Who is Playing PRS Guitars and Why are They So Popular?

Who is Playing PRS Guitars and Why are They So Popular?

The most well-known and popular guitar brands are almost certainly Fender, Gibson, and Ibanez. If you only focus on these brands, you'll miss out on some real gems. For example, PRS guitars are great guitars you should absolutely consider. 

These guitars are suited to playing almost any genre of music, and they are very well built with exceptional quality control. So what is so exceptional about these guitars and who are some famous players who favour PRS? Read on to find out more about this great guitar brand. 

What Is PRS?

Paul Reed Smith founded PRS guitars in 1985, after having already been repairing and building guitars in his attic for the last ten years. The key to PRS's success was Smith's relationship with artists. In the early years of the company, he would take his guitars backstage at shows, attempting to see what professional guitar players thought of his instruments. 

His strategy paid off, and PRS became one of the most recognisable guitar brands in the world. So what exactly sets PRS apart from the other brands?

Build Quality

One of the key features of PRS electric guitar and PRS acoustic guitars is their outstanding build quality. While guitar industry giants such as Gibson and Fender are known to have some quality control issues, it's rare to find a PRS guitar that needs to be sent back to the factory. 

The quality control at PRS is so top-notch that you'll rarely even need to do much of a setup. When buying a PRS, chances are you're getting a guitar that plays great right out of the box. Even the companies' more affordable made-in-Korea line is known for having exceptional build quality. 

What are PRS guitars good for?

Whether you're a blues enthusiast, a rock aficionado, or a jazz virtuoso, PRS Guitars offer a wide range of models that cater to various musical styles. From the classic tones of the Custom 24 to the aggressive sound of the SE 245, there's a PRS Guitar that suits every player's preferences and musical genre.

Why Play a PRS?

One of the big reasons that play favour a PRS guitar is because they are incredibly unique. People who settle on PRS often do so because they combine several features of other popular instruments. 

For example, maybe you like the double humbucker setup of a Les Paul, but you prefer the neck feel of a Fender Stratocaster. A PRS Custom 24 offers a unique blend of these two styles. It even has a great whammy bar which isn't too common on dual humbucker designs.

Another reason that people like PRS guitars is because of their flashy and unique finishes. There's no denying that PRS guitars are some of the most striking guitars on the market. While the PRS aesthetic isn't for everyone, if you want a guitar that's sure to turn heads at your next gig, you should consider a PRS. 

PRS Use Quality Wood

Another defining feature of these exciting guitars is the use of quality tonewoods. Guitarists know PRS as a company that takes the use of tonewoods very seriously. In fact, they have a section in their factors known as the "wood library".

For their guitar's bodies, PRS like to use woods such as mahogany, swamp ash, maple and rosewood. They also use similar woods in the guitar's neck. The necks from PRS are known not to wear down much over time, making them great for professional musicians. 


The hardware on PRS guitars is generally designed and built in-house by PRS themselves. For example, they recently produced their new 85/15 pickups, which are a great choice if you want a well-rounded sound. They also have higher output pickups, such as their Tremonti design. These pickups are well suited to more aggressive, overdriven genres. 

The bridge on PRS electric guitars has been their PRS Stoptail bridge since 1991. If you're familiar with Fender-style bridges, you'll know what to expect here. With that said, some players think the PRS version of the design is better than Fenders'.

One area that even big-name brands have problems with is tuning stability. The PRS Stoptail Bridge, combined with their  locking tuners, means this isn't an issue for PRS models. When you play a PRS, you can play hard and still stay in tune. 

Who Plays PRS?

PRS guitars are quite versatile and they're favoured by a wide variety of guitar players. You can use a PRS guitar for anything from funk to metal. While they're certainly not as widely used as Fender or Gibson guitars, you'll almost certainly recognise a few names in the PRS roster.

Alex Lifeson

Alex Lifeson is the guitarist of the progressive rock band Rush. Throughout his career, he's relied on both PRS electric and acoustic guitars. For example, when recording the Roll the Bones album, Lifeson used a CE Bolt-On guitar. 

Mikael Akerfeldt

Mikael Akerfeldt from the metal band Opeth is possibly one of the most prolific PRS players in the metal scene. A CE24 guitar was one of his main tools for recording early Opeth records. On the later albums, he used a wide variety of PRS guitars. 

Brad Delson

Brad Delson, the guitarist of Linkin Park, primarily used a PRS guitar to record the fan favourite album Hybrid Theory. The guitar sound on that record comes from playing a PRS guitar through a Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier. 

Mike Mushok

According to Mike Mushok of the Nu-Metal band Staind, PRS baritone guitars are part of his signature sound. The majority of his recordings for the band feature a PRS. If you want to play heavily downturned metal music, you can defiantly do that with a PRS guitar. 

John Mayer
John Mayer, known for his soulful blues and pop-rock sound, is another notable name who plays PRS guitars. He has been spotted using various PRS models during live performances and studio recordings, showcasing the versatility of PRS instruments across different genres.He currently has a signature Silver Sky PRS model.

Rob Harris

Rob Harris is a good friend of the guys at the shop and renowned session guitarist here in the UK, not only is he a member of Jamiroquai and seen playing with Brother Strut more recently but he's also worked on projects with Cory Wong, Harry Styles, Robbie Williams, Kylie, Beverley Knight.. the list goes on! - Rob has a few PRS guitars, the Brent Mason, DGT, Silver Sky and more recently the new Fiore all of which make up the arsenal of guitars he requires for various different gigs & recording sessions.

Simon McBride

Now touring as guitarist for Deep Purple, Simon has been using PRS guitars since way back.  His own solo projects heavily feature PRS guitars.

PRS Guitars Are a Serious Investment

If you want a high-quality guitar that could serve you well for years to come, you can't go wrong with PRS guitars. We feel like no matter what genre you play, there's a PRS guitar to suit you. 

Come and pay us a visit at our Guitar Shop in UK, in Huntingdon, and we'll find you the perfect PRS guitar to suit your budget and playing style. We not only offer Paul Reed Smith guitars, we have a wide range of collections of guitars by top brands like Les Paul Guitars, Martin Guitars, Duesenberg guitars, etc. including all popular guitar series like the PRS McCarty, Yamaha Revstar, Fender Mexican Stratocaster, PRS NF53 & many more. Visit us & explore yourself!


Frequently Asked Questions


What makes PRS guitars unique compared to other brands?

PRS guitars blend features from popular guitar types like the Les Paul and the Fender Stratocaster, offering unique aesthetics and high-quality tonewoods, which appeal to various musical genres.

Why are PRS guitars considered high-quality?

PRS is known for their exceptional build quality and rigorous quality control, making them reliable right out of the box, even in their more affordable lines.

Which famous musicians use PRS guitars?

Artists like John Mayer, Alex Lifeson of Rush, and Mikael Akerfeldt of Opeth are notable PRS players, showcasing the brand's wide appeal across different musical styles.

Can PRS guitars be used for different music genres?

Yes, PRS guitars are versatile and suited for genres ranging from blues and jazz to rock and metal, thanks to their wide range of models and sound capabilities.

What are the key features of PRS guitars' hardware?

PRS guitars feature in-house designed hardware like the PRS Stoptail bridge and locking tuners, which enhance tuning stability and overall performance.




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