Paul Reed Smith (born February 18, 1956) is a master luthier and the founder and owner of PRS Guitars, which is considered one of the top makers of high quality guitars in the United States. Smith is considered to be one of the preeminent master guitar makers in the world.
Smith graduated from Bowie High School in 1974. He also attended St. Mary’s College of Maryland where he began his guitar making career.
He made his first guitar while a student at
St. Mary’s College of Maryland, and continued to build guitars after he finished college, making them one at a time, one a month. Together with another local, John “Orkie” Ingram, they formed the nucleus of what would become Paul Reed Smith Guitars.
Smith then contacted Ted McCarty, former president of Gibson and creator of the Explorer, ES-335 and Flying V guitars, and McCarty became his mentor and adviser. The result of their collaboration was the current line of PRS Guitars, which include solid- and hollow-body guitars. The Private Stock line of PRS guitars are made utilizing a vast range of exotic materials including various stones, elaborately figured tone woods, and intricate shells for inlays.