Model History

This list has been partially compiled through the collective memories of long-term employees at PRS Guitars and may not be 100% accurate.

Excerpt from The PRS Guitars Book, written by Dave Burrluck

Models currently in production are underlined. Click on the model name for more information.

SET-NECK MODELS

Basic Features By 1985

  • Back angled 3 on-a-side non-veneered headstock
  • One-piece mahogany glued in neck, regular shape
  • 25” scale length, 24-fret
  • Single-action truss rod (double action truss rod fitted from late ’91).
  • 10” radiused Indian rosewood fretboard. (Brazilian rosewood was standard until it was phased out by early 90 - 91 on all but top-line limited models such as the Dragons, etc.)
  • Mother-of-pearl/Abalone moon inlays (birds optional).
  • One-piece mahogany body or back.
  • Pickups were originally Standard Treble and Standard Bass. End slugs on E & B changed in '87 to reduce high end. Changed on CE, Custom and Standard to HFS Treble and Vintage Bass by November '91.
  • PRS Tremolo System, Schaller/PRS locking tuners, low friction nut.

PRS: 1985 - 1987. Evolved from pre-’85 all-mahogany guitar, became Standard in 1987.

CUSTOM: 1985 - Current. The definitive original PRS, figured maple top, 10 top option from ’87, mahogany back and neck, volume, sweet switch and 5 way rotary offered until 1991, Brazilian rosewood fretboard until 1991, PRS Tremolo and cam-style locking tuners, stoptail offered from 1993 (or so) - 2001, Phase II tuners form 2002.

METAL: 1985 - 1987. Heavy metal version of the PRS Custom/Standard with custom striped finish. Appeared on the cover of the first color catalogue.

SIGNATURE SERIES: 1986 - 1990. The first ‘ultimate quality wood grade’ PRS, hand-signed by Paul Reed Smith and based on the Custom, extremely figured (artist grade) maple top, bird inlays, only 1,000 made.

STANDARD: 1987 - Current. See ‘PRS’.

SPECIAL: 1988 - 1991. Developed for the ‘hard rock/metal player’, wide-thin neck, trem-up routing for a full tone up, volume and tone controls with 5 way rotary, HFS Treble pickup, PRS single coil in middle, HFS Bass pickup (changed to Vintage Bass humbucker by 1989).

STUDIO: 1988 - 1991. Specs similar to the Special but with standard neck profile, Hot Vintage Treble pickup and two PRS single-coils. The studio’s single/single/hum pickup configuration was offered as an option until 1997.

LIMITED EDITION: 1990 - 1991. Signature grade woods, semi-hollow body with cedar, redwood, or maple top, gold hardware, tune-o-matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece (a few tremolo equipped guitars were made), signed and numbered, only 300 made.

DRAGON SERIES I: 1991 - 1992. This was the first 22-fret PRS, featured new PRS stop-tail (wrap over bridge), increased headstock angle, Dragon pickups, wide-fat neck and gold hardware. Dragon inlay on fretboard made from 201 pieces of abalone, turquoise, and mother of pearl, limited production run of 50. Click here for a picture of a Dragon I.

PRS ACOUSTIC/ELECTRIC: 1992. Three models introduced - Mahogany Cutaway; mahogany back and sides, spruce top, rosewood fretboard, rosewood bridge and headstock veneer, natural finish, and optional gold hardware. Custom Cutaway; 3-piece figured maple back and sides, spruce top, Brazilian rosewood fretboard, Brazilian rosewood bridge and headstock veneer, bird inlays, abalone rosette, and optional gold hardware. Rosewood Signature; rosewood back and sides, master grade spruce top, Brazilian rosewood fretboard, Brazilian rosewood bridge and headstock veneer, bird inlays, abalone rosette, abalone trim around top, wooden marquetry backstrip, gold tuners and endpin, antiqued natural finish. Only 11 prototypes ever made.

