I wanted the Quicksilver to be able to reproduce as many type
of sounds as technologically possible.
I wanted the guitar to be able to faithfully reproduce a Les
Paul, ES335 or an SG Humbucker tone. I wanted the guitar to be able to sound
like a Strat, Fat Strat and Telecaster without dropping out the unity gain. I
wanted the sustain of a neck through body like a USA made "BC Rich" or
"Jackson". I wanted that original signature Eddie Van Halen "Brown Sound" like
an early Kramer or Ernie Ball and I wanted the jangly 60's Rickenbacker tone. Lastly I wanted the smooth creamy upper mid range tonality of an early PRS
guitar with a sweet switch on it.
A tall order,
keep reading it gets taller.
To further complicate matters I wanted it passive. (No
batteries). I believe that whatever you gain using active pickups you lose in
consistency of sound later. Batteries are never consistent, so tone will suffer
from this. I wanted the sounds to be instantly
attainable and immediately available without too many switches and controls.
After all, they won't sell if a salesman can't easily demonstrate the different
tones and how easy it will be for the customer to achieve them.
I actually wanted the guitar to be able to achieve a traditional
jazz tone. My requirements were that the guitar be
capable of attaining a super clean sound (Surf Music Clean) at loud
volumes, and not go muddy when I turned the tone knob down to zero.
I wanted an optional natural acoustic piezo electric system
available that could be updated when new technology was introduced and would
never go obsolete. I wanted an optional MIDI jack
system that would actually work. Believe me that part was hard but the results
were extremely good. (Call for more info) The
guitar had to also be capable of getting that 80's upper midrange crunchy tone
and not feed back at loud volumes. The guitar had
to be capable of at least 90% performance when coupled with a medium cost, solid
state amplifier. I required the MIDI Trigger
system onboard. I would not accept using that Roland pickup.
I also wanted the customer to be able to have the option to drop
the MIDI System in at a later date. This meant
that the guitar needed to be available with a MIDI jack plate preinstalled. I
found that many customers wanted MIDI but could not afford it when the purchase
was actually made. It is relatively inexpensive to pre-mount the MIDI jack plate
& provide the room for the extra electronics as long as you do it before the
guitar is painted.
Pickup Rings Available
I had several problems to overcome, To say the least:
The hardest one was reproducing the Les Paul's
tonality without the inherent Les Paul muddiness.
Reproducing a single coil Stratocaster and Telecaster
sound without sacrificing the unity gain.
The Rickenbacker's jangly 60's sound was impossible to
reproduce, believe me I tried and failed. I was able to achieve a wimpy
version when the guitar was equipped with an older style piezo electric system.
For all intents and purposes though, you would still need a Rickenbacker to achieve
Getting pickups that would not go muddy at high volume
Pickup placement, height and spacing between themselves.
Mounting the pickups to the guitar so that the passive
vibration of the pickup would match the passive vibration of the guitar body.
(Spring loaded traditionally mounted pickups are the cause of muddiness)
Dead spots on the neck had to be dealt with. A real
problem on a long thin neck.
I played with several different size neck tapers, different
thickness and radiuses. I experimented with different finishes on the neck and
fingerboard and I spent hundreds of hours on the heart of the guitar (The
Neck Joint). I concluded that there had to be a multitude of necks
available. When a customer orders a Quicksilver,
there will be a short consultation with myself and the customer regarding
exactly what the customers requirements are. The customer will be advised on all
the options and the neck will be constructed using the information from that
conversation. The reach to the high frets had to
be absolutely effortless. The problem here was that PRS had a body cove
trademarked on the lower bout. I thought I was going to need that for comfort.
I was quite happy to discover that by coving out the back part of the lower bout
it actually worked better.
3. Aesthetic Beauty
Obviously the guitar had to be beautiful, Otherwise it would
So I looked at 6 of the most beautiful body shapes on the
market. I wanted the guitar to fit into this level of beauty. So I did my best
to research any trademarks and I was able to come up with the design you see on
Approximately 6 lbs average. I built one that was 5.3 lbs it was made
from Spalted Maple & Korina, I am offering an ultralight model that comes in
under 4 lbs
The only inherent weak point on a PRS guitar is the neck
joint. They don't break very often but when they do they always fracture on the
back directly below and above the neck. The cracks are usually about 1 inch long
and I have never seen them crack in one place. In every single instance it
cracks evenly in two places (Directly at the lower edge and upper edge of the
neck joint on the back of the body of the guitar.
I am using almost 1/4 more wood in those locations. This
was not an easy trick because I wanted the neck to be interchangeable with a PRS
and I wanted to keep the same slim body design as a PRS. I was able to do it
with the neck angle placement. I got a bonus, the
tension of the strings is slightly more than a PRS. This added tension coupled
with the direct contact construction
really added to the sustain and tone of this guitar.
I wanted the Quicksilver to be affordable and useful to the everyday player.
I wanted to come in below Gibson, PRS, Abyss, Moonstone, McNaught,
JET, McInturff, Warrior, & Centurion.