Lush, elegant, divine and luxurious are just a few adjectives that might be appropriate to commence any evaluation of this 1994 PRS Artist 11 Limited Edition model – I happen to know the full history of this guitar – In the days before WWW.Com, I ran a small guitar store in Derby called Mark Hopkin Guitar Gallery – Generally stocking a more exclusive selection of guitars, with the emphasis on quality not quantity, which is effectively were I am today – At the time, PRS was still a very small concern, that was run from the old factory at Virginia Ave in Annapolis – Even the UK distributor at the time, Washburn UK, was small, with many UK dealers having less than 10 PRS Guitars in stock – Anyway back in 1994 I purchased this PRS for stock and sold it to a discerning customer – Years later he sold it back to me and I quickly sold it to another discerning customer – So here we are in 2019 and it is now back on the market, awaiting another nice home to settle down in – It has generally been played at home and well cared for, so if it does not acquire the as new, or mint condition tag it is relatively clean – You’ll find a slight hint of wear on the gold plated hardware, mainly to the wrapover tailpiece at the point you rest your picking hand – Look hard to find any hint of any minor surface grazes to the top surface of the shiny gloss finish, but you’ll find no dings or dints – The wear is so slight that the camera is not picking up any such blemishes – So wear is light and maybe I’m trying to paint a worse possible picture, for what is after all a 25 year old guitar – Frets are original and barely show any sign of wear, to the point if it has taken 25 years to get to this level of wear, then it will be another 25 years before any fret dress is required – Offered for sale complete with the original deluxe ‘Artist’ case, plus certificate, as well as an original catalogue from that period – Re-strung and set-up with a new set of 10’s and the usual PRS slick playing action
Before the days of Private Stock and Wood Library, PRS only had a handful of models in their catalogue – Add to that a small factory unit, with far more work carried out by hand, including the selection of wood – It is this process of selecting wood that partly inspired Paul to offer a more luxurious version of a catalogue guitar, as he often found pieces of wood that were somewhat ‘superior’ to the norm – Additionally, at the time it gave him a chance to try out new ideas, without changing features to his core, best selling models – In 1993 the Artist 11 first appeared, at the same time as the Custom 22, both of which feature 22 frets – As the certificate suggests, the Artist Series was Paul’s ’boutique’ Custom Shop, that offered a limited selection of luxurious models between 1991 and 1997
In no particular order let me supply you with a few key details and information
- Hand select South American mahogany body and neck
- Whole guitar comes in at only 7lbs and 15oz so no issues for any weight watchers
- Wide/thin neck profile – measures .815″ at the top nut end and .860″ at the 12th fret – Comfortable C profile without feeling skinny
- East Indian rosewood fingerboard – dark, smooth and even grained character
- Maple bound fingerboard, which is repeated on the headstock facia, as well as the rosewood truss rod cover
- Dark Cherry sunburst finish – PRS often used the Artist models to introduce new colours and I think I’m right in saying that dark cherry sunburst was first used on an Artist model
- Highly figured grade maple top – now known as an artist grade top and certainly the pre-runner to Private Stock grade – Either way it is loaded with character and the pics do not do it justice
- PRS compensated wrapover bridge/tailpiece – light weight and milled
- PRS Mk1 locking machine heads with collar wing
- Colourful abalone bird inlays and headstock logo
- #241 signed and numbered on the rear of the headstock
- PRS Custom wound Artist treble and bass pick-ups – neck measures 8.02 whilst the bridge measures 8.69 Master volume pot with treble bleed cap, to preserves highs and clarity as you roll off the volume pot
- Master tone pot
- 5 way selector switch which effectively delivers 3 humbucking voices and 2 single coil flavoured voices
Tonal character :- In conjunction with the right amp, the Artist 11 has the ability to provide velvet smooth, warm and rich clean tones, from the custom wound Artist Bass neck humbucker, that are required for jazz/blues/fusion playing styles, as well as clean funky/disco rhythm styles – The slightly hotter Artist Treble bridge pick-up delivers more bite for clean rock, blues or country styles, whilst retaining the musical warmth and body – Click on to subtle overdriven amp settings for those classic blues and rock tones with good natural sustain, or dial in some hi-gain filth from your amp for the tones adored by the modern contemporary guitarist – In comparison with a PRS Custom 24, the tones from a Custom 22 are slightly thicker, warmer and smoother, more akin to a Gibson 335, with excellent articulation and expression – Due to the quality and taper of both the volume and tone pots on a PRS , you’ll find out that these controls do actually work smoothly as you move from 10 through to 1 – This allows you to control the volume, gain or tonal expression that you may require from your amp, direct from the guitar itself – As you back off on the volume pot, you’ll notice that the tone does not go mushy, instead it retains its clarity and allows the amp to clean up nicely, allowing you to control the emotion of the tone required- The main strength of the guitar is undoubtedly to provide 3 humbucking voices via the regular style 5 way selector switch – Yet check out the two very useful single coil ‘out of phase’ tones – Reminiscent of the position 2 and 4 switch settings that you’ll find on a Strat hence they are ideal for some funky rhythm chops – Sure you can own 2, 3, 4 or more different guitars, each capable of doing a specific job, yet the Artist 11 as one instrument alone, maybe all that you require – It is not meant to be a ‘tone clone’ of either a Les Paul or a Strat, rather just a great playing instrument with good tonal options and just as original in its own right – In fact the tonal expression possible from a PRS is down to you and the amp you chose to put it through along with how you wish to play it – A good instrument will enrich your playing style not hinder it, allowing you to explore new avenues, with an increased tonal palate and that is what a PRS guitar can offer
Finally I’ll leave you with a note from PRS as stated on the certificate ‘I personally certify that we have done everything within our power to make this the best instrument possible’
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Every guitar in stock at Guitars4You has been personally selected, inspected and approved by me, with particular attention paid to the set-up and playing performance – Every sale, phone call, mail order transaction or e-mail is handled my me – Mark Hopkin, the owner, Managing Director, cleaner and coffee maker (Jo, my wife helps with the coffee) – A journey, now in excess of 40 years, has fuelled my knowledge, experience, love, devotion and passion for exceptionally fine guitars – This reflects in every aspect of our business.
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