It’s been a little while since our last PRS review on the SE Custom 22. So, I thought it would be a good idea to go ahead and review a PRS McCarty.

The PRS McCarty pays homage to Ted McCarty, the President of Gibson between 1950 and 1966. McCarty consulted with Paul Reed Smith as a mentor and friend during the early years of PRS.

In 1994, PRS released the McCarty, a guitar that would take notes from the popular Custom 22, but add some innovations and tweaks to serve a different purpose to the guitar community.

That’s the end of this quick history lesson, now let’s look at this beautiful guitar!


– Carved Flamed Maple Top

– McCarty Sunburst Finish

– Mahogany Body & Neck

– Rosewood Fretboard w/ Binding

– PRS Bird Inlays

– Pattern Neck Profile

– Phase III Locking Tuners

– PRS Stoptail Bridge

– 25” Scale Length w/ 22 Frets.

– PRS 58/15 Pickups

– 1 Volume, 1 Push/Pull Tone, 3-Way Toggle Pickup Switch

The Pattern neck profile is an updated version of the original Wide Fat profile (found on the Carlos Santana model). It’s a bit chunkier than the Pattern Thin profile found on the PRS 408. It’s great for players with big hands, or rhythm players, but it’s not uncomfortable for lead playing.

The carved top is extremely comfortable and offers ergonomic benefits that make it hard to want to go back to a flat top, and the back is a bit thicker than the Custom models, making it a little heavier.

The finishes available on these models are beautiful as well. PRS never fails to impress with their carefully chosen figured tops. Just check out our Top 6 PRS Custom Shop Tops.

Some other appointments that separate the McCarty from the Custom models are the 3-way toggle switch, bound fretboard, stop tail bridge, and the 58/15 pickups.

That brings us to tone.


It’s really hard not to love the sound of this guitar. Try, I implore you.

The idea behind the McCarty was to serve homage to a former president of Gibson. As such, the guitar takes tonal notes from some of the vintage Gibson models.

The thick slab of mahogany that makes up the body of this guitar is warm and resonant. The neck is solid mahogany as well. These bits, paired up with the figured maple top, make for a deep and smooth tone with ample sustain.

The 58/15 pickups are based on original 1958 PAF-style humbuckers, but redesigned and improved in 2015. Hence the name 58/15.

These pickups offer a really warm, vintage sound with a bit of focus in the mids. They absolutely soar for playing clean styles as well as crunchy blues and jazzy tones. They are very clear and have a ton of musicality and harmonic range. The 58/15 pickups are definitely some of my favorite humbuckers for blues tones.

It isn’t made for metal music at all, so it be unfair to say it lacks in that department. It’s just not what it’s made for. You may want to look elsewhere for extreme gain applications, such as the Holcomb PRS SE.

Build Quality:

(See every other PRS review we have).

But seriously, every PRS guitar I play is so consistent and exceeds every quality expectation I could ever have. Especially these higher end models. PRS’s quality inspections ensure that you have a flawless finish, smooth fretwork, clean wiring, and perfect neck alignment.

You can really see the love and care that goes into crafting the USA-made PRS instruments before they leave the shop. PRS guitars routinely outperform many “boutique” luthiers on the market as well, which is impressive considering how many guitars PRS makes each year.

Final Verdict:

Just like every other USA-made PRS we’ve reviewed, the PRS McCarty is an incredible instrument. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a vintage style guitar with an exceptional level of comfort and playability.

If 22 frets or vintage tone isn’t your thing, but you are looking for a PRS, check out our PRS guide to find one that may suite you better! 


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This article was written by Zac Buras, our editor located in Louisiana.

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