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View Full Version : How and when did you first learn about PRS guitars?



Steph
02-01-2013, 09:07 AM
Hi everyone! I'm a brand new owner (from last Dec.) of a fantastic 2010 CU24 "10 Top", built early 2011. Got a really great deal from the folks at TGSCAN for this nice baby... Happy 2013!!! Yeah! Yeah!
http://i1342.photobucket.com/albums/o763/Steflix/661e6fca4f15c065e091288e00455af2_zps477aa660.jpg

I saw my first PRS guitar from a Guitar Player mag I bought in 1986, not too long after I got my first guitar. I think it was the second guitar magazine I ever bought. The very beginnings of my love affair with guitars. Unfortunately, I don't have my original copy anymore. Here's the cover:

http://i1342.photobucket.com/albums/o763/Steflix/al-dimeola-guitar-player-magazine-1986-0a28_zps6781ad84.jpg

Yep, it was Big Al Di Meola that introduced PRS guitars to me. I just never forgot that picture. It really stuck in my mind. I think it might have been the birds. Yeah, it probably was the birds. And maybe the carving.... Yeah, the carving too...

And now, 20+ years after, me too can have that little grin on my face while I show off MY PRS....

So, how did you get to know there was something called a PRS guitar?

LSchefman
02-01-2013, 10:02 AM
In 1991, I went to my local guitar shop to buy a Les Paul, and the owner said, "We just started carrying this new brand, you really ought to try it as long as you're looking for a new guitar."

I was hooked the moment I got it in my hands and heard it.

RedGuitars
02-01-2013, 10:19 AM
Storyville concert in Louisville KY in 1996, a few weeks before the release of A Piece Of Your Soul. I asked the guy next to me what kind of goldtop David Grissom was playing...

]-[ @ n $ 0 |v| a T !
02-01-2013, 10:27 AM
Late 80's. My best friend's big brother was in a popular (regionally) rock band and he never shut up about them.

I swiped his prized PRS mug - which I later confessed to. I broke the cup so I couldn't return it.

He's now a Sales manager for Peavey so it's nice to see him at NAMM each year.

sleary
02-01-2013, 10:30 AM
Ever since Paul put an ad in guitar world (could be a different magazine though) . I think it was around 85-86 ,thought to myself " this guy is going places" , I was right, yep I should get royalties lol. Didn't get my first USA until later 2012 , damn hooked now.

Steph
02-01-2013, 10:31 AM
In 1991, I went to my local guitar shop to buy a Les Paul, and the owner said, "We just started carrying this new brand, you really ought to try it as long as you're looking for a new guitar."

I was hooked the moment I got it in my hands and heard it.

Funny thing is, I got a "hands on" experience of a PRS guitar quite recently. Back in the days (mid 80'), I was a "EVH frankenstrat" wannabe. PRS didn't have the look I was fetching for. It was the Kramer days! And for a 16 years old kid, the look of Al Di on that cover was not the coolest thing you could find. After that, I played jazzboxes and acoustics for the past 15 years. Only recently did I really get re-interested in playing solid body guitars. So I was also considering a Les Paul, since I already had my fake strat from my teen years, and was looking for something that played more like an archtop jazzbox. The choice was easy and obvious.

David Eaton
02-01-2013, 10:40 AM
Guitar Player Magazine, Spring 1982, Charlie Christian was on the cover and there was a nice article on Paul inside. I was 14 and lived in Annapolis and thought "hey, he's in Annapolis also!" Took close to another decade before I was able to get my first PRS guitar.

Steph
02-01-2013, 10:47 AM
Great! Love the responses. Nice meeting you all.

I received my 2012 Thank You Gift last monday. And I also bought the PRS story book recently. So I'm all up to my ears in PRS right now. :p

Thank you PRS. Way to go to making me feel part of the family. An "Experience" it really is! A lot more than just buying a guitar.

