2000 PRS Custom 22 Soapbar

Maker: Paul Reed Smith

Bought from: Ebay

Comments: As someone seriously afflicted by GAS (guitar acquisition syndrome), I have been quite guilty of buying quite a few guitars. I usually wait until I am quite certain that I would like to try a particular model -- which sometimes takes quite a while and a a far amount of reading up.

I have been aware of Paul Reed Smith for a very long time. He and his guitars have a stellar reputation for sounding and looking great. On the visual side, he was a pioneer of using figured wood tops stained and dyed using dramatic and intense colors. On the sound side, he is known for being very selective about the quality of the tone woods he uses and the combinations utilized for his various models.

Then this guitar came along and it seemed close to ideal. The Custom 22 Soapbar was originally made between 1997 and 2004. This one is from 2000. I really like having three pickups, as there are circumstances that the bass pickup is too dark and the bridge pickup too bright. The middle pickup is "just right". The neck/bridge combo -- while very useful -- is often very "boinky" and I find that additional character does not overdrive well.

The other factor was the maple neck & fingerboard. Maple is a very hard wood, but tends to produce much brighter guitars than does rosewood. I was pretty sure that the combination of the maple neck/board and the P-90s would combine with the maple-topped mahogany body to produce a really well-balanced tone. The fact that it was beautiful and blue didn't hurt either.

There were some alterations necessary, however. The stock pickup switching did not include the middle pickup by itself. The middle of the 5 switch positions which usually isolates that pickup instead resulted in the neck/bridge combination -- normally not available with a standard 5-way. So, I replaced the 5-way switch and rewired it normally. Then I replaced the tone pot with a push-pull pot that would switch the bridge pickup in. I now have all seven possible combinations available.

So, how does it sound? So far, I would say: excellent. Rarely has a guitar seemed to work so well so fast and so easily. I spent virtually no time dialing it in. It lined up tonally with my Two-Rock Custom Reverb right away.

PRS Custom 22 Soapbar