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The Paul Reed Smith SC or Singlecut Guitars

Wesman Todd Shaw started playing the guitar when he was 12 years old. He loves nothing more than to pick one up and pluck some strings.


The Gibson Les Paul is one of those instantly recognizable forms. Its shape and body, and distinctive inlay and headstock are all things most everyone recognizes as unique and original, and altogether timeless.

Over the years many many persons or business entities have copied the Gibson Les Paul. Sometimes the copy is much more of a counterfeit. Greco brand Les Paul copies come to mind. But Greco is hardly alone. They do serve to provide an example of something which was truly a counterfeit. Gibson never seemed bothered about it.

What did bother Gibson was Paul Reed Smith's Singlecut guitar. A guitar in the style of a Les Paul, sure, but which doesn't look like a Les Paul, and obviously wasn't built to counterfeit one.

The birds in flight fret-board positioning marker inlay could never be mistaken for Gibson.

The birds in flight fret-board positioning marker inlay could never be mistaken for Gibson.

The lawsuit was completely frivolous. No one in a smoke filled room would think a PRS Singlecut was a Gibson Les Paul. The whole notion was ludicrous, but what was real was the fact PRS customers were surely taking business away from Gibson.

The Les Paul is a very distinct guitar. The head-stock is universally known as a Gibson trademark, and then there are the positioning marker inlay, and the body dimensions. PRS copied none of these things. Neither did PRS copy the Les Paul circuitry. The only thing truly similar was the single cutaway body, and the use of two humbucking pickups, and the location of the pickup selector switch.

Yeah, the two tone and two volume knobs and their position on the body is fairly similar. But the PRS head-stock could never be mistaken for a Gibson head-stock. Can you imagine Martin guitars suing everyone who used the same shape headstock as they use? They'd have to sue hundreds of companies.

Just look at the beauty of the figured maple top on this PRS Singlecut.

Just look at the beauty of the figured maple top on this PRS Singlecut.

Gibson's lawsuit against Paul Reed Smith guitars over the Singlecut guitar

For the product rendered by the PRS guitar company, one would have to search far and wide to find a better product. The Gibson True Historic series Les Paul guitars are absolutely fabulous, but I don't think you could objectively say they are better guitars than a PRS Singlecut.

PRS guitars are a long way from being cheap or inexpensive. But they are the ones to beat. Game changer guitars. They force Gibson to elevate the quality of their product. Everyone benefits from this sort of thing. Competition is what drives up quality and drives down price.

The Paul Reed Smith Singlecut was introduced in 2001. The PRS guitar company had already established itself rather well by that point in time. But the Singlecut was a success. Everything Paul Reed Smith did seemed to turn out successful. The man and his crew are just bang up great at what they do.

In 2004 due to Gibson's lawsuit PRS had to cease production of the Singlecut. Gibson was instructed to figure out what damages were owed to them. Because a judge had sided with them.Federal District Court Judge William J. Haynes had determined the Singlecut was a trademark infringement. In 2005 a higher level of court over-ruled the earlier finding. Paul Reed Smith and Company were in the clear again to build and sell their Singlecut guitars.

Now Gibson continued to pursue legal action against Paul Reed Smith and his guitar company for its Singlecut instruments. But to this date, nothing else has happened. My thoughts are the judge who over-ruled the initial ruling was correct. The Singlecut is far less similar to the Gibson Les Paul than a lot of other instruments are. But Gibson only pursued legal action against Paul Reed Smith because his guitars are so damned good. You can read the court case in PDF form here if you wish to.

PRS SC or Singlecut guitars have been produced with two scale lengths

The most of the Les Paul guitars you will ever see came from the factory and the store with a pick-guard on them. No, not all, just most of them come with it. Paul Reed Smith isn't into pick guards. If you see a PRS Singlecut with a pick-guard on it, take a picture. You've really seen something.

The PRS Singlecut does not sound like a Les Paul. They won't sound the same to any guitarist who's familiar with playing a Les Paul. They aren't supposed to sound like a Les Paul either. PRS instruments are supposed to sound like PRS instruments. They do it too.

PRS Single cut guitars come in two different scale lengths. Most Paul Reed Smith guitars are twenty five inch scale guitars. But some of the Singlecut instruments are 24.5" in scale. The 24.5" scale length is much more reminiscent of a Gibson Les Paul. Scale length absolutely affects both the tonality of a guitar, and the way it feels in your hands. Both of those things are rather important, especially to someone springing the cash for a guitar as nice as a PRS.

PRS Paul Reed Smith McCarty Single Cut Private Stock 2014 Tiger Red Smoke Burst


PRS Private Stock Singlecut McCarty

There are three major varieties of Paul Reed Smith SC or Singlecut guitars available on the market today. But when you factor in the PRS private stock line, there are 4. Add in the semi-hollow body single cut guitars, and there are quite a lot of different types or grades of PRS singlecut guitar available.

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The PRS private stock singlecut McCarty guitars will be rather expensive, and feature the most figured maple tops and amazing finishes you can imagine. I'm seeing PRS private stock singlecut McCarty models for a bit over ten thousand dollars used on ebay.What is important to note here is the PRS McCarty guitars are more often than not double cutaway instruments. They are all extremely expensive. But only a small percentage will be single cut or single cutaway guitars.

