PRS McCarty
PRS McCarty

All user reviews for the PRS McCarty

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Average Score:4.7( 4.7/5 based on 9 reviews )
 7 reviews78 %
 1 user review11 %
 1 user review11 %
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heads on fire09/09/2011

heads on fire's review"The neck makes it worth it."

PRS McCarty
USA made

Mahogany body, flame maple top

A variety of gorgeous poly finishes

East Indian rosewood neck

Bird inlays optional

2 PRS McCarty humbuckers

PRS Stoptail bridge

Volume, tone, 3 way switch, push-pull tone pot to split pickup coils

Vintage Kluson-style tuners


The guitar plays like a dream, looks like a dream, and sounds like a dream. Am I dreaming? The East Indian rosewood neck feels incredibly smooth, and adds a lot of resonance to the acoustic tone of the instrument, as well as sustain. The McCarty is basically a PRS guitar with Gibson-type features, so it sounds and plays similar to a Les Paul. The addition of the coil-splitting capabilities adds a lot of versatility to this guitar.

It's a touch on the heavy side - mine was about 8.5 pounds. But it isn't terrible on the shoulder.

Tuning stability was top notch, as the stoptail/vintage tuner combo held up nicely. The bridge is a lot easier to intonate than I thought it would be, as it doesn't have individual movable saddles.


The guitar rules! I played it on different Mesa combos, Bogners, and Fenders, and it sounds every bit as good as an old Les Paul, with some nice Tele and Strat tones thrown in for good measure. Complex chords ring through, with each note distinguishable even on the most distorted settings. Sustain for days, and a great compressed bloom for cleans. Perfect 10.


This is the guitar that got away for me. I really wish I had it back. I like everything about it, but the neck is to die for! It's not quite as versatile as, say, a Parker Fly, and it is a bit hefty, so it got knocked down a touch on my ratings for that. Also, it's more expensive, but not by much. I'd definitely get another if I had the money and could find one.

drkorey's review"Great For Leads Big Hands Needed"

PRS McCarty
I owned a USA made 2002 PRS McCarty in dark blue, moon inlays, wide-fat neck, thicker than standard mahogany body, maple top with 22 frets. It had light vintage style tuners and one-piece stoptail bridge. 1 push/pull Tone knob and 1 volume control and 3-way switch. The nickel silver covered McCarty pickups had been replaced with an EMG 81 in the bridge and an 85 in the neck.

The guitar was used and had some dings here and there but the high quality of build was still very apparent.


20-22 fret areas, you may need to bend your wrist a bit awkwardly, depending on your hand size and reach. It was the same with my 1996 PRS standard and definitely not as easy to access as the PRS SC 250's and 245's I've had.

The neck was a HUGE wide/fat, so much so that I could not do sweeps and some other lead moves that I was accustomed to. There are differences between PRS necks, even if they are labeled W/F. I had a PRS 250 SC standard that was listed as a W/F but was more like a W/T or regular carve. I posted this observation and the birdsandmoons (PRS) forum and others commented that there is some hand finishing at the end of production and some necks may get sanded down more than others, even if they are labeled the same thickness.

The guitar weight was fine - but in the end the really thick neck forced me to sell it rather quickly.


I used this guitar with custom built Peters amplifiers, which are kind of a cross between a Peavey 5150 and high gain Marshall/VHT with a little Boogie thrown in. The amp was paired with a 4x12 that had Celestion Gh12 -30's and a Splawn 4x12 with Governor/ManOWar speaker combo.

I usually go for a nice thick Jerry Cantrell AIC tone, to use with my modern rock/metal band.

The guitar had a very open and deeper bass sound to it. It seemed to muddy a little under high gain playing. This made it sound somewhat undefined during rhythm playing. The EMG's couldn't prevent the inherent bass of the guitar from coming out and gave it the generic EMG clean tone.

