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A Brief History of Paul Reed Smith Guitars

Aug 17, 2007
There are a few guitar companies that are well known for their quality and their list of celebrity players. PRS Guitars is one such company. Paul Reed Smith, owner and creator of PRS Guitars, made his first guitar while he was a student at St. Mary s College in Maryland. He continued to build guitars after college and after he d complete one, he would bring it to concerts and convince the musicians to try them out and give him feedback.

Smith eventually encountered Carlos Santana. The end result of this meeting was that Santana ended up trying out his guitars. (He tried three total.) Santana was impressed, and this ultimately changed the direction of Smith s life. Santana put Smith in touch with a man named Ted McCarty, who eventually became his mentor.

Ted McCarty is a veteran of the guitar industry. He was the president of Gibson for a number of years and he created the Gibson Explorer, the ES-335, and the Gibson Flying V. Like Santana, McCarty also realized that Smith had talent and took him under his wing. The two collaborated and developed a series of guitars together. These guitars are now included in the PRS Guitars line.

Perhaps it was due to McCarty s collaboration with Smith that ultimately lead to the trouble. But, Gibson sued PRS Guitars over their Singlecut guitars, which they claimed were remarkably similar to the Gibson Les Paul style. Eventually Gibson lost the case, but PRS could not make the guitars while the court case was going on. But the case was resolved in Smith and McCarty s favor.

PRS Guitars have a list of current stock models and private stock guitars that are all listed on the website. There are the Singlecut guitars that were previously mentioned, the SE Series which is a lower end model and slightly less expensive, the Santana SE, and the 513 Rosewood Guitar. However, these are just a few examples of the extensive list provided on the site.

There have been a lot of famous artists who have played Paul Reed Smith guitars. These include Carlos Santana, Al DiMeola, Peter Lindgren, Tim Mahoney, Dave Navarro, Mark Tremont, Larry Hanson of Alabama, Larry Lalonde of Primus, Neal Schon of Journey, Rich Williams of Kansas, Steve Stevens with Billy Idol, and Vince Neil of Motley Crue. For more information on the artists who play PRS Guitars, visit the website.

Here is what one person has to say about their PRS Guitar:

About the PRS Custom 20th Anniversary

I love the way this guitar looks. I had wanted a quilt finish, but the exact spec would have taken 3-4 months on a special order and cost lots more, so I got this one, and haven t regretted it for a second. Fabulous rich sounds - as soon as I took it to the first rehearsal, everyone in the band could tell the difference (had previously been playing US Standard Strat and Les Paul Studio). Lighter sound than the Les Paul, but so versatile. The tone control is useable and the choice between single/double wound pickups makes a real difference. Magical.
About the Author
Guitar Warehouse is your place to Buy Guitar and other musical gear. We also offer a wide range of PRS Guitars and Free Guitar Lessons.
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