CUSTOM 22: 1993 - Current. Based on Dragon Series I without the inlay, tremolo or stoptail options, wide thin or wide fat neck profiles available, 10 top option, Artist Package introduced in 1998, birds optional, non-locking tuners on stoptail outfitted guitars from March 2001 - January 2002, changed all Custom 22 instruments to Phase II locking PRS tuners 2002, left handed version offered in '99

DRAGON SERIES II: 1993. Specs similar to the first Dragon, with a Dragon inlay on fretboard made from 218 pieces of gold, coral, abalone, malachite, onyx, and mother of pearl, limited production run of 100. Click here for a picture of a Dragon II.

DRAGON SERIES III: 1994. Specs similar to the first two Dragons. Dragon inlay on fretboard made from 238 pieces of gold, red and green abalone, mother of pearl, mammoth ivory, and stone, limited production run of 100. Click here for a picture of a Dragon III.

STANDARD 22: 1994 - Current. A 22-fret version of the Standard, wide thin or wide fat neck profiles available, tremolo or stoptail options, birds optional.

ARTIST SERIES I: 1991 -1993. Replaced Signature Series, Inlaid headstock logo on rosewood headstock overlay, wide-fat neck, exceptional woods including artist grade maple top, abalone bird inlays, special thin finish, Volume and tone control with 5 way rotary, Artist Series pickups, semi-hollow, gold hardware and stop-tail options. Click here for a picture of an Artist Series I.

ARTIST SERIES II: 1993 - 1996. Specs similar to Artist Series but with maple bound headstock and fretboard, 22 frets, stop-tail, gold-plated hardware, semi-hollow, PRS tremolo options, leather/hard-shell case. Click here for a picture of an Artist Series II.

ARTIST III: 1996 - 1997. Mahogany back with exceptional (artist grade) maple top, 22-fret wide-fat or wide-thin mahogany neck, rosewood fretboard, paua bird inlays, paua purfling on neck, headstock, and truss rod cover, Artist Series pickups, 5-way rotary, volume, tone, gold PRS stoptail and locking tuners, certificate of authenticity, leather/hard-shell case, leather/hard-shell case. Click here for a picture of an Artist Series III.

ARTIST IV: 1996 - 1997. Mahogany back with exceptional (artist grade) maple top, 22-fret wide-fat or wide-thin mahogany neck, rosewood fretboard, etched 14 carat gold bird inlays, gold purfling on neck, headstock and truss rod cover, original PRS etched gold bird inlay on headstock, McCarty electronics with gold plated nickel silver covers, gold hardware, certificate of authenticity, leather/hard-shell case. Click here for a picture of an Artist Series IV.

ARTIST LIMITED EDITION: 1994 - 1996. Only 200 made, Specs similar to the Artist Series II but with abalone purfling on neck, headstock and truss rod cover, 14-Carat gold bird inlays, mother-of-pearl and abalone eagle inlayed on the headstock, leather/hard-shell case. Click here for a picture of an Artist Limited Edition.

McCARTY MODEL: 1994 - 2007. First 100 signed and numbered, wide-fat 22-fret neck only, East coast maple top, 1/8th of an inch thicker mahogany back, stop-tail, vintage-style tuners, covered Dragon Bass PRS humbuckers, changed to McCarty Pickups in ’95 and now includes a push/pull coil-tap on the tone control, 3-way toggle pickup selector, East Indian Rosewood Neck option added in 1998

10TH ANNIVERSARY MODEL: 1995. Only 200 made, Artist Limited Edition-style with wide-fat or wide-thin neck, engraved gold abalone birds, 22-fret ebony fretboard. Abalone bound headstock and fretboard., Engraved eagle on headstock, Gold plated hardware including stoptail and McCarty Electronics. Click here for a picture of a 10th Anniversary Model.

McCARTY STANDARD: 1995 - Current. Specs similar to McCarty but with solid mahogany body. Only offered with stoptail bridge option.

CARLOS SANTANA MODEL: 1995 - 1998. Reproduces Santana’s original. First 100 signed and numbered. Pre-’85 body shape and headstock (with eagle inlay) 24 1/4” scale, 24-fret (11.5” radius) fretboard, bird inlays, maple top (with paua shell purfling) Santana humbuckers, tone, twin mini-switches. Click here for a picture of a Carlos Santana Model.