DISTORT6
02-01-2013, 11:25 AM
Mid 80's, Sam Ash in Paramus, NJ. I was 16 and just starting to play.
First thing that hit me were the birds in the fret board and then the most beautiful tops. Don't forget the pointy and painted metal guitars were HOT at the time, so this was quite the revelation to me.
I still get that feeling when I open my cases. I think that's pretty cool how it never faded or went away. :proud:

Mike Duncan
02-01-2013, 11:56 AM
Virginia Beach, well really Norfolk, AL&M had a HUGE Custom 24 painted on the front of the store.

John Beef
02-01-2013, 11:58 AM
I saw them for the 1st time at AL&M in Norfolk VA in 1992. I could tell they were beautiful guitars, but I was 15, and the price tags were super scary to me. I didn't even want to touch one.

Then in 94 I was in a band with a guy who had a EG in blueburst with a pearloid pickguard, one HFS humbucker and two Fralin dominoes.

I played single coil bolt on guitars for many years, and in 2006 I went to get a humbucker guitar, thinking SG. Played a couple of those and hated the tones I was getting. Les Pauls sounded nicer, but the PRS Custom 22 won out all around for tone and playability. I hadn't considered PRS up to that point, but the proof was in the pudding.

Goldtop
02-01-2013, 01:22 PM
Welcome and congrats on your guitar. It's a beauty.

There was a thread very similar to this one some time back. (I searched for it but didn't find it.) It was interesting. Maybe someone else can locate it if it hasn't been deleted?

Goldtop Lloyd

Aeetus
02-01-2013, 01:47 PM
I had a Yamaha YSG, it was a fantastic guitar and it was said to have been designed for Yamaha by a certain Mr. Paul Reed Smith. How true it is I don't know, but it was a great guitar that quite closely resembled a PRS double cut. Should have kept that guitar but I still see and play it from time to time as I let my mate have as he kept begging and begging! I swore then on hearing about the PRS connection that I would own one in the future.... and now I do :rock:

veinbuster
02-01-2013, 01:47 PM
I first noticed them when I saw the original dragon hanging in a store I visited in Plano Texas.
That got my attention and I followed them and visited them in stores until I could afford to buy a CU22 with dragon pickups from...TGS when the store was much smaller and so was the owner (he says while ducking).

QueenCityGuitars
02-01-2013, 01:53 PM
The only PRS dealer in Cincinnati during the '80s was Buddy Rogers Music. The first PRS I ever played was an '88 or '89 Custom 10 top with birds in Gray Black. I loved the non-locking tremolo that stayed in tune and loved the stain and top but remember saying, "What's with the birds?" to the salesman. :dontknow: Anyway, I started teaching there in '90 and bought a maple top Signature Limited in Vintage Sunburst. I sold that in about a year or so to fund an Artist I that I owned and played for years. It's been PRS for me ever since.

Steve59
02-01-2013, 01:59 PM
First learned of them about six years ago when my son bought an SE version. Since then I've trailed a few and finally ordered one for myself. It's been something I've thought about for a few years but never expected to spend that much for a guitar; until now...

Steph
02-01-2013, 02:16 PM
Welcome and congrats on your guitar. It's a beauty.

There was a thread very similar to this one some time back. (I searched for it but didn't find it.) It was interesting. Maybe someone else can locate it if it hasn't been deleted?

Goldtop Lloyd

Thanks Goldtop!

