Why I stopped looking at guitars...20 years ago

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by veinbuster, Jan 1, 2020.

  1. veinbuster

    veinbuster Zombie Three, DFZ

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    1999 was a good year for me, and I believe an epic time for PRS. My wife and I popped into the factory for a tour on the way home (sort of) from vacation and smelt an incredible stack of Brazilian neck blanks and saw the most amazing guitar in the paint booth.

    The Millennium Dragon.
    You don't even really need to see the inlay to know it is special.
    [​IMG]
    No paint on this baby.
    [​IMG]
    Really, what more could you want?
    [​IMG]
    Well the front is pretty nice too.
    [​IMG]
    I'll skip most of the details of how it found its way into my hands. Some of you have heard parts of it before. It did include a bunch of phone calls and a pretty long drive.

    Playing it acoustically in a back room at the store, I knew it was the real deal. My wife and I got a hotel so I could play with it some more. Plugged into my amp with my settings, it was a thing of beauty. It was so good, I vowed to only play original music on it so that it would never doubt the depth of my love. 20 years later, that is still the case.

    This was PRS 15th anniversary. I can't wait to see what sows up for the 35th.
     
  2. Lister

    Lister Playing guitar badly since the 70's...

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    Hang on a minute while I wipe the drool off my screen...
    Great guitars should always have great stories to go with them, and this one seems to have one, so for those of us that weren't around or haven't heard it before, would you please tell it again?
     
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  3. dmatthews

    dmatthews Dave's not here...

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    Dayum Pete... that's just killer.
    Sadly, I keep looking at guitars.
     
  4. bodia

    bodia Authorities said.....best leave it.....unsolved

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    C’mon, you tease; show the rest, and spill the beans!
     
  5. Alnus Rubra

    Alnus Rubra Loving nature’s wonders

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    I know birds is where it’s at, but I do love the clean look of a plain fretboard also.
     
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  6. Tony M.

    Tony M. New Member

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    Ok, I'm way interested.
    Tell me the story of this lovely instrument
    and please show me the rest of the guitar.
     
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  7. Plugske

    Plugske You plug it in, it turns you on.

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    Holy crap, somebody give me a bucket because I am drooling all over the place. Makes me also very curious about the story.
     
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  8. BrianC

    BrianC more toys than talent

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    nice
     
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  9. CandidPicker

    CandidPicker Open - Eared

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    Sure! Which one do you need? The one with the suds, or the one you're thankful about?
     
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  10. jfb

    jfb Plank Owner

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    I am saving my pennies to see the 35th. The 30th Dragon was really cool to me because of Jeff Easley doing the design. To have seen his art on all kinds of DnD stuff as a kid and then his dragon on a guitar was rad. I came pretty close to getting one, but in the end decided to wait.

    Nice guitar, buddy!
     
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  11. Plugske

    Plugske You plug it in, it turns you on.

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    As long it doesn't leak, the Mrs just cleaned the whole house and I still need to go to the shop to get the SE Custom. :D
     
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  12. WA Paul

    WA Paul It’s ok...I’m with Manny dog

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    You had me at the full Braz neck :D
     
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  13. veinbuster

    veinbuster Zombie Three, DFZ

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    So...I usually tell the story over a beer...it might not be as exciting as you are hoping for...but this is the solid body side of the tale of the Brazilians.

    I first noticed the PRS dragons while working in Texas in the early 90s. There was a decent music store not too far from work that I would visit to try out new guitars. The first time I noticed a PRS was a Dragon. The workmanship was amazing. It was the first guitar I’d ever seen in a store that I was reluctant to try. I was not going to be the one who did it any harm. I surprised myself by actually thinking about buying it, but fiscal prudence won out. I had just bought our first house and with a mortgage rate of over 12%, by far the best use of spare cash was to pay down the mortgage.

    That Dragon, and the Dragon II that followed stuck in my mind and they bumped PRS to the top of my list of desirable electric guitars. When I traveled, I searched out PRS dealers and tried them out so I would know what I wanted when the day came that I could afford one. It was a very special day in the mid 90s when I walked into a store in Chicago and they had a copy of all 3 Dragons. They were willing to part with one of them for $10,000. I noticed at the time that I would have done all right if I had bought one of the ones I’d seen in Dallas a few years earlier. I was also very aware later on how quickly that $10,000 would have proven to be an excellent investment. That said, I have a strict personal rule about not tricking myself into believing a personal possession is an investment. I buy things because I believe I am going to get value out of them.

