35 PRS guitarists – including John Mayer, Alex Lifeson, Dave Navarro and Carlos Santana – on why they love Paul Reed Smith's guitars

John Mayer with his Private Stock Super Eagle. (Image credit: PRS Guitars)

Paul Reed Smith built his very first guitar in 1975 when he was a student at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Although he was just 19, he realized the only thing he wanted to do was build guitars, and he eventually dropped out of school.

When Smith sold the second guitar he ever made – a copy of a double-cutaway late-Fifties Les Paul Junior – to Derek St. Holmes, who was Ted Nugent’s rhythm guitarist at the time, he realized that his dream of becoming a professional luthier could easily become a reality.

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Chris Gill

Chris is the co-author of Eruption - Conversations with Eddie Van Halen. He is a 40-year music industry veteran who started at Boardwalk Entertainment (Joan Jett, Night Ranger) and Roland US before becoming a guitar journalist in 1991. He has interviewed more than 600 artists, written more than 1,400 product reviews and contributed to Jeff Beck’s Beck 01: Hot Rods and Rock & Roll and Eric Clapton’s Six String Stories.