PRS instruments are widely recognized as some of the finest examples of guitar engineering that money can buy – but for some, that meticulous and intricate design approach comes at a slight cost.

Namely, in some schools of thought, PRS electric guitars and acoustic guitars are simply ‘too good’, and what they make up for in sheer engineering ingenuity, they lose in the intangible ‘soul’ of the instrument.

Paul Reed Smith addressed such criticisms in a recent interview with American Music Supply, seemingly arguing such notions have become lazily leveled at his guitars largely by those who have never played them.

“It is true that our window is narrower,” Smith says in response to the idea his guitars are “too perfect and have no soul” (via MusicRadar). “The good one and the bad one are much closer than other brands. What I hope is that we’re moving it up so that the window is moving up.”

He continues, “’I’ve picked one up and it didn’t move me’ is a fair comment. But ‘I’ve never picked one up and it’s never moved me’ – that’s not fair.”

While discussing people’s eagerness to dismiss PRS guitars, Smith recalled an exchange he had with an unnamed guitarist, who was less-than-pleased with the idea of the PRS Silver Sky.

PRS Silver Sky in Roxy PinkPRS Silver Sky in Roxy Pink

PRS Silver Sky in Roxy Pink

“That rockstar ended up buying one and loves it,” Smith says. “And I said, ‘You called it a fart in a space suit!’ And he goes, ‘Eh, I was wrong.’

“He said, ‘I liked the decision about the pickups, I liked the decision about the neck shape, the action, the way it feels, the weight,’ all that stuff.”

For Smith, every facet of guitar design plays a part in its overall performance, and each variable must be carefully accounted for.

Expanding on that point, Smith recalls, “I’ve had too many instances where we’ve straightened out the acoustic tone and the guitar came alive in the amp.

“If you coat the guitar completely in clear silicon rubber, which is essentially over-plasticised paint… that’s going to change the tone of the guitar and the idea that it isn’t going to change the tone of the guitar is nuts!”

It’s not the first time Smith has spoken about his micro-component approach to designing PRS guitars.

In November ‘22, he asserted the importance of tonewoods in a guitar’s overall sonic performance, and during NAMM season this year unveiled a newly configured tuning peg that promised to have a game-changing impact on tone.

Visit PRS Guitars to browse its collection.

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