primary guitar for years and I played many shows with it. It’s a great mid-priced workhorse guitar that felt great to play and sounded ballsy, even with stock pickups. I eventually bought a second Epiphone Les Paul, a silverburst. I tend to write in a couple of tunings so a secondary guitar is essential.
WHAT IS YOUR DREAM GUITAR?I’m a sucker for Paul Reed Smith guitars and it’s my dream to have my own customised Private Stock guitar built for me. I really love the idea of having a PRS meticulously built to my exact wants and needs.
ARE YOU A TUBE AMP OR DIGITAL FAN? HAVE YOU HAD EXPERIENCES WITH BOTH?I’m a bit old-school when it comes to amps. I much prefer the sound and feel of a tube amp over a digital simulation. Digital amp technology has made incredible developments with sounding and responding naturally to a guitarist’s playing, and the convenience of having practically a whole rig in one unit is pretty unbeatable, but for me you just can’t beat the real deal. Having real glowing tubes firing off delicious overtones just can’t be matched by a computer’s algorithm.
I’ve recorded bands’ sessions using guitar amp digital plugins and used a Kemper Profiler Amp for a band once. I also recently dabbled with a Line 6 Helix and spent some time with an Axe-FX. All of these digital amps are incredible and convenient for tracking and gigging, however for me something is still missing.
Digital effects definitely have their place in a signal chain, but for me it stops before the amp.
YOU HAVE A BUSY PEDALBOARD, IS EVERYTHING USED? HOW DO YOU MANAGE THE TAP DANCING BETWEEN PEDALS?It is quite a busy board, but it’s actually quite a simple setup when you break it down. I use the Gigrig G2 switching unit to control the majority of my pedals, while the A/B switcher, volume and wah pedal are run pre-switcher. I just kick these on or off when I need them. All my other effects are controlled through preset patches on the G2 unit. Some example of patches that I have; there’s a patch for my amp’s clean channel with the compressor and reverb on, then another patch has just the amp’s channel 2 dirty channel, then another patch with the clean channel and Klon and delay, and another has the amp’s channel 3 heavy channel running without any effects. I’m every much a “set and forget” player, so I setup my patches and switch to whatever amp/pedal combination I need. You can also select some patches to be run in stompbox mode, meaning that they can be activated and bypassed using the G2 unit, instead of switching the pedal itself. There’s so much control over your amp channels and pedals that it completely eliminates tap dancing between pedal changes.
BOTH THESE GUITARS ARE PRS, WHAT DRAWS YOU TO THE BRAND?Initially, it was realising how many of my favourite artists were using them. There was obviously something pretty special about them seeing as so many great guitarists were playing them. It was also the look of them that drew me in. They look so slick and the finishes on them are so striking. But what really sold me was the feel and sound of them. I’ve played countless guitars on the market but PRS’s just feel the best. They also sound so clear and articulate. I love to layer a lot of different guitar parts in my music, which can get muddy in the mix very quickly, but I don’t find that to be a problem with the PRS’s I find all my layered parts are still present in the mix.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR PRS P24Back in 2013, I decided to finally get a feel for a PRS myself and went to a stockist. I tried a few different models and was instantly hooked. I was originally a Les Paul man but I was instantly converted when I played these PRS’s. Each one felt amazing and had their own slight variations in feel. My partner asked me to try a crazy bright green model that had caught her eye. I was hesitant, it was such an extreme and over-the-top looking guitar but she said that she had a good feeling about that one, so I figured I would indulge her. I’m so glad I did too, because it played like nothing else I had ever played before. It honestly felt like it was built just for me. I had to have it, however the $5,000 price tag made that impossible. So I went back to searching for the next best guitar on the rack, but none of the other models had the same vibe. For months I dreamt about that radioactive-green guitar, how amazing it felt and how striking it looked. I just had to get it, so I bit the bullet, sold a heap of musical equipment and other assets and finally made the purchase. It was a lot of money, but I was paying for the feel of a guitar that I knew I would never find again.
THE P24 HAS A PIEZO PICKUP, WAS THIS A FACTOR IN YOUR PURCHASE? DO YOU USE IT?I bought the P24 for its feel, rather than its features. But having the Piezo pickup is definitely a great and useful feature to have. I have used it live in the past and have recorded with it as well. It’s a really warm and natural sounding pickup and something that I will definitely be using more of in the future.