The result of a collaboration between Paul Reed Smith and Paul Jackson, Jr., the JA-15 was originally designed with Jazz musicians in mind. But with several new innovations, it’s no surprise rockers are loving it too. Highlights include a “pattern” neck shape, 53/10 pickups, a 2-piece adjustable bridge, and “V12” finish.
The warmth of the spruce top paired with the high-end clarity of the figured maple back creates a resonance in this guitar that is balanced with tonal clarity, and the simple control layout makes the JA-15 a joy to play. Be sure to check one out at your authorized PRS dealer.
Finish should enhance the look, sound, and feel of a guitar by accentuating the wood’s inherent beauty and feel without hindering its natural resonance. And PRS Guitars’ new “V12” finish does just that. Introduced at Experience PRS 2010, “V12” is a very thin, hard, and clear finish that will not crack or react with thinners. After roughly 12 years in development, it is halfway between acrylic and nitro but with a classic feel all its own. “PRS models with this new finish feel like old instruments,” said Paul Reed Smith.
Neck shapes have always been a high priority for us and a hallmark of our quality. A guitar should feel comfortable, like “home,” as soon as you pick it up, and the neck is paramount to that connection. Perfected after years of prototyping, the new “Pattern” neck is an updated Wide Fat PRS neck style based on Paul’s pre-factory design. These necks were found on the instruments built for Carlos Santana, Peter Frampton and Howard Leese from the late 70’s to the mid 80’s.
Whether in woodworking, machining, or cast and die work, pattern making is the art of arriving at a perfect standard which can be duplicated or used to create new designs from by “offsetting.” All of our necks came to be as a result of offsetting from this original, Wide Fat design.
Previously only prototyped on Private Stock guitars, the new PRS two-piece adjustable bridge now comes standard on select PRS models: the SC 58 and the JA 15. The bridge plays a crucial role in the tonal path of a guitar by transferring the string’s vibrations to the tonewood. When executed well, the bridge will enhance the wood’s natural resonance. This two-piece bridge has added weight and mass, creating more contact points, which, in turn, create a more resonant, musical instrument. Similarly, machining rather than casting, gives the brass and aluminum bridge a stronger sound. “I am calling it the ‘new two-piece adjustable sound transfer bridge’ – I’m very happy,” said Paul Reed Smith.
The 53/10™ pickup is the latest in the series of humbucking pickups that already includes PRS 57/08™ and 59/09’s™ (and the smaller aperture 57/08 Narrowfield®). First debuting as part of a limited run in the summer of 2010, the distinctive 53/10™ is the warmest-sounding of the vintage themed bunch. The 53/10™ coil wire is made on the same machine that supplied legendary guitar makers in the fifties. Wire specifications for the 53/10™ are slightly different than the others and are made using a special process reserved for a single-coil bridge pickup circa 1953; however, the 53/10™ is a humbucking pickup. Smith commented, “There are single-coil guitars from that era that are beautifully big, fat sounding guitars.” With that tone as inspiration, 53/10™ pickups are similar to the original 57/08™ but with a “sweeter” high end.
PRS Guitars Phase III tuners are new to the line up for 2011 and will come standard on SC 58, McCarty 58, ME Quatro, and JA-15 models. These very smooth, high-tolerance pegs feature an elegant design with larger buttons, an open back, and closed housing.