By Paul Riario
Inside Paul Reed Smith’s highly coveted wood library, originally called the Private Stash, is a collection of valuables worthy of Fort Knox–like security, yet accessible to those who dream of building the ultimate high-end custom guitar.
For years, Smith amassed some of the finest quilted, curly, and flamed examples of popular tonewoods, as well as many more exotic and figured species, all of it impressively stockpiled as the launch pad for the PRS Guitars Private Stock guitar program. The Private Stock program is foremost a custom shop that builds some of the most stunning one-of-a-kind, personal instruments for customers and dealers, but it also serves as a birthplace to many inspiring designs that occasionally become part of the PRS core line.
Private Stock originally grew from PRS’s innovative Guitar of the Month program, which generated enough interest for Smith to quickly assemble a custom shop headed by himself and director Paul Miles, with 11 master-class luthiers. Private Stock builds approximately 45 guitars a month in addition to handling artist builds, PRS-designed Private Stock builds, and the Collection Series. With the guidance of an authorized PRS dealer, customers create and spec out every aspect of the Private Stock guitar of their dreams from start to finish. Customers can also set up an appointment to visit the Private Stock vault to personally pick out woods.
This incredible Singlecut SC 58 sports a breathtaking top that appears three-dimensional from different angles. But perhaps its most striking feature is the specifically developed finish, dubbed “Goldstorm Fade,” which blends dark honey gold to pale yellow to natural, adding depth to the exquisite quilted maple figuring. The unique chocolate-swirl cocobolo used for the neck and fingerboard is an amazingly resonant wood often used on back and sides of acoustic guitars. It sounds similar to Brazilian rosewood but richer, and here its bold punch perfectly complements the warm midrange of the guitar’s African mahogany back.
Figured cocobolo was also used for the headstock veneer and backplates. The heel cap is Leopard Jasper, making this the first PRS guitar with a stone heel cap.
The evenly voiced PRS 57/08 Treble and Bass pickups are amazingly articulate. The guitar sounds alive when pushed to extremes, possessing sustain worthy of Fifties vintage guitars, with notes and chords that linger effortlessly.
The gradual-taper volume knobs provide pristine clean tones simply by rolling them down.
Private Stock has but one mission: to blow you away. This example is damn-near perfect and sings like it has been played for decades despite being brand new. It is truly a benchmark of the outstanding creations produced by the PRS Private Stock artisans.
STREET PRICE $12,000–14,000
PRS Guitars, prsguitars.com