PRS Collection Series - A Retrospective

Filed Under Acoustics / Electrics / History

PRS Collection Series

When most people think of the pinnacle of PRS quality, they think of our Private Stock department - a small team of luthiers in our Maryland shop crafting build-to-order instruments for individual customers. When Paul Reed Smith assumed direct leadership over Private Stock in 2009, he conceptualized a unique idea for the department. Paul’s idea was to create the Collection Series, a limited set of instruments built with the best of the best Private Stock materials and with specifications laboriously designed by Paul himself. 

To date, the PRS Private Stock team has worked closely with Paul Reed Smith to design and build 9 sets of these Collection Series Instruments, each uniquely desirable and collectible.

Beginning in 2011, Collection Series guitars were released in sets of one electric and one acoustic. This format differed only for the most recent Collection Series, VIII and IX (8&9). 

Watch Paul Reed Smith and Paul Miles (Director of Private Stock) explain the Collection Series in the video below:

Let’s take a brief look at the past Collection Series instruments beginning with Collection Series I, which debuted in 2011:

COLLECTION SERIES I

Collection Series I McCarty

  • McCarty with Collection Treble & Bass Pickups
  • Pernambuco neck with a Paua heart fingerboard
  • 4k Gold and Mammoth Ivory Collection Celtic Inlays.  

Collection Series I Tonare Grand Acoustic

  • Tonare Grand Acoustic 16” Dreadnaught body
  • European Bearclaw Spruce top, curly maple back, and curly “Tiger” maple sides with Tiger Eye Smoke Burst Finish
  • Pernambuco neck with a Paua heart fingerboard and 14k Gold and Mammoth Ivory Collection Celtic Inlays

COLLECTION SERIES II

Collection Series II DGT

  • DGT with one-piece quilted maple top in Orange Glow finish with micro-bursts
  • DGT neck with Honduran rosewood fingerboard
  • Mammoth ivory Collection Celtic inlays.

Collection Series II McManus/Simpson Angelus Acoustic

  • 15.5” Angelus cutaway body
  • Custom-carved pernambuco neck with African blackwood fingerboard 
  • Paua heart, green abalone, and 14k gold Collection Celtic inlays

COLLECTION SERIES III

Collection Series III McCarty Semi-Hollow

  • Semi-Hollow McCarty with Curly Maple Top and Ribboned African Mahogany Back
  • African Blackwood Fingerboard with 14K Gold and White Gold Collection Celtic Inlays
  • Uncovered Collection 57/08 Treble and Bass Pickups with New PRS Bobbins

Collection Series III Collection Grand Acoustic

  • 16” Collection Grand Body (Tonare Perimeter with Angelus Depth
  • Adirondack Spruce Top with Paua Heart/Black Purfling and Figured Curly Maple Binding
  • Ebony Fingerboard with Paua Heart, 14K Gold, and Mammoth Ivory Collection Celtic Inlays

COLLECTION SERIES IV

Collection Series IV Brent Mason Studio

  • Brent Mason Signature with Curly Maple Top and Lightweight Mahogany Back
  • Pernambuco Pattern Neck with African Blackwood Fingerboard
  • Mammoth Ivory and Paua Heart Hollow Celtic Knot Inlays and Paua heart Abalone Purfling

Collection Series IV Collection Grand Acoustic

  • 16” Collection Grand Body (Tonare Perimeter with Angelus Depth)
  • European Spruce Top with Pink Heart Abalone/Black Purfling and Curly Maple Binding
  • Ebony Fingerboard with Paua Heart, 14K Gold, and Mammoth Ivory Collection Celtic Inlays

COLLECTION SERIES V

Collection Series V Signature McCarty (USA)

  • McCarty with Curly Maple Top and Lightweight Mahogany Back in Blue Tourmaline with Smoked Burst
  • Brazilian Rosewood Fingerboard with Mammoth Ivory Hollow Celtic Knot Inlay
  • Brazilian Rosewood Truss Rod Cover and headstock veneer with Mammoth Ivory Signature “Collection” Inlay

Collection Series V Collection Grand Acoustic (USA)