The guitar had very nice and thick lead tones and it was best suited for that. In the end, it was too bassy of a sound and it didn't fit the best for my style of music.


I liked the lead tones the best. Absolutely could not stand the thick neck and was not happy with how the guitar responded under high gain rhythm playing. I was looking for another PRS to match up with my '96 standard and in the end the '96 blew this one out of the water with playability and sound.

For being used, the action, fit and finish were very good. I have been through many guitars and had a number of years where I would buy, try and flip, which enabled me to have many guitars around to try out.
I'd recommend trying them before you buy, because each neck will be a little different. I got a good deal on this one but was not able to play it before purchase and I would not have made the same choice, even though I made out even on it's resale.

These are high quality instruments if you like thick necks. You can get good deals on them used, so I still think they are a good value for the used price.

MGR/Mike's review"Paul Reed Smith McCarty"

PRS McCarty
Guitar Center, East Brunswick, New Jersey. Paid $2600. I bought this guitar because I was looking for a guitar that was versatile enough to play an entire show without changing instruments (barring a string break).

This guitar is VERY versatile and sounds unbelievable. The humbucker sounds are tremendous, and the single coil sounds are very good. I bought one with an East Indian Rosewood Neck. If you decide on a McCarty, I HIGHLY recommend you look into one with this neck. The playability of all PRS's is great, but with this neck, it's unspeakable! Finally, the tone is outstanding. Dark, rich, and complex. However, this guitar, though awesome, is not for everyone. See below.

I have one very minor complaint: no locking tuners. Not that we buy guitars for their tuners, but they would have been nice.

Now, though I only have one complaint, I do have two major caveats. Make sure you understand the following before you buy this awesome (and very expensive) guitar. First, if you want a Les Paul or a Strat, get one. The humbucker sound on a McCarty is fatter than other double cutaway guitars, but it doesn't even approach the fatness of a Les Paul. The single coil sounds are very nice, but not "twangy" like a strat. Nothing does a Les Paul and Strat sounds better than Les Pauls and Strats. With that said, when you want to get "similar" sounds out of one guitar, this one can do it. Second, this guitar is very strong in the mids. Yes, the highs are sweet and the lows are smooth, but when your playing chords, its big on the mids. So if you're the type that likes playing with a scooped-mid sound, this guitar is not for you. Try a Custom 22 or 24 (with and without the trem system) instead. The McCarty is a great rock guitar, and it can do some of the heavier stuff if you ask it to. But if the heavy stuff is your thing, move on.

It's a PRS... construction and quality are nothing short of perfect. The set-up performed at the factory is better than any tech I know could ever do.

The McCarty is very versatile. It can come close to Les Paul and Strat sounds. But what makes this guitar worth the money is what you don't hear about enough-- the PRS sound. It's got its own sonic character that is dark, rich, and complex. If you don't like the mids, try a Custom 22 with a tail stop. To overly generalize, the McCarty is more vinatage sounding and the Custom 22 is more modern sounding. Good Luck!

This review was originally published on

MGR/Anonymous's review"Paul Reed Smith McCarty"

PRS McCarty
it was a 2500$ guitar, bought it for 2000, not bad of a deal, at first i bought a store show model, but was not too happy with the condition it was in after i took it home and closely examined it under special lighting, so i brought it back and they transfered another one to guitar center, and took it home.

i like the sound of the guitar, its very mellow, almost jazzy. i love the look of this guitar, i got a transparant whale blue finish, it looks magnificent under flourecent lights. the best part about the guitar is its tone, and the weight of it compared to a les paul. the guitar stays in tune almost perfectly.

i was not very fond of the neck, the neck is too skinny for some of the different vigorous ways i play my guitar, like heavy thrash and such.

the guitar is very well made, the finish is great. but i felt that the frets going have been better, maybe its just my guitar.

go check it out. its tone can be matched up with a les paul. yet, the playability cannot be compared to a les paul custom

This review was originally published on
MGR/Mack Homie03/30/2002

MGR/Mack Homie's review"Paul Reed Smith McCarty"

PRS McCarty
Guitar center, (today) Paid 1700, (that incudes tax) and they were selling it for 2,299. They're pretty flexible if you bother em enough.

