On the Road: Paul Reed Smith Stops Visits Mom and Pop Stores to Demo PRS Amp Line

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main1After returning home from working NAMM 2013 for TheToneKing.com, I had an interesting conversation with my boss at Goodtime Music in Streamwood Illinois:

“Paul is coming to the shop in a couple of weeks.”

“Who the hell is Paul guy, and why the hell should I care?”

“Paul Reed Smith, and you should care because you own one of his guitars.”

“Oh.”

During an interview with The Tone King for the Future of Gear Documentary, Paul had mentioned that he intended to work more closely with smaller dealers in the future.

When he said that, most of us thought that he would be sending some posters or T-shirts or some other shit.

Turns out, he meant that he was going to get on a plane, train, and airplane and get his guitar-building ass down to the small mom and pop stores and demo his new gear.

When Paul walked into the shop last Friday, he was already showing signs of being tired from the long trip. My shop is 30 minutes outside of Chicago, and Paul had been traveling all day.

Line 6

“Do you have any coffee?” Paul said wearily.

2-mdt-customAfter we got some coffee into him, he perked up right away and signed everybody’s guitar and took the time to take a few photos. What followed was a 2 hour demo of the PRS HXDA, Paul’s MDT, and the SE 30 amps.

After Paul was done giving us an overview of what these amps could do, he let us take them for a test drive. Personally, I was impressed with the SE and the HXDA the most.

SE30HD-xlarge

 

The SE is definitely the best bang for the buck. Great cleans to the most mind crushing distortion and everything in between. A two-channel all tube head that doesn’t get too harsh on the highs. 2 “Tung-sol” 5881 tubes complement the 12AX7’s in the clean and lead channel preamp section and the 12AT7’s in the loop, reverb, and phase inverter. Independent Volume and EQ controls for each channel.

 

hxdaThe HXDA is an amazing amp. Basically, two amps in one. The first, inspired by the sounds of Hendrix and the second Duane Allman. You wouldn’t think that there would be much gain here, but you’d be crazy. While it’s not a death-metal machine, you’re still looking at an amp that will give you a lead tone with enough shred to cut off anyone’s head and a rhythm sound that will punch you in the chest. Most noticeably, though, was how smooth this amp was. Even with the volume cranked, there was less noise than you’ll find in any Marshall. And, hell did those notes sing! 3 “Winged C” EL34 Tubes and 3 JJ 12AX7 Pre Amp Tubes round out this Class A/B amp. The 3 HXDA switches give you plenty of different tones for any situation.

Taking the time out of his busy schedule to visit with the mom and pop shops that help keep his gear moving was definitely a cool move on Paul Reed Smith’s part. Hopefully, it’s part of a new trend that many other manufacturers will start to follow. After all, these shops are what keep these guys in business.

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About the Author: Marc published his first novel Becoming in 2010. It’s a kick-ass book with monsters and dreams and stuff, and you should buy it. Since then, he’s written thousands of articles for TheToneKing.com, many of which have been picked up for circulation by manufacturers and other news outlets. His next book, Drugs and Pancakes, should be available early 2014 if his alcoholic editor can find time to work on it in-between destroying his liver and screaming about punctuation. He graduated from Roosevelt University with honors, which means that he’s not as dumb as he looks. He’s been playing guitar for over 25 years, which is almost twice as long as most of his students have been alive.

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