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1st Generation Paul Reed Smith basses?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by unbasslichkeit, Mar 23, 2006.

  1. Anyone have one of these? The last one I played will always be known as "the one that got away"...

    In 1989 my local music store had two PRS basses on closeout. I could have got one for $725 US, but I had to pay for school about that time so it was out of the question.

    The one I tried had a real wide neck, which I understand a lot of players did not like. I liked it, having learned on an old 60's Precision.

    I worked a long time with the tone controls and it was impossible to make the thing sound bad, at least in the store anyway.

    It was made in Maryland, too, FWIW. I've seen a few Eastern Shore players with them, and I am jealous.
  2. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Never played one, but to be honest I've read very few positive comments about them. Dig around with the TB search engine and you'll find some info.
  3. oversoul

    oversoul fretless by fate

    Feb 16, 2004
    1989? May be something else Brian, the line you are probably refering appeared what?6/7 years ago? (guessing)
  4. 1989 is right...the first line came out in '87.
    I've had a five-string bolt-on with a "10 Top" for almost a decade, and played it enough so that there's not much finish left on the back of the neck. Great, great bass for me, but not so much for other people.
    unbass, if you're looking for a PRS I know where you could get a four-string bolt-on for ~$900; PM me.
  5. I'd Google around some to get a better history but it's almost quitting time. I did look around TB some and there appear to have been some limitations with electronics with the earlier PRS basses. Wonder how well they wear.

    Only place I've actually seen any for sale on the Net was at He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named-In-Las-Vegas' shop. Not that I've been looking that hard.
  6. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    A buddy of mine got a 1st gen PRS five stringer when they came out. As I recall the string spacing was very narrow. Some five stringers might not like 'em for that. And slappers (four or five stringers) tend not to like the early PRS basses because the neck pickup is right against the end of the fretboard. Reggae players love that neck pup, though.
  7. Yep, the spacing pretty tight but it works for me...short fingers, y'know? Apart from the placement of the neck pickup, the tone just sucks for slapping, but that may be because the action on my bass is kinda high...luckily I'm not much for slapping and the fingerstyle tone just rules.
    unbass, PM read and replied. Let's make some dreams come true...:bassist:
  8. barroso


    Aug 16, 2000
    with 1st generation PRS bass do you intend the ones with a set in neck and with 3 pickups?
  9. burk48237

    burk48237 Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Oak Park, MI
    I personally hated the necks. They seemed to have a little cache with some of the reggae players who were looking for an updated EBO kinda off boomy not to articulate bass sound. Other then that they weren't to impressive.
  10. s_wood

    s_wood Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2003
    Delaware (USA)
    I've owned a few of these over the years, including a narrow-spaced five string with a 1986 serial number which I foolishly sold years ago. I say "foolishly" because I later learned that was the NAMM show bass used to introduce the PRS "Curly 5" (that's what it was called) to the world. :(

    That's the bass...

    Last edited: Jan 6, 2016
  11. MarkoYYZ

    MarkoYYZ Commercial User

    Jan 31, 2012
    Hammersmith Music
  12. Hey Marko

    Yeah, it looks like this thread could use a little help. Mine is pre-1st Generation, I hope that is OK.

    Paul made serial #7 for me, which we designed together in 1976-77 completely by hand and with only Jude's help - she was doing his inlays at the time. He was doing batches of 6 or 7 instruments in those West Street days - and it took well over a year to complete a batch. Obviously, this is WAY pre-factory - the factory started in 1985. I eventually settled on #11 which he made in 1977-78, and swapped back #7. Number #11 was an identical twin except for darker, more highly figured Honduras Mahogany body and the neck was a little more woody, actually more to Paul's liking than #7, for which he copied the 4001 Rickenbacker neck I had at the time. I played this bass exclusively on over 20 albums and for over 20 years. When my band got signed to InsideOutMusic in 1999 I had PRS #11 appraised and realized I could never take it out of the house again.

    If you are truly interested, it is in Vintage Guitar Magazine here: Paul Reed Smith #11

    If you are thirsty for more, there is a VERY detailed history on my website here: Custom Paul Reed Smith #11

    It includes a frank discussion of PRS basses and my thoughts on why they have not been an overwhelming success. I mean, let's be honest - PRS is #3 behind Fender and Gibson in the guitar world.

    I have been trying to replace PRS #11 since 1999, and while I have come very close, there IS nothing that compares so far. I obviously have a huge history with Paul, and I value his friendship tremendously. He just donated an incredible maple top and back for a Les Paul Florentine inspired replica I have underway. The build thread is here on TB, along with the other three Fender replicas my builder Keith Horne has almost finished.


    PS: My other instruments including 8 Fenders, are no slouches. Don't get me wrong, I love them all and they all bring something new and inspiring to me all day long - but when it really comes down to it - they are frankly are not even in the same league.


    So you know, my quest to replace PRS #11 has now evolved into designing and prototyping my own basses. It's a ways off but I have three on the drawing board. I have put everything on hold until I get my souped up Fender Performer (Transformer) and the Fender P and J hollow bodies which are currently being painted by Paul Slagle of Echopark. And the Les Paul is underway, which will be a while yet. Of course, while they won't look anything like the PRS above - a lot of the subtle but incredible details of PRS #11 will be included on my own designs. I can't help myself.

    Last edited: Jan 6, 2016
  14. 10cc


    Oct 28, 2013
    Don't think I've ever seen a generation one but I did own one of these for a few years. Great bass
  15. Hey unbass

    Just saw your post....

    At the risk of highjacking the thread - It's a bass I designed and had built for me, using a Stradivarius violin template, and blowing it out to 17" - which is pretty much viola size. It is constructed much more like a violin rather than a bass, with a honduras mahogany frame and a flamed maple top and back glued on. The electronics are transplanted from a Line 6 Variax bass so there are 24 different basses in there. My friend Keith Roscoe did the finish work on the bass for me.

    The build thread with lots of photos is here if you are interested: Custom Viola Prorotype

    Thanks, now back to the PRS stuff.....

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