A PRS Experience
A PRS Experience
Article by Dan Ramage
Wellington Rockshop Guitar Specialist
Paul Reed Smith built his first guitar in his teens as a challenge given by his college music professor for some extra credits. From there he found a passion for building quality electric guitars. He would take his guitars to gigs to sell them and this is how he stumbled upon the likes of Carlos Santana, Al Di Meola and Howard Leese, to name a few. Guitarists liked what they saw and started to play his guitars. Paul managed to gather 50 orders for his guitars and with his wife’s support along with engineers, machinists, top salesmen and friends willing to support him financially, the PRS company was formed.
Recently, I had the opportunity to go to Melbourne, Australia to meet Paul Reed Smith when he came down under to impart, coach and give a little insight into the world renowned brand he started and that he did. There were many things that stood out and fascinated me. One thing that caught my eye were the newly-redesigned 59/09 pickups in the Custom 24, Private Stock and in the new P22 electric guitars for 2012.
So you can see Paul has done this for a long time and he continues to reinvent and redefine what good electric guitars can be. One of those new reinventions, for those who may or may not know, is the new 59/09 pickups. Here are two points about the pickups; Firstly, the name means that the pickup was designed and engineered in 2009 to have the same specs as a 1959 humbucker. Secondly, Paul updated the design with new, contoured bobbins that arc with the strings for a wider, more open tone. Basically he has closed up the gap between the uncovered pickup and the pickup surround.
Another interesting subject was to hear Paul’s take on the aspects that can subtract from a guitar’s tone. There can be many things, but the one he focused on was the hardware on the PRS Guitars. He chose to use brass for the saddles rather than other cheaper metals. Through doing this he found it added sustain to the overall sound of the guitar. This is another reason why he, in most cases, will use a one-piece wrap-around bridge which is pre- intonated. Rather than having the more traditional tailpiece /Tune-o-Matic bridge 2-piece system, which he found subtracted from the guitar’s tone.
As many already know, the guitars that Paul makes are very versatile. Coil-taps and running pickups in series or parallel have become a common feature. It’s always great to be able to have a range of tones at your fingertips. From heavy-rocking humbuckers, to clean single coils that will also give you a lovely blues tone, I always find that PRS Guitars will leave you wanting to come back for more. They are definitely a must-have guitar for anyone after a professionally made instrument that will never fail you. A nice little tidbit to round it all off, did you know that PRS import all of the Paua for their hollow bird inlays from right here in New Zealand?
So come and see us at a Rockshop near you, grab a PRS guitar and get playing today. You won’t regret it!
Dan Ramage (left) with Paul Reed Smith (right).
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