NEWS: New Paul Reed Smiths

Paul Reed Smith has launched a bunch of new guitars at their Experience PRS 2008 open house event, and one new design in particular, the Starla, seems to be inspired by the success of the Mira, which was introduced at Experience PRS 2007.

In a press release, PRS Director of R&D and Private Stock Joe Knaggs said “Some of those crazy old vintage guitars are really cool but imagine if you had one that was also really well-built.” The Starla looks slightly Gretschy to my eyes, with a Bigsby B5 tailpiece and double-screw pickups. The body is solid mahogany with a 24″ scale rosewood fretboard on a solid mahogany neck. PRS is offering dot inlays as standard, or bird inlays as an optional extra. The Starla Treble and Starla Bass pickups are unique to this model, and they’re built around Alnico magnets. Color options include Vintage Cherry, Vintage Mahogany, Vintage Orange and Black.

PRS also unveiled the highly anticipated Al Di Meola Prism model. This one was previewed in Guitar Player magazine recently. It features a unique stained top with a full spectrum of colors over a curly maple custom ‘9’ top with a mahogany back. The scale length is 25″, and the 22 fret, custom-shaped neck features a Mexican rosewood fretboard. The pickups are the new 1957/2008 set, and Al has been playing the prototype of this guitar on recent Return to Forever reunion shows. PRS says the 1957/2008 pickups were designed after the company obtained exclusive rights to the original pickup wire used in “the most revered pickups in the 50’s.” No prizes for guessing what they’re referring to. The name was arrived at because PRS obtained the rights to the wire in 2008, and 1957 was the year the humbucker was first commercially available.

Finally there’s the Modern Eagle II. This updated version has the same premium grade wood, frets and wide fat neck carve of the original Modern Eagle, but adds a new pickup system based around the 1957/2008 set, updated finishing techniques, new colours and a Modern Eagle case. The high gloss nitro finish is available in four colors: Faded Blue Jean, Charcoal, Red Tiger, and Yellow Tiger.

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