Paul Reed Smith guitars (official site) are seen by many as a holy grail guitar; in other words, something you strive for, but may never be able to afford. And let’s be honest, there are some models that command big prices. But there are also a bevy of models with very reasonable prices and all look, feel and sound excellent. (Pics and video below) The bottom line here being that for literally a few hundred dollars(*) you can have one of these finely crafted machines.
Now what’s the (*) all about? Why am I caveating this statement? It’s simply because to find Paul Reed Smith guitars for under three hundred bones, you may need to buy second-hand. I picked up a second-hand SE245 for $315 recently and this particular Paul Reed Smith guitar was pristine. All black with cream binding, it was in beautiful condition with no scuffs or scratches. This 245 was barely played by the previous owner, hence the excellent condition. After sitting in a gig bag for two years, he traded it in.
Paul Reed Smith guitars…new
Brand new, to enter the kingdom of Paul Reed Smith guitars, you’re pushing closer to $500 USD and still, far too many people scoff at the notion of an “entry level range” guitar, thinking it’s a cut-rate model, lacking in features and quality. Sure, that happens with some manufacturers, but not at Paul Reed Smith guitars, no sir. The quality of my Korean-made PRS 245SE is on par with my Fender Telecaster Special Edition and my D’Angelico Premier SS, itself an entry model from an epic brand.
So why do people think Paul Reed Smith guitars are unobtanium unless you haul a second mortgage outta the bank? Because if you venture into their Private Stock range, which are usually the glossy models we see and fall instantly in lust with, you can cruise right passed $12,000.
The truth is in the numbers as you can either afford something like that or you cannot, and even if you can, you may balk at spending that much on a guitar. Regardless, Paul Reed Smith guitars, at all levels, represent real value. On the entry ranges, the quality is excellent whether you consider the finish, sound, tone, action, or materials, they all set high standards. None are what would be considered “stripper models”.
On the high end, these guitars represent playable art. Literal sculptures of working art. At this level the options are really impressive. From the type of wood, to the finish, to the inlays, everything is up to you. And you can rest assured that the final product will be an absolute treasure. What I’m showing here is only a small sample from their website and I highly encourage you to visit them and look around, even if all you want to do is window shop, it’s worth your time!