The world of yowhatsshakin


In 2000, after many years of producing only double-cutaway guitars, Paul Reed Smith released a single cutaway guitar aptly named the Singlecut. These guitars otherwise showed all the PRS trademarks, bird or moon dot inlays on a fretboard with a 10” radius, a 25” scale length, beveled lower horn, carved maple top, Honduran mahogany back and neck, rosewood fingerboard, and the unmistakable PRS headstock shape. Like the McCarty, this guitar has Kluson style machines for a vintage look, and comes equipped with PRS #7 Treble and Bass pickups specially designed for this model.

What happened next is well known. Gibson took umbrage with such a close competitor for their venerable Les Paul and sued PRS for trademark infringements. Anybody who would pay attention should notice the marked differences between both models, beyond more subtle things like the  difference in scale length (25” vs 24⁵⁄₈”). First, the orientation of the 2 volume and 2 tone controls on the PRS is ‘tilting’ the other way and arranged differently (see this PDF). The shape is not exactly the same either. Gibson claimed that somebody in a smoky concert hall might mistake a Singlecut for a Les Paul or vice versa, but, as they themselves testified in court, anybody with some knowledge about guitars would never mistake the two at the point of sale. And although PRS was forbidden to produce, sell, and market the Singlecut for quite a while (leading to an uptick in the value of this model in online auctions), in September 2005 they were rightfully allowed to produce this great guitar again. Currently, PRS’ only 25” scale singlecut is the Chris Henderson Signature, keeping up the tradition of the Singlecut and the SC250 both no longer in production. But ironically, PRS also offers the SC245, with a scale length of 24½” and TOM like bridge, making it even more of a Les Paul lookalike! For more info on this discontinued model, visit:


PRS singlecut

The story behind this guitar

Year:                  2000

Serial number:    0 48088

Strings:               D’Addario EXL110 Nickel Wound Regular Light (10-46)

I have always been intrigued by the ‘Goldtop’. The ultimate Goldtop would be an original 1957 Gibson Les Paul with 2 PAF humbuckers. And where would you find these for a reasonable price? Do you read Vintage Guitar Magazine? Then you might know how much that guitar would set you back. As has been quite in vogue over the last decade, also Gibson has started to produce reproductions of their most successful models. In 2001, I was seriously in the market for an LP Goldtop since Gibson had just released the ‘57RI, which was even available in a ‘Dicky Betts’ version based on his trusted axe. Several Guitar Centers were frequented and many were tested. Lets be brief here: I’m no fan of the neck carve of these reissues. Too much wood, although I wouldn’t use the term baseball bat yet. On one of these visits to Guitar Center in Tukwila, I wanted to test-drive another LP Goldtop. My eyes wandered to the section of the wall where they display PRS’s and what would you know, but there is this particular guitar. I almost dropped the Gibson on the floor. And there was no competition, not in feel nor sound. A great guitar and a first year model to boost!