Black Stone Cherry guitarist Chris Robertson recently chatted with Total Guitar about the new Paul Reed Smith Starla S2 guitar, which is a more affordable version of the company's higher end model. Robertson was one of the few artists chosen by PRS to test out the guitar a month before its official release, and give the company feedback on their performance.

Robertson had been slinging PRS' standard Starla guitars for a couple of years already, as well as several other models made by the Maryland-based company. His love for the Starla comes from its simplicity, and the fact that they match very well with the clean tones provided by his Buddha amplifiers. He gelled with the new S2 almost immediately, saying, "I use this guitar for a lot of the set. It's simple, man. Volume, tone, three way pickup selector." Robertson also states that his Starla S2's have already become some of his favorite guitars to use when performing live.

The Starla design is somewhat of an anomaly amongst PRS' product lineup. Their Singlecut and Custom models have enjoyed a lot of attention from modern hard rock players for many years, primarily for their beautiful aesthetics, versatility and Les Paul-like tone without the excessive weight.

Compared to the company's most popular models, the Starla has a brilliant and brighter tone that's a bit more Fender-like in comparison. The guitar is built with a mahogany neck that's set into a single-cut body, but eschews using highly figured flame maple top for a flatter and more contoured design -- similar to a Gibson SG. The cheaper S2 model is essentially exact same guitar, except for slightly different pickups and a 25-inch scale length that's a half-inch longer than the standard Starla model. The extra half-inch gives the tone more snap, and brings out more of the bite and jangle that Robertson likes to hear from his standard Starla models.

Robertson thinks of it as almost a hybrid of sorts, saying, "This one has a little more pop, more snap. kind of like a Telecaster. It's almost like a dual humbucker Tele mixed with a Les Paul Junior if that makes sense." The Bigsby tailpiece adds to the guitar's vintage flair, but Robertson says that he avoids using it himself out of fear of knocking the guitar out of tune.

If you've been on the fence about dropping the cash for one of PRS' Starla models, the S2's attractive price point and USA-made construction might be enough to push you over the edge and head down to your local dealer. And if Robertson's glowing review is any indication, you won't be disappointed.