  • 16” Collection Grand Body (Tonare Perimeter with Angelus Depth)
  • Brazilian Rosewood Back and Sides with Black/Maple/Black Purfling and Curly Maple Binding
  • European ‘AAAA’ Bearclaw Spruce Top with Paua Heart/Black Purfling and Curly Maple Binding
  • African Blackwood Fingerboard with Pink Heart abalone, 14K Gold, and Mammoth Ivory Hollow Celtic Inlays

Collection Series V Signature McCarty (International)

  • McCarty with Curly Maple Top and Lightweight Mahogany Back in Blue Tourmaline with Smoked Burst
  • African Blackwood Fingerboard with Mammoth Ivory Hollow Celtic Knot Inlays 
  • African Blackwood Truss Rod Cover and Headstock Veneer with Mammoth Ivory Signature “Collection” Inlay

Collection Series V Collection Grand Acoustic (International)

  • 16” Collection Grand Body (Tonare Perimeter with Angelus Depth)
  • Macassar Ebony Back and Sides with Black/Maple/Black Purfling and Curly Maple Binding
  • European ‘AAAA’ Bearclaw Spruce Top with Paua Heart/Black Purfling and Curly Maple Binding
  • African Blackwood Fingerboard with Pink Heart abalone, 14K Gold, and Mammoth Ivory Hollow Celtic Inlays

COLLECTION SERIES VI

Collection Series VI Custom 24 (USA)

  • Curly Maple Top with African Ribbon Mahogany Back in Tiger Shark Finish
  • Brazilian Rosewood Neck and Brazilian Rosewood Fingerboard with Mammoth Ivory, Paua, Paua Heart, and Abolone Collection Helix Inlays
  • Brazilian Rosewood Truss Rod Cover and Headstock Veneer with Mammoth Ivory Private Stock Eagle Inlay

Collection Series VI Collection Angelus (USA)

  • 15.5” Angelus cutaway body
  • European ‘AAAA’ Bearclaw Spruce Top with Paua Heart/Black Purfling and Curly Maple Binding
  • Brazilian Rosewood Back and Sides with Black/Maple/Black Purfling
  • Brazilian Rosewood fingerboard with Pink Heart abalone, 14K Gold, and Mammoth Ivory Hollow Celtic Inlays

Collection Series VI Custom 24 (International)

  • Curly Maple Top with African Ribbon Mahogany Back in Tiger Shark Finish
  • Pernambuco Neck with Madagascar Rosewood Fingerboard with Mammoth Ivory, Paua, Paua Heart, and Abolone Collection Helix Inlays
  • Madagascar Rosewood Truss Rod Cover and Headstock Veneer with Mammoth Ivory Private Stock Eagle Inlay

Collection Series VI Collection Angelus (International)

  • 15.5” Angelus cutaway body
  • European ‘AAAA’ Bearclaw Spruce Top with Paua Heart/Black Purfling and Curly Maple Binding
  • Madagasar Rosewood Back and Sides with Black/Maple/Black Purfling
  • African Blackwood fingerboard with Pink Heart abalone, 14K Gold, and Mammoth Ivory “Collection” Inlay

COLLECTION SERIES VII

Collection Series VII Brent Mason Semi-Hollow

  • Quilted Maple Top with African Mahogany Back in Kodiak Burst Finish
  • 22 Fret, 25 1/4” Scale Length Brazilian Rosewood Pattern Neck
  • Brazilian Rosewood Fingerboard with Paua and Mammoth Ivory “Trinity Knot” inlays with Paua Purfling
  • Brent Mason Treble and Bass Pickups with 305 Singlecoil Middle Pickup

Collection Series VII Angelus Cutaway Acoustic

  • 15 1/2” Angelus Cutaway Body
  • European ‘AAAA’ Spruce Top with Paua Heart/Black Purfling
  • Brazilian Rosewood Back and Sides with Black/Maple/Black Purfling
  • Dark Peruvian Mahogany “Wide” Neck

