Suhr Pro Series S4

Discussion in 'Guitar Reviews' started by shadowlife, Nov 7, 2008.

  1. shadowlife

    shadowlife Contributor

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    Now that the honeymoon period has passed, i wanted to give a fairly thorough review of this guitar.

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    This is a Pro Series S4 in bahama blue finish, with maple neck and fretboard. Complete specs can be found at Suhr's website.
    We'll start at one end of the guitar, and work our way towards the other.
    I have no problem with the headstock, in fact i think it's classy, but it's really not that important to me. Some people make a big deal out of headstock shapes, but i could really care less. The tuners are Sperzel locking, which work fine, but given a choice i would pick Schaller locking tuners, as i prefer the fact that they have a thicker "wheel" on the back, and it feels more comfortable to me. But that's a minor quibble, as I don't think there is a difference in quality or sound.
    The nut is tusq, and this is probably the one thing i would definitely change if i could. Nothing more annoying than that metallic "ting" sound when you use the trem. Not a problem with dirty sounds, but playing clean is a nightmare if you want to use the trem. Putting some pencil lead in the nut slots helps a bit, but not enough IMO. The best nut for non-locking trems IMO is the LSR roller nut, and i really feel strongly that Suhr should offer this as an option. At some point down the road , i may take it in to my tech, and have him put in the roller nut.
    The neck is maple, even C slim, 10-14 radius, 1.65 nut width with a (i think) satin finish, and feels great. Totally comfy, and not sticky at all. The fretwork and setup is as close to perfect as i've ever played, with only Vigier equalling it.
    The body is super comfy, and the finish is flawless. The cutaway and neck heel are comfortable, but i don't play too much past the 17th fret anyway, so it's not a big concern for me. There is no problem getting to the higher frets if i want though. My only quibble with the body is that i wish Suhr would use similar sized screws for his strap buttons that the straplock makers use, so those of us who want to use straplocks wouldn't have such a pain in the ass trying to fit them. Personally, i don't understand how companies making 2K and up guitars don't just put straplocks on them as standard issue, but at the very least, Suhr should offer them as an option.
    Trem is Gotoh 510, and works and sounds great. Would be even better with a roller nut, as i already mentioned. Nothing stays in tune like a locking trem, but this stays in tune "well-enough" to get the job done, and not cringe from horribly out of tune strings. I do really like the design of the bar with the sleeve AND the screw on fit. Nice and snug, although if a guy prefers to have the bar swinging loosely, he might be out of luck with this bridge.
    Electronics are high quality, but i hate the selector switch, as it moves between positions way too easily. I prefer a switch that's more solid in position, as with this one you have to be REALLY careful when strumming, not to hit it, or it will definitely move. Again at some point, i may have my tech change it out for a stiffer one. Output jack is great- it grabs the cord nice and tight, and i have no worries at all about the cord accidently coming out.
    Sounds are truly musical. The guitar is very resonant, and "sings" like a fine instrument should. I am a believer in the Buzz Feiten system, although i think a well-built guitar without it still sounds fine. However i do think that chords are sweeter with the system.

    Pickups are a SSH+ humbucker and 2 FL singles. I find it hard to describe pickups with words, but i will say that the FL's are very "in your face". I wouldn't call them overly warm sounding, they have an attack to them that really helps them cut through. Very resonant and musical. Some have asked for a comparison to the V60LP's, but i cannot realistically compare as:
    1- it's been 2 years since i had a Suhr with the V60LP's
    2- that guitar was alder with a rosewood board and 1088 trem- this guitar is basswood/maple top with a maple board and 510 trem

    I will let soundclips do most of the talking for the pickups.
    Here is a rundown of the sound clips:
    Both clips were recorded with a POD XT Live and a Yamaha AW2400 DAW. No eq or effects were added after the fact- what you hear is what was recorded.

    Clip One

    The first clip features the FL pickups and was recorded stereo with the POD connected to 2 Tech 21 Power Engine 60's, which were fed into the AW2400 with XLR cables.
    The clip is 6 and a half minutes long, here is breakdown for the curious, or those who want to skip ahead:
    First section is played mostly with a pick, with a bit of pick and fingers in the first couple of minutes.
    0:00-1:18 FL middle pickup
    1:18-2:17 FL middle & neck pickups
    2:17-3:10 FL neck pickup
    10 second break
    The next section features a different patch on the POD and is played using only fingerpicking. There is a panning effect on this patch that i forgot to turn off before recording... #-o
    3:19-4:30 FL middle & neck pickups
    10 second break
    The next section is yet another patch, this one featuring a small amount of overdrive. This is all played using the pick.
    4:37-5:37 FL middle pickup
    5:37- end FL neck pickup

    Clip Two

    The second clip features the SSH+ humbucker pickup exclusively, and was recorded mono into one Power Engine mic'd with a SM57 into the AW2400. All played with a pick.
    It was recorded with my main lead sound until about 2:15 when i switch patches on the POD to a different patch to give an idea of what the pickup sounds like for distorted rhythm.

    Lastly, here's a track recorded entirely with the Suhr. Backing is the POD stereo into a EH 2880 Looper into the PE60's XLR'd into the AW2400. Solo is also stereo direct.

    Demo Tune

    Conclusion.
    This guitar is expertly thought out and crafted, and it is one of the rare guitars i've played or owned that i would describe as having "mojo". I have already formed a serious bond with it. All in all, a fine instrument that i see myself using for a good stretch into the future.
    Really for an overall rating, i would give it a 4.8, as it's the nut and selector switch that keep it from being a complete 5 for me.
    Thanks for reading/listening.
     
  2. Thrashmanzac

    Thrashmanzac plays in 69/42

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    very good reveiw mate :yesway:
     
  3. Scali

    Scali Banned

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    Well, I'm not a big fan of Suhr or 'classic' Strats in general, but this one sure looks great, and it seems to be a mean tone and playing machine aswell!
     
  4. shadowlife

    shadowlife Contributor

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    Thanks for checking out the review!
     
  5. Lewk

    Lewk SS.org Regular

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    Great review :) (Lew from Suhr forum)
     
  6. Lava Joe

    Lava Joe SS.org Regular

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    Nice review, and wow, what a finish!

    The roller nuts are perfect for tremolos, I agree! Had one on my '90 Strat Plus...it was a joy to play with the trem on it!
     
  7. Straighteight2003

    Straighteight2003 SS.org Regular

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    Thanks for a very nice review.
    I totally agree with the roller nut. I have it on my Zerberus Hydra II with a Wilkinson Trem and they are working very well together. Also a too easy changing PU selector can be annoying - if it's in the strumming way - that's right.
    Wolfgang
     

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