(September 23, 2008) - Paul Reed Smith Guitars is releasing the first Al DiMeola signature model, the Al Di Meola Prism. The production model guitar was officially introduced at Experience PRS 2008 on September 19th. Fans will recognize the guitar from the prototype that Di Meola used on tour with Return to Forever this summer.
The 25" scale guitar is notable in that it is the first PRS guitar to sport so many colors. Its stained curly maple "9 top" features a bold, prism-like display of colors that, in true PRS style, still allows the beauty of the wood to stand out. The guitar has a Peruvian mahogany back and 10" radius neck with a 22 fret Mexican rosewood fingerboard. The neck features a custom Al Di Meola neck carve which is on the thinner side front-to-back, but is a bit wide across the fretboard. Other appointments include grommet-style locking tuners, abalone bird inlays, a tremolo bridge and 1957/2008 pickups. The pickups, which PRS afficionados are referring to as 5708's, are made with wire produced by the same machine that made wire for the much sought-after PAF pickups; it was recently acquired by PRS.
Attendees of Experience PRS 2008, a gathering of select PRS enthusiasts at the company's headquarters in Stevensville, MD, got an introduction to the guitar that is about as comprehensive as it gets. They got to see the guitar being made in open house-style factory tours, see/hold/play it themselves and attend a product demo where PRS Director of R&D/Director of Private Stock, Joe Knaggs, talked about its design.
They also got to see Di Meola play the guitar in a clinic and then perform with it as his band got together for their first live show in a year and a half.
Di Meola and Paul Reed Smith have collaborated for more than 30 years, beginning with a 12-string electric with a built-in phaser that Di Meola commissioned and then used on his second solo album, Elegant Gypsy
. The design for the Al D Prism guitar was formulated from the features of a Modern Eagle guitar, one of Smith's own guitars actually, that Di Meola first played at Experience PRS 2007. Today, the two joke with each other about how Di Meola "stole" the guitar. Di Meola showed up to Experience PRS 2007 without a guitar so Smith let him borrow his Modern Eagle for the night. The next thing he knew, Di Meola was using it in rehearsals for the Return to Forever reunion tour.
Video 1 - Al Di Meola Prism Guitar Demo with Joe Knaggs
Video 2 - Al Di Meola Experience PRS 2008 Clinic Performance
Video 3 - Al Di Meola Experience PRS 2008 Concert Performance
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