Rick Beato’s Paul Reed Smith Interview Summary

This post contains my summary notes from Rick Beato’s interview with guitar maker Paul Reed Smith (PRS).

It’s a great conversation that touched on the McCarty model, the newest John Mayer signature guitar, consistency in quality and building with conviction.

Summary Notes

McCarty model (2:30)

Sometimes when looking for your ideal guitar, you just need to plug it in and see how it feels. You’ll know based on feel on if it’s the right instrument.

You plug it in and it just does it’s job…” – on the McCarty model.

Competing with big manufacturers (4:00)

In early days PRS would put in full page ads to make it seem that they were as big as Fender and Gibson.

Even 20 years in people would tell me, never heard of you…”

Eventually people at NAMM began to recognize the brand, and would discuss Fender, Gibson and PRS.

It’s not an overnight success, it’s done in thousands and thousands of baby steps…”

Consistency in quality (5:40)

PRS describes a window, of the worst guitar ever made on one end, to the best guitar ever made on the other end, you have a window section where the instruments are just a “guitar”. And then a section where it transitions to a “musical instrument”.

“Somewhere along the line it becomes something that someone can make their living on for the rest of their lives…”

“Our window is pretty narrow. Our job is to move the window up. The consistency has been very good for us…”

Attention to detail (10:20)

Discussing the new John Mayer model:

All that work on the pickups, the bridge, the neck, how we dry it, and the way the nut is, the tuning pegs, and god knows how many other things on this guitar, even the pot, it’s not a 250k pot, it’s a got a resistor on it that makes it exactly the value we want…”

Guitar trends (13:50)

Late 90s PRS became very popular with the nu-metal style (PRS Custom with Triple Rectifier)

We never intended for the PRS custom triple rec thing to happen, that was never the goal, the goal was to make really great guitars and they just happened to pick them up…”

Conviction (15:30)

The neck radius on the John Mayer model is 7 ¼.

The whole internet says you can’t play solos on a 7 and a quarter inch radius…”

“We made a whole bunch of different ones and decided that this was the best feeling one. That’s why we did it. We were willing to take the hit even if the internet thought it was a bad idea…”

“We are not going to let the internet tell us how to make guitars. We are going to talk to our artists, ourselves, and our own experience from history and look at it from that point of view…”

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