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Author Topic:  Show Pro vs Williams
Andrew Keenan


From:
Pennsylvania, USA
Post Posted 16 Apr 2016 12:19 am     Reply with quote

Has anyone played both Show Pro and Wiliams guitars? What do you like about each? What are the differences worth mentioning? I'm looking to have a guitar built for me and have heard great things about both. I would be looking to get an s-10 or s-12 perhaps. I'm thinking It would be nice to have a guitar that could achieve a nice warm west coast sound as well as a classic country honky tonk sound. Any thoughts?
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mtulbert


From:
Plano, Texas 75023
Post Posted 16 Apr 2016 4:36 am     Reply with quote

I have dealt with Jeff at Show Pro in one way or another for many years. You will not find a nicer or more accomadating person then Jeff IMHO. However Bill is also a wonderful person as well. This is a tough choice to make and my advise is to attempt to play each brand before coming to a decision. They are both high quality builders and either model will give you years of great playing.

Good Luck.
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Mark T


Rittenberry Prestige D10, Rittenberry Prestige SD10, Revelation Preamp,Revelation Octal Preamp,Lexicon PCM 92 Reverb, QSC Powered Monitors
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Olli Haavisto


From:
Jarvenpaa,Finland
Post Posted 16 Apr 2016 6:21 am     Reply with quote

If you plan to get a 12 string, that narrows it down to Williams.
Last I heard, Jeff doesn't make 12-stringers....
I haven't seen a single body Show-Pro either.
I could, of course be wrong....
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chris ivey


From:
california - r.i.p.
Post Posted 16 Apr 2016 10:28 am     Reply with quote

i'd check the pics on the show pro site.
and honky tonk and west coast sound seems pretty much the same to me.
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Andrew Keenan


From:
Pennsylvania, USA
Post Posted 16 Apr 2016 10:43 am     Reply with quote

I guess what I mean is a warm and round sound as well as a bright and snappy sound. I've been thinking wooden neck and considering different pickup options. I'd definitely lean toward a single body design to conserve weight and space. A guitar that travels easier is a big plus for me. Great intonation/minimal cabinet drop is also a big concern for me. I'm wondering how single body vs wide body perform in regards to cabinet drop. Also, I live in Nashville so having show pro close by is kind of a nice perk if I were to go that route. Thank you all for your input. I'm not much of a gear guy so your comments are much appreciated.

-Andy
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Chris Grigsby


From:
Boulder, CO
Post Posted 16 Apr 2016 7:24 pm     Reply with quote

I have a gorgeous Show Pro SD10 that has a three way tele switch that provides a lot of the tonal variations you describe. With the flick of a switch, you can go from a really great vintage single coil sound to the more modern really huge full and smooth sounding humbucker. They both sound amazing, but very different, and I can't imagine not having this option on any other guitar. And if you really want to go nuts, you can get the Russ Pahl model. As far as playability and aesthetics, I can't imagine anything surpassing Jeff's Show Pro guitars, but I've seen some really nice Williams guitars as well. But if you're in Nashville, Show Pro is a no brainer.



Good luck!

Best,
Chris
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Andrew Keenan


From:
Pennsylvania, USA
Post Posted 17 Apr 2016 9:52 am     Reply with quote

Chris, thanks for the reply. That's a beautiful guitar you have there! Your 3 ways switch sounds like exactly the type of option I'm looking for. Do you have 2 separate pickups that you are switching between and blending or are you splitting the coil on one pickup? I'm wondering if Show Pro makes any smaller bodied guitars and if not, what the reasoning is for that. Is there an advantage to the wide body aside from comfort?
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Chris Grigsby


From:
Boulder, CO
Post Posted 17 Apr 2016 10:11 am     Reply with quote

Yes, the selector is used to split the coil on the humbucker. I would encourage you to call Jeff as I think he will build you whatever you want and can speak to the S10 versus SD10 question far better than I. If you search the forum for the 'Show Me Your Show Pro' thread you can see Russ Pahl and Eddie Dunlap guitars with multiple pickups. Or look up Show Pro on Facebook as Jeff regularly posts pics of ongoing builds on there.

Best,
Chris
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Andrew Keenan


From:
Pennsylvania, USA
Post Posted 17 Apr 2016 10:44 am     Reply with quote

Thanks Chris!
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Mike Perlowin


From:
Los Angeles CA
Post Posted 17 Apr 2016 11:42 am     Reply with quote

Sho-Pro and Williams are both excellent choices, but they are not the only ones. There are a lot of fine steels for you to choose from.

