It’s one thing to test gear in a controlled environment, it’s an entirely different matter to use it for a gig. After receiving the Prestige Heritage Elite, I took it through its paces in my home studio, and it performed quite well; so well that I gave it very high marks, reflecting the excellent build quality as well as how it sounds, which was awesome in the studio. The operative word here is “studio.”
As I mentioned above, it’s an entirely different matter of testing gear in a gig situation. After all, during a gig, you don’t have the luxury to stop to make corrections on the fly. Furthermore, during a gig, an instrument’s tone interacts and reacts completely differently to the environment than in the studio.
Hope that little section above doesn’t make you nervous about how the Heritage Elite performed because it worked great! I played the guitar at my weekly church gig with a full band. Now before you dismiss this venue, let me say that playing in a church is one of the most sonically challenging environments to play in because you don’t have the luxury to crank it up, and churches have pretty high ceilings so dealing with sound bouncing around a big space makes it even more challenging. In light of that, you have to rely a lot on the natural tone of the gear you’re playing. Especially with something like a guitar, it has to sound great at lower volumes, and have voicing that won’t get lost in the ambient.
In this, the Heritage Elite really excels. Surprisingly enough, it doesn’t have the deep ballsy voicing you’d expect from a Les Paul-type of guitar. In fact, the voicing is much brighter, but from the standpoint of playing live, that’s a good thing, and something for which I’ve always praised Saint Guitars. But like a Les Paul, it has that distinctive chirp – that kind of hard to describe, subtle sound. It’s very pleasing to the ears – I dig it!
The other great thing about playing at my church is that I can play a variety of musical styles throughout the course of the service. I played some hard driving rock as well as some soft, finger-style music. Whatever the style of music I played, the Heritage Elite performed great. I especially dug its clean tone while finger-picking.
I also forgot how fun it is to play with independent volume and tone controls. I usually peg the tone controls, then use varying amounts of gain between the neck and bridge pickups to dial in just the right tone for a song. I actually played most of the service in the middle position so I could take advantage of both volume controls, though I used the treble position for leads – the SH-4 JB in the bridge position rocks!
So, whether you use it in the studio or on the stage, the Prestige Guitars Heritage Elite will do the job handily!
By the way, I found out why these boutique-like guitars come in at such a low price point compared to their more expensive counterparts: The guitars are cut, built and finished in Korea, then shipped to Canada to have hardware added and set up. For people who care about build location, this might be an issue. But PRS does _everything_ in Korea for their SE guitars, and they sound and play great! And I guess that’s the point I’m trying to make. Who the hell cares where Prestige guitars cut and constructed? All I know is that the guitar I’ve reviewed has no finish flaws, and more importantly, it sounds and plays great! I’ve even lent it to my close friend, and he’s diggin’ it! He’s amazed at how well it plays and sounds! That’s the most important thing with any instrument.