When it comes to guitars, not all brands have the illustrious histories of a Martin (founded in 1833) or a Gibson (1894). Leo Fender introduced his first solid-body electric guitar in 1950, Guild didn’t get started until 1952, and Taylor has only been around since 1974.

PRS Guitars, though, is the real newbie on the block, founded a decade later, in the mid-1980s, by Paul Reed Smith. Prior to starting PRS, Smith had been making about one guitar a month since college, where he made his first six-stringed instrument. In his spare time, he played his handcrafted axes with local bands, which paid even less. But whenever a big-name act came to town, Smith would bring a couple of his guitars to concerts, ingratiate himself with the roadies, and try to get a pre- or post-show audience with one of his guitar heroes.

It was Carlos Santana who gave the young luthier his big break in 1976. Santana liked what Smith was doing (Smith had brought along a guitar he’d just built for Peter Frampton) and hooked him up with Ted McCarty, who was the president of Gibson when the Les Paul, Flying V, and other Kalamazoo classics were introduced.

McCarty became a trusted mentor, and thanks to his guidance and Smith’s talents, it wasn’t long before artists from Al Di Meola to Dave Navarro (Jane’s Addiction) to Neil Schon (Journey) became fans of PRS Guitars.

Because PRS is still a young company, words like “vintage” don’t quite apply to used Paul Reed Smith instruments. Still, collectible models include the Custom 24, which was the first guitar that Smith took to a trade show in 1985. The 513 was so named because it featured five pickups and 13 distinct sounds. With its classic f-holes and natural finish, the PRS McCarty Hollowbody from the 1990s is considered another prize, as is the single-cutaway Modern Eagle.

Beyond the models and the exquisite sounds they deliver for some of the best guitarists on the planet, PRS Guitars are also gorgeous to look at. Woods such as quilted and curly maple are routinely used, as is korina and swamp ash. Snakewood, ebony, and rosewood are often found on PRS fretboards, which are frequently inlaid with everything from abalone to onyx to mother of pearl.

Then there are the finishes, which include a variety of “bursts” (charcoal and tobacco, to name but two) and eye-popping colors like aquamarine, raspberry, and emerald.

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Vintage Guitars Info

Vintage Guitars Info

This great reference site features detailed sections for vintage guitar makers including Gibson, Fender, Martin, Gr… [read review or visit site]

Vintage Guitar and Bass

Vintage Guitar and Bass

Want to see all the old brochures and ads for your favorite vintage axe? Check out this great site, which showcases… [read review or visit site]

Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

2003 Prs 20th Anniversary Machine Head Music Signed Custom 22 Guitar Deep Purple1991 Prs Ce24 With Small Heel And One Piece Tremolo, 7lbs And 8 Oz, Free ShipUsa 2006 Prs Custom 22 - 8 Lbs Of Thunder And Beauty - Mccarty BurstPaul Reed Smith Electric Guitar Prs Sc58 Striped In A Hard Shell Case - NrPrs Custom 24Paul Reed Smith Custom 22 GuitarYamaha Usa-1 Pacifica Usa Custom Shop Quilt Top Birdseye Maple Neck, Prs StringsPaul Reed Smith Prs Se Custom Turquoise 6 String Electric Guitar W/ Soft CasePaul Reed Smith Se Eg "strat" Electric Guitar2008 Paul Reed Smith Prs Hollowbody Ii Whale Blue W/piezo & Moons -great GuitarPaul Reed Smith Prs Singlecut Sc 58, New! Auth Dealer! Case And Warranty, 177521Paul Reed Smith Prs Quatro Me Guitar W/case GreenPaul Reed Smith Custom 22 - Employee - Private Stock - Celebrity Owned!!Paul Reed Smith Standard 22 Usa Early 1998 Moons, Prs, No Custom, With Hsc 2007 Prs Cu22 12 String - Excellent Condition - Original Run - Ultra Rare1995 Paul Reed Smith Ce22 With Ohsc2013 Paul Reed Smith Prs Sc-245 Guitar, Artist Package, Brazilian FretboardPaul Reed Smith Se Bernie Marsden Electric GuitarPaul Reed Smith Se Singlecut 6-string Guitar Black W/ Hard CasePrs Guitars Paul Reed Smith Se Mike Mushok Signature Baritone Guitar 1994 "1st 100" Signed By Ted Mccarty Personally Prs Mccarty Model #72/100 +birdsPaul Reed Smith Prs Single Cut Hollowbody I Ten Top - PiezoPrs Ce-24 Whale Blue 1997 Hardcase Included Paul Reed SmithPrs Paul Reed Smith Mccarty - Artist - Rosewood Neck - Ebony - Rare!Paul Reed Smith Studio Guitar Prs No Reserve!Paul Reed Smith Custom 24-fret Electric Guitar Dark Cherry SunburstNew Prs Custom 22 Semi-hollow SePaul Reed Smith Angelus Cutaway CustomPaul Reed Smith Sweet 16 Plus 1x12 Amp Amplifier Prs Usa MadePrs Ce-24 Whale Blue 1997 Paul Reed Smith Hardcase IncludedPrs Se Custom Semi-hollowbody Electric Guitar And Prs Gig BagPrs Paul Reed Smith Se Orianthi Sparkle With Gig Bag.Prs Paul Reed Smith Sweet 16+ Guitar Amplifier Special 40 Watt Edition 12" ComboPaul Reed Smith Standard 24 - Tremonti Humbuckers - Out Of Production!!!Prs Se Mark TremontiPaul Reed Smith Prs Se Torero New With Gig Bag Never PlayedPaul Reed Smith Solid Body Mira Electric Guitar PrsPaul Reed Smith Solid Body Mira Electric GuitarPaul Reed Smith Se 245 Electric Guitar In Mint Condition!!2010 Prs Employee Guitar Cort M-custom Hollow Body Electric Guitar Coil Tap Piezo Bridge, Like PrsPrs Se Singlecut Guitar - Paul Reed Smith Prs Se Santana With Tonerider PickupsPaul Reed Smith Strings: 10-46: 12 SetsPaul Reed Smith Custom 24 Artist Electric GuitarPrs Se Custom Semi Hollow, Paul Reed Smith 6 StringPrs Se Tremonti Paul Reed Smith Tremonti Pickups Many Upgrades Look! GibsonNew Paul Reed Smith Custom 22 GuitarNew - Genuine Prs Se Guitar 3x3 Tuning Keys - ChromePaul Reed Smith - Large 3' X 2' Banner - Nice Lespaul Type Body ,epiphone ,or PrsPrs TunersPaul Reed Smith - Large 3' X 2' Banner - Nice