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 on 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    

Paul Reed Smith Custom 22 1996 No Reserve1987 Paul Reed Smith Custom 24 Solid 6 String Right HandedPaul Reed Smith 2010 Santana 25th Anniversary Yellow 10 Top Ohsc Very Clean Prs Sc245, Rare Wide-thin Neck, 59/09 Pickups!! No Reserve!Paul Reed Smith Prs Usa Sc245 Wcr Darkburst Pickups OhscPaul Reed Smith 513 Guitar No Reserve2012 Prs Guitars Santana Signature Non-10 Top Electric Guitar Paul Reed Smith 2002 Paul Reed Smith Se Santana Electric GuitarPaul Reed Smith MccartyPrs Se Custom Semi-hollowbody Tobacco SunburstWow! Near Mint! 2014 Paul Reed Smith Prs Al Di Meola Prism Electric Guitar ~ NrPrs Custom 24 Aqua 2002 Electric Guitar In Case Paul Reed Smith1995 Prs Standard 24 Vintage CherryUsed 2001 Prs Se Santana W Upgrades A Bargain RelistPrs TremontiPrs Paul Reed Smith 57/08 Pickup Set Prs S2 Singlecut Electric GuitarPaul Reed Smith 24ce Custom Mccarty Burst Electric Guitar Seymour Duncan Se Paul Reed Smith Mike Mushok Signature Baritone GuitarPaul Reed Smith (prs) Stripped 58Prs 513 Charcoal Burst 2007Vintage 1989 Epiphone Spotlight Neck Thru Mahogany Maple Cap Emg Select Pups PrsPrs Paul Reed Smith "30" Amplifier Head 30 Watt Prs Se Custom 24, Seymour Duncan Jb, Royal Blue, Prs Gig Bag, Birds, Pro SetupPaul Reed Smith Se Custom 22 Electric Guitar With Vibrato. Great Player!Prs 57/08 Brushed Nickle PickupsPrs Overwound 59/09 Pickup Set2009 Paul Reed Smith Se Singlecut Electric GuitarPaul Reed Smith (prs) Custom 24 In Blood Orange - Mint!Prs 1997 Paul Peed Smith Usa Custom Cu24 Guitar 10 Top Regular Neck Duncan Sh-6 Paul Reed Smith Custom Se 25th Anniversary 24 W/birds Electric GuitarPrs Se Soapbar Electric Guitar Rosewood FretboardPrs 24 W/ Moon Inlays! Blue With Original Eagle Tag And All Original AccessoriesPaul Reed Smith Prs Eg 1990-1991 Loaded Pickguard, All Original Except KnobsPrs 85/15 PickupsPrs Gary Grainger 5 String Bass In Armando Amethyst. Very Low Reserve!!Vantage Strat-style Guitar Case Les Paul Nighthawk PrsPrs Se Zach MyersPrs Bass Guitar With Nice Hard Case.Paul Reed Smith S2 Custom 24 W/floyd RosePrs Gary Grainger 5 String Bass In Armando Amethyst. Very Low Reserve!!Prs 53/10 Uncovered Squabin Pickups Ultra RarePaul Reed Smith Prs Sweet Switch For Early Prs GuitarsPaul Reed Smith 2014 Prs Custom 22 Usa Model Upgraded Dimarzio Pickups W/extra'sPaul Reed Smith Se Signature Dave Navarro Model Electric GuitarPaul Reed Smith Se Paul Allender Electric Guitar Paul Reed Smith Prs Hardshell Bass Guitar Case Black TolexPrs Se Angelus A10ePaul Reed Smith Prs 1997 Mccarty Model Goody Bag Truss Rod Tool & Cover & MorePrs Guitar T Shirt Adult Xl 100% Cotton