My changing attitude toward PRS
Of course I've seen PRS products in guitar stores, but I've never seriously considered PRS. Let's be honest, Fender and Gibson dominate the market among rock enthusiasts, and if you want something more oriented toward metal, then it's hard to beat the USA-made products from the Jackson custom shop.
I suspect a lot of people regard PRS as "pretty" guitars, more suited to hanging on a wall than actually playing. I know that was my attitude. And it certainly didn't help matters that the people at the stores I frequent seemed to have much that same attitude. One Guitar Center manager even went so far as to tell me, "PRS are nice guitars, but they're really one-trick ponies."
I had also seen some of the videos produced by PRS, and although they feature different guitars and different amps, they all seem to be playing a limited palette of music. I remember coming across a Youtube video a few years ago where a young guy was playing some metal and thrashing around a bit, and a whole bunch of PRS owners jumped in and absolutely savaged him in the comments section. They sneeringly explained that you "don't play that kind of stuff" with a PRS guitar because, well, these instruments aren't for that." Hmmm. The poor guy eventually got so pissed I think he traded his PRS for an Ibanez or something and the video was later taken down. At the time I just chalked it up to elitist snobbery, but it made me wonder why PRS guitars wouldn't be suitable for all styles. After all, you see musicians of every possible vibe playing Fenders and Gibsons, so why not PRS? To be honest, I didn't think too much on it and just continued to ignore PRS.
Then a while back I came across Rob Chapman (the Monkey Lord from the UK) of Youtube fame. For the first time I saw someone talking about how great PRS is and how good they are for ALL styles.
So a few days ago I was in a guitar shop looking for a Les Paul and I happened to walk past a bunch of PRS guitars hanging in the premium area, so I decided to try one. They didn't have an SC245, which is what I had seen the Chappers play in his videos, but they did have an assortment of SC58's. Holy cow! As soon as I got my hands on that 58 I knew everything I thought I knew about PRS was wrong. Incredible quality and amazing sustain that just blew the Les Paul standards I had been playing right out of the water. Even better, I got to hear a 2 Channel H and, somewhat later, an MDT, and was blown away by the tone.
I am happy to report I promptly plunked down my cash and walked out of there with that artist top SC58. This thing rips down walls!
None of this should come as a surprise to existing PRS owners, but for anyone reading this who still thinks Paul Reed Smith guitars aren't actually meant to be played or aren't for "real" rock, metal, or whatever, then let me tell you you're wrong. These are killer guitars that are equivalent to playing the best the other custom shops have to offer. The SC58's I played sounded better than a 10k Les Paul, and I like the sound of a Les Paul.
So do yourself a favor and check out a PRS guitar if you don't already have one. Don't let the PRS "image" fool you, if you need an amp for anything from classic vintage to thundering metal, they've got an amp that will do it. Don't take my word for it, check out some of these videos from the Chappers.
PRS SC245 Guitar Demo With Rob Chapman
PRS Custom 24 Demo (Dirty) - With Rob Chapman
Simon has a lesson with the Monkey Lord - WARNING PRS SC245 content
Anderson Hollow T classic, PRS SC245 & Vigier Bumblefoot with Rob Chapman
Last edited by DM426; 03-07-2013 at 12:55 PM.
With all else being equal, I think that the sound that comes out of any premium guitar has more to do with what it's connected too than the guitar itself. I know this is not exactly true...playing my Les Paul in overdrive does sound a bit different than the same with my PRS. However, the point is that premium guitars with the right mix of premium amps and pedals will most likely give you the type of sounds you desire. Given that, what it comes down to when choosing, in my opinion is: Aesthetic beauty and value, feel, and play-ability. PRS guitars nail these criteria.
It's funny how these perceptions get started.
I've heard all the myths about PRS for a long time, as I've been a PRS guy since 1991. The early comments were, "furniture guitar." Then you'd plug in and whoa, it sounded great. The next was "rich guy guitar, the pros don't play them." And I'd joke, "Ohhh, well, then I'd better change to something else, because I've been using mine on paid recording sessions for quite some time! Maybe my income will go up if I switch, whaddaya think?" (I guess because I'm an ancient dude I don't look the part?).
My son does sessions in LA in addition to production and engineering; he had a CU22 Soapbar and producers would say, "No, no, put the PRS away. We're not looking for metal." And he'd say, "But this isn't for metal, it's versatile, does anything." So among a lot of LA guys, a PRS = metal. Go figure. The mythology must vary from place to place. Still, he'd have to pull out something else. He got discouraged, and I finally bought the guitar back from him, because it was so nice (and even tho pros "don't play" PRS, I still did pretty well with it! LOL).
