I would be surprised if very many of my readers have had the great opportunity to play a PRS guitar, having it in your possession long enough to get comfortable with it and get to know it. It is a lot different than walking into a guitar store and playing a guitar for a half hour or an hour.
When you start to evaluate guitars that earned their way to the top echelon of brands and prices, it seems logical to have plenty of time to really get to know it before you lay out a bunch of cash. To actually have one in your possession for 3 weeks was a very cool vibe and I owe a big ‘thank you’ to my good friend Allan. I can only say “thanks so much” to Allan, because I realized it is the only really intimate guitar review I have done, except for my personal guitars.
Allan has a small collection of Paul Reed Smith guitars, this one has 24 frets. It’s a 1992, Custom 24, with moon inlays. Neck is 25″ scale. Maple top on mahogany body. PRS trem bridge and locking tuners. Mahogany neck with rosewood board, not sure if it’s brazilian or indian rosewood. VB and HS humbucker pickups. Tortoise shell color.
As all Paul Reed Smith guitars go, it is immaculate in construction and finish to say the least. It has a volume control knob and a tone control knob. The switch is a 5 way knob that turns instead of being shifted. That was the only thing I had to adjust to. It took all of 10 minutes. Upon picking it up there is no doubt that it reeks of quality and playability. It balances perfectly, not top or bottom heavy and has a feel one would expect from PRS. I’ve picked up many elite guitars and was shocked at how poorly they came set-up from the factory or only to find some compromises somewhere.
This is a no BS guitar for experienced guitar players, players who can appreciate an elite type of guitar. It practically plays itself. Upon striking a note or two, I was startled at the tone monster it is. It has some of the best tone I have ever heard. Even better than some Custom Shop guitars. The thing I really noticed once I got warmed up is that this guitar has MOJO. It stinks of it. It is nearly addictive it sounds so good. Another thing that struck me was how slick the neck is. Particularly when I experimented with some Jimi Hendrix chords, which are slide-able chords. Even playing Stevie Ray Vaughan was surprising in terms of sliding into different ‘positions’ on the neck as Stevie Ray does in this cool Stevie Ray Vaughan Lick.
Like I said, I had it three weeks. We are a good match, the guitar and I blended well. It played every type of music perfectly and comfortably. I had trouble putting it down. The guitar seemed to be a natural fit for me. I play a lot of guitars and this one is about the only one I have played that suits all of my tastes as a well as my Custom Shop Stratocasters. That is the highest compliment for those who don’t know me. I hope to own a vintage beauty like this someday. It is one of the few guitars I would like to add to my collection. Fortunately, I don’t have to buy one now (I can’t justify the expence), so I’ll see if Allan won’t let me test drive a 22 fret PRS model soon.
Note: I should finish setting up his Walnut Stratocaster first. Right? Or should I hope he forgets about it? Ha. Ha!
There are a few phonies as I like to call them putting down PRS products with weak arguments as to why their guitars are just as good as a PRS at less money. Don’t believe them, especially Ed Roman, a lot of folks consider him “the devil” for bad mouthing PRS guitars (in a nice way) to sell his own imitation PRS guitars. Imitation is the best form of flattery, and that is what they are, imitations that don’t sound or play anything like a PRS.
If you do wood work or make guitars the way Allan does and Guitar Players Center does, than you know that it ain’t easy to duplicate the sound of a guitar that has the unquestionable attributes of a PRS guitar. It takes instincts, craftsmanship and some unspoken intangibles you can’t see or feel that separate the Paul Reed Smith guitars from the rest of the pack.
Enjoy this article and take some time to visit a PRS dealer, try one out, it is worth it even if you don’t take it home for three weeks.