Did PRS Get It Right?
Author: Tim Gibbs Date Posted:25 January 2016
I want to take a minute to talk about American Made PRS Guitars.
Firstly lets get the elephant in the room out the way. They are expensive… very expensive! But then, that is subjective. I mean, if I was an overweight Texan Rodeo Clown who had just won half a billion on the Lotto then this would be pretty cheap. I am not. I am merely a part time retail assistant who stares and fantasises about owning what in my attuned opinion is one of the best ranges of guitar in the world… nay, galaxy!
Sure, I can 6 month lay-by with the fantastic lay-by plans offer to 500 club members. I could even rent the guitar through PMG also but I am impatient and I want it now!!! I have a couple of Grand saved up already but just don’t want to wait all those extra months before I can play the birds till my hearts content! What am I to do?
Well, as it happens Paul (of Paul Reed Smith… his name is on the guitars in case you forget… nice touch) thought of this a launched a range of American Made PRS Guitars to bridge the gap between the $1000 and under SE range and the $5000 and over Core Range. Geez he’s good like that isn’t he!
The S2 range is not new though. In fact they have enjoyed great global success for the past few years but while the range is old PRS is constantly adding too and updating the range in the tinkering way he does and last year introduced the absolutely amazing Vela and more recently the Satin Finish range bringing a whopping 15 guitars total into the S2 Range!
So what do you get for your money?
Well, as it happens, more than you might expect. Paul’s remit was to give players the fullest PRS experience at a more manageable price range. An S2 Guitar must maintain the playability and feel of a Core Range Guitar.
S2’s are by all intents and purposes Core range guitars with the overly expensive milling and construction techniques revised to save hours of time and that time saving means less money needs to be spent on making the instrument and that saving i passed straight on to you.
Some would say that PRS are simply cutting corners thereby lessening quality to save manufacturing costs which they can then pass on to the customer and this couldn’t be further from the truth!
Yes, they have adopted cost saving techniques in some areas. For example the Neck on a Core Guitar is a solid piece of wood where as the S2 has a Scarf joint at the headstock meaning less milling time is required. Costly milling is something attentively considered with the S2 range bodies. A core Custom 24 for example will have an elegant curved body form where as the S2 does have a profile carved into it but it is really a more of a simple bevel thus reducing the time in the CNC. Really?
The Electronics are fully specked by Paul Reed Smith himself down to the wire used, the coating on the wires, the magnets, the voicing.. all of this has gone through months of stringent R&D to get a sound which mirrors that of Core Range guitars. The difference however is that the pick ups are made off site rather than on site as with cores, again meaning a big cost saving.
PRS went back to more traditional, old school finishing techniques with this range on the principal that the thicker the finish the less the guitar will resonate. Paul’s Retro Technique delivers a much thinner finish meaning there is no loss in the beautiful rick resonant tones. Applying a Poly base coat and then finished with Acrylic Urethane the S2 range come with a respectable number of colour and pattern styles which you will struggle to find elsewhere in the PRS range.
Finally, S2 guitars come with a superb padded Gig Bag which is far more versatile and less cumbersome than a flight case so for the travelling musician this is much more manageable.
All of these cost cutting techniques add up to a significant saving which is passed on to you, the customer!
So finally, I can revel in the joys of PRS Ownership with this glorious range of epicness!