Chris Haskett's PRS Custom Nine-String Guitar — Video

Chris Haskett—a former member of the Rollins Band and a guitarist-for-hire for David Bowie, Reeves Gabrels and others—was looking for a guitar with the bottom three strings coursed like a 12-string and the top three strings left single for easy soloing.

So Haskett, a longtime PRS player, took his idea to Paul Reed Smith.

“He’s indulged my idiosyncrasies for a really long time,” Haskett says. “And also he’s just one of the greatest guitar makers in the world. So I approached him and said, ‘Do you think this is completely crazy?' And he said no.”

The guitar started its life as a Custom 22 12-string, so it had a longer headstock, a middle pickup and a 12-string nut and bridge. Rich Hannon at PRS recut the headstock to maintain the PRS look and made all other necessary adjustments.

The result is a guitar that produces the signature tonalities of a Gibson 1275 double-neck on a single-neck instrument.

“One of the most important features of this guitar is the string spacing is correct,” Haskett says. And that’s really what makes it beautifully playable.”

As Haskett told MusicRadar, “The idea’s been kicking around in my head since the 1990s. I wanted to be able to play Led Zeppelin’s ‘Bring It on Home’ and Mahavishnu’s ‘Dance of the Maya’ but not have to have 23 pounds of mahogany ruining my spine.

“I wanted to be able to get the sound of a 12-string but still be free to solo and bend on the high strings. The really signature sounds of a 12-string are the octaves between the E-A-D and G strings. Doubling the B and E just means you always have tuning problems and can't bend. So I thought this was a pretty good solution.”

In the video below, Haskett discusses and plays the guitar. He plays the intro to the Byrds' "So You Want to Be a Rock And Roll Star," which we appreciate.

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Guitar World Staff

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