I had the great pleasure of attending Experience PRS 2012, a three-day event at the PRS factory in Stevensville, Maryland, beginning Thursday, September 13th. Those days were packed with clinics, workshops, factory tours, gear demos, jam sessions, retail guitar sales, and great music (John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension, Neal Schon, Brent Mason, David Grissom, Bernie Marsden, Simon McBride, Davy Knowles, Clint Lowery, Cody Kilby, and Tony McManus were all there).
Here are a few of the historic instruments that were on display in the Guitar Archives room:
Paul Reed Smith with an early vintage yellow Santana model made for Neal Schon.
The first guitar Paul ever made. It originally had a single pickup but was later modified.
The second guitar built by Paul. A double-cut with a natural finish and one P-90 pickup.
This natural mahogany Doubleneck was John Ingram's apprentice piece. It was previously owned by Neal Schon.
A pre-factory pearl white PRS Standard prototype, a mahogany natural 12-String with the third headstock shape and a small eagle inlay, and a Green Santana Jr. prototype with a pre-production logo (left to right).
A table of guitar goodness, including a Single Cut Tremolo prototype (left), Paul's 40th Birthday Vintage Sunburst Custom 22 (center front), and a Custom 24 Natural that was the first guitar built in the new factory and signed by all of the employees present.
This cherry sunburst Custom 22/12 was prototype #2 of this model.
This vintage cherry 6/12 Doubleneck, formerly owned by Stan Whitaker, was the first doubleneck instrument made by Paul, and has a modified headstock.
A bevy of beauties, mostly prototypes, including a 25th Anniversary Dragon (center).
Amazing Dragon inlays on a double-neck body.
This early Santana model is mahogany with a natural finish and a Dragon inlay on the body. It features the first deep dish pickup and a Bad-Ass bridge.
A particularly exquisite Dragon inlay.
A stunning Single Cut model with Dragon inlay.
Photos of current model PRS guitars on display by retailers are on the GP Facebook page here.
Photos of the PRS factory are on the GP Facebook page here.
And there are lots of videos at guitarplayer.com/videos, with more on the way.