Paul Reed Smith explains exactly what makes a great electric guitar – including the exact amount of time it should sustain

Paul Reed Smith speaks onstage at The 2020 NAMM Show in Anaheim, California
(Image credit: Jesse Grant/Getty Images/NAMM)

As part of its new, tone-themed issue, Guitarist sat down for a chat with someone who knows a couple of things about good guitar tone, Paul Reed Smith.

Last year, Smith made waves with his comments on tonewoods – he vehemently disagrees with the notion that they have little to no effect on a guitar's sound – and expounded to Guitarist about how tonewood factors into a guitar's tonal equation.

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Jackson Maxwell

Jackson is an Associate Editor at He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.

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