by Daniel Odle July 07, 2019 3 min read
Hello everyone, welcome to another edition of the Heartbreaker Guitars blog. Today I wanted to talk about some of the really cool behind the scenes stuff at the Paul Reed Smith that makes them such fantastic guitars. It is amazing once you start looking into the processes they use to make PRS guitars, their attention to detail is 2nd to none.
Today we are going to delve deeper into the building of their necks. There are certain things that make for a great guitar neck, it needs to feel good in your hands, be stable, remain that way for the life of the instrument, and have musical tonal properties that are desired by guitar players. Selecting the right materials is crucial to ensure that all of these characteristics are immediately apparent in the final product, the neck can make or break the guitar and if it doesn’t feel good, you are moving on to the next guitar.
There are many factors that all play an important role such as the size of the board, grain pattern, and variety of the woods. Paul Reed Smith wood buyer Paul Platts was recruited because of his expertise in buying wood and is in the field, personally selecting the raw materials and inspecting them to make sure they will meet the stringent PRS standards. He know the biggest boards will have the best wood. Paul is an expert at picking woods for tone, stability, and beauty as well as sourcing them from suppliers that practice sustainable forestry management. Paul and his team will often sort through as many as 2 or 3 truckloads of mahogany planks to find a dozen 12/4 flat-cut boards that possess the desired traits to become worthy of a PRS guitar neck.
It is amazing how much time they spend on just this one aspect of the guitar building process. Paul will go thru and tap tone neck blanks to make sure they musical, and you will be amazed at the tones you can get from some of them. He is also looking for flat cuts so that the uniformity of the grain is tighter and straighter, making for a solid and sweeter sounding guitar. The best necks will have the straightest grain enhancing tone and stability.
After the PRS builders are done cutting down large boards sourced by Paul Platts and the rest of the wood buying team, they turn their focus to another crucial step in the Paul Reed Smith factory. This involves taking great care and time to make sure the woods becomes as musical and stable as possible. This is accomplished by drying the woods to remove excess moisture and to crystalize the resins that inherent in every species of wood. When Paul Reed Smith began in 1985 they only had one hot room that was used for all of the dried wood components and finished guitars. Today PRS has many hot rooms, each one specifically regulated for the different species of woods and for the different steps in the manufacturing process.
This shows the Paul Reed Smith commitment to ensure every aspect and process that can make a guitar better, is used. That is why Heartbreaker Guitars is honored to be a Paul Reed Smith Authorized dealer, they share the same passion we have for the best guitars on the planet. Sorry for getting side tracked. Next PRS dates all of the necks as they move through the shop to ensure that they navigate thru the shop, slowly and deliberately from start to finish, so that the magical resins inside the woods are allowed to crystallize and the materials are given the time they need to acclimate every step of the way. When they are brought back into the shop where the necks are shaped and the guitars are assembled, they allowed more time to absorb the moisture that is present so they are completely acclimated before the shaping process begins. If that wasn’t enough, in the month that it might take to finish a neck, PRS luthiers will shape the neck and let them sit for up to 24 hours to allow it to move if need be. Then they will go back and machine it, let it move and resurface. This painstaking process is repeated over and over until they feel the neck will provide a stable foundation to work from and will provide the customer a guitar that will stay in tune and have great tone. If there is going to be any movement they want it to happen in the Paul Reed Smith Factory, not in your house or on the stage.
Hope this sheds some light on the amazing work that these dedicated craftsmen are doing day in and day out to make the best guitars for the Heartbreaker Guitars customers. Thanks Paul!
by Daniel Odle January 08, 2021 2 min readRead More