From crashing distorted detuned mayhem to spanky country clean, this Mira Maple Top just takes everything in its stride. Martyn Casserly takes a look.
When most people think of PRS guitars they probably envisage exotic woods, delicate carving, elegant styling and a price to match.
But you don’t muscle your way to the very top of the guitar food chain without knowing what the people want, and here we have a couple of relatively inexpensive models that could well whet the appetite of the more humble-heeled player. A PRS for the rest of us? That sounds like a fine idea.
MIRA MAPLE TOP
When PRS released the Mira last year it seemed that the US giants had targeted the more workmanlike musician who had little interest in fancy 10 tops and bird inlays: instead this was a stripped-down, lightweight, pro-level instrument that wouldn’t look out of place in any venue. Now the range has expanded with the new Maple Top model.
A slim mahogany twin-cutaway body remains the chassis of the guitar, with a gently carved maple top giving a more sophisticated look while still retaining the purposeful air of the standard Mira.
The mahogany set-neck joins at the 23rd of its 24 frets, offering unrestricted access to the rosewood fingerboard. This particular example features bird inlays but the standard Maple Top will wear moons, with birds being an added-cost option.
The bridge is a PRS wraparound stoptail with grooves for the strings that compensate for intonation. This works very well for standard strings, but bear in mind that if you use higher gauges than .010"s you’ll need to upgrade to the PRS adjustable stoptail bridge – which, of course, adds to the cost.
Machineheads are PRS Phase II low-mass locking tuners, and they do the job nicely.
Electronics consist of two PRS Mira humbuckers sharing master volume and tone controls, with a three-way selector switch and a mini-toggle switch that activates the coil split. Neat, well laid out, and easy to access on a dark stage.
If tonal versatility is something you seek then the Mira Maple Top may well end your search. From crashing distorted detuned mayhem to spanky country clean, this guitar just takes everything in its stride.
The humbuckers are clear and defined (aided no doubt by the maple top) with a three-dimensional complexity that reminds you that you’re playing a top-level instrument.
The Mira just sounds alive, and it can even surprise you at times with the tones it produces – in a good way. The coil tap may reduce the output somewhat, but it also reveals highly usable single coil tones, and that isn’t always the case with other premium guitars.
The Mira is simply exceptional. It offers beautiful tonal subtleties, gorgeous looks and a super-comfortable playing feel, and all at a price that is still attainable. Such is the ease with which the Mira moves through musical styles, I'm half-convinced that if you sat it down at a drum kit it would strike up a decent backbeat. The maple top, it seems, is more than just eye candy: it adds a tightness and focus that allows the guitar to breathe, and that's where the magic lies. The Mira Maple Top is a bona fide modern classic.