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...
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.)