Everyone is always looking for that magic instrument. During our journey, we put ourselves through years of buying and selling instruments, perusing pawnshops, milling around music stores, and scanning sites on the internet for that special guitar. We all have different qualities we are looking for in a guitar. However, I have arrived at one conclusion that I can universally apply to any guitar that I am testing. A guitar’s craftsmanship has achieved success when nothing about the guitar obstructs or inhibits players from executing their style and musicianship.
The PRS Tanner translates my playing with the highest fidelity. Everything I communicate to the instrument is relayed correctly. This guitar picks up every little nuance and change in attack and dynamics. I believe this is largely due to the 513 middle pickup and the 57/08 pickups that are loaded in the guitar. Beyond the guitar itself, the story of when I first received the guitar is far more impressive.
The guitar was delivered around 6 pm the day it arrived. I took it out of the shipping box, opened the case and plugged into my favorite amp. I flipped on the power switch and hit a chord to see which strings were going to need tuning after being shipped from Maryland to Tennessee, and the guitar was in perfect tune. And it wasn’t just in tune with itself. I grabbed a tuner, and every string was spot on 440 pitch. The next time I looked at my phone to see what time it was, it was 2:30 am! With the exception of sessions, I can’t remember the last time I played guitar for eight hours straight. I like to think that I have really good self-control, but this guitar seems to be on a mission to change that. Once I pick it up, it’s extremely difficult to put back down.
The versatility of the Tanner is unparalleled. Over the last several years, I have played tons of guitars that have the push/pull coil splitter tone-pot, and they never sound like real single-coils. They usually just make the guitar sound thinner in the pulled up position. The Tanner has real single coil tones. The 513-style push/pull knob is really easy to grab onto because of the little ridges in the knob. The 513 middle pickup makes the “real deal” single-coil voice happen with ease. I really like the 5-way blade-style pickup selector too, as I don't like messing around with a slippery rotary knob to select different tones. The 5-way in the bridge position gives me a big huge Led Zeppelin rock-and-roll humbucker tone. One click up on the selector and I’m immediately in clean Minneapolis funkyland.
The Tanner is no slouch when it comes to cosmetics and feel either.
The mother-of-pearl bird inlays and headstock inlays look amazing and the neck is perfectly shaped. The rosewood on the neck is a rich dark chocolate color and has a visually stunning grain pattern. I really like the buffed out Modern Eagle II treatment on the back of the neck as well. It feels really smooth in your hand. The grey/black nitrocellulose finish over the flamed maple top looks amazing too, but that’s old news when it comes to any PRS guitar.
I’ve only had the guitar for a couple days and everyone I hand it to says it’s the best PRS they have ever played. The Tanner extracts the best characteristics from every classic and contemporary PRS model and unites them into a single instrument.
My one complaint about the guitar is that I can’t find anything I don’t like about it. Do you know how annoying that is for a person who is always trying to find better ways to do everything? I wish I could find something to suggest as an improvement, but when it comes to the Tanner, I just want to play it. An instrument that delivers that kind of divine inspiration is a rarity, and I feel very fortunate to have such a special guitar. —Paul "TFO" Allen