* Nono: Prometeo: Tragedia dell’ascolto (Ensemble Modern/Metzmacher) (EMI 2CD)
* Miles Davis: Pangaea (Sony 2CD)
* Sam Rivers: The Complete Blue Note Sessions (Blue Note/Mosaic 5LP)
* Bobby Hutcherson: Waiting (Blue Note LP)
* Bobby Hutcherson: The View From The Inside (Blue Note LP)
* Bobby Hutcherson: Highway One (Columbia LP)
* John Abercrombie Quartet: 39 Steps (ECM CD)
* Amouar Brahem: The Astounding Eyes of Rita (ECM CD)
* Grateful Dead: Dave’s Picks Vol.16: Springfield, MA 3/28/73 (selections) (GDP/Rhino 3HDCD)
* Frank Zappa: Roxy: The Movie (Zappa/Universal CD/BD)
* Neil Young & Crazy Horse: Ragged Glory (Reprise CD)
* Strawbs: Hero & Heroine (A&M LP)
* Tangerine Dream: Rubycon (Virgin LP)
* Tangerine Dream: Encore: Live (Virgin 2LP)
* PFM: Photos of Ghosts (Manticore LP)
* Pete Bardens: Heart To Heart (Arista LP)
* Galaxy: Nature’s Clear Well (Breeze/Import LP)
* Love And Rockets: Love And Rockets (Beggars Banquet LP)
* Porcupine Tree: The Sky Moves Sideways (d.2) (KScope 2CD)
* Jeff Buckley: Grace (Columbia CD)
* Goldfrapp: Seventh Tree (Mute CD)
* Sleep: “The Clarity” (Praise Iommi 12”)
* Agalloch: The White EP (Agalloch/Bandcamp ALAC) †/‡
Although my birthday is not until next weekend, I got myself a little present: a limited edition PRS 30th Anniversary Custom 24.
And, holy cow, is she a beauty!
I've been playing guitar (off and on) for over thirty years but have never owned a really nice instrument -- until now. Known for their gorgeous carved maple tops and first-rate finishes, Paul Reed Smith guitars are intended to be not only lovely to look at but also imminently playable. Right out of the box, I wailed away for five hours straight -- which really tells you all you need to know about this guitar.
It's the little things that really add up to an extraordinary instrument. Beyond the aesthetic touches (mother-of-pearl inlays, ivoroid purfling, hybrid gold/nickel hardware, etc.), this guitar is a sheer pleasure to touch. Even unplugged, it resonates and sustains unlike any guitar I've ever played and the two-octave, set neck speaks and intonates like a dream. Plug it in and a world of tones await, with new 85/15 pickups and brilliant five-way switching which allows a highly useful combination of humbucking and single-coil sounds. Add in the silky smooth PRS tremolo system and Phase III locking tuners and this guitar can pretty much do it all.
Now, some folks don't like PRS guitars -- and that's fine. But to denigrate the Custom 24 because it's neither a Fender nor a Gibson misses the point. When Paul Reed Smith built his first guitar back in 1985, his goal was to solve what he perceived as the problems inherent in both designs and his quest for perfection continues to this day. The Custom 24 is its own thing. No, it doesn't sound or feel like a Les Paul or a Stratocaster -- but neither of those instruments sound or feel like this one. And I've certainly never enjoyed playing a Les Paul or Strat nearly as much as I love playing the Custom 24. That is all that really matters to me.
Expensive? No doubt. But the more time I spend playing (hours and hours at a stretch), the more I realize she is worth every penny. Happy Birthday to me!