PRS

It's been thirty years since Paul Reed Smith unleashed his PRS Custom on the world, from his workshop in Maryland. That instrument is still the basis of many PRS models to follow, even though we have seen numerous variations over the years. One thing all PRS guitars have in common: top quality.

You might think that Paul Reed Smith came out of nowhere, entering the market in 1985 with the perfect guitar. In reality, this seemingly overnight success was preceded by at least ten years of perfecting his craft, repairing and building guitars. Ten years, in which Paul became thoroughly familiar with the classic Gibson Les Paul and the Fender Stratocaster – Paul's examples, that he would eventually bring together in his own design – down to the last detail. The first PRS guitar had a curved top, vibrato, 25 inch scale (a cross between Fender and Gibson), two position cuts and two humbuckers. Yet the Custom did not appeal to everyone. Remember, this was the mid-eighties, and superstrats with their Floyd Roses ruled the earth. Paul Reed Smith, however, chose his own way, and soon found support from guitar giants such as Carlos Santana, Howard Leese of Heart, Peter Frampton and Al DiMeola.

In the early nineties PRS had made its mark as a brand that mattered, although parts of the guitar community remained unconvinced. Then Paul decided to design a guitar with a more vintage feel, featuring 22 instead of 24 frets, and a wrap-over stoptail bridge, the Custom 22. The fantastic McCarty model appeared a year later and is now on its third version, the best so far.

In the past thirty years, PRS has worked continuously and relentlessly on further improving their models, from the tremolo and tuners to the pickups and all other aspects of their guitars. There is always a PRS that is perfect for you, whatever your taste. And PRS guitars are no longer just for rockstars, dentists and accountants, for whom price is hardly a consideration. With the introduction in 2001 of the SE series, consisting of Korean made, affordable versions of American models such as the Custom, Standard and Singlecut, everyone can now afford a PRS. And for those who find the classic PRS models a little too artsy, there is the S2 series, introduced in 2014; affordable PRS models built in America; plain, but of excellent quality.

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