How Nearly a Dozen High-End PRS Guitars Ended Up in Anchorage, Alaska Classrooms

Do you remember what guitar you played when you were a teenager? Perhaps first learning the instrument? Whatever it was, it probably wasn't a top-of-the-line PRS.
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Do you remember what guitar you played when you were a teenager? Perhaps first learning the instrument? Whatever it was, it probably wasn't a top-of-the-line PRS.

Some lucky music students in Anchorage, Alaska however, are being given the chance to hone their six-string chops on some of the nicest instruments in the PRS catalog. 

According to an article in the Anchorage Daily News, 10 high-end PRS guitars - on their way to Hong Kong from the East Coast - were intercepted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in July 2018. When inspectors opened the cases the Brazilian rosewood-adorned guitars - which were declared as clothing -  were shipped in, they found them lacking the required CITES permits. 

The Fish and Wildlife Service then began civil forfeiture proceedings, after which the dealer (the guitars were not shipped by PRS) responsible for the shipment decided to give the guitars up. The Fish and Wildlife Service then shipped the guitars - reportedly ranging in value from $4,360 to $8,400 - to the Anchorage School District.

Though Bruce Wood, the district's fine arts director, assumed that the cardboard boxes that arrived one day from Fish and Wildlife were guitars, he hadn't the slightest idea of how valuable they were.

“I think I knew they were guitars, but I didn’t know if they were little beginner acoustics or nicer acoustics or middle-school instruments,” Wood said. “For the next 45 minutes our jaws were on the floor opening all 10 of these.”

According to the Anchorage Daily News, eight of the 10 guitars were given to local high school jazz bands in the district, another was given to the district's only guitar and ukulele teacher and the 10th was retained by the fine arts department as a loaner for other schools.

The Anchorage School District has a humidifier for each guitar, and will keep the guitars locked away from its other instruments. 

“We want to make sure we take care of our resources,” Wood said. “At the same time, they’re made to be played, they’re not meant to be in a museum.”

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