35 players - including John Mayer, Alex Lifeson, Dave Navarro and Carlos Santana - on why they love PRS guitars

Mark Holcomb – Periphery

Mark Holcomb with his Mark Holcomb Signature USA Limited Edition Custom 24 seven-string.

Mark Holcomb with his Mark Holcomb Signature USA Limited Edition Custom 24 seven-string. (Image credit: PRS Guitars)

• MODEL: PRS Mark Holcomb Signature Prototype
• SONG: Graveless – from Juggernaut: Omega (2015)

“I first used my original six-string signature model prototype all over Juggernaut, when we were recording back in 2014,” Holcomb says. “You can hear it on songs like ‘The Bad Thing,’ ‘Omega,’ ‘Graveless’ and so on. 

“That prototype was the basis for my Core signature model. It was my main live guitar for several years, so it’s taken quite the beating, but it’s still got this magic to it. Since then I’ve collaborated with PRS on my six- and seven-string SE signature models.”

Paul Jackson Jr.

• MODEL: PRS JA15
• SONG: B.F.A.M. (Brothers from Another Mother) – from Stories From Stompin' Willie (2016)

“When I first started with Paul and PRS Guitars, I was scheduled to work on the Grammys,” says Jackson, who has enjoyed a long, illustrious career as an A-list sideman, session player and solo artist. “I played a 513 onstage with Christina Aguilera and Chris Brown. I used an SC 250 for nine consecutive seasons of American Idol, and I used my 245 for a 3 1/2-year stint on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. 

“There was a joke that folks used to say about me in the Rickey Minor Band (musical director for the Oscars, Grammys, Emmys, The Tonight Show, American Idol, etc.). They’d say, ‘If you wanna get seen on TV, stand next to Paul,’ because I got lots of shots on television. I think that was because my PRS guitars look so good.”

Tom Johnston – The Doobie Brothers

• MODEL: PRS Custom 24
• SONG: Nobody – from World Gone Crazy (2010)

“I used various PRS guitars on every album the Doobie Brothers have done since 1989’s Cycles,” Johnston says. “All of my guitar work on World Gone Crazy was done with a couple of PRS guitars because they sound great using both clean and distorted sounds. They’re such versatile guitars. 

“We still tour every year and play between 80 and 90 shows a year. And I play PRS guitars every night. I can depend on Paul and the PRS folks to have my back for any repairs, pickups, fret work, volume and tone pot fixes, paint touch-ups – you name it!”

Davy Knowles

• MODEL: PRS Custom McCarty
• SONG: Ain't No Grave – from The Outsider (2014)

“I recorded my version of the old spiritual tune ‘Ain’t No Grave’ with a cool, one-off, Goldtop McCarty with a single bridge humbucker and a single volume control,” Knowles says. “I tuned it down to Drop C with some big, heavy strings. Love the sound on that! 

“My Number One PRS is a prototype that used to belong to Paul. He gave it to me onstage when he sat in with my band in Virginia about 10 years ago. It has some mad quirks, like no truss rod but a strip of carbon fiber instead. It’s such a cool and unique guitar, and it sounds huge.”

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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.