Don't get me wrong: I love a beautiful instrument. Of COURSE well-off players want these, they're to die for in that department. But -- for me, the main reason you buy an instrument is that it sounds good and plays well. Without that, it doesn't qualify (to me anyway).
Over the years, I've had many shootouts between instruments in my studio, and I've listened to countless hours of guitar track recordings. PRSes sound great. If someone wants to play something else, I'm cool with that, but the herd mentality is awfully strong among guitar players, and I don't even bother trying to convince people what to play any more.
I've long maintained that a big part of guitar tone is the feedback loop between ears, brain, fingers, instrument, amp, effects and back to brain. We adjust our playing to produce sounds we want. PRS guitars make that feedback loop easier for me.
I could go on and on. Maybe later. LOL!
I have never taken any heat for playing PRS in "real life". People overall have been interested in them. Occasionally I've heard ignorant people who have no experience with them say pretty stupid things in large music store chains...I see a lot of BS on places like TGP...but I honestly have to say I've heard very little in real life other than "nice PRS"...or "cool guitar"...something like that....maybe something is keeping people from telling me how they really feel to my face?
If I'm not careful, I can look like a walking PRS billboard on stage...guitars, amps, cases, tee shirts. It can get ridiculous if I'm not careful. THAT'S when I catch some grief from my bandmates. But there's been nothing but positive feedback from guitarists in the crowd. But for the most part, people have been cool.
Last year we played a walk-up gig that was an invite-only thing in conjunction with a local high profile music store. Other than some locals that walked up, it was 100% musicians in attendance. I only took the SE One. The number of dismissive sneers was pretty high until the opening power chord. Then it was a parade of guys coming closer to the stage to see what brand of "cheap-a$$ed guitar" was sounding like that. The sneers changed to raised eyebrows and thumbs-up.
Last edited by Boogie; 03-07-2013 at 03:37 PM.
Liberty or Death
I learned about "the bias" mentioned by the OP well after getting into PRS guitars. I, too, enjoy a nice Les Paul. Hell, there are a pair of R9's I wish I had back. I never really understood the appeal of Strats until John Mayer's tone punched me in the face (around the time he released "Try"). That's when I really started to appreciate Knopfler. But, at the end of the day, I'm a PRS guy.
I don't feel any need to defend who I am or why I love the people, places, and things that I love. Trying to explain my preference for a guitar would be a lot like trying to explain what gets me off in the bedroom. It's no one's business but my own (well... and my wife's) and, more importantly, it isn't up for debate.
On the flipside, I feel like we're all in on a joke, like a secret that the rest of the guitar playing world doesn't know about. Let the haters hate, we know we're playing guitars of the highest quality, versatility, playability, responsiveness and best value for money.
Well, it may have taken me a long time, but I'm glad I finally gave PRS a try and discovered just how good they are.
I remember becoming aware of PRS when I was in high school in the mid 90's. I thought they were cool but crazy expensive, which made them kind of snooty guitars to own. But then I became friends with a guy who had one. Once I played it, I was hooked. I bought my first one about a year after I got out of high school.
The quality and attention to detail has always been there. I think the value stacks up very well compared to similarly priced Gibsons.
Dave Navarro is what got me hooked on PRS. Alex Lifeson sealed the deal.
If you can get the tones and play at technical level those guys do, dive bomb all over the place and have the guitar stay in tune, have a modern 24-fret neck with perfect fret alignment and intonation, and stock pickups that don't need to be replaced to get those tones, you have a serious guitar.
When I needed a humbucker guitar, this was my choice. No matter what I do, I simply cannot play on a Gibson scale length, my hands are all compressed and the stupid pickup selector at the top gets in the way. Now that I play de-tuned metal, PRS just happens to make a baritone that fit the bill. These are seriously awesome and well made guitars, far more than just pretty show pieces, even the SE models are produced and factory set-up at a quality level far exceeding my experience with both Fender and Gibson instruments.
