September 24 and 25 saw the fourth annual PRS Experience open house taking place at the Paul Reed Smith headquarters in Stevensville, Maryland. Sweetwater and your inSync crew were there, and we can tell you that it was two days packed with PRS guitars, clinics, demos, workshops, new product announcements, and hours of concerts by amazing artists, including Howard Leese, Ricky Skaggs, David Grissom, Dave Weiner, Martin Simpson, Bugs Henderson, Orianthi, Davey Knowles, and many, many more!
PRS unveiled four new technologies:
PRS’ new “V12” finish is very thin and hard, non-weather cracking, crystal-clear, and thinner-impervious. Said to be 12 years in the making, this new finish seems to address all the concerns players have had with modern guitar finishes (from any maker). Paul bandsawed guitars apart and passed the pieces through the crowd so we could all see just how thin and hard the new finish is.
Prototyped on Private Stock guitars (as available right here at Sweetwater, just few are left!), the new two-piece adjustable PRS bridge now comes standard on two new PRS models: the SC58, and the JA-15. Bridge specifications include triple-weight saddles, triple-weight thumb wheels, large posts, and extra mass. The added weight increases contact points and creates a more resonant, musical instrument. Machining rather than casting gives the brass and aluminum bridge a stronger sound, and the quick-change style stoptail doesn’t fall when the strings are removed.
Since the beginning of the company, neck shapes have always been high priority and a hallmark of PRS quality. Perfected after years of prototyping, the new “Pattern” neck (a name derived from an old wood working term) is an updated wide-fat PRS neck style based on Paul’s pre-factory design. This neck is also based on theories used to make the instruments custom-made in the late ’70s and mid ’80s for Carlos Santana, Peter Frampton, and Howard Leese. The new “Pattern Regular” neck shape is similar to the traditional PRS regular neck found on guitars made in the late ’80s at PRS’s former Virginia Avenue location. This new shape is incredibly comfortable, and has a lovely, almost “played in” feel without being reliced or aged.
The 53/10 pickup is the latest in the series of humbucking pickups that already includes the full-sized 57/08 and 59/09, and the smaller aperture 57/08 Narrowfield. First debuting as part of a limited run in the summer of 2010, the distinct 53/10 sounds similar to the original 57/08 but with a “sweeter” high end. The 53/10 coil wire is made on the same machine that supplied legendary guitar makers in the fifties and is the warmest-sounding of the vintage themed models. The 53/10 humbucker is made using a special process reserved for a single-coil bridge pickup circa 1953. During the 53/10’s prototyping phase, Paul Reed Smith wound a pair of 57/08’s using the new 53/10 wire for Derek Trucks, and “He fell in love with them,” Smith commented. The new JA 15 and the ME Quatro models both come standard with 53/10 pickups.
That’s it for our report today, tune in tomorrow for information on the six new guitars and two new amps introduced at the 2010 PRS Experience!