In 1985, luthier Paul Reed Smith started producing factory-made guitars, and over the next two decades, the cutting-edge, innovative PRS designs permanently changed the electric guitar industry. The initial set-neck, all-mahogany model was known simply as the "PRS," but it was renamed the "Standard 24" in 1987.
Relative to guitars available from other builders in the mid-'80s, the PRS was unlike production model on the market. The PRS combined many intriguing high-end details into one extremely versatile, expressive guitar that covered a vast array of sounds and applications. The first model featured a solid mahogany body, a 24-fret set neck, an in-between 25" scale length (not long, not short), two humbucker pickups that could be coil-tapped, Paul's innovative tremolo system, and a five-way rotary selector switch.
When players first picked up a PRS, the 24-fret neck felt long, and its carve was fast and smooth. The unfettered access all the way up to the second octave just means more musical possibilities. In the '80s, most players preferred the warmer, more powerful, compressed sound of humbuckers, so the Standard Bass and Standard Treble pickups looked the part. But the five-way rotary switch offered three new ways to combine the two pickups, and the additional coil tap switch was new to many players at the time. Plus, the tremolo allows you to dive-bomb and get out there without knocking the guitar out of tune. Locking Schaller tuners help quite a bit, too. It's a guitar that can keep up with you all night and delivery great tone for whatever sound you need.
As for details, Paul Reed Smith's double cutaway body, carved top, and offset headstock were eye-catching and novel. And the contours of the body are more comfortable than the clunky '70s guitars, too. Also, the early PRS guitars aren't as deep as the later '90s models, so they're a bit lighter in weight, and they feel sleek on your lap or hanging from a strap. On the fingerboard, understated yet refined moon inlays guide the way to all 24 frets. The playability, fit, and finish were unparalleled in the mid-'80s, and because of that, players across a wide variety of genres picked up PRS guitars simply because they were more versatile and more usable—true player's guitars.
This 1986 Paul Reed Smith PRS is an excellent example of the early production-era PRS model which would go on to be named the Standard 24. It is in excellent condition with some expected wear and a few minor finish chips around the edges of the body. It is setup perfectly, and it has been refretted with the appropriate jumbo-size fret wear. The nut was likely replaced at that time as well. This 1986 PRS includes its original case.
From a historical perspective, this Paul Reed Smith is a fascinating guitar, but it's also an incredibly usable instrument—a versatile tool that can handle whatever you need!