PRIVATE STOCK: 1996 - Current. Non-production instruments. Each guitar is individually made for a specific customer and comes with a letter from Paul Reed Smith documenting the history of the instrument.

ROSEWOOD LIMITED: 1996. Limited production run of 100, PRS etched Tree of Life inlay on fretboard, truss rod cover, and headstock (mammoth ivory, brown lip mother of pearl, abalone, mother of pearl, paua, coral, and gold), 22-fret wide-fat East Indian rosewood neck, Brazilian rosewood fretboard, mahogany back, curly maple top, McCarty style body, McCarty electronics with gold plated nickel silver covers, gold anodized PRS stoptail and gold vintage tuners or gold PRS tremolo with gold PRS locking machines, leather/hard-shell case, certificate of authenticity. Click here for a picture of a Rosewood Limited.

GOLDEN EAGLE LIMITED EDITION: 1997. Original carving by Floyd L. Scholz of golden eagle or bald eagle on a basswood body, 22-fret curly maple neck, Brazilian rosewood fretboard, engraved solid gold bird inlays, McCarty electronics, gold hardware, and PRS Stoptail Bridge. Limited run. Click here for a picture of a Golden Eagle Limited Edition.

McCARTY HOLLOWBODY: 1998 - Current. Hollowbody - carved spruce top with carved mahogany back and sides. Hollowbody I - carved maple top with carved mahogany back and sides. Hollowbody II - carved maple top and back with mahogany sides. All models are 1 3/4" depth at rim, 3" depth at bridge, 22-fret wide-fat mahogany neck, rosewood fretboard, PRS adjustable stoptail bridge, and McCarty Archtop pickups with 3-way toggle. Piezo bridge pickup option added in 1999.

McCARTY ARCHTOP: 1998 - 2001. Archtop - carved spruce top, carved mahogany back and sides. Archtop I - carved maple top with carved mahogany back and sides, Archtop II - carved maple top and back with mahogany sides and rosewood headstock veneer. All models are 2 3/4" depth at rim, 4" depth at bridge, 22-fret wide-fat mahogany neck, rosewood fretboard, PRS adjustable stoptail bridge, and McCarty Archtop pickups with 3-way toggle. Piezo bridge pickup option added in 1999.

McCARTY ARCHTOP ARTIST: 1998 - 2001. Specs similar to Archtop II, but with artist grade figured maple top and back, Brazilian rosewood fretboard, abalone bird inlays with 14k gold outline. Each guitar numbered on back of headstock. Click here for a picture of a McCarty Archtop Artist.

ARCHTOP: 2002 - 2004. Carved spruce top, carved artist grade maple back with carved mahogany sides. 2 3/4" depth at rim, 4" depth at bridge, 22-fret wide-fat mahogany neck, Brazilian rosewood fretboard and headstock veneer, Paua birds and signature, PRS adjustable piezo stoptail bridge, gold hardware, and McCarty Archtop pickups with 3-way toggle and piezo electronics. Click here for a picture of an Archtop.

McCARTY SOAPBAR: 1998 - 2007 Specs similar to the McCarty Model, but with 2 Seymour Duncan soapbar single coil pickups with 3-way toggle.

CUSTOM 22 SOAPBAR: 1998 - 2004 . Specs similar to the Custom 22, but with maple neck and fretboard, (optional rosewood fretboard) regular D neck carve, 3 Seymour Duncan soapbar singlecoils with 5-way blade selector. Click here for a picture of a Custom 22 Soapbar.

SANTANA II: 1999 - 2007. Specs similar to Carlos Santana Model, but features 3-way toggle, volume and tone, artist grade woods, Brazilian Rosewood fretboard and headstock overlay, eagle inlayed on headstock.

SANTANA III: 2000 - Current. Mahogany back, Carved maple top, 24 fret, 24 1/2” scale, 10” radius, East Indian rosewood fretboard, Abalone bird inlay, Santana wide fat neck carve, PRS Tremolo, 14 to 1, low mass locking tuners, Electronics and tremolo cavity cover, New Santana pickups with covers, 3 way toggle pickup selector, Volume control, Tone control.

