Download Example 1
Middle Pickup
Download Example 2
Neck Pickup
Download Example 3
Bridge Pickup
Download Example 4
Bridge and Middle Pickups
Download Example 5
Neck and Middle Pickups
Download Example 6
Togging through each of the 5 pickup settings, starting with the Neck Pickup
Clips recorded with Paul Reed Smith 305, Paul Reed Smith 30 amp, Paul Reed Smith 1 X 12 cabinet, Shure SM57 Microphone, Avid Pro Tools
For many players, PRS has always represented an ideal convergence of the design concepts that made the Les Paul and Stratocaster great. And the new PRS 305—with its three single-coils, alder body, 5-way switch, 25.5" scale, and tremolo—flirts more overtly with the Stratocaster design than most of the 6-strings currently coming out of the company’s Stevensville, Maryland, factory. But it’s a guitar that remains unmistakably PRS in terms of aesthetics, quality, and execution. And combining so many distinctly Fender-esque design elements with a set neck gives it a resonance and tonal signature all its own.

Familiar Curves
You can spot a PRS at a hundred paces, and the 305 is no exception. The carved alder body makes a beautiful canvas for the elegant tri-color sunburst, which fades from a deep chocolate brown to orange-ish hues and then to amber. The rock-maple neck and fretboard (a rosewood fretboard is optional) runs a standard Fender 25.5" scale length and features 22 frets of DGT fret wire, and signature PRS bird inlays. The guitar’s top-quality hardware, which is available in nickel and gold, includes PRS 14:1 Phase II low-mass locking tuners and a tremolo bridge. The electronics, meanwhile, are configured in a manner that would be familiar to any Strat user: three 305 single-coils and a 5-way blade switch toggle between bridge, bridge-middle, middle, middle-neck, and neck selections. The only other controls are a Volume and a Tone knob.

Immediately Apparent Quality
When I initially picked up and played the 305, the guitar felt very solid and comfortable— no surprise there. Before I even plugged in the 305, its impressive, ringing resonance was plain to the ear, and single notes happily sustained without the assistance of an amp.

The neck’s slick satin finish felt great and played fast, and the large frets were perfectly shaped at the edges. Getting up to the highest frets unimpeded was no problem, thanks to the rounded heel and substantial cutaway. Intonation and action were also perfect right out of the case. Strings run through the back of the guitar and then through the bridge—which isn’t too chunky and is set up perfectly for deep tremolo bends or mellow vibrato textures. There’s also the usual thoughtful PRS touches, like the ridged no-slip nut and tuners that are designed for easy string installation and exceptional tuning stability.