My take on PRS for years was that they were gorgeous, well-made instruments that nevertheless didn't quite have all the tones I needed. I played a Custom 24 for the first time in the late '80's, and my impression was that it would have been a great guitar for a Gibson player who needed a couple of Strat-like combinations. A PRS was for me an idealized Gibson, just as a Tom Anderson was an idealized Fender, and I'm more of a Tele player, so I felt that PRS's were really nice, just not for me. In the last few years, that's been changing--the 513 was a huge step in the right direction, and I recently played a 305 that's better than my 20-year-old Custom Shop Strat. Last summer I found out that Brent Mason was playing a PRS, and I actually had a chance to ask Paul about it. He told me that they were working on a Brent Mason model, but he wouldn't give me any details as they were still finalizing the specs, but he showed me a pic on his cel phone of Brent playing the prototype, and advised me to check out an NF3 and a DC3. The DC3 was killer--but I'm kind of glad I didn't have the money then, as now I'm jonesing hard for a Brent Mason model. What little I've heard on YouTube leads me to believe that it sounds at least as Tele-like as a DC3 (and that's pretty darn close!), plus Strat-like combinations (which the DC3 can do too) and humbucker tones. I've spent a lot of time and money over the last 40+ years trying to find one guitar that would give me all of that, and Paul might just have nailed it with this one. I'll know more when I can finally try one, but I'm saving up the money now!
I've loved prs since the beginning however never owned one until 2012 . I got rid of my lp then my sg which were fine guitars but weren't me. I saw a post on the Gibson forum of an se 24 ,posted by Cory (he's here too) . I went to my local store and ordered one ASAP . Got it in and fell in love with it. A month later I scored a ce 22 which is killer too.
I play mostly metal with some jazz,blues and classical . I've changed my mind even more towards prs in the past year. Not only do they play great but also fit my body just a bit better then the other manufactures. I also love how they listen to the customer rather then tell the customer how its going to be. The Ptc guys actually are on here and can lend a hand if need be. Not because they are paid to do so but they love prs and are very loyal to their company. Says a lot about a company when employees do things for the love of the instrument.
I was talking to my local dealer yesterday about prs. His opinion kinda summed it all. 20 years from now, prs will be a house hold name because they listen to their customers and their dealers.
I think I really became really aware of PRS at some point in 2000 / 2001. I was doing a music course at college and we all went to a show in Birmingham called Music Live. Good day spent (very briefly) chatting to Jim Marshall, jamming and eyeing up the gear and the two ladies in skimpy outfits handing out leaflets. One of the best bits was having a guy at a stall handing me a PRS after seeing me dribbling near it. I'd never in my life played a guitar that felt as good as that!!! Looked amazing, played amazingly and i'm sure it sounded good but I couldn't hear it above the din.
Seriously lusted after a PRS since. That and Strats.
I'm pretty new to PRS Guitars having just received my DGT a little over a week ago. However, already I'm finding a weird bias toward what I feel is the best looking, playing, and sounding guitar I've ever owned. One of the first comments I got about it on another forum was, 'nice guitar for a PRS.' Then I posted 2 videos of it up on Youtube. Prior to the DGT most of my videos have been with Historic Les Paul's with a Tele and Strat thrown in once in a while. Those Les Paul videos got me more comments/Likes in one day than the DGT has in the week they've been up. Serious crickets. I've got a reasonable amount of subscribers and most of them are LP fans. I take their silence to mean they don't approve of the new PRS. Oh well. I have to be honest in saying that I'm stupid happy with the DGT and I'm thinking of selling a Historic LP to buy another DGT. IMHO, the DGT just works better for me. I love the neck, the tone options, the feel of the guitar, and it's gorgeous looking.
my PRS expierience started with one of the first Santana SE's. I traded in a hot rodded taco-tele for it and was never super impressed with it. After putting dragon 1's and locking tuners and a tone pros bridge on it, it was much better, but still lacking in the "feel" department. I do think that issue has been resolved with the new SE's. I played it for a while but could never shake the "want" for a US model. I finally found a great deal on a used 2001 custom 22 and bought it. Thats all it took for me to be hooked and now I dont even look at other guitars. The custom 22 has had several pickup changes over the years and right now is set up with a 3 way toggle and ME pickups. Last year I bought the 20th SC in my avatar and LOVE this guitar. The 22 got pushed to the side and sometimes I feel bad for neglecting it LOL... it has the "feel" and the "tone" I've never expierienced with any other brand. Like others have said, PRS's just "fit" me. Now I've invested in a 2ch H head that sounds so sweet that I day dream about it when I'm not at home. I also got it used.. I only thought I've owned some good amps in the past! I'm still learning the amp and the different functionalities, but I really, really like it!
I feel the "bias" as well, and I think a lot of it is jealousy. Even when their ears tell them there "is" a quality difference, they wont admit it.