DRAGON 2000: 1999. Specs same as McCarty. Brazilian rosewood neck and fretboard with no fretboard inlay, Dragon inlay on body made of 242 pieces of mastodon ivory, rhodonite, agoya, coral, onyx, sugilite, chrysacola, red, green, and pink abalone and paua. Limited edition of 50.

BRAZILIAN ROSEWOOD McCARTY: 1999. Limited run of 250 pieces, specs same as McCarty, but with Brazilian rosewood neck and fretboard. Each individually signed and numbered.

SINGLECUT: 2000 - 2006. Singlecut body shape with carved maple top, mahogany back and neck, rosewood fretboard, 25” scale length with 10” fretboard radius, optional bird inlays, Wide Fat neck carve, PRS #7 Treble and Bass pickups, two volume and two tone controls with 3-way toggle on upper bout.

MARK TREMONTI SIGNATURE MODEL: 2001 - Current. Singlecut body shape with carved maple top, mahogany back and neck, rosewood fretboard, 25” scale length with 10” fretboard radius, Mother of Pearl bird inlays with “Mark Tremonti” at the 12th fret. Wide Fat neck carve, Tremonti Treble and Bass pickups, two volume and two tone controls with 3-way toggle on upper bout.

BRAZILIAN SERIES CUSTOM 22: 2003. Custom 22, Brazilian fretboard and headstock overlay, pink heart abalone birds and signature, the word “Brazilian” is inlayed on the face of the headstock in green abalone ripple, gold/nickel hybrid hardware configuration, 10 top only. Limited run of 500 guitars all signed and numbered.

BRAZILIAN SERIES CUSTOM 24: 2003. Custom 24, Brazilian fretboard and headstock overlay, pink heart abalone birds and signature, the word “Brazilian” is inlayed on the face of the headstock in green abalone ripple, gold/nickel hybrid hardware configuration, 10 top only. Limited run of 500 guitars all signed and numbered. Click here for a picture of a Brazilian Series Custom 24.

BRAZILIAN SERIES McCARTY: 2003. McCarty, Brazilian fretboard and headstock overlay, pink heart abalone birds and signature, the word “Brazilian” is inlayed on the face of the headstock in green abalone ripple, gold/nickel hybrid hardware configuration, 10 top only. Limited run of 500 guitars all signed and numbered.

SANTANA BRAZILIAN: 2003. Brazilian rosewood neck and fretboard, 11.5” radius, 24.5” scale, Eagle on H.S. Santana fret wire, Green Ripple Abalone birds, 10 top flame, Santana II purfling, Santana III pickups, gold/nickel hardware mix – Limited Run of 200 guitars with engraved numbered backplate.

MODERN EAGLE: 2004 - 2007. Carved highly figured maple top, mahogany back, Brazilian rosewood neck and fretboard, 10” radius, 22-fret, ripple abalone bird inlays, Brazilian Rosewood headstock overlay with inlaid Modern Eagle, a new grommet version of the PRS phase II locking tuners, ultra-thin satin nitro-cellulose finish on body with 8 special colors.

513 ROSEWOOD: 2004 - 2006. Carved maple 10 top, mahogany back, Brazilian rosewood neck and fretboard, 22 (513 fretwire) frets, 25 1/4” scale, 10” radius, 513 neck carve, 513 gold mother of pearl bird inlays, Brazilian rosewood headstock overlay with inlaid gold mother of pearl signature, tremolo bridge, new grommet version of the PRS phase II locking tuners, 513 pickup system.

CUSTOM 22/12: 2004 - Current. Carved figured maple top, mahogany back and neck, 22 frets, 25” scale length, 11.5” radius, East Indian rosewood fretboard, special 12-string neck carve, stoptail, phase II locking PRS tuners with mini pearloid buttons, hum/single/hum pickup configuration with Lindy Fralin singlecoil pickup.

