History of PRS Guitars


Aug 23, 1985
Stevensville, MD
Here are some historically significant PRS guitars from years past. Click to enlarge photos

The Sorcerer's Apprentice from 1982.

The SA has a steeper headstock angle than earlier PRS deasigns

The SA incorporated non-locking Schaller tuners with the familiar shared D&G screw on the back of the headstock. No serial number.

The headstock shape and eagle inlay are in continuous use to this day (although slightly refined)

This photo shows the finish sinking around the eagle inlay. It also shows an early PRS string nut and the truss rod cover.
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A simple back plate for the electronics cavity, held on with just two screws.
Notice the finish burn on the edge of the cavity

The neck is still straight as an arrow

The early handmade jack plate and just a glimpse of the 6 (yes 6) position switch.

The most commonly known feature of the SA are the 27 frets on a Brazzy board.
If 24 frets give the fretboard 2 full octaves, what would 27 frets give it? Answer: A lot of notes. LOL
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Paul has been working on the 408 pickup design for many years and perhaps the SA signals his first steps in that direction.
The treble pickup consists of two Soapbar pickups wound together to create a humbucker.
Paul also hand-made the pickup covers from a block of Lexan.

The SA bridge shows an early version of the PRS Adjustable Stoptail bridge.
This milled brass bridge has two movable saddles that can be intonated and then locked into place.
Height adjustment is achieved by adjusting the larger screws on the outer edges of the bridge.

Both the figured maple top and Royal Blue stain remain staples in the PRS line up.

An early picture of Paul and John Ingram holding two versions of the SA. (Taken from the PRS book)
Great info and just overall a great thread idea Shawn. I find the real gems and stories you that make you TRULY appreciate Paul and his legacy are the ones that aren't easily found, but rather hidden in small interviews and excerpts over the years combined with stories from people who were around when they happened. This thread will help shed light to people looking to discover the real passion and innovation that is PRS.
Thanks for posting this, Shawn! Brilliant "inside" information!

Just out of curiosity, what were the combinations on the 6 position switch?

And BTW, Royal Blue is one of my longtime favorite PRS colors.
Great thread Shawn ................ Thanks for sharing!

Looks like John Ingram is holding a 12 string SA to me. Any clarification on this????????

That was John's personal guitar! I dont think he owns it currently but you'd have to ask him

Here is another example from the early '80's.

Santana-style body shape

Body carve with a string retainer from a Fender Bass used as a strap button

Half a back plate allows access for easy re-stringing

Sharper contours on the back of the headstock.
Schaller tuners made in West Germany

Early locking tuners. Perhaps the impetus for the Phase II tuners?
Hand crafted roller nut

Brazzy board and colorful bird at the 12th fret

Just a volume pot and a toggle switch