This is taken from a letter I wrote to Paul several years back. I think we all enjoy the stories Paul tells, I always enjoyed his stories of the old days when he was just getting started and the history of how it all began. Here's my story.
It was in the very early 90’s, ‘91 or so that I saw my first PRS. My father used to take me to Madison, WI about every three months for a doctor appointment. We’d always schedule the visit early in the morning so we could go to some of the guitar stores in town, since we didn’t have much of anything in our hometown. So we walked into a store that we normally stopped in at, and there on the floor we saw about six or seven of the most beautiful guitars either of us had ever seen before. What really stood out the most, was they had unbelievable, gorgeous 3D looking maple tops on them and these fretboard inlays in the shape of birds. We’d never seen anything like these guitars and were just in complete awe! It wasn’t too long before a salesperson came over and asked if we’d ever heard of these guitars, called PRS - Paul Reed Smith. We said no, we hadn’t but, WOW, they sure are beautiful guitars! He asked if I had wanted to plug one in and try it out. Although I really wanted to play one right then, I said no, that’s ok. I knew at that time that they were more than I could afford, or my parents could spend on a guitar. I had only been playing guitar seriously for a year and half, so I thought, man, I’m not even good enough to even pick up a guitar that nice, much less plug it in and play it! So we stood and gawked at these beautiful instruments for a while longer. Especially the whale blue one right out in front. Man, that was the coolest guitar, in the most unbelievable color we ever saw. It was all we talked about the rest of the day! I said, Dad, someday I’m gonna have one of those guitars." I remember that day like it was yesterday.
I finally played a PRS guitar several months later and was just blown away by it. Man, did that thing just sing! And it was still a very thick, rich and full sound as well. It was much easier and more comfortable to play than my Epiphone Les Paul & Gibson Studio LP, but was still thick and chunky sounding on the bottom end. I loved it, but still, not within my budget. Fast-forward to 1995. I was out of high school and had a successful rock band as far as high school bands go, we even had recorded a full length CD in a studio in Madison, WI. I was bound and determined, come hell or high water, to get a PRS. I felt like now I had put in some time on the guitar and accomplished a fair amount of things and I deserved a PRS!!! I had a job, but it didn’t pay a whole lot, so it would take forever to save up that money. One day, while walking through a pawn shop, I saw some second hand Star Wars toys for sale…for A LOT of money. So I thought to myself, I have a ton of these toys, maybe I could find a buyer that would buy all of it. I really had a ton of Star Wars toys, and incidentally, my dad always made me put those toys away and keep things together so I didn’t lose pieces. He made me take very good care of that stuff, more so than any other toys or anything else I had. I even had a lot of the boxes for the ships, instructions and everything. So I started doing research, pricing everything that I owned. It turned out it would be enough money for me to buy the PRS I dreamed about for so long! I then asked my dad if it would be ok with him if I sold it all to buy the PRS. He said, "Yeah, go for it, I know how much you want that guitar." So I found a buyer and shipped him everything and went to the music store to get a PRS!!!
I tried out a few and while talking to the salesman, decided I would special order a guitar, built for me with the options I wanted. I was then pointed to Paul Schluter (Last Crack, Magic 7, Muzzy Luctin) who worked there as well at that time. Paul has serial #5 0057, and has been playing PRS from the beginning. He was the PRS expert around Madison at the time. So I decided, with his help, that I’d order a Custom 22 with bird inlays, 10 top, wide thin neck, stoptail - in whale blue, of course. After a long, agonizing wait(I was soooo anxious for this guitar), 8 months if memory serves me correctly. I got the call. It had arrived. I saw it and it was the most beautiful thing - and it was mine. I briefly plugged it in at the store and it just screamed. So off I went back home to show it to my dad. There we sat in the living room at home, just like the first time we saw a PRS guitar. In awe. My mom was even excited. She loved the whale blue color. That memory will forever be engrained in my mind.
Over the years that guitar has been excellent and has been with me through thick and thin. It now stays at home and gets used at home and in the studio. It's the most important thing I have that he and my mom have ever given me. It has been inspiration that creates music. There's not much more important to me in life than that.
Since that first PRS, I've only strayed once when buying electric guitars...for about 30 days, then that guitar got returned because it was inferior. Many more PRS have followed. After playing only PRS for 10 years, 2006 was the start of my bird tattoos. My father passed away in 1997, so I decided in 2012 that I wanted a portrait of him and a bunch more birds surrounding his portrait.
This is from when the portrait was just done(don't have any other pics):
The guitars I currently have:
The first one