Adirondack Guitar is proud to announce that we are now an authorized PRS dealer and will be receiving several of their excellent acoustic guitars, along with their flagship PRS SE Standard 24 and SE Custom 24 electric guitars, in the coming weeks.
Since the late 1980‘s, many of the finest guitarists on the planet have chosen PRS guitars as their instruments. Iconic guitarists like Ted Nugent, Carlos Santana, John Mayer, Alex Lifeson and Tony McManus (who was named to Guitar Player Magazine’s list of 50 transcendent acoustic guitarists) have all played and endorsed PRS guitars for their quality, reliability and playability.
The PRS story is one of the more inspiring stories in modern guitar history. PRS founder Paul Reed Smith learned to build guitars at an early age, because he had to. His family did not have the money to buy him the musical instruments he wanted. If Smith wanted a guitar, he would have to learn to build it himself.
Smith’s first proper guitar was finished during college. It was a guitar that he built for one of his music instructors who basically told him that he would get full credit for the class if he could turn a bag full of wood into a functioning guitar. Smith succeeded, and went on to create his first pre-production models in the coming years. Soon, Smith dropped out of college to pursue his career as a luthier and guitar maker, opening a luthier and guitar repair shop with a handful of employees in Annapolis, Maryland.
Beginning in 1976, Smith would build about one guitar per month until his brand took off in 1985. But it wasn’t easy. His way of finding customers in those days was to bring his guitars to shows and try to make his way backstage before or after the show for artists to try them. Soon there was a growing list of major guitarists playing custom PRS guitars including Ted Nugent, Peter Frampton, and Al DiMeola.
We generally associate PRS guitars with Carlos Santana, but getting him to endorse PRS guitars wasn’t easy. In fact, Smith had to build 4 different custom signature guitars before Santana agreed to endorse them in the mid-1990‘s.
For a more complete history, take a look at this article published by our friends at Reverb.
Tony McManus playing a PRS Private Stock Acoustic
Through the decades, PRS has become best known for their iconic electric guitars, but their acoustic guitars have a similar history of incredible tone, reliable performance and incredible playability. The PRS build philosophy is simple: pair select tonewoods with a comprehensive selection of body shapes and bracing styles to create guitars that meet the high benchmark of PRS quality and playability.
Body Shape: Any guitarist will tell you that body shape will have a major effect on the tone and feel of the guitar. PRS acoustics come in two basic body shapes -- the Angelus Cutaway and the Tonare Grand. The Angelus cutaway acoustic has a softer and more intimate tone, while the Tonare Grand (tonare means ‘thunder’ in Latin) delivers the thunderous tone of a full size dreadnought acoustic.
Bracing: Acoustic guitars have rich interior lives. Their interior bracing contributes to the tone as much as the tonewoods that make up their top, back and sides. PRS uses two main bracing styles in its acoustic guitars, the traditional ‘X,’ and their own proprietary Hybrid X/Classical bracing. The traditional X bracing allows the top to resonate really well, giving the voice stability and a characteristic punch. The Hybrid is a combination of an X soundhole bracing with a classical ‘fan’ bracing, which ‘locks down’ the guitar’s back and sides, allowing it to project through the top with a unique voice.
Back and Sides: The tonewoods chosen for the back and sides of an acoustic guitar help determine the guitar’s overall sound. PRS uses a variety of choice tonewoods including Mahogany, Ovangkol, and Maple for backs and sides, pairing them with Sitka Spruce tops to create uniquely warm tones that also have the ability to cut through the mix in ensemble playing.
When Plugged In: All PRS Acoustic Electric Guitars have a Fishman GT1 pickup system which features both an undersaddle pickup and a preamp mounted in the soundhole, with ergonomically designed volume and tone controls that are easy to access while you are playing.
The PRS SE TX20E pairs a solid spruce top with Mahogany back and sides to deliver a warm, balanced tone. The traditional “X” bracing allows the top to vibrate while also providing excellent stability, giving the SE TX20E a punch that can stand alone beautifully or cut through the mix in ensemble playing. The Tonare Grand body shape gives the TX20E a familiar look and a thunderous tone, making it well suited for either picking or fingerstyle playing.
The PRS SE A55E features a single cutaway Angelus style body with a solid Sitka Spruce top and Quilted Maple back and sides for tone that is simply stunning in its warmth and depth. When matched with the PRS Hybrid“X” - Classical bracing, the top is allowed to vibrate freely and project, giving the the SE A55E a deep, wide open character that is not usually found in an acoustic with maple back and sides. The Angelus Cutaway body shape delivers comfort and playability, well suited for picking and fingerstyle playing.
With the SE T40E PRS paired Ovangkol back and sides with a Sitka Spruce top in a Grand Tonare body style with PRS Hybrid ‘X'/Classical bracing, creating an acoustic with a full and nuanced tone and incredible volume. While the Tonare body style delivers thunderous volume, the Hybrid bracing allows the top to vibrate freely, giving the T40E to deliver delicate nuance which makes it ideal for fingerstyle playing.
Like the SE T40E, the SE T50E PRS pairs the Grand Tonare body style with PRS Hybrid bracing, but puts Figured Maple and Mahogany back and sides with a Sitka Spruce top to create an unconventional 3-dimensional character that travels well from the recording studio to the stage. The Grand Tonare body shape delivers all of the volume you would ever want, with a warm quality from its select tonewoods.
Paul Reed Smith SE Standard 24 combines the design of the Custom 24, with all-mahogany body construction and classic PRS appointments, including a 24-fret maple neck, rosewood fretboard with bird inlays, 85/15 “S” pickups, and the PRS patented molded tremolo. The result is an affordable guitar with a powerful voice for players who demand a rock-solid reliability from their instruments.
The PRS SE Custom 24 Lefty brings classic PRS playability and reliability to left-handed players around the world. The Custom 24 Lefty comes gig-ready with a studio quality sound right out of the box. Keeping all of the same specifications as the SE Custom 24 that started it all, including a maple top, mahogany back, wide thin maple neck, 24 fret ebony fretboard, 25” scale length, the PRS patented molded tremolo, the latest SE Custom 24 features dual 85/15 “S” pickups with a 3-way pickup selector switch and push/pull tone control for coil tapping capabilities, making it more sonically versatile than ever!
Stay tuned to the Adirondack Guitar blog for more information about Paul Reed Smith models and other guitars due to come into our store in 2019!
When performing live, it can be tricky to achieve a clear and pleasing sound experience for your audience. Even if you like what you hear in your monitors, this doesn't necessarily translate as the best possible sound perception to your listeners.