slang05
02-01-2013, 02:19 PM
Ward Brodt Music Mall in Madison WI 1993... Walked in to buy a Jackson or something and they guy told me to try the PRS guitars. I remember him saying he'd get me a great deal if I liked one. I had 0 interest..wanted a metal guitar! But he insisted and handed me an Emerald Green Custom 24, 10 Top w/birds and started playing. My expectations were low cause I loved "pointy" guitars with a Floyd Rose and was just playing it to get the salesman (whom I liked and trusted) off my back. Well, I fell in love..but I remember thinking it was way to expensive and thought no way was I getting it. The salesman came back and I told him I liked it and if it was a helluva deal I'd take it. He said, well they are amazing but we can't move them (Madison is a great town, but I bet they are all into grunge right now, wayyyyy behind the times) I'll let you have that one for $500 + tax. I peed a little, bought it and loved it! Needed cash really bad a few years later and had to sell it.. Think I got more than I paid out of it..but I loved that guitar..Didn't get another one til about 12 years later when my girlfriend and I walked into a Guitar Center in St Louis to look around. She asked me if I could have anything in the store what would it be..and I wisely pointed to a Whale Blue Custom24, birds, 10 top, and said "THAT ONE!" She walked over to the salesman and said "excuse me, we'd like to buy that guitar".. That was the moment I decided to marry her! lol

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8047/8436464038_df94f5e057_z.jpg

Steph
02-01-2013, 02:19 PM
I first noticed them when I saw the original dragon hanging in a store I visited in Plano Texas.
That got my attention and I followed them and visited them in stores until I could afford to buy a CU22 with dragon pickups from...TGS when the store was much smaller and so was the owner (he says while ducking).

lol

slang05
02-01-2013, 02:23 PM
I received my 2012 Thank You Gift last monday. And I also bought the PRS story book recently. .

When did you mail your stuff in for that?I am going out of my mind waiting for mine!

Steph
02-01-2013, 02:33 PM
First learned of them about six years ago when my son bought an SE version. Since then I've trailed a few and finally ordered one for myself. It's been something I've thought about for a few years but never expected to spend that much for a guitar; until now...

Hey Steve,

I never thought I'd spend that much on a guitar, either! Not being a career musician and all. And that's why I was also looking more toward a Les Paul at first. Much bigger availability pool under 2k. But then I stomped upon this one and everything else fell into place. As if it was kind of all planned out.

Steph
02-01-2013, 02:40 PM
When did you mail your stuff in for that?I am going out of my mind waiting for mine!

Around the 10th of Dec. I was kinda worrying myself something was wrong with what I sent. But then it came in, just when I was really starting to give up. The only thing I can say is, if you know your stuff is legit, then hang on, I'm sure you won't be deceived.

TDPRS1
02-01-2013, 03:38 PM
I worked in a large music store/guitar shop in Mid-Michigan back in the 80's, when Paul himself walked in and displayed his guitar. We sold a lot of high guitars and I was thoroughly impressed immediately! We were the first PRS dealer in the area & it was all history after that. I bought our first CU22 in Whale Blue that was shipped from his shop. Been addicted ever since! Nothing else will do!

swede71
02-01-2013, 04:22 PM
Carlos Santana interview in Guitar World from 88 when he released the "Blues for Salvador"album.Plus all the ads in the guitarmagazines in late 80s.

gush
02-02-2013, 09:59 AM
I played my first prs in the early 90s. I was playing a charvel model 4 with floyd and active pickups at the time and a little heavy on gain. I was jamming with some guys I didnt know and the guitar player asked me to try his prs.I didnt care for it, probably didnt want to like it for what ever reason. Over the years tastes changed and my quest for better tone grew and I started to notice more guys playing prs guitars. I also noticed the tones they could get so I started to get very interested and played several different ones. The cost always kept me from ownership.

One night at a chamber of commerce dinner, I was sitting next to another guitar guy and my wife had him pick my brain about what guitar I really wanted. McCarty! Soooo, one night my wife got home and said there is a guitar in the car, can you bring it in for me? Naturally I thought it was a guitar I was supposed to fix for somebody. She stood there staring at me while I brought it in and opened the case. A used McCarty, I thought what the hell could be wrong wih this????? She said SURPRISE! Holy cow!

Well we were already married so I thought the only reasonable thing I could do is put her on a higher pedestal and shower her with diamonds. Now I own 3 prs guitars and I need sunglasses to look at my wife!

Steph
02-02-2013, 10:10 AM
A lot of great stories everyone!

