I’m not a fan of hype. The more people tell me something is incredible, the stronger my bullshit filter gets.
The only reason I did not have it set to maximum before
the PRS Tonare Grand even got here was because some
folks I have come to trust were among those doing the
raving, including the object of my current guitar-crush,
Tony McManus, and the ever-remarkable Ricky Skaggs.
I had to give them the benefit of the doubt. I also have
to confess to being as excited as I ever get at the prospect of actually getting my hands on one.
Appointments and Features
We got a base model for review, with pickup system
installed. The Tonare Grand is a comfortable 16" at the
widest point. This top is European spruce, and back
and sides are cocobolo with exquisite cocobolo veneer
bindings and purflings, finished with the proprietary
PRS shatter-hard all Nitro finish. The 1-3/4" fingerboard,
inlayed with the familiar PRS bird figures, is cocobolo
as well, with identical binding all the way around, which
flows onto the cocobolo-faced headstock to form a complete outline. The rosette is charming and simple: three
alternating rings of cocobolo and abalone. Side dots are
elegant tiny circles that look like copper or brass, and
this is my only complaint: in anything but direct light
you can barely see the side dots (some of us with aging-eye-syndrome had to put on the special glasses
to see them at all). The neck is very much like
their electrics—chunky, comfortable, satiny, and ergonomic enough to play for
hours. Barre chords are almost effortless,
easier than almost any acoustic I’ve ever
played. The lovely Keith Robson hand-machined tuners look like they could
be gears in an artillery launcher.
They’re very sensitive; a little tweak
goes a long way.
The pickup system is PRS
designed, with a Volume knob
mounted inside the soundhole,
carefully inset into the ring-brace.
The onboard preamp requires two 9V
batteries, which may seem like a lot, but
in return for 18V you get massive headroom, which is highly useful in live situations.