Paul Reed Smith: “I was blown away by them.”

When Stanley first met him, Paul Reed Smith’s company was a virtually unknown, small, independent guitar repair shop in Annapolis. Today, PRS Guitars is one of the foremost designers and manufacturers of guitars. Reviewer Jordan Wagner for Premier Guitar magazine says, “As many gigging guitarists can attest, Paul Reed Smith is no stranger to the quest for versatility, and PRS guitars are known for being some of the most sonically versatile instruments built in the past few decades.” After building Stan’s first double-neck guitar a few decades ago, Paul and Stanley have remained good friends.


ATI: How did you and Stanley first connect?

PRS:  I saw Happy The Man, and I was blown away by them.  They were in the catbird seat—the best of that style band that anybody had ever seen before.  There were a bunch of brilliant people in the same band, and they were on the cutting edge of something brand new.  They were the deal. Listen to “Steaming Pipes” and tell me it’s not brilliant. I spoke with them after the show and invited them to my studio, where Stan, Rick Kennell and I talked; we decided I’d make them a couple of guitars. Stanley wanted a double neck.

ATI: Stan joined your band, The Band of 1000 Names, after your business took off, because you no longer had the time to do both. How did that go down?

PRS: He was brilliant. The band asked him, and Stan agreed because he loved playing rock ‘n’ roll.

ATI: We know he plays a sublime guitar. What do you think of him as a singer?

PRS:  You’ll get nothing but good stuff out of me. He’s an extraordinary singer. He’s got some pipes on him.


  1. I had once read “1975: Paul Reed Smith sets up a guitar repair shop in Annapolis, Maryland, and begins building custom guitars for sale.”

    This article says, “Paul Reed Smith’s company was a virtually unknown, small, independent guitar repair shop in Indianapolis.”

    hmmm, Annapolis, Indianapolis… whatever 😉

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