JOHNNY HILAND SIGNATURE MODEL: 2006 - Current. Carved maple top, mahogany back, bolt-on maple neck with maple fretboard and special Johnny Hiland inlays (large dot inlays with 513 bird at the 12th fret). Johnny Hiland Neck carve, JH Treble and Bass pickups, PRS tremolo bridge, one volume, one tone, 3-way blade switch, Phase II low mass locking tuners.

BOLT-ON MODELS

CLASSIC ELECTRIC (CE BOLT-ON): 1988 - Current. 24-fret maple neck, unfaced headstock, dot inlays, alder body, PRS Vintage pickups, tone control, and 3-way toggle selector. Rosewood fretboard, wide-thin neck options by ’89. Black headstock face and 5-way rotary switch by mid-’89. HFS Treble/Vintage Bass finalized by ’91. Maple top version- the CE Bolt-on Maple Top- added in ’89. Mahogany body/ back from ’95 as well as stop-tail option. Solid Mahogany body discontinued in 2000, stop tailpiece & regular neck profile discontinued in 2001. Offered as wide thin, tremolo only from 2001.

EG BOLT-ON SERIES I: 1990 – 1991. New squarer shape. Alder body, maple neck, 22-fret rosewood fretboard. EG3 s/s/s and EG4 s/s/h, scratchplate mounted pickups. Volume, twin tones, 5-way selector, PRS tremolo, Schaller non-locking tuners.

EG BOLT-ON SERIES II: 1992 - 1995. Rounder shape. Alder body, wide thin maple neck, 22-fret rosewood fretboard. Scratchplate mounted pickups in three formats, h/s/h, s/s/h, s/s/s, volume, tone, 5-way selector, coil taps, PRS tremolo, locking machines. EG bolt-on maple top adds three piece maple, ‘10’ option.

CLASSIC ELECTRIC 22: 1994 - Current. 22-fret versions of CE Bolt-on and CE Bolt-on Maple-Top. Mahogany body/ back from ’95 as well as stop-tail option. Solid Mahogany body discontinued in 2000, stop tailpiece & wide thin neck profile discontinued in 2001. Offered as wide fat, tremolo only from 2001.

SWAMP ASH SPECIAL: 1996 - Current. Carved swamp ash body, PRS stoptail (discontinued in 2001) or PRS tremolo with locking tuners, 22 fret bolt-on figured maple neck and fretboard, abalone dot inlays, McCarty Bass, Seymour Duncan Vintage Rails, and McCarty Treble pickups, 3-way toggle, volume, push-pull tone (coil tap).

BASSES

BASIC FEATURES FOR BASSES

  • PRS pre-amp
  • 5 position rotary
  • Deep & clear tone controls
  • PRS hardware

BASS-4/BASS-5: 1987 - 1991. Solid mahogany body, rock maple neck, Brazilian rosewood fretboard, moon inlay, 3 single coil pickups, 1 hum canceling; optional: bird inlay, gold hardware.

CURLY BASS-4/CURLY BASS-5: 1987 - 1991. Maple top, mahogany back, rock maple neck, Brazilian rosewood fretboard, moon inlay, 3 single coil pickups, I hum canceling; optional: bird inlays, 10-top, gold hardware, quilted top.

CE BASS-4/BASS-5: 1990 - 1991. Solid alder body, bolt-on rock maple neck, rosewood or maple fretboard, dot inlay, 3 single coil pickups, 1 hum canceling.

CE MAPLE TOP BASS-4/BASS-5: 1990 - 1991. Maple top, alder back, bolt-on rock maple neck, rosewood or maple fretboard, dot inlay, 3 single coil pickups, 1 hum canceling.

ELECTRIC BASS: 2000 - 2005 . Alder, optional swamp ash body, optional inset curly maple top with alder back, bolt-on rock maple neck, rosewood or maple fretboard, 34” scale, 21 fret, 10” radius, 20 to 1 low mass tuners, optional gold hardware, 2 PRS high inductance passive pickups (v/v/t with high end switchable audio pre-amp), optional LR Baggs Piezo bridge system with 3 band active EQ, & selector switch for Piezo (piezo option discontinued in 2001).