I heard someone saying "a private stock guitar" this morning on TV.

Does it mean being considered valuable and collect appropriately by its buyer or its owner, or being a perfect guitar of the highest quality that the manufacturer will produce it with much care and respect?

What exactly does "private stock" mean?

  • 1
    Hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind guitar. Branded/Marketed by a company called PRS.
    – lurker
    Jan 13 '16 at 3:20

When a company markets something as "private stock" they mean that the product is very high quality, and usually rare or only available in limited quantities.

I've seen "private stock" used to describe aged liquors and spirits, tobacco blends, and other commodities. This is the first time I've seen it applied to an item like a guitar, and I imagine the guitar has the same qualities as the other products I've seen it applied to - rare and high quality (also known as expensive! :))

The private stock page on PRS Guitars says "Private Stock represents the highest quality of materials, the most personally crafted instruments, and the greatest level of customization available from PRS. Whether you choose one of our Private Stock models or spec a Built to Order instrument, every Private Stock is carefully conceived and built with a “one-off” mentality. Through this program, we strive to deliver heirloom-quality, musical instruments."


When a crafter of goods fabricates an item of significantly higher quality, they may set it aside from the many other items that are simply "good enough" to send along to market. These high quality items can be referred to as "private stock" or "private reserve" and are usually either sold at a higher price, or reserved for special occasions. Incidentally, the items that were "good enough" might be referred to as "run of the mill" items.

The expression can also be used when the item wasn't crafted by the owner. For example, a wine collector may have a selection of common wines that he or she serves guests at parties, but may have "private stock" that they reserve for very special occasions.

In modern English, it is frequently encountered as a marketing device used to imply quality, often without actually having to make any quantifiable claims about the product. It's like saying your food contains "premium" ingredients. They are implying that their ingredients are better than the "standard" ingredients, but we have no way of knowing what makes them better.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.