In 2006, Paul Reed Smith wrote a document called The Rules of Tone. The point was to put down in writing all of the philosophies that contribute to making a “magic” instrument. Many “tweaks” have been embodied by our team as a practical result of this document, including using unplated brass at key points on our hardware, acclimating and drying our woods the way we do, working to constantly maintain clear, hard, and thin finishes, and looking back at the master guitar makers in history to learn what they were thinking. Carrying on the PRS tradition of constant research and development, here is the story behind the small batch Private Stock “Graphite Guitars.”
A couple of years ago, Paul got his hands on 96 million high modulus graphite rods that are ½” x ½” square and 17” long, and he had an electric guitar made. We already had experience making acoustic guitars with graphite strength rods, and knew that this construction method created highly resonant, woody-sounding, inspiring guitars. And low and behold the electric guitar rang like a bell. Paul shared the guitar with some very famous artists, and they all asked why the guitar sustained so long. Paul explained that instead of a truss rod, it had a strength rod made out of very high modules graphite. That original guitar has been on loan to various artists as much as we’ve had it here, which has been wonderful!
The Private Stock team is now running a small batch of “Graphite Guitars” (a few guitars each month) that are now starting to ship to our dealers. These guitars will all be the “Paul’s Guitar” model, so they all feature Private Stock grade woods, Paul’s “Brushstroke” birds, and our narrow 408 pickups. The 408 pickups are humbuckers that sound like singlecoils. They have a new-found clarity and high end that sounds extraordinarily musical without sounding harsh in any way.
Sometimes, Paul’s Rules of Tone lead us down a road of research and development and we find ourselves absolutely in love with what we see, feel, and hear. The Private Stock Graphite Guitars are no exception.