Originally Posted by ]-[ @ n $ 0 |v| a T ! ©
When I was young, I couldnt afford squat. I always wanted a Gibson, for a myriad of reasons and of course that was my last name.. Then when I had enough money to buy whatever I wanted, there was a guy from Boston (we were working the BP oil Spill) that had a PRS on board and it fretted so well I couldnt believe it.. Usually I have to contort my tiny hand to get all the notes to ring true. I want to move up from the SE series next year.. I never understood why people wanted more than one guitar but now the more I play,the more things are clicking in my head, and I can understand why a sound is different than another. I had a Gibson for a short time but it wasnt what I thought it should be. Additionally I watched Mr. Reed Smith discuss his development process on youtube and it blew me away. Most companies in all endeavors it seems that the corporation is more about manipulating money than the product..
He he, I remember you from the official Gibson forum.
Originally Posted by sleary
That was the first guitar forum I joined since I got my 2012 '61 SG Reissue last May.
Soon after buying it I GAS'd for another guitar, and my sales guy at Guitar Center suggested an Ibanez shredder guitar, but I had seen an SE Santana in there too, and I asked why it was so cheap since I had seen the Maryland ones.
He explained in was built in Korea, but tried to steer me towards the shredder.
I looked on the PRS site and found I had a PRS dealer just a few miles from work (and actually off the same street I live on, only 12 miles the other way) and I asked if they had the SE Santana and they did.
I stopped by and liked it very much, but I had him order the orange one for me, as I liked it better than the yellow.
I thought the Santana played just as well as my $2K+ SG I had just bought, but I preferred the 60s slim neck of the SG.
Soon found out about the 2012 SE Custom 24 with the wide/thin neck, and ordered it without even playing it as my dealer did not have any in stock yet.
As soon as it arrived, it became my favorite guitars, even over the SG.
I also had bought my son a 2012 SE Semi-Custom, and it blew me away in how it played, even with its wide/fat neck like the Santana had, but it had the longer 25" scale length which I have come to enjoy the most over any other scale length.
Then the news came of the SE Tremonti Custom for the UK only, and I asked my dealer to do some digging for me, and his rep said she could get one as they were coming to Maryland also.
This was before they were even listed in the PRS site.
Took awhile to get it, but it was worth the wait, as it blows away my old '73 Gibson Les Paul Deluxe I had back then.
I love my SG as it represents an iconic guitar that my guitar hero's (Angus Young of AC/DC, Eric Clapton from the Cream days, and Tony Iommi from Black Sabbath) played back in the day, and Angus Young continues to play one, but my SEs are just as nice, but are way more comfortable to hold and play.
I can only imagine how my 408 MT will be when it finally arrives.
I was sold the second I came into contact with them. The looks got me 1st, after I played one - that was it for me.
It was a cold Fall Saturday when I stepped out of my Mercedes Gelandewagen beater, and swept into the D&G Fancy & Boutique Guitar Shoppe (my Bentley was on the fritz).
"May I help you?" asked the beautifully dressed, attractive young woman who looked to be about 23, who greeted me at the door.
"Perhaps," I replied, my eyes darting around the lavish, dark mahogany paneling and marble floor, covered in authentic Persian rugs. "I'm looking for a gift...for myself. To celebrate my impossibly successful life, my 40th birthday, to make my partners and clients jealous, and to outdo everyone. I was thinking...instrument. Tell me," I said, "What are all the other very successful lawyers, doctors, dentists and scions of industry buying these days?"
"Well, the doctors are all buying violins. Do you play the violin?" she inquired.
"No, I play piano and guitar."
"Do you have a piano?" said the efficient and lovely hostess.
"Yes, a gloss black 6 foot grand," I answered. "Very impressive for the guests who come over."
"The scions of industry are generally buying Taylors," she said.
"The ones who built their own businesses, or the ones who inherited money," I asked.
"The self-made ones," she answered.
"Not interested," I said. "Johnny come latelys. I only compete with inherited wealth. Or people with professional educations. Better people, better taste."
"OK," she said. "How about a PRS?"
"A what?" I demanded.
"A PRS. It's very pretty, You can hang it on your wall and it will be every bit as impressive as your piano, once you have acquired several."
"Hmmm," I mused. "Show me one."
She opened the case, revealing a nice PRS with a plain top and moons. "Too basic," I said. "Have you got anything with, oh, winged creature inlays on the fingerboard, a fancier top, and perhaps a leather case?"
"I may have something special for you," she said with a wink. As she went back to the storeroom, I couldn't help but notice her stellar figure. I became warm and had to take off my cashmere coat and suede gloves. "Whew," I thought. "That is a very attractive young woman."
She came back holding a black leather presentation case. I was intrigued. When she opened the case, there sat something I could like: a PRS with birds and an Artist top. "Now we're talking," I said. "Tell me, who has one of these?" She reeled off the names of at least a dozen dentists and lawyers I knew. But none of them were as exclusively magnificent, or well bred, as I was. "Do you have anything better than this?" I inquired. I was certainly not going to impress anyone with a guitar that just any lawyer or dentist could afford!
"I do," she said. "But it's very expensive."
I flashed my American Express Platinum card.
"We don't take American Express," she said. "Only Visa and Mastercard."
"What kind of a place IS this?" I was aghast. I almost walked out. Then she showed me the Pièce de résistance. It was a Private Stock PRS, and in the same case, a matching, bespoke shotgun whose stock was made from the same wood as the PRS. I think they said it was some kind of pernambuco...I opened a special circular accessory case built into the guitar case; in it was a gold Rolex with a paisley face. Then I opened the rectangular accessory box, and inside was a paisley guitar strap, ascot, socks and underwear to match the watch face. To my delight, two Mont Blanc limited edition pens were also in the case, with paisley resin barrels and clips shaped like little...what do they call them on the internet now...oh yes, PRSi. The hoi polloi knows no Latin!
My eyes lit up. This would surely get them in the gut!
"I'll take it," I announced. "I'll take the whole set." My mind reeled; how was I ever going to get the whole case, with its contents, mounted on the wall for display? I realized I'd need a custom-built cabinet, where I could display the opened case, the guitar, the gun, the watch, and the other stuff. My next trip would have to be to Baker Furniture to place a special order! Something in hand rubbed Chippendale, with glass doors, I thought.
"Very good, sir. Shall I have it gift-wrapped and sent to your home?"
"No, I said absently. I'll send my valet around to pick it up at 4PM. I need to make another stop and don't want to leave it in the car. Might I ask...would you like to go out for a drink when your day is over?"
"No thank you," she said, "You're too freaking old, plus you're kind of creepy. But I appreciate your business."
"Ah," I said, disappointed. Later the following year, I guess she needed money, because she became my mistress, which pleased me no end. It's true. One day I got a call from her. "Are you the creepy guy who's around 40 that bought the overpriced guitar/shotgun/watch combination from me?"
"That sounds about right," I said. "Why do you ask?"
"Oh, I lost my job when I refused to sell something as lowly as Fenders, you see, they lost their PRS dealership. And now I'm broke. And very horny."
"Sounds like you need a sugar daddy," I said.
"Desperately," she answered. "The only skill I have besides selling rich guys overpriced instruments is, you know, in the bedroom." For some reason, I felt sorry for this foundling, and took her in.
"And that, Godfrey, is how I discovered PRS. To this day, my now-burgeoning PRS collection graces the cabinets and walls of my cigar room."
"And do you like playing them, Les?"
"Play them?!? Oh goodness, no, I don't actually...haha...I mean you must be kidding. They're for show. I don't wear the armor in the hallway, either."
"You never just, you know, tried the armor on, just for grins to see what it felt like to be a knight?"
"Godfrey, for goodness' sake. You know I WAS a knight; among other things, I fought in the War of the Roses throughout the 15th Century. That is my old armor. I know how it felt. It was hot. You wore padding and chain mail under it. And we only fought in summer! Can you imagine? One is sweating like a hog in a hot metal case, wearing layers of padding and mail, with almost no ventilation. You close the visor, can hardly see or hear a thing, and can only smell yourself. Ever gotten into a hot car in Florida that sat in the sun all day with the windows rolled up? It was godawful. But at least the wars got me out of the house and away from the wife. Say, would you like another absinthe?"
After Godfrey and I watched the green liquid pour into the glass, followed by the water dripping over the sugar in the spoon, we toasted each others' health with our glasses, and I said, "Godfrey, have I ever shown you my collection of rare hats that were once owned by the Emperor Napoleon? Oh yes, l'Empereur gave them to me himself back in the day when I saved his life after he came down with fever during the retreat from Moscow. I'd be very pleased to show you..."
Last edited by LSchefman; 03-10-2013 at 12:46 AM.
You're an odd man, very funny, but odd.
P.S. don't change one bit!