All-Access Tour of the PRS Factory

Stevensville, MD (July 30, 2008) - Paul Reed Smith Guitars opened their doors for us and gave us a guided tour of their facilities, showing us exactly how they do what they do. Identifiable by a mere glimpse from across a concert hall or by a single soaring note piercing the mix, people love PRS guitars for their startling maple quilts and their ability to allow artists as different as Carlos Santana and Mark Tremonti to craft their own sonic identity. With that in mind, we hit the factory floor with PRS President, Jack Higginbotham, ready to explore every nuance involved with PRS guitar construction. Years ago, Jack was on the floor himself - sawing, sanding and putting his own sweat into PRS instruments. Knowing every nook and cranny of the factory and the construction process, Jack didn''t hold back - as you''ll see below. There''s an awful lot of detailed craftsmanship involved that is cool to see in a behind-the-scenes fashion.
Inside PRS

PRS players, luthiers and guitar nuts will be able to see the same tour up-close and in person at Experience PRS, which takes place September 19th and 20th. The annual event is a celebration of the PRS guitar and includes a packed schedule of events that is essentially two days of PRS bliss: factory tours, demos, artist appearances, clinics, free food, prizes, etc. Registration is required as this is a private event -- for details go to

On with the tour... below are four segments that take you from a warehouse of raw wood coming in from all over the world to the final person who touches up a finished, tested guitar and puts it in the case. As you''ll see, PRS is very adamant about letting people do what people do best and letting machines do what they do best.

Part 1 - Raw wood, bookmatching tops and CNC milling.

Part 2 - Body fixtures, necks, fretboards and sanding.

Part 3 - Staining, painting, sanding and breaking in a neck.

Part 4 - Electronics, final assembly and finishing.

For more info:
PRS Guitars
Experience PRS

Plus, the Fontaines D.C. axeman explains why he’s reticent to fix the microphonic pickup in his ’66 Fender Coronado.

Read More Show less

The emotional wallop of the acoustic guitar sometimes flies under the radar. Even if you mostly play electric, here are some things to consider about unplugging.

I have a love-hate relationship with acoustic guitars. My infatuation with the 6-string really blasted off with the Ventures. That’s the sound I wanted, and the way to get it was powered by electricity. Before I’d even held a guitar, I knew I wanted a Mosrite, which I was sure was made of fiberglass like the surfboards the Beach Boys, Surfaris, and the Challengers rode in their off time. Bristling with space-age switchgear and chrome-plated hardware, those solidbody hotrod guitars were the fighter jets of my musical dreams. I didn’t even know what those old-timey round-hole guitars were called. As the singing cowboys Roy Rogers and Gene Autrey strummed off into the sunset, the pace of technology pushed the look and sound of the electric guitar (and bass) into the limelight and into my heart. Imagine my disappointment when I had to begin my guitar tutelage on a rented Gibson “student” acoustic. At least it sort of looked like the ones the Beatles occasionally played. Even so, I couldn’t wait to trade it in.

Read More Show less

Need an affordable distortion pedal? Look no further.

We live in the golden age of boutique pedals that are loaded with advanced features—many of which were nearly unthinkable a decade or so ago. But there’s something that will always be valuable about a rock-solid dirt box that won’t break your wallet. Here’s a collection of old classics and newly designed stomps that cost less than an average concert ticket.

Read More Show less