Updated: January 25, 2020 by Richard Cole
Paul Reed Smith guitars are not as popular as Fenders or Gibsons, but they are definitely on the same level.
A lot of people who actually have experience with all of these brands will tell you that PRS guitars just feel and sound completely different.
It’s not about them being better or worse, just a completely different beast. With that said, when PRS releases a new guitar, it is big news for the community. They are not really known for cheap guitars, but those who appreciate the quality and sound of these instruments don’t spare the expense to get one.
PRS NF3 hit the market some years ago, and caused a lot of hype. There was a new PRS guitar on the block, and it was absolutely amazing in every aspect you could think of.
What we are going to do today is take a closer look at this beauty, and see what interesting attributes it brought to the table back when it was released. They say real quality is timeless, and in case of PRS NF3 we can do nothing else but agree completely.
Paul Reed Smith Overview
What really sets PRS apart from other brands in the same league is their ambition. This is a company that will keep experimenting with new designs in order to reach a new level. If you think about it, this type of policy is not often seen in the industry.
Usually manufacturers find a formula that works and stick to it like it’s the word of God. Not PRS, though. These guys will break down their most successful model and put it back together differently just to see if they can do something better that time around.
So how does that have anything to do with PRS NF3? Let’s find out.
PRS NF3 Review comes with a body that has a very similar shape to the Fender’s Stratocaster. There are some differences, but the general shape is definitely there. Unlike Strats, this guitar is actually made of Korina tonewood. Now, that is not something you see every day.
This tonewood has a very specific nature when it comes to resonance and overall acoustic properties, which was perfect for what PRS was trying to build. Another interesting thing about the body of this guitar is the finish.
PRS went with their somewhat recent V12 finish. This is a mix of nitro and acrylic that combines best traits of both of these.
Neck is made of maple, and is a bolt on design. It comes with a very nice rosewood fretboard that features ring dot inlays. This neck is a great example of how PRS sometimes thinks out of the box. The whole back of the neck is unfinished. There is no lacquer or anything similar.
The result of this decision is a very playable and comfortable neck. On top of that, they brought back the old neck profile you could find on their guitars from the ’80s.
Moving on to electronics, this guitar just keeps on giving. They installed three PRS Narrowfield pickups. These are very similar to their legendary 57/08, but they have a different pole design.
Even though all three are humbuckers, they are extremely versatile. Controls come in form of tone knob and one volume knob paired wit ha pickup select switch. Bridge is a PRS tremolo design on one side, while the headstock houses a standard set of PRS locking tuners.
There are two things you need to know about this guitar right away – it wants to be played, and the humbuckers it comes with are not your regular design.
The range of tone Narrowfield pups can produce is what defines the versatility of the PRS NF3. You can go anywhere from Strat territory to more robust humbucker tone we are used to. Pretty much anything you can imagine is possible to dial in with these humbuckers.
The neck and weight distribution are near perfect. You can play for hours on end and not feel any fatigue. Thanks to the quality hardware PRS included into this package, you can count on NF3 to stay in tune despite how much abuse you throw at it.
What we like
What PRS did with the NF3 is borderline magical. This guitar is so different from anything else out there that comparing it to other guitars simply wouldn’t be fair. Its performance and playing comfort are off the charts.
It’s something that you need to experience for yourself in order to understand.
What we don’t like
There is seriously nothing we can count as a flaw on this PRS. The only thing that comes to mind is relatively high price. However, PRS guitars, especially the more elite ones, are known to cost a decent amount of money. In this case, high price on its of is definitely not a flaw.
Taking everything into account..
At the end of the day PRS produce a truly incredible guitar. PRS NF3 is so refined, versatile and stylish at the same time that it belongs in a category of its own. It’s like a fusion of Strat and Les Paul that comes with a unique character. Nothing really compares to this. Narrowfield pickups are just about the most impressive feature on this guitar.
PRS pushed humbuckers into a territory where they are almost never found, at least not in this configuration. However, the gamble paid off and it paid off big.
If you are wondering whether or not you should get one of these, the answer is pretty simple. Sure, not everyone will like it, but chances are that this is one model most guitar players can stand behind. It simply has the potential to be used in a variety of different genres like it belongs there.
There are other guitars which can adapt to different styles of music, but not on this level. You can do jazz in the morning and go full death metal in the evening, on the same guitar, and the same amp. It’s just amazing.