CR Guitars - hand selected

PRS Private Stock Archtop II with Piezo, 2015

PRS Private Stock Archtop II with Piezo, 2015

Price: $9,500

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leather case included

Straight out of a collection, this remarkable and very rare archtop is in mint condition. Originally sold here at CR Guitars in 2015, this CR Guitars edition of the original PRS Archtop is the pinnacle of the design, with meticulously chosen tone woods, pickups and electronics. We wanted this guitar to have a refined aesthetic without without being too flashy, and to keep the best parts of the historical guitar alive. We chose the materials for this instrument, and Paul made sure the guitar was made to perfection.

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CRAIG'S POV

Straight out of a collection, this remarkable and very rare archtop is in mint condition. Originally sold here at CR Guitars in 2015, my original write-up is below.

When one of Paul Reed Smith’s remarkable Private Stock guitars arrives at the shop and I think about how to put into words what it is like to meet the guitar, to play the guitar for the first time, I always return to a quote from Paul Reed Smith himself, which I believe truly reflects the attitude, craftsmanship and quality that make each and every PRS Private Stock guitar that we carry a truly extraordinary instrument:

"I have never seen anyone playing guitar in a bad mood. There’s something magic about guitars because they are simultaneously art, musical instruments, treasured possessions, and tools to joyfully spend time with. The goal of Private Stock is not only to create the most beautiful and best playing guitar money can buy, but the best sounding. We work very closely with each order - through hourly discussions, experimentation, meticulous checks of every detail at each step in the process and making final tweaks when the guitar is complete - to make sure we are building the best guitars possible. If you get an extraordinary instrument from Private Stock that is equally as good as a family heirloom and a musician’s tool to make a living on, we have done our job.

"Whether built to your specification or ours, every Private Stock instrument is carefully guided through the process by highly talented, seasoned guitar makers, and each completed instrument is checked and signed by Paul Miles and me. From all of us on the Private Stock team, thank you for looking at and considering a Private Stock instrument. If you decide on a Private Stock guitar, we will give everything we have to make it the best instrument you’ve ever experienced." - Paul Reed Smith

As many of you who have followed CR Guitars will remember, my introduction to great guitars happened at 10 years old when a guitarist in my father’s band let me play his D’Angelico New Yorker Special. It was the first genuinely fine guitar I had played, and I remember being deeply moved by how magnificent a guitar could be: the look, feel and sound of that guitar, even its smell, made it seem magical. I didn’t know it at the time, but what I was really recognizing was QUALITY.

My father also owed a music store, and after my experience with the D’Angelico, I obsessively played all the guitars that came into his shop — instruments from the '50s and '60s — trying to recapture that magic. What I quickly learned is true quality is not so easy to find.

In his book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert Pirsig wrote about quality as something you perceive, not something describable or academic (which also speaks to the difficulty of trying to write about guitars!). But it is the perceptual experience of quality I am getting at, and I have spent my entire life as a guitar player and collector seeking such guitars.

When I started CR Guitars I made a commitment to other players and collectors that my shop would be a place where great guitars could be found. I have chosen to align CR Guitars only with makers who are as passionate about quality as I am, and I have found just such a guitar maker in Paul Reed Smith. He needs no introduction, of course. You might wonder why a small dealer like CR Guitars would be selling Paul’s guitars. The answer is that I wanted Paul Reed Smith guitars built with the personal supervision and genius of Paul Reed Smith himself.

And now that’s possible.

Paul Reed Smith personally runs the Private Stock Division of PRS, and his goal is to create the very experience I had with that D’Angelo New Yorker Special with every guitar he makes. He never stops comparing modern guitars to the greatest vintage guitars, and he can pick up one of his guitars and be critical enough to know where he’s succeeded, what might be missing, and, most importantly, how to get ever closer to that golden ideal.

The guitars Paul makes for CR Guitars are elegant and sophisticated designs that accentuate the premium woods I’ve chosen, perfect neck shapes, and only the finest electronics and hardware. I work tirelessly with Paul and his team on the details and nuances of each PRS Private Stock guitar, bringing every element into balance for the instruments that come to CR Guitars. Paul also has the best wood stock of any luthier I know, so he has not only the mastery and passion of a great guitar maker, but also the wood resources to build some of the most incredible guitars I have ever played.

THE GUITAR
I remember when the original PRS Archtop (as opposed to Hollowbody) came out in the late '90s. It seemed pretty revolutionary at the time, a true archtop guitar for electric guitar players. It was incredibly toneful with its small but deep body, and had a unique voice that made it one of the most versatile guitars I had ever played. It was a great guitar for every kind of music, from straight-ahead jazz to blues to country to rock. And the thing was, it didn’t seem like a compromise in any musical setting. That guitar invited you to approach the instrument in a different way, to approach music in a different way. I was disappointed when the model was discontinued in the mid 2000s, but because of CR Guitar’s relationship with the PRS Custom Shop, we are able to have a very limited number of custom Archtops made.

