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Interview: Paul Reed Smith Talks Fishing, 50's Guitars, and Music Villa
CATEGORY: Interviews

An Interview with Paul Reed Smith a.k.a. PRS

Paul Decker, owner of the famed Music Villa in Bozeman, MT, enjoyed a recent visit from the legendary Paul Reed Smith, founder of PRS Guitars. The two sat down to chat about their favorite subject: guitars. 

PRS: How did this store become Music Villa?

PD: Armena Joos started this business in Seattle and moved it to Bozeman in the late 70s, where their kids ran it. My dad bought it in the early 80s when it was a little shop downtown until we moved to this location.

PRS: You're in the home of the acoustic guitar, but you're starting to sell a lot of electrics.

PD: We do a lot of electrics and a lot of your fine instruments. We love it.

PRS: The guitar that made me want to start making guitars is hanging on your wall; it was a Teisco Del Rey from the Sears catalog and I thought to myself, 'for a hundred dollars, why don't you fret it better, why don't you carve the neck better? You still have to put a sunburst on it, you still have to wire the pickups, you still have to string it and fret it, why don't you just do it well?'

PD: That's what I love about the guitars on the wall. People come into the store and get excited when they recognize their first guitar -- it brings back memories and it's fun. You are so passionate about guitars and that's what we love about your guitars. You've done so much in the last year, and the last 40 years of your life. You're so dedicated to guitars. In the last year, you've done stuff that's just amazing. What are you excited about now?

PRS: In the last 9 years, people were buying pedals and acoustic guitars, they weren't really buying electric guitars. Electric guitar sales are back! You have a store full of experts here; in my definition of an expert, it's someone in a very complicated area that solves very complicated problems over and over again. In fact, in the last hour, we were able to help someone identify a problem with an ancient Gibson acoustic guitar. You were very fair with him, and you must be that way with all of your customers because they keep coming back. We're here because I think this could be an extraordinary electric guitar store.

PD: What are you working on right now? What's your favorite thing?

PRS: I study what happened in the 50s a lot because that's when our business was born. From 1948 to 1963, the electric guitar was this extraordinary thing that was built. If I can find things from those instruments that I think need to live again, we try and do it. So the 594, which is very popular, the old scale length of 24 .594 is back for us. We analyzed a huge number of pickups from that era; they have a pretty wide range. Some are really bright, some are semi-bright and some are dark. We've found a good spot to put that in, which is that whole 58/15 LT pickup thing. We actually just shot one of your employee's guitars out, and I didn't want to change the pickups in it which means we did a good job on it.

PD: You did  a great job, the 594 is amazing. They sell as fast as we get them! People love them.

PRS: Well, we're back ordered about six months, so I'm warning you! Guitar sales go up and down and our ability to adjust isn't great. So when people want more, they're mad at us -- and when we make too many, they're mad at us. But there's a moment right now where things are really good.

PD: We're coming out of what I call the Disco Era. There was a time in the disco era when a lot of acoustic guitar manufacturers suffered a bit. I felt like we've been in that era these last few years, but with electrics. Now, electric guitar sales are just exploding and you're leading the way with your excellent electric guitars.

PRS: We're very interested in Music Villa and this market in Bozeman. To me, this is a good place to be and I like coming here for my yearly trek. I find there's some stores where people walk in, look around and leave. In this store, they look around and they don't want to leave without something. That's good! This is a destination store and you have a museum of instruments here.

To learn more about Paul Reed Smith and his guitars, visit PRSGuitars.com

And in case you missed Tuesday night's clinic with Paul Reed Smith & Bryan Ewald, we went Facebook LIVE for the entire event! You can watch the entire 2 hour clinic straight from our Facebook page. Enjoy!

Go to MV Facebook Page NOW >>


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