You're making this a very cool thread.

:top:

vchizzle
02-02-2013, 10:29 AM
I saw them for the 1st time at AL&M in Norfolk VA in 1992. I could tell they were beautiful guitars, but I was 15, and the price tags were super scary to me. I didn't even want to touch one.

.
Similar story here. Roughly the same age and time frame too! Birds and 10 tops with out of the ordinary stain colors blew me away. It was probably a couple years til I actually tried one. Got my 1st in '96. I've only owned 1 non-PRS electric since then, it only lasted the 30 days before I returned it...just didn't measure up.

AaeCee
02-02-2013, 10:46 AM
The first electric I ever bought was a very early McCarty on sale at GC for $1500. Great guitar, but long gone. I have 4 PRS now, but I've owned around 25 or so.

Sage
02-02-2013, 10:54 AM
I first heard of PRS in a magazine review of a Rush concert back during the Counterparts tour, around 1993 or 1994. They're my favorite band so I took an interest, but after playing one in the store I wasn't really convinced, mainly because I was used to Strats and didn't really know my way around a humbucker. Once I figured out how to dial the amp to suit the guitar I eventually broke down and bought my first Custom 24 in 1999.

rocguitar
02-02-2013, 11:34 PM
Knowing absolutely nothing about Paul Reed Smith (the man or the company), I played my buddy's '86 Custom 24 in the late 80's. It had (what I thought was) an "unusual" yellow top with a cherry-red back and neck. My buddy told me that an ex-guitar tech from Chuck's (Washington Music Center) was making these guitars in a small factory in nearby Annapolis.

The guitar was beautifully crafted, it sounded great, and it was sooooo nice to play.

I thought at the time...."this is pretty impressive work for an unknown local guy"!!

I had my first serious GAS attack on that very day!!!

John
02-03-2013, 12:25 AM
First listened to Carlos Santana's work when I was in elementary school, and I was floored. When my guitar teacher at the time pointed out that he was using PRS guitars, I saved up to get one of my own.

bird_droppings
02-03-2013, 12:43 PM
Shortly after I took up guitar playing I was wandering through a Guitar Center when I saw the most beautiful guitars sitting on top of one of the amp rows and all in their own display. Took a look at the price and I was astonished. How could anyone spend 3 or 4 grand on a guitar? And almost everyone that came in had to pick one of them up and try them. I asked someone playing one whether they were really worth that kind of money and he said "yeah...they probably are."

Well, that stuck with me.

I also remember that dipped in glass look, and the fact that the guitars were in pastel colors: green, blue, red, yellow. Everything else looked pretty much like conventionally stained wood.

The guitar I had at home (my first guitar) was a Mexi Strat and this guitar had problems. For example, the neck was off-center enough that you almost couldn't play the low E string without falling off the side of the fretboard. Over the years, I've had it worked on, and it's much better now, but I've never really gotten confidence that it is completely right. So if I played something that sounded a little off, it was difficult to KNOW whether it was me or the guitar. I wanted one that I knew was right so that I could be sure.

So, after looking around, I bought a Mira Maple Top. Love that guitar and I still play it all the time. But I became obsessed with getting a "real" PRS.

After being a very good boy, my wife finally didn't say no when I suggested I needed yet another guitar. Now I'm the proud owner of an Eriza Verde, Studio 10 top. Love that thing. It's been about a year and guitar GAS has just not come back yet.

The bizarre thing...now it doesn't seem that crazy to spend that kind of money for one of those guitars.

Desperado
02-03-2013, 06:07 PM
I've known of them since I started playing in the early 90s but until a month or so ago I had never seen one in the flesh nor played one.

Now I have, I need to have one! Soon....I WILL have one. Though not soon enough :(

Goldtop
02-04-2013, 06:48 AM
Steph,

As I mentioned in my earlier post, there was a thread similar to this one some time ago. I looked around and found a draft of my post in that thread, and here it is. From day one, I've known that PRS was special and in a league of their own, and I think this will show that. Back then my love of PRS didn't make me very popular with the guys playing in the cowboy bars, but I survived it. ;) Now, they're playing them too!