Why are all the McCarty guitars so expensive? The PRS guitars labeled as McCarty are all in honor of Ted McCarty, who was largely responsible for teaching the craft of guitar building to Mr. Paul Reed Smith. It is a very nice and worthy sentiment. The master builder Paul Reed Smith honoring the master builder who taught him. Better guitars are simply not in existence. Here is a list of typical specifications for these instruments. I say typical, not exact:

  • Mahogany body with Curly Maple "Chevron V" top
  • Curly maple Pattern Wide Thin Private Stock grade neck
  • 10" radius East Indian rosewood fingerboard with 22 frets and Paua Bird inlays
  • Veneer Wood: Curly Maple Private Stock Grade
  • Veneer Inlays: PS Eagle (Paua)
  • Top color: Copperhead with Contoured Smoked Burst
  • Back color: Tone to match top
  • Neck color: Stain to match top
  • Binding: Natural
  • Two Tremonti humbucking pickups (pickup covers: neck pickup only)
  • Adjustable stoptail bridge
  • Nickel hardware, black pickup rings and toggle switch tip

Paul Reed Smith Private Stock McCarty Single Cut Burst

A beautiful PRS SC245


The PRS SC245

The standard PRS Singlecut is now the PRS SC245, the shorter scale instrument than the older SC250s. The SC245s are supposed to have hotter pickups in them. But this is something I've read in forums online. The shorter scale isn't much shorter. But it doesn't take a lot of change to change the feel and tonality of a work of art like these PRS Singlecut guitars.

These standard production instruments sell for about half the price of the private stock instruments. So you can expect to pay in the neighborhood of $3,300 for one new or even used. Mostly people who buy PRS guitars are not selling them. You will nearly always be dealing with large retail stores Here are some exact specifications:

  • Carved Figured Maple top with a Mahogany back
  • 24.5 inch scale Mahogany neck
  • 22 fret bound Rosewood Fingerboard with bird inlays
  • Rosewood headstock veneer with inlaid Signature
  • SC 245 Truss Rod cover
  • PRS Two-Piece Bridge
  • Phase III Locking Tuners
  • Nickel Hardware
  • PRS 58/15 Treble and Bass Pickups
  • Top Wood: Carve Figured Maple (Flame)
  • Back Wood: Mahogany
  • Number of Frets: 22
  • Scale Length: 24.5 inches
  • Neck Wood: Mahogany
  • Fingerboard Wood: Bound Rosewood
  • Neck Shape: Pattern
  • Fingerboard Inlays: Birds
  • Headstock Inlay: Rosewood Headstock Veneer with Inlaid Signature
  • Bridge: PRS Two-Piece
  • Tuners: Phase III Locking
  • Truss Rod Cover: ‘SC 245’
  • Hardware Type: Nickel
  • Treble Pickup: 58/15 Treble
  • Bass Pickup: 58/15 Bass
  • Pickup Switching: 2 Volume and 2 Tone Controls w/ 3-Way Toggle Pickup Selector On Upper Bout

PRS SC245 Demo and Tone Review : Paul Reed Smith SC245 Singlecut

PRS S2 Singlecut


The PRS S2 Singlecut

The PRS S2 series is very exciting for every working musician. You get PRS guitars made in the USA, and sold for prices a working musician can afford. These are very comparable to the Gibson Les Paul Studio guitars. My recommendations would be to try the LP Studio and the PRS S2 Singlecut before you purchase one.

These guitars come with push/pull coil tapping. So you can use the humbuckers or split the pickups into single coil pickups. You've got a lot of utility available here. These guitars have the maple top. It is a thinner top than on the more expensive models, and it isn't as arched. These guitars are so much less expensive because they are built more with machine and less by hand. They sell new from $1,000 to $1,300. As always, you pay more for the birds in flight inlay on the fret-board, and for more flashy finishes.Here are exact specifications:


  • Top Wood: Figured Maple
  • Back Wood: Mahogany


  • Number of Frets: 22
  • Scale Length: 25"
  • Neck Wood: Mahogany
  • Fretboard Wood: Rosewood
  • Neck Shape: Pattern Regular
  • Fretboard Inlays: PRS S2 Birds


  • Bridge: PRS S2 Stoptail
  • Tuners: PRS S2 Locking Tuners
  • Truss Rod Cover: "SC 250"
  • Hardware Type: Nickel
  • Treble Pickup: PRS S2 #7 Treble
  • Bass Pickup: PRS S2 #7 Bass
  • Pickup Switching: Volume and 2 Push/Pull Tone Controls with 3-Way Toggle Switch On Upper Bout

PRS S2 Singlecut Guitar Demo - Sweetwater at Winter NAMM 2014

PRS SE Singlecut


PRS SE Singlecut

Now these PRS SE singlecut guitars are nothing to sneeze at. They are built in Korea so as to provide an instrument at a low cost. These are beautiful guitars.

You can purchase one of these from between four hundred on up to eight hundred dollars, depending on the options. Paul Reed Smith is an extremely conscientious fella. He doesn't allow his name to be used on sub-par products. These guitars are inexpensive, not cheap. They are definitely the guitar to take and play in those small clubs and outdoors performances.

Another thing about that great price for these absolute huge value solid body electric guitars is there is no case sold with it. You can save and buy a case later. This is a get in the door with a great guitar at an outstanding price deal here. Here are the specifications:

  • Flamed maple top
  • Mahogany back
  • Mahogany neck
  • Rosewood fretboard
  • 22 frets
  • 25" scale
  • PRS-designed Treble and Bass Humbucker pickups
  • Wide-fat neck carve
  • Bird inlays
  • Nickel hardware
  • PRS-designed tremolo
  • PRS-designed tuners
  • Volume, tone controls with 3-way pickup selector toggle
  • Nickel hardware
  • Case sold separately

The PRS SE Singlecut. It sounds terrific

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