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Thread: Old school acrylic finish VS. new V12 finish, most resistance to scratches and swirls

  1. #1

    Old school acrylic finish VS. new V12 finish, most resistance to scratches and swirls

    Hello everyone,
    For those who have owned older PRS instruments with the acrylic finish and newer PRS with the V12, which have you found to be more resistant to swirling and light surface scratches? It seems like polishing the older acrylic ends up putting more swirls into the clear coat than removing. If you have experience with both, I'd like to hear your opinions on each.
    Last edited by TheSpruceMoose; 06-28-2012 at 05:31 PM.

  2. #2
    I think that one's polishing technique and materials come into play here.

    I always used Meguiar's #7 New Car Glaze to polish the older PRS finishes. It is a very low-abrasive polish designed to remove swirl marks from cars that were just machine polished with heavier abrasive polishes, and made for the type of new car polyacrylic finishes. Back when I was into restoring cars, I found that even cotton polishing cloths are capable of scratching a clear coat. So I used to use a chamois pad to polish. The technique for a fine hand polish is to rub lightly, and allow the abrasives in the polish to break down completely, until the polish is almost no longer there. Then buff off the excess with another clean chamois.

    In recent years, I switched to using microfiber for the polishing, but I still buff off with a chamois. This usually has resulted in no swirls in the polyacrylic finishes.

    I haven't had the opportunity to polish out the V12 guitars I've had, unfortunately, and can't make an effective comparison, though I have used the PRS cleaner to shine 'em up with no problems or swirl marks using a microfiber cloth.

    I think a big part of this is how abrasive the cloth can be! If you take a cotton T shirt, and rub it on a clear CD case, you'll see some hazing from the fine scratches it causes. Do the same thing with a microfiber cloth, and you don't see any. Sounds weird, but try it.

  3. #3
    I use the microfiber polishing cloth now. I have heard good things about 3M finesse it II. Haven't heard anything about the Meguiars before. I'm not too worried about what swirls are already in the clear coat because I will most likely be sending it to PTC for a color change. Vintage yellow is calling my name. I'm just thinking whether to put on the same finish as before, or go with the V12. Whatever is more resistant to abrasives.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    A little off topic but....I dunno if it's just because my new Studio is my nicest looking PRS..and newest guitar...but...it SEEMS to be a lot easier to ding and chip than my old CE. I just BUMP the studio against something and pieces of the finish "fall off".
    Otoh, my BLACK McSoapy is SO black that it gets scratched just from LOOKING at it!!!

    I was a machinist for a decade and a half but before that I was an industrial painter for a long time. I know coatings. If I didnt KNOW any better...I'd almost have to say that the V12 finish is harder (read brittle...like glass) than the old poly finishes and seems to be more prone to chip.
    Again though...probably just me and a new beautiful guitar where I just NOTICE every little thing a lot more?

  5. #5
    In terms of abrasion resistance, I've found that it's 6 of one, half dozen of the other. They seem no different to me in that regard. Haven't chipped either of mine, so can't speak to that. Maybe there's something to do with paint thickness, who knows.

    Meguiar's is sort of a standard in the world of car restoration, and a clear poly finish is essentially a car finish. so it's a good combination.

    I do have an opinion about the V12 finish that has nothing to do with durability. It goes on thinner, it has a great feel and look, and by and large the PRSes I've played with the V12 finish seem to sound "woodier" than my older ones did. I can't say whether PRS is just making better guitars now, or whether the finish has something to do with that. It's a mystery, but I'd go with the V12 for those reasons. YMMV.
    Last edited by LSchefman; 07-01-2012 at 01:35 PM.

  6. #6
    I was watching an interview online and Paul said it was nitro held together by plexiglass.

  7. #7
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    Sctatches and swirls don't bother me, but when I removed the green painter's tape I used to mask off the guitar neck, (I sprayed the pickup and control cavities with nickel shielding spray to try and reduce hum) the finish peeled off near the fretboard in several places. You'd think a guitar that cost this much to buy would have a finish resistant to green painter's tape. Mask at your own risk!
    Quote Originally Posted by TheSpruceMoose View Post
    Hello everyone,
    For those who have owned older PRS instruments with the acrylic finish and newer PRS with the V12, which have you found to be more resistant to swirling and light surface scratches? It seems like polishing the older acrylic ends up putting more swirls into the clear coat than removing. If you have experience with both, I'd like to hear your opinions on each.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by whatthejeez View Post
    Sctatches and swirls don't bother me, but when I removed the green painter's tape I used to mask off the guitar neck, (I sprayed the pickup and control cavities with nickel shielding spray to try and reduce hum) the finish peeled off near the fretboard in several places. You'd think a guitar that cost this much to buy would have a finish resistant to green painter's tape. Mask at your own risk!
    Was your guitar a newer V12 finish or an older polyester/acrylic urethane finish? Both my PRSi necks and fretboards are Brazilian Rosewood so peeling finish won't be an issue. I can't really see the older stuff doing that. Painters tape is very low tac.

  9. #9
    Occasionally Onery Member CantankerousCarl's Avatar
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    The finish on my 08 Mira MT seems alot thinner than my 93 STD24, and of course absolutely gossamer compared to the newer SEs (lather, rinse, repeat).

    I think the Mira was pre V12, not sure of the material, but it is super easy to scratch, nicked the top edge of the headstock the day I got it, seemed like just a tap but it was down to the wood.
    1990, 91, 92 & 97 CE24s | 1991 CU24 | 2000 CU22 Semi-Hollow | 2003 & 04 SE EG
    2008 SE Semi-Hollow Soapbar | 2011 CU24 GC Throwback | 2012 Signature Limited
    2013 408 Brazilian | 2013 Paul's Guitar | 2013 HB II | 2013 CU24 Swamp Ash Limited
    2013 CU24 | 2013 XPRS 408 Semi-Hollow | 2014 CU24 Semi-Hollow

  10. #10
    Your 2008 Mira has a polyester basecoat and an acrylic urethane topcoat. That is what is on my guitars. Angles are weak when it comes to the finish. The points of the headstock and the edges of a PRS is what usually get chipped. Both mine have a small chip near the jack. People don't slam the jack into their guitar, but they do sometimes miss, which means it didn't take a lot to chip. Seems like they both chip easy. I just don't know which one scratches easier.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by TheSpruceMoose View Post
    I just don't know which one scratches easier.
    You could conduct an experiment on your guitars with some abrasive materials and see...

    Having had both, I have no idea.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by LSchefman View Post
    You could conduct an experiment on your guitars with some abrasive materials and see...

    Having had both, I have no idea.
    Yeah, I'll get right on that! LOL. I'm leaning more toward having the old school acrylic put on again, but in vintage yellow with a red back.

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