Mark Tremonti and PRS have one of the most successful partnerships in modern electric guitar history. Partners for more than two decades, it was Tremonti and Paul Reed Smith’s collaborative minds that brought about one of the first PRS Singlecut guitars – a model that later formed the basis for Tremonti’s own signature guitar.
Around 2016, the two rekindled their experimental tendencies by creating a custom, double-cut, Explorer-style guitar, which has been spotted in the wild sporadically with the Alter Bridge man over the past few years.
Unlike the single-cut design, though – which is now one of PRS’s most popular offerings – it doesn’t sound like Tremonti’s infinitely more quirky concept will be getting a full production run any time soon.
Speaking to Ultimate Guitar (opens in new tab), Tremonti discussed the origins of his wild PRS axe, and explained why its contemporary metal aesthetics – and complex build – will prevent it from becoming a regular star in the PRS catalog.
“I have four of those now,” Tremonti revealed. “But the problem with it is they would have to create a three-piece top and they would have to create new CNC machines to build just that one model, and it's just not in the cards, you know.
“I've asked them a lot of times,” he continued, “and they'd have to carve out a corner of the warehouse to do that, just for that one guitar, so I don't think it's worth it.”
Tremonti went on to say its “radical” appearance also hinders its production chances, saying it goes against the “traditional, classy” nature of the PRS brand.
“They're not a heavy metal kind of guitar place,” Tremonti said of PRS. “I think it's kind of traditional. So I think that design was a little bit on the edge.
“Some of the people at PRS absolutely loved it, and some people didn't like it. So I think it's kind of cool that it's something that only I get to play at the time, but it would be also great to see it hit the stores, but I don't think that's gonna happen.”
Radical is perhaps an appropriate label for the concept guitar, which features two small double-cuts – unusual for Tremonti, who famously favors single-cuts – as well as an elongated upper bout, offset shape and reversed PRS headstock.
In 2016, Tremonti sat down with Total Guitar to show off an early version of the concept, which at the time was still in its infancy.
“I went up to the factory and I wanted to design a new style with Paul, and Paul said, ‘If you want to design a new style, you have to come up and do it with me,’” Tremonti recounted. “We went into his office, got out his dry erase board and just started sketching ideas.”
Mystery PRS guitars seem to be in fashion at the moment. Earlier this year, Tremonti’s Alter Bridge bandmate Myles Kennedy was spotted playing a Tele-style model. Whether that model will fare better in the quest for a production run, it remains to be seen.