The Ultimate Tone Spectrum
There are two primary schools of thought when it comes to your choice of Electric guitar tone style. One being the Single Coil Pickup Tone (glassy, thin sounding, twangy) and the other being the Humbucker Pickup Tone (warm, heavy, dark). Many guitar players strive to achieve both tonal spaces by carrying at least two distinct types of guitars such as a Strat and a Les Paul. This makes for having both options of guitar tonal styles i.e. Single Coil as well as a Humbucker.
Over the years, a few handful guitar manufacturers have produced models that made the best of both worlds meet by introducing the concept of Coil Tap. This meant that you could now have regular Humbuckers that fit onto your guitar yet have those elements of Single Coil tone. Coil Tap introduced these very humbuckers to be re-routed independently as well as together. This basically means that you could now combine outputs of two Single Coils as opposed to the output of just the Humbucker on the whole.
Not a lot of musicians are aware of such options and for many it is not even a concern. Some guitar players prefer using two different guitars to keep both tonal options open. Although, If you are a serious gigging guitar player and consider tone versatility as an important tool, then you’d ideally carry one guitar with you on the road that could wishfully support all kinds of tone that you would normally look for, in your instrument.
When it comes to tone versatility, PRS has some really fine guitars out there. One such guitar I discovered was PRS 513. This guitar is an investment to have for a lifetime! Being hand built from America, it is indeed an expensive guitar to own.
As the name suggest, PRS 513 was named the 513 since it has 13 tonal options controlled via a 5 way switch to change position and a 3 way switch to change modes. These modes move from regular Single Coil to Coil Tapped pickup routing to the last mode called Heavy Humbucking which is your regular Humbucking configuration. In case you are wondering, a 5 way switch into 3 modes would mean 15 tones but they have kept the middle pickup position the same in all 3 modes and hence there are 13 beautiful tones you could choose from. I would most certainly advise you to get your hands onto one if you had a chance, just to get a sense of the tone versatility through this gorgeous beauty!