I like everything about this, feels great, sounds great, looks great. Great.

The only thing I don't like is that it's wide. It makes it kinda tough to mute strings on the go. I can get over it :)

Construction/Quality? It's a prs

This guitar totally rules, sounds like an acoustic when it's not plugged in!

This review was originally published on

MGR/Anonymous's review"Paul Reed Smith McCarty"

PRS McCarty
I acquired this McCarty by purchasing it from a guitar store in Edmonton, Alberta Canada for $2,800(Canadian). I bought it because it was my favourite of all the guitars that I tried.

My McCarty is the coolest looking guitar that anyone could imagine. The Gold Top is very unique in that unlike many goldtop guitars it has a more glassy luster to it rather than a metallic one. Because of this combined with the wicked carved maple top it looks incredible in a different way no matter what direction, angle or distance you look at it from. However, not only does it look cool, it sounds coolest. Unlike many modern guitars(e.g. ESP, Ibanez, Jackson) the McCarty's sound is free of the annoying squeeks, scratches, buzzes and screeches that seem to swarm to guitars with ultra hi-gain pickups. The type of guitars which are more commonly used by Metal guitarists, which is what I am. I believe that the McCarty Model is the ultimate combination of Les Paul heavyness and sustain and Stratocaster precision and brightness. It has just enough highs and mids to let the higher notes ring through loud and clear but it also has a heaping pile of smooth, sustaining, yet crushing low end. The main thing that sets the McCarty far ahead of the screeching, squeeking buzzing pack of imports is its smooth yet clear tone which is very contradictory to the usual harsh open coil sound that the imports tend to deliver.

My only real complaints about this amazing guitar are that 1)it's action is very difficult to get just right and 2)it doesn't have locking tuners for tuning stability after dropping down to the depths of metal tuning.

The construction and quality of the instrument were impecable, however there was one itsy bitsy flaw. When I removed the truss rod cover to perform some adkjustments I discoverd a small gob of wood shavings stuck together by some dried up headstock finisher. This catastrophe however, was solved with the flick of finger. Aside from that it was flawless.

Overall the PRS McCarty is well worth the fairly hefty price tag. It is the best guitar I have ever played thus far in my life, and I doubt it will be surpassed anytime soon.

This review was originally published on
Maurice Gentil11/28/2014

Maurice Gentil's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)" An excellent guitar"

PRS McCarty
Made in the USA, my 1994 model time, before the move of the company to Stenvenville Maryland. Annapolis so a model, much like Gibson with Lalamazoo and Nashville. So a smaller company, except for PRS, employees remained (see drunk Tony Bacon). A US product with mahogany India. A set neck that transmits vibrations better than a bolt-on neck. A patented bridge house by PRS itself. The base remains a Les Paul with a sharper cutting, an improvement for access to acute, microphones worked with McCarty himself, so a tribute to Gibson Les Paul. 22 frets on this model. Two buttons, one volume and one tone, sensitive enough. A well balanced guitar, fine enough, constructed from a mahogany body and a maple top.


Not too thick a handle, perhaps a bit more than my Gibson Deluxe. But it has the same feel. The vibrations resonate in the handle. We feel the sound go. The tuners are Kluson of imitations, like Gibson. Very simple to adjust, no tuning problems. Very good grip all over the neck. Access to acute facilitated by the cut that made the reputation of the brand. The bass sound is excellent, typical jazz, hot, big. Acute sound is excellent, typified 1980s Powerful enough as these McCarty pickups.


Ideal for Jazz because the body is thinner than a half box, and I'm not talking about full cases. The agreements are easy to move, the notes sound good. The settings are sufficient, precise, with a little practice, you come to master the beast. The bridge allows the hand to rest without having some nasty scratches Stratocaster.
I mostly played with the neck pickup. I could do without the pickup smoothly.


