I head back to the PRS plant where the renowned luthier joins me in shooting guitar videos for Musician’s Friend and Private Reserve.
On my first visit to PRS, Paul and I hit it off and he agreed to have me back with a small film crew to shoot guitar videos, factory footage and an exclusive interview with Paul Reed Smith himself. This was my third factory shoot with the L.A.-based Musician’s Friend video team and we’ve formed a tight bond. It’s really important to be around easygoing, positive people on these shoots that can involve long days and plenty of stress. Our team knows how to balance hard work and fun.
The Musician’s Friend video team in Stevensville, Maryland—home of PRS
Paul and I will be filming guitar videos in the same room where we met on my previous visit—the wood library. He and his staff have laid 16 beautiful 2015 PRS guitars out, ready for me to play on video with Paul. I’ll be using a PRS 50-watt Archon combo and a PRS Two Channel Custom 50 50-watt head. By the way, if you like tube amps, I recommend you try plugging into one of Paul’s; he’s bringing some serious amplification to the table these days. You can check out all the PRS combos here and heads here.
The PRS amps and mic placement I used
Pretty Paul Reed Smith guitars—begging to be played
Paul is up first. As he holds each guitar for the camera, he offers specs, history and insights. Paul Reed Smith knows every model intimately. He also knows precisely why the features are the way they are. He doesn’t change things without good reason.
He also names models logically. For example, the 513 has five coils and thirteen sounds, the P24 is a piezo-equipped 24-fret guitar. Since we are in the wood library, Paul takes the opportunity to knock on a piece of Honduras rosewood for our cameras. The marimba-like tone fills the room and is captured by Paul’s mic.
Paul has a lot of pride in his guitars. This is most evident when he first picks one up. He inspects it silently, plays a little and smiles. Occasionally, he will call out something unique to that specific instrument. I learn a lot listening to Paul talk about his creations and I also learn more about Paul. Very comfortable with who he is, Paul seems to have nothing to hide from our cameras. In fact, our working title for his interview is Ask Me Anything. Watch the video below:
Private Reserve interview with Paul Reed Smith “Ask me Anything”
The PRS 513 has 5 coils and 13 sounds
Paul Reed Smith in the wood library inspecting a guitar
A new S2 elicits a smile
Now it’s my turn to play these beauties! I have two Paul Reed Smith amps miked up and an AB box to move between them. I’m also using the Archon’s footswitch. The playing portion of the shoot goes very smoothly. The guitars stay in tune well and I‘m getting great sounds—a serenade to an unbelievable collection of tonewoods!
PRS guitars are very versatile, so I do my best to cover a broad range of styles, pickup combinations and clean versus dirty tones. At the risk of getting looks from the video team, the clips run a little long. But it’s like that—getting into the full capabilities of some guitars—right?
Paul runs down all the details of the PRS 408 while Brian explores some of its near-endless tonal possibilities
Here I am drooling on a PRS—it never gets old
It really was a magical experience playing guitars that day at Paul Reed Smith. I’ve owned three PRS guitars over the last 15 years and I’m a huge fan of many PRS players. Paul’s artist roster is intimidating to say the least with names like John McLaughlin, Jimmy Herring and Al Di Meola.
After we wrapped, Paul had nothing but good things to say about what we’d shot. He introduced me to someone later that night, saying “This is Brian, he plays good and I don’t hate him.”
Jazz is Dead in the wood library—Jimmy Herring!
Hanging with Paul—I really like this guy and he doesn’t hate me
I had one final goal on this trip. On my last visit we picked out some wood for an exclusive run of 30th Anniversary Custom 24s. On this trip, I hoped to select wood for my own guitar, tentatively having planned to meet with our PRS sales rep to spec it out. The rep then realized he had to be out of the office and so Paul agreed to help me. I’m all in now. Pick out the wood for my PRS with Paul Reed Smith? Sign me up!
But it isn’t meant to be. Paul gets called into a meeting with a representative from the White House. My dream PRS is relegated to the dream department, at least for now—the genius of Paul Reed Smith is being tapped for realms far beyond mere guitar making.
Thanks to the entire Paul Reed Smith team for making our visit productive and fun. They picked us up every morning, fed us lunch, took us to dinner each night and even gave me a guitar for the hotel room.
I hope you enjoyed reliving this trip with Guitar Notes. Until next time...keep playing!
Watch the videos: PRS 2015 with Paul Reed Smith
Check out great deals on PRS at Musicians Friend
Read more Guitar Notes from Brian Baggett: Guitar Notes The HUB
Visit www.privatereserveguitars.com or contact Derek White directly at 866-926-1923. He can get you the absolute lowest price on your dream guitar. Connect with Private Reserve Guitars on Facebook and Instagram. Until next time, keep playing!
Brian Baggett is Video Presenter for Musician’s Friend Private Reserve Guitars. He curates the Private Reserve guitar collection on video, visits guitar factories and works closely with luthiers and signature artists to gain insight into the greatest guitars being built today. He is also a professional guitarist playing every Wednesday and Saturday night at The Green Lady Lounge in Kansas City. A former jazz guitar professor, Brian continues to teach guitar lessons and has a book and DVD titled Keys To Unlocking the Fretboard. Find Brian on Facebook and twitter.