Hope you enjoy...

Goldtop Lloyd


Back in the early to mid 80's I started seeing these writeups in music magazines about this new guy and the guitar company he had started. But these were music and recording mags., not guitar mags. They usually included a small black and white picture of his guitar. Then, I began to see tiny eighth-of-a-page-sized ads in the backs of magazines, again with tiny black and white pics of a guitar, and a note at the bottom that said 'send $2.00 for brochure' or something along those lines. So I did.

In the mail I received a large folder-sized envelope with an eight page (plus center foldout) color booklet, a pricelist dated January 1st, 1985, and a list of dealers in America. Three models, and three available options. Amazing pictures. Beautiful colors and layout. The composition was incredible. This was a work of art. On the cover was a black guitar with odd stripes, controls in a line, and both phillips and standard screws on the vibrato tailpiece. This was the 'infamous' Metal guitar.

I showed the brochure to some of the guitar players I hung around with, they all hated it. 'Too showy!' 'Too fancy!' 'WAY too expensive!' And they detested the birds. 'What is that, a guitar for chicks?' They laughed at it. They were ignorant, and they just didn't get it. In fact, for years I seemed to be the only one I knew of who appreciated PRS, and none of us had even heard one yet that we knew of. Where I lived then - the Texas panhandle - it was either Fender or Peavey. If you wanted to show off you had a Gibson. Beyond that, nobody cared.

There were two music stores in my town, along with a tiny mom & pop store or two. None of them had even heard of the brand, so I ended up calling a dealer several hundred miles away in San Antonio. They wanted the full payment up front - around $1500.00 with the birds, which I HAD to have - and then it would be 'a long wait, probably six months at least'. I couldn't do that even if I had wanted to, so I was stuck. All I could do was wait and hope and save my pennies.

Soon after that, pictures started showing up in magazines of famous players with PRS guitars. In a Circus or Hit Parader or maybe Creem, I saw a picture of Heart. I always thought Ann Wilson was GREAT! That VOICE and that WRITING and that LOOK! A GODDESS! I still feel that way. But this particular picture was just of Howard and Nancy onstage somewhere. It was a bad angle and I could only see a little of the body, but it looked like Howard was holding a PRS! (I can tell you, if had been a picture of Ann holding a PRS I would have needed a doctor, but that's another story.) Around that time, Heart and Eddie Money came through on tour. I went to the show, but my attention was all on Ann! Guitars took a backseat that night.

Years later, I managed to find a used Custom in the want ads of the paper. I bought it and had it quite a while, but I finally had to sell it when I got laid off and was out of work for over a year. It was a long time before I was able to get another PRS, but I had to part with it too.

I suppose my answer to the original question is, it was one of the very early guitars Paul made, either by himself or with a small group of people that started it all for me. The one(s) in those ads first caught my eye, then it was whatever Howard Leese had at the time; maybe even The Golden Eagle. But I think it's important to note that it was the total of it all that made - and still makes - the difference. The woods and hardware, the workmanship, the art and colors of that first brochure, how articulate and thoughtful Paul was in those small writeups and interviews. The attention to detail every step of the way... Everything about this was different. Better. It still is in my opinion. If I could, I'd love to be able to move to Maryland and work at PRS Guitars. I think it would be an honor. (I know that probably sounds like I'm sucking up, but I'm speaking from the heart. Folks can make of it whatever they like.)

Goldtop

Steph
02-05-2013, 12:35 AM
v Great story Goldtop! Thank you for sharing.
Do you still have that original brochure?

If you haven't done so already, check out the PRS Story Book. You will find interesting anecdotes about H Leese and that yellow PRS of his. It is a great read overall with awesome pics of old PRSs and more.

Steph