As a rock lead instrument the PRS Nick Catanese really sings but its a phenomenal-sounding blues guitar, too
Anyone who shares a stage with Zakk Wylde risks getting blown away in so many different ways, but for the last 12 years Black Label Society sidekick Nick Catanese has been the man for the job, and his unwavering ability to keep up with His Hairiness has even earned him the nickname ‘Evil Twin‘.
ZW’s axes are almost as extrovert as their owner but poor Nick has been strumming along on some rather dowdy guitars – until last year when a new Nick Catanese PRS signature model came into development.
This is a burger and fries rockin’ guitar. PRS have started off with a thicker-than-usual single-cut mahogany body and glued in a mahogany neck with a highly polished ebony fingerboard.
The heel is curved on the treble side and the top is carved to a subtle arch between an LP and a German carve, with a subtle rib rout on the back.
The 22 frets are fat enough to be bass frets, and they sit pretty tall, while Nick has chosen a ‘wide fat’ neck and a locking TonePros wrapover bridge with individually adjustable saddles. Like the Torero we have active EMGs and master volume and tone, but this time the three-way pickup selector has been moved to the LP position.
So, a tasteful combination of classic and contemporary – but, like his boss, Nick Catanese has chosen to assert his individuality through graphic design.
Behind the bridge there’s a silver ‘Evil Twin‘ logo. Although it looks vaguely runic, the ‘E’ and the ‘T’ are easy to spot once you know what you’re looking for.
Then there’s no avoiding the bright red plastic binding that adorns the fretboard, headstock and top edge of the body.
Even the pickup rings match, although it’s probably best that they used a black switch tip. As for the colour choice, you can have anything you want so long as it’s black. Why would you want anything else?
Compared to the Torero‘s acoustic tone, the Nick Catanese is both bassier and brighter. You can feel way more resonance as it vibrates against your body, and the quicker transient response gives it a snappier, chimier response.
Though these guitars share the same pickups, this is a completely different guitar because all those acoustic qualities clearly come into play.
The extra brightness scythes through the mix and it’s much more responsive and expressive. As for the whole ‘through neck equals sustain’ thing, I’ve alwayssuspected that it was an illusion created by the suppression of transients and this guitar’s incredible sustain reinforces my belief.
As a rock lead instrument it sings – but it’s a phenomenal blues guitar too.
The clean capabilities also offer more tonal variation. Again there’s no loss of brightness when you turn down, but since it’s so much brighter to begin with you can get into snappier and funkier arenas.
Then you can flick over to the neck, roll off some tone and the NC will reveal its woodier, moodier side. This guitar is seriously difficult to put down
The Nick Catanese wears its signature status blatantly on its sleeve, but its a genuinely great-sounding all-round rock/blues machine.