If you’ve seen guitar wizard Mark Lettieri (VG, November ’22) at work, you know how expressive he is. Whether laying down deep funk rhythms with Snarky Puppy or whipping out a fluid fusion solo, he’s a virtuoso who requires a versatile axe. To achieve his personal nirvana, Lettieri collaborated with PRS to create the Fiore model, a variation on the HSS design built to the high standards of Paul Reed Smith.
The Fiore (Italian for “flower”) is a high-performance solidbody meant to cover all the bases at a session, gig, or rehearsal. For tone, it pairs humbuckers and single-coil pickups with a swamp-ash body, offering sounds from Gibson to Fender and most everything in-between. The swamp ash adds a distinctive sonic snap and quack, well within Lettieri’s funky wheelhouse. The axe sports a highly figured maple neck with scarfed headstock (a separate piece of wood joined at the lower frets). A bolt-on design, the neck sports a 22-fret maple fretboard (10″ radius) with silhouetted bird inlays and a floral inlay on the truss rod cover, and familiar 25.5″ scale. Hardware includes PRS locking tuners, a two-point vibrato bridge, five-way pickup selector, and three black knobs with one Volume and two Tones.
In hand, this PRS does not disappoint. Pay attention to its special Fiore neck carve, which is deep like the best old Strats and Teles. It’s not a thin shred neck; it sits in the palm like a well-aged baseball glove. The rounded edges of the fretboard add comfort, and fret dress is expert-level. Unlike heavy poly finishes, its lightly finished neck offers a natural wood feel.
While the Fiore is a passive plank, there’s epic wiring under the hood; it looks like the standard HSS scheme of a superstrat, push/pull pots under the Tone knobs allow for upward of 15 pickup combinations. These choices will keep any player busy for days and adds to the massive versatility of the Fiore. Tone-wise, you can get whatever you need out of the Fiore. In its myriad pickup combinations, you’ll find all sorts of Strat quack, jazz roundness, and fat or razor-edged tones for lead work.
Sure, this PRS is a pricey plank, but you get what you pay for. Like co-developer Lettieri, the Fiore is a top-of-the-line performer.
This article originally appeared in VG’s February 2023 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.