The PRS Factory Blog
The PRS Factory Blog

Private Stock Graphite Guitars

by Hunter@PRS on May 22, 2015

Filed Under Electrics / Private Stock Electrics / Rules of Tone

In 2006, Paul Reed Smith wrote a document called The Rules of Tone. The point was to put down in writing all of the philosophies that contribute to making a “magic” instrument. Many “tweaks” have been embodied by our team as a practical result of this document, including using unplated brass at key points on our hardware, acclimating and drying our woods the way we do, working to constantly maintain clear, hard, and thin finishes, and looking back at the master guitar makers in history to learn what they were thinking. Carrying on the PRS tradition of constant research and development, here is the story behind the small batch Private Stock “Graphite Guitars.”

Paul Reed Smith Explains Our Pickups

by Hunter@PRS on January 9, 2014

Filed Under Electrics / Rules of Tone / Shop In Detail

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times, Paul Reed Smith is a tone junkie.  From the woods to the finish, everything can affect the final tonality of your guitar.  The pickups are certainly no exception!

Nearly every pickup for our core model guitars are wound here in our Maryland factory by a team of talented people.  Additionally, each component of the pickup (wire, bobbin, etc.) is specifically chosen by Paul because he requires only the best for our instruments.  We create many different types of pickups here at PRS so that our musicians can capture the tone they seek.

In the video below, Paul tells the story behind some of our most recent PRS pickups.

Rules of Tone: Pickups

by PRS Guitars on August 28, 2013

Filed Under Electrics / Rules of Tone

There are many factors influencing guitar tone and the pickups are certainly no exception!  To understand a pickup you must understand what a transducer does: it converts a signal in one form of energy to another form of energy.

To put it simply, a pickup is a transducer that captures mechanical vibrations (your strings) and converts them into that loud rockin’ tone we all love to hear! Pickups can come in many different shapes, sizes, and electrical variances.  All of these factors greatly affect the end result: your guitar tone.

Paul Reed Smith has spent hundreds (probably thousands) of hours figuring out the best combination of factors in order to give our guitars the greatest possible tone.  In this behind the scenes video, Paul himself walks us through some PRS pickups.

Rules of Tone: Bridges

by PRS Guitars on July 29, 2013

Filed Under Electrics / Rules of Tone

The bridge of the guitar connects the strings of the guitar to the wood; it is the anchor of the instrument and its sound. In this video, Paul shows off some manufactory-fresh bridge parts before they are put into guitars during final assembly.  Featured are a tremolo bridge with arm, a stop-tail bridge, a multi-adjustable bridge, and a piezo bridge.  Built with extreme care for comfortable play, we designed these bridges to give musicians the best guitar experience possible.  As always, playability and musicality are of highest importance, and we always choose our parts with that in mind.  Enjoy the video!


Foundations: A Conversation with Carlos Santana, Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks, and Paul Reed Smith

A New Video from PRS Guitars

by PRS Guitars on November 2, 2012

Filed Under Electrics / Rules of Tone

If you could listen in on a conversation between Carlos Santana, Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks, and Paul Reed Smith, what do you think you might learn? While Santana and the Allman Brothers were on a recent tour, Paul Reed Smith sat down with this group of highly-respected guitarists to have a casual conversation about tone, finding your voice, and being a musician.

Follow the conversation as these three world-renowned musicians discuss their musical roots and how their individuality and tone developed with Paul.  The candid conversation covers many topics, but all are of interest to any musician who is serious about their art and finding or refining their own musical “voice.”

Neck Shapes

by Paul Reed Smith on May 10, 2012

Filed Under Acoustics / Electrics / Rules of Tone

Hi everyone. When I started working on the Rules of Tone, the goal was to build “magic” instruments, and the neck is definitely paramount to that. From the moment you pick up a guitar, the neck should feel very comfortable and strong. This has to do with many factors, including wood choice, wood drying, dimensions, ratios, and our attention to detail. Today, I’d like to focus specifically on neck shapes. We currently offer Pattern, Pattern Thin, and Pattern Regular neck shapes on our Core electric models. These came about through a new method we have to design, program, and cut our necks.



by Paul Reed Smith on May 4, 2012

Filed Under Acoustics / Electrics / Rules of Tone

The first thing you notice when you pick up a guitar is how it feels in your hands. The guitar neck is paramount to that moment, and the feel and function of the frets plays a major role in this. If you boil it down, we’re basically talking about fret material and shape. If the material is too soft, metal flakes will fall off of the guitar as it’s played. If it’s too hard, the frets contour to the fretboard. We use the hardest, functional material we can to avoid unnecessary re-frets.

Nut Material

by Paul Reed Smith on April 26, 2012

Filed Under Acoustics / Electrics / Rules of Tone

Here is a video about the beginnings of our theories and experiential understanding of nut materials. As we said in the Rules of Tone segment on our Phase III Tuners: every part of a guitar has an effect on its overall tone. The nut is no exception.

Phase III Locking Tuners

by Paul Reed Smith on March 23, 2012

Filed Under Acoustics / Electrics / Rules of Tone

Every part of a guitar has an effect on its overall tone. Anything a string is attached to will drain energy away from it.

Let’s consider tuners. Tuning pegs are one of only a few parts that a string actually touches, so they’re very important. If we made the entire tuning peg out of silicone rubber, would the guitar sound better?

Introduction: “We Cracked The Code”

by Paul Reed Smith on January 22, 2012

Filed Under Acoustics / Electrics / Rules of Tone

Paul wrote the Rules of Tone over many years after a conversation he had with his father about physics. Essentially, it is a list of 21 rules of instrument making that are particular to PRS and the way we build guitars. The document is now locked away, and serves as a private record of PRS trade secrets written down to ensure that Paul’s philosophies and discoveries are never lost or forgotten. Though its title may sound restrictive, the Rules support our quest for tone by encouraging us to constantly refine our craft as builders so that we can make better and better instruments as we learn.