How to Identify a PRS Guitar Model

By Charles Perry
The headstock of a PRS guitar has identification information.

Paul Reed Smith began making top-of-the-line guitars in Maryland in 1985. At the time of publication, the guitars are being made in the United States and South Korea. To properly identify a model, locate the model number and determine which country the guitar was made in. The information for making this determination is contained on the front and rear sides of the guitar headstock, and in the serial number. One exception is the signature models, such as the Santana I and Santana II guitars. In addition to model numbers these guitars have artwork on the fretboard showing a soaring bird.

Determine the Model and Country of Origin

Examine the front of the headstock for the model number, which appears there in large letters. This identifies the model of the guitar.

Look for the word "Korea" on the front and on the back side of the headstock. If it appears on either side, the guitar is a South Korean-made model.

Examine the serial number on the back of the headstock for the letter K. The K indicates that the guitar is a South Korean-made model.

Determine whether the serial number is handwritten or is a graphic reproduction. A handwritten serial number indicates that the guitar was made in the United States.

Tip

In 2001 Gibson Guitar Company obtained an injunction against PRS, prohibiting it from making its Single Cut model because it infringed on on the Gibson trademark. This was later reversed by appellate courts. Players and collectors often differentiate between Single Cut models made before and after the injunction. When the injunction was vacated, PRS resumed making the same Single Cut. This is one model, not two.