This CR Guitars edition of the PRS Archtop is the pinnacle of the design, with meticulously chosen tone woods, pickups and electronics. I wanted this guitar to have a refined aesthetic without without being too flashy, and to keep the best parts of the historical guitar alive. I chose the materials for this instrument, and Paul made sure the guitar was made to perfection.

Starting with the top, it was hand carved with curly cedar that I personally selected. Cedar is an excellent alternative to spruce as a tone wood. It tends to have a more "played in" feel than spruce from day one of the guitar's life and in this particular case, a beautiful flame and figuring that enhances the esthetic of the curly maple back and sides. The guitar has a small solid wood block to anchor the bridge, but is otherwise hollow.

The neck is figured mahogany with a deep, chocolaty Brazilian rosewood fingerboard, and elegant paradise bird inlays. The inlays are visually integrated with the look of the fretboard, with a matching design at the top of the headstock (which is also capped with Brazilian rosewood). The Paul Reed Smith logo on the headstock is in maple and smaller than the standard logo, a special touch that is well integrated into the aesthetic of the guitar. The neck shape—called 'pattern by PRS—is a full, medium C that is extremely comfortable.

For the electronics I wanted to expand on the versatility of the original design by including a piezo pickup with a separate output. The controls are simple but highly flexible, and include volume, tone, and a small three-way switch that allows you to toggle between the PAF-like 58/15 PRS humbuckers, the piezo, or both systems together. There is also a knob that is active when playing both pickup systems to blend the piezo with the humbucker pickups.

We paid special attention to small and subtile details, like the materials used in the Paradise Bird inlays—which by the way are completely unique to the CR Guitars models—and the brushed nickel pickup covers. And the legendary thin nitro finish of the PRS Custom Shop brings the entire visual beauty of this guitar into equilibrium.

Sonically, this guitar is very balanced, with a full, articulate clean tone that has a singing, vocal quality. The piezo pick up on its own yields a surprisingly good acoustic steel string tone, and the humbuckers have an electric tonal pallet that is at home in nearly any musical setting. The guitar really is that versatile, and it is remarkably resistant to feedback (I have no idea how Paul did this, made a true hollow body that is capable of screaming overdrive).

I just love this instrument. If you have only one instrument, this would be a fantastic choice, and even if you have many, you would find yourself being drawn to it. This guitar is a meaningful example of the charter for CR Guitars, which is to carry guitars that evoke the feeling I had as a 10 year old playing that old D’Angelico.

If you'd like to find out more about this item, just call or e-mail me. It would be my pleasure to talk to you about it.

ABOUT PRS PRIVATE STOCK
Everyone has heard of PRS Guitars; they are one of America's great entrepreneurial success stories. But not everyone has heard of the Paul Reed Smith Private Stock instruments. These are special guitars, in every sense. That's what inspired us here at CR Guitars to seek them out; they conform perfectly to our vision of what "hand selected" really means. The goal behind the PRS Private Stock of instruments is not only to create the most beautiful and best playing guitars money can buy, but the best sounding. PRS works very closely with each order - through hourly discussions, experimentation, meticulous checks of every detail at each step in the process and making final tweaks when the guitar is complete - to make sure they are building the best guitars possible. If you get an extraordinary instrument from Private Stock that is equally as good as a family heirloom and a musician’s tool to make a living on, then the Private Stock goal has come to fruition.

“Whether built to your specification or ours, every Private Stock instrument is carefully guided through the process by highly talented, seasoned guitar makers, and each completed instrument is checked and signed by Paul Miles and me. From all of us on the Private Stock team, thank you for looking at and considering a Private Stock instrument. If you decide on a Private Stock guitar, we will give everything we have to make it the best instrument you’ve ever experienced.” - Paul Reed Smith


Preowned build date2015, mint
Serial #15-222654
ModelArchtop II with piezo
Neck woodfigured mahogany
Fingerboard woodBrazilian rosewood
Top woodcurly cedar
Back woodcurly maple
Side woodcurly maple
Headstock veneerBrazilian rosewood
Neck carvepattern
Side dotsivoroid
Colors/stainnatural/smokey blonde
Fingerboard inlaysmaple, ovankal and pink ivory paradise bird inlay
Headstock insigniamaple Paul Reed Smith signature inlay with Paradise bird inlays
Finish typehigh gloss nitro
Pickupstreble - 58/15, bass - 58/15
Electronicsvolume, tone with 3-way toggle and PRS piezo system
Bridgenickel PRS adjustable stop tail
Tunersphase III locking with Brazilian rosewood buttons
Set upD'Addario 0.011
Weight6.7 lbs
Caseprivate stock leather
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