(July 30, 2008) - Paul Reed Smith Guitars opened their doors for us and gave us a guided tour of their facilities, showing us exactly how they do what they do. Identifiable by a mere glimpse from across a concert hall or by a single soaring note piercing the mix, people love PRS guitars for their startling maple quilts and their ability to allow artists as different as Carlos Santana and Mark Tremonti to craft their own sonic identity. With that in mind, we hit the factory floor with PRS President, Jack Higginbotham, ready to explore every nuance involved with PRS guitar construction. Years ago, Jack was on the floor himself - sawing, sanding and putting his own sweat into PRS instruments. Knowing every nook and cranny of the factory and the construction process, Jack didn't hold back - as you'll see below. There's an awful lot of detailed craftsmanship involved that is cool to see in a behind-the-scenes fashion.
PRS players, luthiers and guitar nuts will be able to see the same tour up-close and in person at Experience PRS, which takes place September 19th and 20th. The annual event is a celebration of the PRS guitar and includes a packed schedule of events that is essentially two days of PRS bliss: factory tours, demos, artist appearances, clinics, free food, prizes, etc. Registration is required as this is a private event -- for details go to www.prsguitars.com/experience
On with the tour... below are four segments that take you from a warehouse of raw wood coming in from all over the world to the final person who touches up a finished, tested guitar and puts it in the case. As you'll see, PRS is very adamant about letting people do what people do best and letting machines do what they do best.
- Raw wood, bookmatching tops and CNC milling.
- Body fixtures, necks, fretboards and sanding.
- Staining, painting, sanding and breaking in a neck.
- Electronics, final assembly and finishing.
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