Book Review: The PRS Electric Guitar Book

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What a pleasure it was to review this complete history of Paul Reed Smith Electric guitars by Dave Burrluck from Backbeat Books and Hal Leonard.

This soft cover book was the revised and updated 30th Anniversary edition, and it’s hard to believe that much time has passed since Paul Reed Smith was pictured in Musician magazine’s July 1984 issue with his now famous design.

In this historic review, we learn about Paul Reed Smith’s humble beginnings as a repairman at Washington Music Center, a reluctant math major at St. Mary’s College Of Maryland, his early encounters and commissioning with big artists such as Ted Nugent and Peter Frampton (for whom he designed an ornate headstock inlaid with his trademark eagle and a fingerboard with bird inlays once called “wildlife figures”), and, ultimately Carlos Santana.

Paul Reed Smith’s guitars were made from curly maple and mahogany, with the latter aimed at the working musician reflecting the love he had for the Gibson mahogany-body Juniors and Specials of the late 1950s, taking it a step further with his bird and dragon inlays.

The book is a journey taking the reader through the decades of evolution of Paul Reed Smith Guitars with notable artists such as Carlos Santana. But when it was apparent that Santana’s support, while critical to the company’s long term success, was not enough to “change the world” in the short term, Paul made changes to “take his art from the attic to the outside world.”

Initially combining the strat shape and  the Junior shape led to a poor outcome, but launched a two year re-design phase generating orders that were leveraged to raise the capital to form a limited partnership. The company ultimately become what it is now known for, an internationally known guitar manufacturer, with production coming from Asia as well as its home state of Maryland, USA, under the name of Paul Reed Smith Guitars.

The book takes us through a photo album chronicling the development and history of Paul Reed Smith Guitars, from early models and artists to the latest pieces of true art as it were. And in the end, there is a reference listing to help readers find out more about the PRS production electric models. This useful reference list begins with a few notes to help the reader get the most from this section of the book.

$29.99 (US)
Inventory #HL 00120792
ISBN: 9781480386273
UPC: 884088917968
Width: 8.5″
Length: 11.0″
160 pages

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