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 luthier displays
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 Stock team.

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 Donna Grantis.

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.”