COLLECTION SERIES VIII

Collection Series VIII Electric

  • Curly Maple Top with Ribbon Mahogany Back in Light Tiger Eye Microburst Finish
  • Pernambuco “Pattern” Neck Ebony Fingerboard with Mammoth Ivory Museum Birds and Maple/Paua Heart/Maple Purfling
  • Ebony Headstock Veneer with Mammoth Ivory Museum Eagle and Maple/Paua Heart/Maple Purfling
  • Narrow 408 Treble & Bass Pickups

Collection Series VIII Angelus Acoustic

  • 15 ½” Angelus Cutaway Body with Brazilian Rosewood Back and Sides with Paua Heart Purfling
  • European Bear Claw Spruce Top with Paua Heart Purfling and Curly Maple Binding
  • Ebony/Select Green Abalone/Paua Heart/14K Gold Rosette

Collection Series 2014 Nylon Acoustic

  • 14 3/8” Classical Body with “Torres” Bracing
  • European Spruce Top with Maple/Black Purfling and Brazilian Rosewood Binding
  • Brazilian Rosewood Back and Sides with Maple Purfling
  • 19 Fret, 650mm Scale Length, Mahogany Classical Neck (51mm at the nut)

COLLECTION SERIES IX

Collection Series IX - Curly

  • McCarty Trem with Curly maple top with African Ribbon Mahogany Back in Aqua Violet Smokeburst Finish
  • Curly maple neck with green select abalone “30th Anniversary” inlay on the heel
  • 14 karat gold and mother of pearl Hollow Celtic knots with green select abalone purfling
  • Gen III Tremolo Bridge

Collection Series IX - Quilt

  • McCarty Trem with Quilted maple top with African Ribbon Mahogany Back in Aqua Violet Smokeburst Finish
  • Curly maple neck with green select abalone “30th Anniversary” inlay on the heel
  • 14 karat gold and mother of pearl Hollow Celtic knots with green select abalone purfling
  • Gen III Tremolo Bridge

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The employees responsible for building Collection instruments, the Private Stock team, are hand selected to be a part of this exclusive program and are some of the best guitar builders at PRS. 

An expert level of craftsmanship and attention to detail is given to every guitar that passes their benches. Small details like inlay and binding take hours to complete and their focus is on perfection. The Collection Series instruments push the envelop of what’s possible with guitar building and the Private Stock team enjoys rising to the challenge.

The materials for the Collection guitars, specifically the woods, are the best of the best of what PRS has to offer. The woods chosen for Collection instruments come from a special Private Stock vault upstairs next to Paul Reed Smith’s office. However, Paul’s involvement isn’t just limited to wood selection, Paul is heavily involved in each individual specification for Collection Series guitars, often tweaking pickups and small details to take each collection instrument to the next level. 

Collection guitars are built in extremely limited quantities and for that reason each one receives special attention. Our hope through the Collection Series is that the player opening the case is first blown away by how the instrument looks, and after plugging it in, blown away by how it sounds. We believe this feeling will also remain for generations to come. 

View The Full Gallery Of Past Collection Series Guitars

To find your own Collection Series Instrument , below are the dealers who have participated in the Collection program since its inception in 2011:

Domestic USA

Brian's Guitars
Hamden, Connecticut
Guitar Center 
Atlanta, Georgia & Dallas, TX Locations
Guitar Resurrection 
Austin, Texas
Lark Guitars
San Antonio, Texas
LoneTree Blues
Bellingham, Washington
Moore Music
Evansville, Indiana 
Righteous Guitars
Roswell, Georgia
The Guitar Sanctuary
McKinney, Texas
Sweetwater 
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Washington Music Center
Wheaton, Maryland
Wild West Guitars 
Riverside, California
Wild Wood Guitars 
Louisville, Colorado
Willcutt Guitars 
Lexington, Kentucky

International Dealers & Distributors

The Guitar Shop
Mississauga, Ontario Canada
PRS Europe
UK
Ikebe Music
Tokyo, Japan
Ishibashi Music
Tokyo, Japan
Korg Import Division
Japan
Kurosawa Gakki
Tokyo, Japan
Tom Lee Music
Hong Kong
World Guitars
Gloucestershire, United Kingdom

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