PRS Guitars: Engineered for Musicians

PRSBradI’m sure many of us reading this post enjoy listening to or playing music. After all, music appeals to both the technical and creative instincts that drove many of us to become designers and engineers. I’ve balanced being an engineer and a part-time professional musician for most of my life.  When I’m not designing in SOLIDWORKS, you can find me in the Nashville music scene either with a pair of sticks or a set of strings.  While I can’t quite call myself a guitarist, I am a drummer who plays guitar.  As a musician, I appreciate the expressiveness of the guitar, because of the many ways you can create sounds.  You can slide. You can bend.  You can pluck, pick, tap or strum.

As an engineer, I appreciate the elegance of a guitar’s design. The way that wood, metal and wire work together to create sound is like no other instrument.

Paul Reed Smith Guitars has been building some of the finest instruments in the world for 30 years. When I was invited to visit PRS Guitars to learn how they use SOLIDWORKS, I couldn’t wait to go.  This would be a trip I would enjoy both as an engineer and as a musician.


PRS Guitars partnered with SOLIDWORKS to produce a testimonial video.  A film crew spent two days onsite with the PRS team, capturing footage of their design and manufacturing processes.  They filmed interviews with the users and even Paul Reed Smith, himself!  As a technical advisor, I was basically the “hair and makeup” person for our software.  My job was to make sure any video footage of the PRS models in SOLIDWORKS looked as good as possible on camera.  I also answered any technical questions about terminology and features that were mentioned in the interviews.  I certainly earned my keep, but I’d have to say this felt more like a vacation than a work trip.


I got to know two expert users—Jon Wasserman and Mike Cimba, and was impressed with how they have used SOLIDWORKS since 1998 to model their complete guitar designs, as well as the tooling and fixtures for manufacture.  There are even some proprietary ways they use SOLIDWORKS that it probably wasn’t even designed for.  As a result, PRS is able to produce high quality products with incredible consistency and turn out new designs faster than ever before.


To a player, your guitar is like an old friend. Someone who buys a PRS guitar will probably keep that friend for the rest of their life.  The people I met from PRS understand how important that guitar is to each customer. So what impressed me most from my visit to PRS Guitars is how they combine craftsmanship, technology, and a passion for making great products. It makes me proud to know that SOLIDWORKS plays a part in helping PRS Guitars do their jobs better.

To see more,register and check out this video we created at Paul Reed Smith Guitars:


Brad Williamson is a Senior Industry Process Consultant with Dassault Systemes who has been helping customers learn, use and succeed with SOLIDWORKS since 1996. Based in the Music City, when he’s not designing in SOLIDWORKS, you’ll find him out playing drums in the Nashville music and theatre scene.

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