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The PRS Story

Pictures Of Guitars From a high school shop class to an attic workshop to a state-of-the-art facility, it's been a long, tough road for PRS guitars. Paul Reed Smith built his first guitar as a challenge to his college music professor. After receiving an 'A' on that project, his dream of building guitars for a living finally seemed achievable. In the early days, Paul was lucky to crank out one guitar a month. Once he completed a guitar, it would be field tested in the most telling way possible, by playing a gig. Paul learned from every design change. Every subsequent guitar was improved by trial, error, and feedback from Paul and other guitarists playing live. Over the course of ten years, there were three headstock changes, a few different body shapes, many tremolo designs, and various different combinations of wood and construction techniques to arrive at the perfect guitar. Paul began hanging out at local concert venues before shows making friends with roadies and collecting backstage passes. Once he had access to the stars, it was a chance to make a sale. Nine times out of ten, there were no takers, but Carlos Santana, Al Di Meola, Howard Leese, and a few other well-known players gave him a chance. Upon building a small following, two prototypes were built and the marketing campaign began in earnest. With the prototypes in the back seat of his truck, Paul traveled up and down the East Coast collecting enough orders to finally start his company. Factory capacity has grown, as has number of employees, level of distribution, and the number of famous artists using PRS guitars. Despite all the success, PRS continues to push the envelope to guarantee a product that has no equal. Paul Reed Smith: "That's the story of the beginning of the journey. Not so short, but very sweet. The moral? Believe in your dreams." The Journey Continues Not only has PRS guitars become the gold standard of quality in the guitar business, they have maintained that standard from their humble beginnings all the way to the major industry presence they are today. While success in guitar building requires a constant reevaluation of materials, tools, and procedures implemented on a daily basis, the underlying goal of building extraordinary guitars has remained their primary focus. While other companies try to relive the success and designs of historic guitars from the 50's and 60's, Paul Reed Smith knows that the craftsmen who designed and built those guitars had a goal of producing great instruments. Those early pioneers (among them Paul's mentor, Ted McCarty) strived to build a guitar with tone that inspired better playing, a durability to last for a thousand gigs and beyond, and an elegance that made your guitar a work of art in its' own right. Quality is the name of the game at PRS guitars. Automation and computerized CNC machinery are the wave of the future, but the essence of the magic that is PRS still comes down to a pair of hands. Every PRS craftsman has the authority to halt the construction process if a guitar falls short in any way. Quality control is an integral, organic part of the guitar building process, from design and materials all the way to construction and testing. The quest to build the perfect guitar is never finished. Paul Reed Smith: "We want players to know that no matter how great that old PRS guitar is, we're pushing for the new one to be even better."

Colin McDonald writes on behalf of PRS Guitars

By Colin McDonald -

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