Before you buy a steel, you should check out Rittenbury, Mullen, MSA, Infinity, Justice, Jackson, Fessenden, Excel, and all the other manufacturers out there. Everybody is making great instruments. You can't go wrong with any of them.

There are also some outstanding used steels in the classifieds.
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Mike Perlowin


From:
Los Angeles CA
Post Posted 17 Apr 2016 11:49 am     Reply with quote

I could be mistaken about this, but I believe that for a coil splitter to work, you have to have a pickup with separate wires for each coil.

Chris, what pickup are you using? (Beautiful color BTW.)
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Andrew Keenan


From:
Pennsylvania, USA
Post Posted 17 Apr 2016 12:02 pm     Reply with quote

Thanks for the reply Mike. I have tried out a handful of other steels over the years. I wish I could try them all! I have played GFI for many years and it has served me very well. I've decided that it's time try something new. Based on some friends' recommendations and some sounds I've heard I had narrowed down my search to these two. I'd certainly be interested in hearing other people's favorites and what they like about them!

-Andy
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Paddy Long


From:
Christchurch, New Zealand
Post Posted 17 Apr 2016 3:49 pm     Reply with quote

Andrew go and talk to Jeff in person, explain to him what your looking for and I'm sure he will have all the info for you - he's a great guy and builds awesome guitars.
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Mike Perlowin


From:
Los Angeles CA
Post Posted 17 Apr 2016 3:59 pm     Reply with quote

Andrew, human nature being what it is, everybody is going to tell you that the brand they play is the beat.

I play an MSA. The things I like about it are the adjusting wheels for the pedals, that let you easily and instantly set the pedal heights wherever you want them, eliminating the need for need for numbered pedal rods. The angles of the knee levers are also easily adjustable.

All MSA guitars have 4 raises and 3 lowers, plus split screws. That's really more than anybody needs, but I have 3 lowers on my 11th string, and having a changer that can accommodate that without having to install one of Tom Bradshaw's raise/lower conversion thingies is convenient. (Note: Tom's units are most frequently used to convert a lower to a raise, but if you install them upside down they will convert a raise to a lower.)

For some reason I can't explain, I like the 3-D frets. This is kind of the same thing as preferring one color over another. It's a purely an emotional subjective thing.

And finally, I like the modular pickup system that lets you change pickups instantly, without taking off the strings or soldering any wires. With this system, I was able to try out several different pickups. I settled on a Lace Alumitone. Again, this is purely a matter of personal preference.

The cool features of MSA that affect the players are the adjustable pedal rods and knee levers, the 4 raise 3 lower changer, and the modular pickup system.

None of these are necessary. They're just nice.

Some of you guys who play other brands, what features do you like?
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Tom Gorr


From:
Three Hills, Alberta
Post Posted 17 Apr 2016 4:33 pm     Reply with quote

Interesting thing about the 3D frets...

I found dustcatcher fretboards on the old Shobuds to improve my intonation. A few cents can help clean things up. Just saying that it surprised me a bit that fretboard design matters.

Only comment I can make is that every model of guitar I own or have tried has specific attributes on any given point of consideration that may be judged as being worse or better than another being compared. There is always tone and sustain variances within each model too.

I haven't found THE ONE that is better on all criteria to my specific set of preferences. There are lots of considerations and it boils down to individual preferences.

I put a big emphasis on pedal comfort and medium action with the right travel mainly because I play in sock feet so I have good connectivity with the pedals. I use the half pedal technique whete others may may use splits. When I review recorded tones, the ones that sound the best arent necessarily the ones I like for the comfort factor...aka ergonomic compatibility.

I would try every guitar you can get close to until you find THE ONE...assuming that goal is even possible.


Last edited by Tom Gorr on 17 Apr 2016 8:18 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Kevin Maki


From:
Trimountain,MI. U.S.A.
Post Posted 17 Apr 2016 7:24 pm     Williams Reply with quote

Damir Besic has a beautiful S10Williams that is less than a year old. Mint condition and a great price.
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David Friedlander


From:
New York, New York, USA
Post Posted 18 Apr 2016 8:19 am     Reply with quote

I've owned both- both are great guitars.
The ShowPro is more substantial- which has both positive and downsides.
The ShowPro a lot heavier, with a larger footprint on the stage.
But the additional weight and size add stability and a thicker tone.

