EdgeTech: PRS Alex Lifeson Signature Thinline Acoustic Beckons

Written by Brant David

Rush guitar virtuoso Alex Lifeson and guitar maker PRS are co-designing a new limited edition acoustic guitar, due spring 2014. Here’s what to expect.

aNewDomain.net — Inspired by guitar virtuoso Alex Lifeson of Rush, guitar maker Paul Reed Smith (PRS) is crafting a new acoustic guitar within the hallowed halls of its Maryland manufacturing facility. It’s the PRS Private Stock Alex Lifeson Signature Thinline Acoustic.

The Lifeson Signature Thinline Acoustic by PRS is sure to blow doors. Likely to bear a starting price of $4K or higher — that’s what the Lifeson Gibson models traditionally start at. The Alex Lifeson Signature Thinline Acoustic will be available in spring 2014, PRS reps say.

PRS is probably better known for making some of the finest electric guitars in the world. But it also makes, from my standpoint, some exquisite-sounding acoustic guitars. They’re great to handle and amazing to look at.

And a lot of guitarists will be intrigued to hear and see what the Lifeson acoustics from PRS are like.

Lifeson, well-known among musicians as perhaps one of the most-underrated hard rock guitar players ever, often uses acoustic guitars in Rush studio recordings. And he never shies away from playing acoustic instruments on stage. So it’s only fitting he’d collaborate on a new acoustic model.

The resulting Alex Lifeson acoustic is even thinner than the PRS Angelus Cutaway and Tonare Grand guitars. PRS designed it for Lifeson, a touring musician, to play live. Handcrafted by a select, small group of seasoned luthiers, the instrument is made with several different woods.

Endless array of acoustic guitars in progress

acoustic guitars in progress

On the top there’s European bearclaw spruce. The sides and back are made from koa.

The top and back binding are of spalted maple. The guitar neck is made of mahogany.

The headstock veneer, fretboard, and bridge are of ebony.

Beyond the woods, “Birds in Flight” is made of Paua, and Mother of Pearl is inlayed in the fretboard to help ensure that the instrument looks as gorgeous as it sounds.

It can be played purely on its own, fitted with the featherweight and hi-fidelity LR Baggs Lyric acoustic guitar microphone system, or fitted with the proprietary PRS acoustic pickup system. The PRS system features a band width Piezo pickup blended with a proprietary 18-volt custom-voiced preamp.

alexlifesoninventionBefore Rush sallied forth on its “Snakes and Arrows” tour in 2007, Lifeson invented a live-performance-guitar stand through his own small invention company, The Omega Concern.

Lifeson’s stand lets the guitarist play a strapless acoustic guitar while standing up. Lifeson thought up this invention to enable musicians to seamlessly transition back and forth between acoustic and electric guitars, while leaving his electric strapped on, during a live performance.

Explains Lifeson:

During the 2013 Rush Clockwork Angels Tour, I had the opportunity to spend some time with a PRS Angelus Cutaway. It quickly became my pre-show warm up guitar, and I spent many hours in many hotel rooms lost in the gorgeous sound and tone of that beautiful instrument. I’m very happy to announce that I have collaborated with PRS to develop an Alex Lifeson Signature model based on this superlative platform.”

Alex “Lerxt” Lifeson is known to insiders not only as the “scientist” of Rush but as the funniest man in the world … Watch this video, below.

For aNewDomain.net, I’m Brant David.

Image of Lifeson above: Wikimedia Commons

Based in New Jersey, Brant David is a senior writer for aNewDomain.net. Follow him at +Brant David on Google+ and Brant@aNewDomain.net.