    By 1999, I had what I considered to be a pretty comprehensive inventory of guitars: a bass, a classical, a steel string acoustic, a Telecaster, a Les Paul, and 4 PRS – which at the time I considered to be one of each. On the way home from a vacation, as we were approaching the DC area well ahead of schedule, I asked my wife if she was interested in visiting the PRS factory. She said yes and we detoured over to Stevensville. When we arrived, we were advised that random guests were not normally entertained. I said that was OK, we had just stopped by because I had a few of their guitars and thought it might be fun to visit, and I might as well pick up some spares of the 3 string gauges I used. As this was happening, in walked a fellow who offered to give us a tour. I believe it was Paul Miles, but can’t honestly swear to it.

    The tour was quite interesting: the woods, the drying room, the various work stations, and of course guitars everywhere in various stages of completion. The highlight of the tour came in the paint drying room: a red Dragon 2000. Even unfinished, this guitar was jaw dropping. It struck me that a person who had this would find it very difficult to get interested in any other guitar. I started watching for these guitars to actually become available and made inquiries in some of the locations I traveled to and pestered Brent at The Guitar Shop a bit to see if he would or could get one.

    I hadn’t really contemplated the reality of paying for it if I found one, but sometimes the chase is all that matters. Then a funny thing happened. An associate of mine got funding for a dot com and felt quite strongly that he needed me to deal with technology issues. I was doing reasonably well and had a good work arrangement where I was, so offered to help him out a bit in my spare time while he worked with the head hunters to find someone to hire. While that is an interesting story in itself, it has nothing to do with guitars, so I’ll jump past it to the part where my signing bonus would be a Dragon 2000. Now I made some calls in earnest to find one. A shop in Atlanta that I’d dealt with before directed me to their sister store in Cincinnati. I made arrangements to visit their blonde Dragon 2000 on Saturday and made the 10 hour drive with my wife Friday. I was put in private room with the guitar and given plenty of space and time. The guitar was amazing: beautiful looking & beautiful sounding. We walked out for a bit to catch our breath and I gave Brent one last call to see if there was any chance he could get one, but PRS hadn’t made any available to the international market. This would have to be the one, though that needn’t preclude negotiating a good price.

    I got the guitar without caring about the fact that it had a Brazilian rosewood neck. All that mattered was that it looked and sounded amazing. The tone of that neck is unlike anything else. It is most notably rich in the lower harmonics; it is very earthy and rings forever. You really have to hear it to appreciate it. The feel of the unfinished neck makes it impossible for the left hand not to bond very closely with the instrument. If you touch it, you will have to play it, and once you start playing it, it is very hard to put down. I’ve owned this guitar for 20 years now, and my feelings for this guitar haven’t changed. For what it is worth, I’ve only ever played original music on this. It is too good an instrument to be bound by the confines of someone else’s music. It is amazing. And there is something poetic about having a Dragon from the Year of the Dragon.
     
  14. veinbuster

    veinbuster Zombie Three, DFZ

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    And, while as a player, you've seen all you need to see about the guitar, the bling around the curves of a PRS top are quite a marvel.
    [​IMG]
     
    #14 veinbuster, Jan 1, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2020
  15. bodia

    bodia Authorities said.....best leave it.....unsolved

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    Outstanding! I don’t recall ever seeing this one on the 12 Days of Guitars?
     
  16. dmatthews

    dmatthews Dave's not here...

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    Fabulous story, even without a beer!
     
  17. Plugske

    Plugske You plug it in, it turns you on.

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    After the first sentence I had to run to the fridge to get one so we keep the tradition of beer and story telling. ;)

    Amazing story, really loved reading it. You can just sense the proudness and rightly so. Beautiful guitar that found its way to the right owner.
     
  18. WA Paul

    WA Paul It’s ok...I’m with Manny dog

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    Great story!

    The way you describe the full Braz neck really ‘resonates’ with me - sorry for the pun! But a great Braz neck is something epic to behold. Or is that held? :)
     
  19. veinbuster

    veinbuster Zombie Three, DFZ

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    That might be true. I may not have done a video with it, something I should probably rectify.
     
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  20. Lister

    Lister Playing guitar badly since the 70's...

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    Thanks for the story, I'll drink a beer for you later! :p Seriously, though that guitar is simply stunning.
     

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