MOG #21 "Darwin"
1986 Paul Reed Smith
" The Holy grail for PRS Players. A Modern Classic. Often admired. Never replicated"
Estimated Value: US$ 9,000
Colour: Yellow Tiger
Type: Solid Body
Woods: Mahogany (body), Artist Grade Maple (top), Brazilian Rosewood (Neck and fretboard)
Electronics: 57/08 (Neck & Bridge Pickup), 3 way selector, Master Volume, Master Tone with coil tap push pull
Bridge: PRS Gen 2 Tremolo
Tuners: 'Tweaked' PRS Phase 2 Locking Tuners
Scale Length: 25 inch
Fretboard Radius: 10 inch
Frets: Modern Eagle (taller than regular PRS frets. Roughly medium jumbo)
Neck profile: Pattern (Similar to 1959 Les Paul Profile)
Finish: Satin Nitro (Body), PRS unfinished rosewood (neck)
" Obviously that Brazilian rosewood neck and fretboard has to be experienced to be understood. Take a few minutes to admire the grain, smell that almost chocolatey (some say rose like) fragrance and discover the feel of an unfinished, lightly oiled Brazilian rosewood neck which can be quite addictive and very different from typical satin necks. The other thing you will notice is how the flame really pops out compared to gloss finishes and the slightly enhanced highs and lows compared to a regular McCarty model"
The tale of 'Excalibur', possibly the last new Modern Eagle 1 ever and of which I am lucky to be the first owner, is mired in drama, controversy and a near miss heartbreak.
The first part of the story takes place in 2007, a time when PRS's production of Brazilian rosewood necked models (the Modern Eagle and the 513) were abruptly paused while they were asked by the US government to prove the provenance of the said extremely rare and restricted woods. It was a full five years later in 2012, when they were given the green signal and the remaining Modern Eagles were re-released for sale, some with choice upgrades reflecting the progress made by PRS in those years.
'Excalibur' was one of these 2012 models upgraded from the factory with the latest tuners, bridge and the critically acclaimed 57/08 pickups featuring 1950s Gibson wire.
I come into the picture in 2019 when after falling in love with the brazilian rosewood necks on my 513 rosewoods, I was looking for its more famous companion the original Modern Eagle. After trawling every corner of the net I could find, I was shocked to find a new one for sale and promptly got in touch with the dealer, asking them to ship it to the Excalibur hotel in Vegas where I was staying.
The next three days gave me an understanding of dysfunction of the domestic courier system which I was not prepared for. Highs, lows, the package being lost, the package being found, it may have made an entertaining drama had it not been the package being a rare and valuable guitar such as this. Finally right as we were about to leave Vegas, the courier office told us that the package was officially lost and asked us to file for insurance. I was heartbroken but my wife suggested we make one last stop at the reception at the Excalibur hotel just in case.
I could scarcely believe my ears when the service staff said yes there indeed was a package and the sight of the familiar PRS case sized box was one I will never forget. Some NGDs are special but few are burnt into the memory such as this.