There’s one place to be every year if you’re
a hardcore PRS connoisseur—Experience
PRS in Stevensville, Maryland. That’s when
PRS opens its doors to dealers, distributors,
artists, fans, and the media for a few days of
clinics, factory tours, new gear introductions,
artist meet-and-greets, and performances.
This year marks the fourth year of the event.
|Click here to watch our interview with Paul Reed Smith
||Click here to watch Orianthi's rendition of Hendrix' "Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)"
||Click here to watch a solo acoustic performance from Cody Kilby
The first big announcement of the weekend
involved the extension of the company’s
25th Anniversary offerings, which were
introduced at Experience PRS last year and
were scheduled to only be in production for
a year. The company is now extending availability
of those guitars and amps through
December in order to meet demand.
This Custom 24 in progress
was among the many interactive
set up to show
attendees how PRS guitars are made.
Among the new gear revealed were six new
electrics, all sporting the company’s new V12
finish. The finish, which company says took 12
years to develop, will appear on all new PRS
guitars and is “halfway between nitrocellulose
and acrylic, with a classic feel all its own.” A
new bridge and new neck shapes and pickups
were also unveiled. The company also introduced
a 25-piece limited run of Experience
PRS 2010 Recording Amps and a limited
batch of amps with special aesthetic appointments.
Still unnamed is the company’s first
two-channel amp, which made a few sneak-peek
appearances in pre-production form.
This Dragon in progress shows
the inlay handiwork of the PRS Private
One element of the annual PRS fest worth
pointing out is the company’s growing
reputation for endorsing tonehound artists
and notable up-and-comers. It seems
that every year the PRS family, as they like
to call it—which includes artists like Carlos
Santana, David Grissom, Howard Leese,
Mark Tremonti, and Zach Myers—gains new
brothers and sisters you’ve never heard of
before, but as soon as you hear them play
you understand the fit. Sticking with that
metaphor, you could say that a crazy foreign
uncle has surfaced in the family—Andrea
Braido, a monster player from Italy. Braido’s
Saturday morning Tent C performance—
which went from death-defying shred metal
on one tune to chaps-busting country acrobatics
on the next—left the audience howling
for more. Other new artists creating a
lot of buzz included Kristen Capolino and
Main-stage performances during the event
included Orianthi, Ricky Skaggs, Cody Kilby,
Martin Simpson, Davy Knowles, Howard Leese,
Bernie Marsden, Kirby Kelley, and many others.
Orianthi rocks the main tent with a 12-minute, jaw-droppingly energetic rendition
of “Voodoo Chile.”