PRS SE Mike Mushok Baritone Guitar
PRS Guitars, prsguitars.com
Nothing sounds as heavy as a guitar tuned way down low. But tuning down on a standard-size guitar makes the strings too floppy, and extra-heavy strings deliver intonation that’s about as good as William Hung’s. Baritone guitars have longer scale lengths and require heavier strings, making them the ideal solution. On the downside, most models are single-coil-pickup affairs that can’t deliver the boom and bang hard rock and metal players crave.
The PRS SE Mike Mushok model is one of a handful of new baritone guitars designed for heavy music. With its mahogany construction and dual-humbucking pickups, the Mushok baritone pumps out deep, dark tones that sound absolutely brutal when paired with a high-gain amp.
The Mike Mushok model looks similar to the PRS SE Custom model: the body is exactly the same as that model, but the guitar has a 27.7-inch (rather than a 25-inch) scale length. Several subtle differences also set it apart from stock SE models, including headstock and neck binding, inlay-free ebony fretboard, silverburst finish, string-through-body stop tailpiece, and three-position blade-style pickup selector (instead of the usual Les Paul–style toggle).
Like an SG, the Mike Mushok model features a flat-topped all-mahogany body with a set maple neck. Even though it’s about as thick as a Les Paul, the Mushok is exceptionally light and comfortable to play for hours at a time. Hardware includes knurled chrome master volume and master tone controls, chrome-plated PRS-designed tuners, and specially designed PRS Treble and Bass humbuckers.
Fitting into the comfort zone between a bass and a standard six-string guitar, the PRS SE Mike Mushok may be the ultimate hard rock rhythm guitar. The humbuckers pump out just enough output to push an amp hard while retaining tight, focused bottom end that keeps power chords from turning to mush and open chords sounding incredibly lush. The three pickup settings and master volume and tone controls provide a decent amount of tonal variation, from punchy to mellow. Even with the guitar’s elongated scale, I found rapid riffs and complex chord changes were remarkably comfortable to play.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The PRS SE Mike Mushok baritone is the perfect choice if you love to blast low-tuned rhythms through a high-gain amp, but even roots rock and blues-oriented players will be inspired by its deep, mellow sound, which puts the “tone” in baritone.
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