While 1991 is hardly vintage in guitar terms, I guess this PRS CE-Classic (serial number 173705) could be considered a vintage in the relatively short history of Paul Reed Smith guitars. Established in 1985, PRS guitars set out to build guitars with “an elegant, modern, vintage-inspired design–the kind of guitar one might have expected Fenders and Gibsons to evolve into”. This guitar is a great example of those early models, with a highly figured maple top on a mahogany body, a wide thin neck profile, and PRS proprietary pickups and locking tuners. The action is low and smooth with a focus on aesthetics as well as playability, and the balance from body to neck is perfect.
I used this guitar almost exclusively during the years I was with UK showband Red Sun. It was great for playing a variety of styles and genres, and for being able to change between Fender and Gibson type sounds quickly and easily. I have to say though that I was never a fan of the pickup selector on this model as you have to grip the knob to turn it to a particular position – a toggle or 5-position Stratocaster type switch is a much more practical solution to change pickup selection mid song!
The range of sounds that this guitar can conjure up is pretty impressive too – from sweet sounding single coil sounds to fat Les Paul tones, it offers a wide range of usable sounds without having to dance on a pedalboard all night. Paired with a Rivera R55-112 amp – straight in with no effects – I’d often get compliments about the great tone, particularly for clean funky type playing.
These early PRS guitars are beautiful instruments, with great attention to detail in the way that they’re constructed and in the materials used – definitely worth checking out if one comes your way!