Guitar Designer Says Prince Was ‘Painfully Shy’ To Work With


The builder of Prince‘s iconic Cloud guitar, Dave Rusan, revealed during a new interview with Guitar Player that the musician was pretty shy to work with while recalling their creation process.

Prince had several famous guitars, such as the Hohner Madcat, Auerswald Symbol, a series custom of Fender Stratocasters, and many others that he used during his career. Another one of his well-known guitars was the Cloud, built for him by Dave Rusan. Prince preferred using that guitar during his live performances from 1984 to 1993 and 1998 to 2000.

The guitar also appeared in the ‘Purple Rain’ movie. Dave Rusan built three more Cloud guitars for the ‘Purple Rain Tour’ that Prince launched following the success of his sixth studio album, ‘Purple Rain,’ and the 1984 film. Prince used the original Cloud guitar in the movie and then smashed it. The singer used the other two on tour, and the last one was given away in a competition.

In his recent interview, the guitar designer Dave Rusan talked about how it was to work with Prince. He was told they needed a custom guitar Prince would use in his movie, but they were in a hurry. The designer quickly accepted and started working on it. Rusan stated that Prince gave him some basic instructions on what kind of a guitar he wanted. Yet, he was ‘painfully shy’ to work with as he didn’t talk much during their time together.

When asked whether Prince told him what kind of a guitar he wanted, the designer replied:

“His instructions were sketchy at best. At the time, he often seemed painfully shy and talked as little as possible. He wanted design elements of his custom bass, such as the longhorn, incorporated into this custom build, so I used that as my initial inspiration. He said he wanted it to be white, with gold hardware, and he must have already had some experience with EMG pickups since he requested them.

Otherwise, I was on my own, and all the decisions, such as neck size and shape, fret size, and the myriad other things I would have wanted to discuss with him, were left for me to decide. I felt that the best plan was to make a guitar I would enjoy playing and hope that we both had the same taste.”

Dave Rusan revealed during the interview that Prince didn’t have detailed requests from him regarding the look of the guitar, so he made all the decisions by himself. The designer built it according to his taste. Talking about Prince’s first reaction to the guitar, Rusan said he liked it and enjoyed playing it.