The story of Experience PRS 2009

Ever the tone connoisseur, Paul Reed Smith has the best seat in the house as David Grissom closes a long night performances

See a photo gallery with the details on the new guitars announced at the event, including the Starla X, Carlos Santana SE One Abraxas and Modern Eagle III
See a photo gallery of performance highlights from the event.
Watch video of the new gear and musical performances.
The annual celebration of all things PRS took on new meaning this year as the company threw one helluva party while taking care of some new business.

The party included performances by the likes of Carlos Santana, Buddy Guy, Dweezil Zappa, David Grissom, Johnny Hiland, Nick Catanese, Howard Leese, Tony McManus, and many others. The business end of things involved rolling out many new pieces of gear, announcing the discontinuation of 14 models, and showing the world its new multi-million-dollar factory. In other words, for PRS fans, artists and dealers, this was the one event of the year that was not to be missed. The fact that PRS is celebrating its 25th year as a company focused the significance of what was happening. To think that a young tinkerer could go from a ballsy tone nerd to the leader of the country’s third-largest guitar company by focusing on quality instead of quantity is proof that passion still matters in this industry. At the end of the day, it’s all about the tone.

For at least a decade, the classic Ampeg SVT was the dominant bass amp for power and tone.

Photo courtesy of

From the giant, hefty beasts of yore to their modern, ultra-portable equivalents, bass amps have come a long way. So, what's next?

Bassists are often quite well-informed about the details of their instruments, down to the finest technical specs. Many of us have had our share of intense discussions about the most minute differences between one instrument and another. (And sometimes those are interrupted by someone saying, "It's all in the fingers.") But right behind our backs, at the end of our output cables, there is a world of tone-shaping that we either simply ignore or just don't want to dive into too deeply. Turning a gear discussion from bass to amp is a perfect way to bring it to an abrupt end.

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  • Develop a better sense of subdivisions.
  • Understand how to play "over the bar line."
  • Learn to target chord tones in a 12-bar blues.
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Playing in the pocket is the most important thing in music. Just think about how we talk about great music: It's "grooving" or "swinging" or "rocking." Nobody ever says, "I really enjoyed their use of inverted suspended triads," or "their application of large-interval pentatonic sequences was fascinating." So, whether you're playing live or recording, time is everyone's responsibility, and you must develop your ability to play in the pocket.

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