The Ultimate Paul Reed Smith Electric Guitar Buying Guide
Welcome to Eddie's Guitars, where our love for exceptional strings and our years of expertise in the melody market converge to create the ultimate sanctuary for guitar enthusiasts.
Our journey into the heart of music has endowed us with unparalleled insights and a fervent dedication to the art of guitar perfection, positioning us as your definitive beacon in the quest for the ideal Paul Reed Smith (PRS) electric guitar.
About PRS Guitars
Paul Reed Smith guitars are renowned for their exceptional craftsmanship and versatility.
They are particularly well-known for their pickups, which are hand-wound by PRS luthiers. These pickups deliver a wide range of tones, from smooth and mellow to hot and aggressive. The sounds are perfectly delivered on every model, no matter if it's single coil or humbucker. In fact, because PRS humbuckers deliver such clarity and versatility, they are suitable for various musical styles. That is why artists like John Mayer, Mark Tremonti, Myles Kennedy, and Zach Myers have chosen these guitars as their signature models.
Best PRS Models
Located in Maryland, PRS shows unparalleled commitment to craftsmanship and innovation, evident in their Wood Library. This library is where the company hand selects and reserves exceptional tone woods for special custom orders, including mahogany and rosewood. This attention to detail ensures that each PRS guitar is a unique and extraordinary instrument. Whether you're a left-handed guitarist or prefer a signature model like the Mark Holcomb or Carlos Santana, PRS offers a wide range of options to suit your preferences.
Some of the brand's more popular electric and acoustic guitar models include the following:
- PRS Custom 24, which has become synonymous with PRS guitars. Featuring a solid body electric guitar design, the PRS SE Custom 24 showcases the meticulous attention to detail that PRS is known for. Its stunning maple neck is available in a variety of finishes, such as Charcoal Burst, Faded Blue Burst, and Vintage Sunburst.
- PRS McCarty 594 Singlecut, which delivers a rich tonal character and exceptional playability. The SE McCarty 594 is available in striking finishes like the McCarty Tobacco Sunburst, Fire Red Burst, Eriza Verde, Vintage Cherry, Dark Cherry Burst, and Black Gold Burst.
- PRS S2 McCarty 594, a perfect intermediate guitar that delivers exceptional sounds for most music genres.
- PRS McCarty 594 Hollowbody II, from the PRS collection of semi-hollow and hollow body electric guitars. Each provides a warm and resonant tone, perfect for jazz, blues, and rock genres. What makes this lineup so spectacular are the under saddle piezo pickups to increase the tonal options and “hollow” sounds.
- PRS SE Paul's Guitar, featuring two mini-toggles switches and a remarkable stoptail bridge, delivers a retro sound with versatile tones.
- PRS S2 Vela Satin, this instrument features dot fret marker inlays, a rosewood fretboard, and gig bag case. This model distinguishes itself by delivering punk tones that are always bright and clear.
- PRS Signature David Grissom Trem (DGT), which delivers remarkable tones and playability thanks to the large amount of positions available through the control switch.
- PRS SE Silver Sky from the PRS SE series, a model that is affordable without compromising quality.
- PRS Dustie Waring (DW CE 24 “Floyd”), a limited edition model complete with a bolt-on platform and maple fretboard. It comes in a dazzling array of colors, including Waring Burst and Faded Blue Smokeburst.
Choosing the Right Electric PRS Guitar
With their impeccable quality, versatile sound, and stunning aesthetics, PRS electric guitars have earned their place among the best in the industry. Whether you're a professional guitarist or a passionate hobbyist, a PRS guitar is sure to inspire and elevate your playing experience. Complete with features like PRS tuners, a variety of finishes, and top-notch construction, PRS guitars continue to be a top choice for discerning musicians.
Here is how you can pick the best model for yourself.
Mind the Budget
A new instrument is always an investment, especially when choosing an illustrious brand like PRS. For beginners or artists on a budget, PRS SE Standard Edition models are perfect as they deliver exceptional sound while still being the more affordable options from this brand. They're also oftentimes the most versatile in terms of style, meaning artists from various genres can oftentimes find an electric guitar from the PRS SE lineup that works for them.
For intermediate artists or those with a slightly higher budget, the 'Stevensville 2 (S2) lineup offers quality sounds without sacrificing quality. These instruments, while still versatile, offer more in terms of specialization so that they can more closely match an artist's style preferences.
For experts or artists with larger budgets, custom pieces or Private Stocks are top-of-line models that spare no expense, and the sound quality reflects that. For those looking to save, we suggest buying a used model over a new one. Beware, though: many online sellers claim to have a genuine PRS instrument but actually don't. You don't have to worry about that when you purchase used guitars from Eddie's, though. We always verify the authenticity of all used guitars that we sell, so you can rest assured that you're getting the real deal.
Check How It Sounds
This step might seem obvious, but we always recommend trying out a guitar before purchasing, especially if it's electric. Plug it into your amp, play with the switches and knobs, and strum away. See how everything feels and sounds. PRS is a quality brand, so if it's in good working order, everything should sound fantastic. If something sounds off (and the instrument is tuned), it is likely a sign that that particular instrument is damaged.
Choose the Right Bridge
Whammy bars are all the rage when you're a metal fan, which is why most metalheads prefer guitars with tremolo bridges like the PRS Specialty Studio. For a more stable instrument with better sustain, opt for a guitar with a stoptail bridge like the PRS SE Paul's Guitar.
Keep Musical Style in Mind
Jazz, RnB, classic rock, punk... these music genres are all exciting to play, and having the right instrument for the genre can make the difference between a good performance and a phenomenal one.
PRS guitars are well-known for not just their exceptional craftsmanship, but also their versatility, allowing artists to use their beloved instruments for most genres and playstyles. That said, some models are better suited for certain styles than others.
Some of the best models for certain music genres include the following:
- Metal: S2 Custom 24, Mark Holcomb SE
- Punk: Hollowbody II
- Jazz: PRS CE 24, Hollowbody II, S2 McCarty 594
- RnB: PRS SE 245 Standard
- Classic rock: PRS Custom 24, McCarty 594
- Pop: PRS SE One
Check the Neck
An age-old debate in the hobby is whether a bolt-on neck is superior to a glued-in neck. Some purists argue that sustain is better with a set neck. While we think all bolt-ons from PRS sustain well, if the neck is something you are concerned about, double check if the instrument you're getting has its neck bolted on or glued in.
What about the Amps and Pedals?
To complete their setup, guitarists can pair their PRS guitars with PRS amplifiers and pedals.
- PRS amps are known for their pristine tone and exceptional build quality, making them a perfect match for these guitars.
- PRS pedals can't be beat. The ever-popular (and rightly so) PRS Reverb and PRS Tremolo pedals add depth and character to the guitar's sound.
Don't Fret the Frets
Like most other brands, the majority of PRS offerings have 22 frets. For those who want an extra octave, check out models with 24, like the PRS Custom 24.
Pick your Paul Reed Smith Electric Guitar at Eddie's
We are all guitar enthusiasts at Eddie's Guitars. We know how much you love these instruments because we love them too. That dedication to this instrument is why we know the ins and outs of Paul Reed Smith electric guitars, and why we can help you find your perfect PRS fit. Schedule an appointment with us today to get started.