Earlier this year, my friend Craig Snyder, proprietor of the boutique retailer CR Guitars, and longtime NYC studio guitarist, bent my ear about PRS. I guess I was about the only person he knew who (a) was a pretty serious player, and (b) knew anything at all about PRS. Apparently he'd run into Paul somewhere, and Paul wanted him to consider carrying the PRS acoustics at his shop, at least the PS ones. Paul sent Craig a few guitars which Craig played then sent back with a few criticisms and several suggestions for improvement.
Craig is a picky, picky guy. But he also grew up in his father's guitar shop and has been deep in the guitar world for a long, long time. His pickiness is based on a lifetime of playing and being around great guitars. (and guitarists... and guitar builders...)
Anyway, Craig also ended up spec-ing out a couple of PS electrics, with my help. He was looking for something with a distinct visual and sonic identity that would fit the ethos of his shop as well as the needs of his customers, and which would be something different than what one finds at several of the well-known dealers who sell a lot of PS guitars.
Craig and I have a mutual love of the sound of the classic spruce-top Gibson electrics: Super 400 CES, L-5CES -- the sounds of classic early-60s, Kenny Burrell; Larry Coryell in the Gary Burton group; etc, etc. So one of the spec'd guitars was a single-cut Hollowbody Spruce. Craig prefers understated elegance, and the idea for the guitar was to be a showcase for some of the great wood that PRS has in their stash, without extraneous bling. I connected with that idea right away, as I had owned & played a basic Hollowbody Spruce for several years, which was a great workhorse guitar although I always thought the pickups could have been better.
So, four months go by (give or take) and Craig calls me up out of the blue to gush about how well the two PS electrics (the other was/is a McCarty Trem with a Brazilian rosewood neck; more about that one later) came out. He even did a quick iPhone video of himself playing the HBSp. I was up in NY for the Woodstock guitar show last weekend, and since the CR shop is fairly near Woodstock, I headed over to check out the new guitars. (Craig always has a bunch of killing new guitars, every time I go there I end up leaving thinking "and I thought mine were so good!" ) Well, the hollowbody took my breath away. I've been chasing this thing for a few years now, a sound that I have in my head, that I just haven't been able to find. Not for lack of trying -- and buying new guitars. It had never occurred to me that PRS could nail it. But nail it they did. I was particularly glad that, for unrelated reasons, I happened to have my #1 amplifier on the trip with me. When we fired up the HBSp through my amp, the guitar came alive in a whole new way, and any doubt I had about whether it was truly my guitar vanished.
Now I'm trying to convince Craig and Paul to put it out there as my signature model, LOL! Regardless, it's a fabulous addition to the PRS oeuvre, and Craig is going to order more of them.
EDIT: new versions of the photos which will, hopefully, render properly across different viewers: