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  1. 2012 PRS Santana Signature Model - Black Gold, (front), (back), (headstock), (tag), (case).  Relatively new model from PRS and a higher end model than the old Santana III, but more affordable than the big daddy Santana II.  It has its roots in the original guitar that Paul built for Carlos Santana in '76.  Before there were countless stars playing PRS, Carlos used his as his primary guitar.  This new signature model features the same original headstock shape as well as the Eagle headstock inlay and OM symbol truss rod cover.  Features include optional "10" top over a mahogany body, mahogany neck with Santana neck shape, birds in flight fretboard inlays, rosewood headstock veneer, abalone purfling strips between pickups and behind bridge, rosewood fretboard, neck binding, 24 fret mahogany neck, Santana Treble and Bass pickups, 24 1/2” scale length, nickel PRS tremolo, PRS 14:1 Phase II Low Mass locking tuners, 3-way switch with volume and tone controls.  The Santana neck is slightly unique for a PRS with a flatter 11.5" radius and a shorter 24.5" scale.  Referred to as the "Pattern" neck shape, it's an updated Wide Fat that's based on Paul’s pre-factory design built for Carlos Santana back in the late 70’s.  PRS uses a new "V12" finish on this guitar which has the look and acoustic properties of nitro, but in a more durable composition.  Offered in excellent condition with no discernable flaws but at $2399, it's $1100 cheaper than a new one.  Includes PRS case, unsigned warranty, manual, hangtags, etc.  
  2. 2002 PRS McCarty Model - Charcoal "10" Top, (front), (headstock), (back), (case). Original McCarty model, finished in Charcoal with perfectly bookmatched maple. As with all "10" tops, the flame remains consistent side-to-side, up into the end of both horns on upper bout. The McCarty was briefly discontinued after being in production for 14 years, returning in 2008 as the McCarty Smokeburst. This is one of the original models with several features unique to this model, most notably a mahogany body that's 1/8" thicker than other PRS's, a headstock that's slightly thinner and with a greater headstock angle, and vintage style non-locking tuners, all of which are a nod to the 50's guitar that Ted McCarty designed for Gibson. Other features include wide-fat neck, McCarty Treble and Bass pickups with McCarty switching (3-way switching and push/pull coil tap), compensated wraparound stoptail bridge, silver-nickel pickup covers, and mahogany body with a thick maple cap. Overall very nice condition with only a few minor clearcoat impressions and some slight discoloration to the nickel hardware. All original and a great sounding guitar with excellent sustain. The set up is typically phenomenal, much better than your average Paul and for tone, playability, comfort, and looks, I think this is a much better value, especially with the optional 10-top, at $1599.  Includes PRS case.
  3. 1989 PRS Studio - Electric Blue, (front  front2), (back  back2), (headstock), (trem), (fretboard), (heel), (docs), (pickup settings), (case).   At 25 years  you don't think of most Gibsons as being "vintage" but in the PRS world, where 1989 was just the 5th year of manufacture - and it was built at the old Annapolis factory - it's definitely vintage.  Just like the Studio I had a year ago, this is one for the collectors - one of the cleanest vintage PRS's I've had, with no buckle/button scratches, no pick scratches, and clean hardware.  If you look closely you'll see some normal "finish suck" which is normal on these thin Nitro finishes as they age, but you' won't find an old PRS without this.  If you're not familiar with the Studio, it was only offered from '88 to '91 and the main feature is the HSS pickup configuration with a Hot Vintage Treble in the bridge and a pair of PRS single coils (click here for details).  These were offered with either a tone control or the more desirable Sweet Switch, as found on this one. The early Studios (and Standards) from this era are the closest thing to the original 1985 "PRS Guitar", distinguished by its all-mahogany construction - rather than the maple cap model that followed the PRS Guitar, as well as a 24-fret neck, Sweet Switch, and non-routed tremolo.  To my ears there is a warmth and singing quality to the mahogany bodies that you can't find on a maple top.  Like all PRS during this era it's truly a hand-made guitar, built 6 years before they brought CNC machines into the shop.  Other features include Brazilian rosewood fretboard with 24 fret mahogany neck, short heel neck joint, 1-piece Mil-Com bridge, small logo, Standard neck profile, and the early version PRS locking tuners.  We hadn't conditioned the fretboard when these pics were shot and it looks much darker now.  Players and collectors alike are seeking out old-factory models and these pre-CNC models have risen steadily over the past 5 years.  I would easily rate this guitar a 9.5 condition, which is extremely rare for a guitar that's 25 years old.  For what it's worth, I think Electric Blue was a custom color in '89, with a whopping $50 upcharge.  At $2799 it's a very affordable investment piece and still within the range of working guitarists looking for a stage guitar that's universally accepted to be better than any new one.  Original PRS case and trem arm are included, as well as some original factory documents (re-stringing, bridge adjustment, and pickup settings).  
  4. 1998 PRS Custom 22 Artist, (front), (back), (headstock), (tag and case/etc.).  Another stunning PRS.  Artist Package with Matteo Blue and gold hardware plus colorful Paua shell inlays, oh man, what a combination.  This one features the wide-thin neck carve, the preference of around 80% of our customers.  The Artist package includes the top quality figured tops, termed "artist grade" by PRS, extremely colorful Paua bird inlays, rosewood headstock overlay (gloss finished in '98) with inlaid colorful Paua shell inlaid logo, Artist case with velvet interior and combo locks, gold hardware including Phase II locking tuners and PRS stoptail.  Many players prefer the Custom 22, which has a stiffer feel than a Custom 24.  This is due to the 22 having a "shorter" neck, i.e. with the bridge and bridge pickup are set further back in the body which means the scale is the same as a 24, but the neck doesn't extend as far from the body.  It's very much a Les Paul feel, although with much easier playability in the upper range, not to mention a wider selection of tones. These guitars are a good example of "guitars as art" and each are unique and works of beauty.  Finished in Sunburst, with a beautifully bookmatched maple top that looks great from any angle.  This guitar is immaculate, not a scratch anywhere, with perfect frets and the gold hardware has no wear or pitting.  From what I was told this was a custom order for a player who, by the time it was built, could no longer play.  It had original factory strings on it just prior to shipping it to me.  A new Custom Artist lists at over $6600, selling at discount online for around $3900 (link).  At $2350, it's a $1550 savings compared to a new one (and who can't use an extra $1.5 grand these days), as clean as the new guitars hanging in your local super store.  Includes Artist case, hang tag, unsigned warranty, and other paperwork. 
  5. 2007 PRS McCarty Korina Soapbar with Brazilian Fretboard and Birds, (front/back), (headstock), (fretboard), (case).  One of the lightest McCarty's on the planet at just 6.6 lbs., offered with your choice of stock Duncan Soapbars, or Harmonic Design Z-90, considered by many to be the cream of the crop.  This is one of the "new" McCarty models, using all Korina wood instead of the solid Mahogany or Mahogany/Maple cap of the earlier McCarty's.  Korina is a top shelf tone wood, both lovely looking and a wonderful tone wood.  This guitar also features the optional Soapbar pickups and Bird inlay option.  This one, finished in Vintage Cherry, has some mild flame which isn't all that common with Korina.  With a solid carved Korina body and Korina neck with wide-fat carve, this model ventures even more into the Ted McCarty era as he was at Gibson's helm during production of the original Flying V and Explorer models, both made of Korina.  The first 500 of this model were built with a Brazilian fretboard, making it even closer to McCarty's original classics.  Other features include PRS stoptail bridge, vintage tuners, 25" scale, Full (not outlined) Abalone bird inlays, Seymour Duncan Soapbar pickups, master volume and tone, and a standard 3-way selector.  This guitar plays exceptionally well, is extremely lightweight (6.6 lbs.!), and has excellent acoustic tones.  This is a one-owner guitar, collector owned, and offered in immaculate condition.  For full specs and more info, click here for PRS.  This model as outfitted sells new for $2359 with the standard Indian rosewood but why not get one of the original run Brazilian board models for way less - just $1750(HOLD-Gary N. 1/20) - with your choice of the Duncans or Harmonic Designs.  
  6. 1992 PRS Custom 24 - Goldtop, (front), (back), (headstock), (case).   A few months ago I was down to just a few PRS's and was desperately looking for a dozen or so to fill my shelf.  I've had good luck getting some nice ones in, including the harder-to-find Annapolis models.  These old-factory models were actually hand made, easily identifiable with the original small logo and short neck heel.  A lot of people incorrectly refer to Annapolis models as "pre-factory", the reason for which I haven't a clue.  Regardless, these guitars are widely thought to be superior to guitars built at the new Stephenville factory opened in '96, where PRS eliminated most of the hand-crafting in favor of CNC machines.  Features of this guitar includes maple cap over one-piece mahogany body, moon inlays, one-piece Mil-Com tremolo, Phase I locking tuners, and "Regular" (aka Standard) neck profile which is 1/16" more narrow than a wide thin/fat, and the same depth as the wide fat (1 21/32" nut, 27/32" depth).  Pickups have been changed to a Lindy Fralin 7.5/8.5 pair (link), plus McCarty switching (push/pull tone with 3-way switch).  Many players find the standard 3-way much more intuitive and it also gives you 6-tones instead of 5.  Original rotary switch and tone pot are in the case should you ever want to change it back.  The Custom 24, especially with the tremolo bridge, has a looser feel than a Custom 22, plus a "longer" neck, i.e. with the bridge and bridge pickup are set further forward in the body which means it has the same 25" scale as the Custom 22, but the neck extends slightly further from the body.  It's not as much a Les Paul feel, but a PRS feel.  At 21 years old this guitar has seen some use and has some cosmetic flaws (shown here) including a few "milky" finish spots on the headstock and back edge of the body, plus a small piece of clear coat missing from short side of the headstock tip.  There are no serious issues such as cracks and there's no finish checking; frets need no attention.  Whenever you play one of these older PRS's you can almost sense the meticulous human attention to detail as you're holding a guitar that will likely never be hand-crafted again.  Prices on Annapolis-era Customs continue to rise but they're still a good value, especially when they're cheaper than a comparable new one.  A better guitar, for less money.  Playability is excellent and these Fralins have a more traditional 'Burst tone than Dragons or Vintage Bass/HFS.  Nicely priced for an Annapolis model at $1999.  
  7. 1993 PRS Custom 22 - Whale Blue 10 Top and Birds, (front), (side), (back), (MOP inlays), (headstock), (pickups/cavity), (case).   I'm always on the lookout for older PRS's and always excited to find another one.  Specifically, old-factory models when they were actually hand made, easily identifiable with the original small logo and mother of pearl inlays along with more substantial differences.  A lot of people incorrectly refer to these as "pre-factory" which would indicate that Paul built over 30,000 guitars in his garage, ignoring the Annapolis factory which was used '85 to '95.  These guitars are widely thought to be superior to guitars built at the new Stephenville factory opened in '96, where PRS eliminated most of the hand-crafting in favor of CNC machines and went to cheaper fretboard inlays and tuners.  As shown in the bridge pickup cavity, this one is finished in Whale Blue, but as is typical of all old PRS finishes, it has faded somewhat.  Features of this guitar include Dragon Bass and Treble pickups with white paper stickers, 5-way rotary selector, master volume, master tone, wide-fat neck taper, mahogany neck, Indian rosewood fretboard with genuine mother of pearl bird inlays, mahogany body with a "10" maple cap (indicated by "10" impressed in back of headstock).  The Custom 22, especially with the fixed bridge, has a stiffer feel than a Custom 24.  The 22 has a "shorter" neck, i.e. with the bridge and bridge pickup are set further back in the body which means it has the same 25" scale as the Custom 24, but the neck doesn't extend as far from the body.  It's very much a Les Paul feel, but with much easier playability in the upper range, not to mention a wider selection of tones.  Although 20 years old this one's in lovely shape and judging by the near-perfect frets, it hasn't seen a lot of playing time.  Whenever you play one of these older PRS's you can almost sense the meticulous human attention to detail as you're holding a guitar that will likely never be hand-crafted again.  Prices on Annapolis-era Customs continue to rise but they're still a good value, especially when you can get a nice one cheaper than a new one.  A new CU22 with "10" and the cheaper "open" birds lists for $4590 and sells at discount for $3050-$3400, this lovely old factory model is just $2299.  These have proven to be excellent investment pieces for the collector - but for the player, it's cheaper than a new one AND a better guitar.  
  8. 2003 PRS Custom 22 with 10-top and Birds, (front), (back), (headstock), (case).  As I mentioned last week, I'm been on the lookout for PRS's and I'm happy to say that this is the first of four PRS's inbound (Custom 24, Custom Soapbar, and Hollowbody II to follow).  If this one looks familiar, it's identical to an '01 Whale Blue Custom 22 I sold 2 weeks ago, other than this one being a stoptail.  Like the last one, a lovely guitar with a Whale Blue "10" top and colorful (pic) Pau Shell bird inlays.  Features of this great CU22 include wide-thin neck profile, PRS Phase II locking tuners; PRS stoptail bridge; Dragon II Treble and Bass pickups with nickel covers; 5-way rotary selector with a combination of humbucker and single coil tones; and a perfectly bookmatched flamed maple top over mahogany body.  PRS are perhaps most noted for their superb playability and this one's no exception with low action from the nut to the top fret.  Overall nice condition with no buckle scratches and just a few impressions in the clear coat.  Worst flaw are two small impressions in the clear coat (shown here) behind the bridge.  Nice sustain and a typically great sounding PRS.  I mentioned last week the proliferation of PRS in country music - it's wide variety of single and humbucker tones make it well suited for just about anything - so you country pickers might want to give one a try.  Recent list on an a Custom with these options was $5689, discounted to $3894, which makes a used one an excellent value at $1799. 
  9. 2008 PRS SE Singlecut, (front), (side), (headstock), (back), (gigbag).  With the exception of the Baker (above), for years I've touted PRS and Brian Moore as the best Korean imports and this SC is a prime example.  Fit and finish are impeccable, excellent pickups and electronics, quality hardware.  Most of all, I'm impressed with the fact that they have great necks that set up as well or better than other company's USA models.  The PRS Singlecut SE, re-released after the foolishness with Gibson was settled, is a perfect example.  This guitar is extremely impressive in terms of looks, tone, and feel.  It's a joy to play, with low action, super easy and smooth bends, and quality tone with excellent sustain and 3 distinct tones on the pickup selector.  With a lot of guitars, most LP's come to mind, I never use the middle position as it seems to lack character.  Not the case with the Singlecut SE; it has a great mix if fatness and punch.  Features of this guitar include a perfectly bookmatched and heavily flamed maple veneer over a maple cap and a mahogany back.  Other brands use a solid mahogany body with the maple veneer which doesn't provide the classic maple/mahogany tone.  Only with a maple slab do you get the combination of mahogany's warmth, resonance and fat bottom end - with maple's high end snap.  Note that the top on this one is clearly one of the better ones - I've seen some of these with tops that weren't nearly as consistent.  It also features a wonderfully simple compensated wraparound stop tailpiece with large studs that does a great job of transferring the energy from strings to body, plus is well intonated.  The PRS-designed humbuckers sound excellent and touches like the moon fretboard inlays, headstock shape, and natural maple top binding make this look like it's USA brother but at around 1/4 the cost.  New Singlecuts, now called the SC245, sell for $649, but this one is barely touched, 9.9 condition, and an excellent value on a guitar that's good enough to gig with at $449.  Includes the PRS gigbag, excellent protection and the best on the market in my opinion.

PRS NECK CARVE (width at nut, depth at nut)

                PRS Radius: 10” on all guitars and basses except 11 1/2” on the Santana II and Custom 22/12

5-Way Rotary Settings:

Position 10: Humbucking treble (bridge) pickup alone
Position 9: Outside coils of both pickups in parallel for what PRS calls a “deep and clear” sound
Position 8: Series single coils – PRS describes this as a “warm version of the classic in-between the bridge and middle pickups”
Position 7: Parallel single coils – Here PRS describes the sound as a “crisp version of the in-between the treble and middle pickups”
Position 6: Humbucking bass (neck) pickup alone