More than a year, I like the old instrument, they had time to dry, to do, to improve. I love the look, shape, cuts. A beautiful guitar that you look. The price is justified by the production, instrument making, history. This model is no longer. For me McCarty model suits my style and my practice.

ozzyozburne's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)" Class!!"

PRS McCarty
Manufacturing USA, Wide Fat neck, much less big as my 57 and 58 Gibs laughed. Hooping perfect, no complaints about the finish is zero defects. Mine is a 10 top, Color Vintage Sunburst. The tuners are Schallers. The guitar is very well balanced, as heavy as my LP on the scale. I just changed (as always) the attachments for belt Straplok DUNLOP. Hyper


easy to play, although I appreciate more and more thick handles like my 58ri. Volume (which has just let go first time in 20 years of guitar, soon replaced), a tone, a split that refines and sharpens the sound (musically) more than it gives single coil sound. It's super versatile (not non-volatile is NOT a synonym), easy to play ...


I used to try lots of pickups on my guitars: Duncan, Gibson, Rio Grande, EMG, etc. Bare Knuckle ... On it, I returned to the original pickups that fit him like a glove. Where my PRS Singlecut is "neutral" when I changed pickups, the McCarty still medium / medium low, with a bit dull treble, and bass round, regardless of the microphones sometimes taped. These McCarty pickups are very dynamic and warm, it's very nice.
After, he must return for a dedznt draw something, it makes me think of the U.S. Hamer, and I understand that many guitarists are the PRS a bit bland, where Les Paul has a strong personality, even if the guitarist shy ....
Once you have it in hand, and those of a good scratch is a treat, it sounds, the sounds are full and fleshy, and can attack all the styles in a good amp. I try it again, which I'm sure its the mids are going to get straight into the mix. I will return.


Beautiful guitar, rather vintage, dynamic and versatile. She has no bad side and Rn'R of Les Paul, it's more an aristocrat who runs wild.
I've had a few weeks, it is a pro instrument. A great guitar that I will not compare to an LP: this is not the same hit, nor the same style of guitar. A beautiful LP always fascinate me more than any other dug-out, but McCarty has a personality to it. If you play it and hope it rings twice and Les Paul Stratocaster single, you'll be disappointed! This is neither the one nor the other is a PRS (another standard?). And what she is beautiful !!!!!!!
Le Taz08/16/2007

Le Taz's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)

PRS McCarty
See below

I put 8 because no fan of the wide sleeves (thus valid for all the PRS)


Even if it is rather large hands, or that do not play classical position, it plays very easy, thanks a great rglage and frets trs agables


I jou standard of 24. Sduit to beginners, but quickly lass. The PRS are trssduisantes at first, but I quickly came to blame them for not being sufficiently "gibson" or "fender and drive".

The MC Carty is my only regret. It dmarque all others as closer to the les paul, while bringing more fine, subtle and rponse the attack that is reminiscent of the 335. Brief. DITC as follows: a Les Paul and more


McCarty is the diffrence other prs its first electronic, and McCarty (microphones) are less powerful than the dragon or other hfs, maissurtout creuss less and less typs. You may some surprises by connecting the standard and custom amplifiers in class A, or critters Commelles marshall JCM800. These guitars are Designed for modern amps, hi-gain. McCarty will come out of it, because these microphones are beautifully in balance mdiums: This corresponds to frquencesnaturelles guitars, it must be recalled. The interaction between lalutherie, electronics and all types of amplification will be his best.

Small rooms rsonnances hide under the table will bring Saddle slamming or biting you may be missing Surun Les Paul

It would dj at my house, if silent below 2000 euro. But the price equivalent or infrieur when looking around or ngociant is justified even at the cost of qu'quivalent Lp Standard quality will be really new dontla infrieure.