When ordering a Williams you'll have more options, and you'll also find more on the secondary market.
Truth be told I find the ShowPro to be more "cherished"
IN fact, I traded my Williams in to get my ShowPro a few years back.
Although I did gig quite a bit with the Willy, I can honestly say I do not miss it because of my love for the ShowPro.
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Andrew Keenan


From:
Pennsylvania, USA
Post Posted 18 Apr 2016 9:37 am     Reply with quote

Thanks for all the info and opinions! I'm gonna check out Damir's Williams S-10 tomorrow morning. The larger footprint and heavier weight of the Show-Pro is kind of makin me lean toward the Williams. I place a good bit of value on my steel being streamlined and easier to travel with.
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David Friedlander


From:
New York, New York, USA
Post Posted 18 Apr 2016 11:10 am     Reply with quote

Yes Willy will be a great friend to your back:)
They're easy to work on and very stable.

I happen to have one of the smallest S10's in the world- a keyless model built by Lamar-
SO I don;t miss the Willy for small size- but she was a faithful companion for many years.
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Steven Hicken


From:
Leeds, United Kingdom
Post Posted 18 Apr 2016 11:54 am     Reply with quote

As a Show Pro owner all I can say is that I'm astounded by Jeff's service and the steel itself.

Jeff does build an S10 and as mentioned before you can get a split pickup option which I also have. This works great for those two sounds you want.

Jeff has built wild guitars with sparkle paint and on board effects, I'm sure he'd consider a 12 stringer. Ask him and you'll get your answer.

I've never played a Williams so I can't compare but all I can say is my Show Pro is out of this world.

Good luck with and enjoy your purchase!

Steven Jr Smile
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Brint Hannay


From:
Maryland, USA
Post Posted 18 Apr 2016 12:44 pm     Reply with quote

Andrew Keenan wrote:
I have played GFI for many years and it has served me very well.

Quote:
I place a good bit of value on my steel being streamlined and easier to travel with.

Williams is notable for light weight. If you like the weight of the GFI you'll like the weight of a comparable Williams.

My Williams (400 series) sounds much brighter than my GFI Ultra (acoustically as well as amplified). They're both SD10's, but they weigh the same.
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David Friedlander


From:
New York, New York, USA
Post Posted 18 Apr 2016 12:48 pm     Reply with quote

Very much agree that the quality of Jeff's service and responsiveness is unsurpassed.

Bill Rudolph ( Williams) is also great to work with.

To me it's a bit like comparing apples and oranges.
ShowPro costs more and it is easy to see why.

Williams is a great guitar for the money.
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chris ivey


From:
california - r.i.p.
Post Posted 18 Apr 2016 5:00 pm     Reply with quote

David Friedlander wrote:

ShowPro costs more and it is easy to see why.

why?
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Mark van Allen


From:
Watkinsville, Ga. USA
Post Posted 19 Apr 2016 6:44 am     Reply with quote

Hi, Andrew, while almost every modern steel is a fine machine in it's own right, I understand your narrowing the field to these two fine brands. I've owned several of each, and IMO, I would characterize the ShoPro as an updating of the Sho Bud legacy and vibe in nearly every way- if you like classic 'Bud feel and tone , you'll love the 'Pro. The Willams, while having roughly equal build quality and fantastic finish appearance, has it's own playing feel, response and tone. Some features, like the lighter weight and (non string breaking) changer design, may appeal more to some, while the Sho Pro has the vibe of a modernized, perfectly realized classic design.

If I were staying with SD-10s I would have beèn perfectly happy to stay with my last Sho Pro, but I'm playing Uni12 and truly love the Williams Uni I have now, in fact preferring it to my Zum 12. Hope this is helpful!
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David Friedlander


From:
New York, New York, USA
Post Posted 19 Apr 2016 8:14 am     Reply with quote

chris ivey wrote:
David Friedlander wrote:

ShowPro costs more and it is easy to see why.

why?


Two things that come to mind are the finish- Williams makes a lovely guitar- but ShowPro is like a work of art- visibly superior in my opinion.
The weight also gives the Showpro a more solid ( and expensive) feel.
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