I’m a huge fan of Paul Reed Smith — the man and the instruments. Paul is smart and well-spoken. The way he talks about his guitars reminds me of the way Steve Jobs spoke about Apple products.

So when Paul speaks, I listen. Like Apple, PRS typically makes incremental improvements to their products, rather than the static lineups or complete refreshes other brands often do. This year, the big” change are new Wing” tuners (PRS claims they look like wings, which, okay). Instead of aluminum, they’re made out of plastic. The shape is different too.

What interests me is that Paul says this opens up up the guitar and makes the midrange sound more vowel-like. You have to take him at his word for it, because how would one measure that? And if it were true, is that actually more desirable? Every time I’m mixing a sound, I get rid of some of the more obnoxious 800hz midrange. If the vowel sound lives in that 800hz range (and again, there’s no way to really know if that’s what Paul means), then I don’t want it.

So I’m not convinced this is an upgrade. This sort of seems like cost saving measure sold as an upgrade (getting iPhone 5C vibes, which was also an interesting sales pitch). But I’m also not convinced it would sound better or worse than before, so much as different.

But it’s interesting to read all the hoopla surrounding NAMM 2024, and compare Paul’s announcement here. It’s very low key by comparison.

For me, PRS makes some of the nicest guitars money can buy right now. My Silver Sky SE is an incredibly inspiring instrument, and my Custom 24 Piezo is insanely versatile and feels like it was built for my hands. The violin carve also sits well on my body. I don’t mind the plastic tuners at first blush, but I’ll admit that I’m suddenly encouraged to buy 2023 models of anything I’m interested in.